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Justin Tuck: Cam Newton Not Worth Top Pick

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Cam Newton of Auburn will throw again for NFL teams today at Auburn's Pro Day. Can he convince the Carolina Panthers, or any other NFL team, to take him with the first overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft?

Personally, I think that would be a mistake. Seems like New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck does, too.

"Would I take him at No. 1? Absolutely not," Tuck said of Newton.

Tuck was speaking in a panel at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston last week.

"In this league, the athletic quarterbacks don't last long," the two-time Pro Bowler said. "It's the quarterbacks [like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees] that can sit in the pocket and take a picture of whatever defense we're in and know in 0.3 seconds that a hot slant is going to be open, or in 2 seconds, with this pump fake, that safety's gonna step up ... It's those guys that [teams] are looking for, and I don't think Cam is that player yet.

"If he comes into the league doing what he did in college, he won't be in this league for very long."

Surprisingly candid stuff from Tuck. It made me think not only about Newton, but about Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick -- the most athletic of those "athletic quarterbacks" Tuck was talking about.

As much as Vick's athleticism makes him dangerous what really makes him a presence at this point in his career is that he has finally learned how to play the position, how to make those snap decisions Tuck was talking about. Vick easily threw for the highest completion percentage (62.6 percent) and had the highest quarterback rating (100.2) of his career in 2010.

There will be at least one team out there who thinks Newton can develop into that kind of player. If you were the general manager of a team with the No. 1 pick, is that a gamble you would be willing to take?