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Mel Kiper: Cam Newton Next Akili Smith?

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I wrote earlier today about Mel Kiper's latest mock draft in which he selected Auburn quarterback Cam Newton for the Cincinnati Bengals with the No. 4 overall pick. Of Kiper's pick for Cincinnati, James Walker said:

Newton is the most polarizing player in the NFL draft, and Kiper believes the Bengals will take him at No. 4. Cincinnati's quarterback position is in turmoil with starter Carson Palmer demanding a trade and threatening to retire. But is Newton the right replacement? He has tremendous athleticism but also comes with boom or bust potential. Because of his athleticism and one year of starting experience, some have compared Newton to Akili Smith. Right or wrong, those comparisons will only increase if he goes to Cincinnati.

Of his pick of Cam Newton for the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round, Kiper said:

"In 2003, Marvin Lewis’ first year as head coach with the Bengals, the franchise drafted Carson Palmer, and had the discipline to start Jon Kitna all season and let Palmer learn the system while waiting to step in as the franchise quarterback. With Palmer on his way out, Lewis could do something similar in 2011, drafting Newton, letting him take a year to learn the system and plugging in an interim solution in the meantime. The Bengals could also consider moving this pick, similar to Carolina’s position with Gabbert."

He then also issued a warning to the Bengals, saying that Newton could have a great career and be a sensational quarterback for 10 or more years, but if they're wrong, "it sets you back three, four, five years. He was a one-year wonder. Akili Smith was a one-year wonder."

Kiper was also asked about the best quarterback in the draft to fit in Jay Gruden's new west coast offense.

When asked who would be the better quarterback of the two to suit Jay Gruden’s offense, Kiper said the two biggest keys are accuracy and mobility. Gabbert has both but accuracy is still a major question with Newton.

He also brought up a good point about how Newton will deal with negativity. Kiper said that Newton has dominated on every level and has never been around losing. Kiper is interested to see how Newton would deal with negativity and how he would handle NFL situations.

Possible trade scenarios involving Kevin Kolb were also brought up with Kiper. Unfortunately, Joe Reedy says that a trade with the Eagles involving Kolb would be a "near miracle."

When asked about where Kevin Kolb might be traded, Kiper thinks Arizona would be the best fit. The Bengals could also be in the market for Kolb but the best case scenario would involve them trading Carson Palmer and getting a first-round pick and then making a deal with the Eagles. In other words, a near miracle.