NFL Draft Predictions: Oddsmakers Say Newton First To Go
by Richard Gardner | Bodog Sportsbook Manager - 4/27/2011
Ask Super Bowl-winning QB Joe Theismann and you don’t exactly get an endorsement for Auburn quarterback Cam Newton as Thursday’s NFL draft approaches.
"You're talking about a kid that started one year of football," Theismann said. "He's rushed the ball a lot more than he's thrown it. He hasn't thrown the football a lot. And when he did throw at the combine, he was not impressive.”
Thesimann’s negative opinion aside, Newton is still the favorite to be chosen first overall Thursday at Radio City Music Hall in New York, according to most NFL Draft predictions. At Bodog, we’ve got Newton at -400 odds to be drafted by the Carolina Panthers. After Newton, we’ve got Alabama DL Marcell Dareus (+300), Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert (+1200) and LSU DB Patrick Peterson (+1500).
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So far there’s been strong betting support for Newton, and for good reason. Everyone knows the Panthers need a quarterback. No offence to Jimmy Clausen, but if you don’t have a good quarterback in the NFL, you don’t really have a chance.
ESPN’s draft guru Mel Kiper had the following to say when he cautiously predicted the Panthers would take Newton: “While I don't believe Carolina is locked onto this pick -- if you're heard me at all lately, you'll know I see this is one of the more unpredictable top 10's I can ever remember -- if they really see Newton as the transformative player that can be both a Pro Bowl quarterback and face of the franchise who draws a lot of buzz, they can make this pick.”
Newton, of course, has his share of detractors. Not many question his talent, but they definitely question his maturity and character. Which is why we’ve booked a few small wagers on Gabbert at +1500. After all, the Panthers would still get a quarterback if they went this route, except they’d get one without so much baggage.
Former Carolina and current Denver coach John Fox also seems to think Newton will be the man chosen first overall, though he’s not ruling out a surprise pick.
"I think quarterback is a need," Fox said. "They probably view it that way. But there are other needs that they have, so they could go receiver, defensive tackle or quarterback.
"At the end of the day, not being in that room and not knowing, I can't honestly say, but it wouldn't shock me if they went somewhere other than quarterback."
As for Dareus, most of the betting on the Alabama product has been on his odds to be drafted second overall by the Broncos (-250). A quick look at Denver’s defensive statistics from the 2010 season should tell you all you need to know about the need for a player of Dareus’s calibre.
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