Mocking The Draft's first 2011 NFL mock draft since the conclusion of the regular season has Auburn Tigers QB Cam Newton going No. 12 to the Minnesota Vikings. That would mean the Vikes replacing the NFL's most headline-grabby quarterback with his collegiate counterpart, but hang on a minute. Newton is a junior, and hasn't officially declared for the NFL Draft. But he's going to, right?
We know this much: with one game left to play, the BCS National Championship against the Oregon Ducks on Jan. 10, Newton won't be announcing his decision this week. But expect him to declare for the draft shortly after.
While Stanford Cardinal QB Andrew Luck has a number of reasons to consider staying, it's hard to say how Newton could better his situation by returning for his senior year. While at least one former NFL scout doesn't think Newton is a first-round pick, last year Tim Tebow proved the worth of the all-you-need-is-one-team adage, and Newton's skills on the field are even more enticing than Tebow's were.
For one, Luck's family doesn't need money. Unlike Luck, Newton has at least one parent who has already tried to make money off of the younger Newton's playing career. While holding out on signing a pro contract in order to deprive Cecil Newton would be one of the greatest trollson maneuvers ever, it's probably not worth it.
Newton also has to consider the future of Auburn's football program in light of his recruitment scandal. While Newton is in the clear, that doesn't necessarily mean Auburn is. And what would happen if offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn were to take a head coaching job?