Auburn quarterback Cam Newton already has the hardware — a Heisman trophy — and is looking to add a BCS Championship to his collection of awards tonight as the Tigers battle the Oregon Ducks tonight in Glendale, Arizona. With the BCS Championship on the line, Newton is also playing for a chance to bump his draft stock even higher, leaving a lasting impression in what may be his final college game. With plenty of mock drafts suggesting Newton is a top-10, even top-five, pick, could Newton take over the No. 1 spot vacated by Andrew Luck.
Here’s a look at where Newton is right now.
CBS Sports’ Chad Reuter: Newton is projected as the No. 12 pick in Reuter’s mock draft, heading to the Minnesota Vikings. It’s the lowest projection of Newton out there, and could change for the better with a strong BCS Championship performance.
CBS Sports’ Rob Rang: This is probably the highest you’ll find Newton projected. Rang has the Auburn quarterback as the No. 3 pick in the draft, taken by the Buffalo Bills. In this scenario, Newton is already inching his way to the top, on the heels of A.J. Green and Marcell Dareus.
Fanhouse: Newton is the second quarterback off the board here, going to the San Francisco 49ers with the seventh pick. Fanhouse has Ryan Mallett ahead of him, going to the Buffalo Bills with the third pick. Mallett failed to blow anyone’s socks off in his bowl game, leaving question marks about where he projects come draft time.
SB Nation: Another vote for Newton to the 49ers. This time around, he’s the first quarterback taken, heading to San Francisco to fill a position of need.
With Newton hovering around the top-10, a strong performance against a ball-hawking Oregon defense could be what propels Newton into the upper-echelon of prospects. Without Luck, the door is wide-open for Newton to impress, pushing his draft stock high enough to entice teams with top-5 picks.
Catch Newton and the Auburn Tigers as they take-on the Oregon Ducks in the BCS Championship, tonight at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN. For more mock draft updates, check out our 2011 NFL Mock Draft StoryStream. For the latest on tonight’s game, check out our BCS Championship StoryStream.