If Cam Newton goes No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers in the upcoming NFL Draft, his former coach at Auburn University says the Panthers won't be sorry.
Gene Chizik, the grand marshal for today's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, was asked Sunday morning about the possibility of Newton being drafted first by the Panthers.
"I think that Cam Newton will be a great fit for any team – period," Chizik said. "He's a great competitor, he's a great teammate. There's no question in my mind that if somebody takes him – and they will take him early, OK? – they're not going to regret it."
Chizik added that whichever team picks Newton is "going to look back years later and realize that was a very wise pick."
The coach stumping for his ex-quarterback as if Newton were a political candidate probably won't have any affect on the Panthers. But Carolina may have realized by now that Jimmy Clausen and Matt Moore aren't the answer to their future and could be looking to Newton with the top pick.
"If the Carolina Panthers take him first, I won't be shocked," Chizik said, "and they won't be disappointed."
Chizik hopes he won't disappoint NASCAR fans with his "Gentlemen, start your engines" command later today. His appearance at the race is in conjunction with Aaron's, which is sponsoring both the race and Michael Waltrip's Auburn-themed No. 15 car.