On college football’s biggest stage, the BCS Championship, two potential top-10 picks had a chance to impress on Monday night as the Auburn Tigers squeaked by the Oregon Ducks. Auburn boasted a duo of players projected by many 2011 NFL mock drafts to be in the top-10, and in the running to be the No. 1 overall pick. Nick Fairley, Auburn’s highly touted defensive tackle, and Cam Newton, Heisman trophy winner, brought home a win, but did they improve their draft status? Will they be moving up or down in the next round of mock drafts? Let’s take a look.
Here’s where each stood, along with where their BCS Championship performance could push them.
Nick Fairley: The star of the show for an Auburn defense that shutdown Oregon’s high powered attack, Fairley had a great game for the Tigers. He was a disruptive force in the middle, and looked damn-near unblockable all night as he hauled down Darron Thomas and LaMichael James in the backfield. Already projected as the No. 11 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by SB Nation, Fairley likely boosted his stock high enough to receive consideration as a No. 1 overall pick. Can he unseat Da’Quan Bowers? After impressing in the BCS Championship, Fairley is in the discussion.
Cam Newton: The Auburn quarterback, and Heisman winner, was plagued by inconsistency against the Ducks, especially in the passing game. Newton completed 20-34 passes for 265 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, but it was the throws he didn’t make that raised some eyebrows. More than once he missed wide open receivers, and he did so at every level. His touch on the deep pass was off, he missed a man coming out of the backfield and his medium range throws were hot-and-cold.
Projected to be the No. 7 pick, headed to the San Francisco 49ers, Newton is still a work in progress. There’s no denying his physical tools, and his ability to scramble, but he has to clean up his throws to make an immediate impact. The Niners need someone who is ready now, and Newton has a way to go to show that he’s that guy.
With college football over, the attention now turns to the draft as players declare and get set for workouts. Stay tuned to our 2011 NFL mock draft StoryStream for the latest movers and shakers ahead of April’s 2011 NFL Draft.