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2011 NFL Draft: Just How Good Is Auburn Quarterback Cam Newton?

In a world where rational actors are making the Washington Redskins' decisions at the 2011 NFL Draft, a post on the merits of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton would probably be pointless. The Redskins have too many holes elsewhere that need fixing to throw away a top 10 pick on a quarterback. But then again, we've seen the Redskins ditch Jason Campbell, trade two high draft picks for Donovan McNabb, bench McNabb and give the job to Rex Grossman in the last nine months. Rationality just isn't something we can count on right now.

So with that in mind, and with the BCS Championship Game happening tonight, it's time to ask the question that I'm sure Dan Snyder and company will ask on draft night. Would drafting Newton to be the team's quarterback of the future -- and possibly the present -- actually make a tiny bit of sense?

Before you dismiss this talk as loony (oh, hell, I did already, but whatever), consider this profile of Newton from Wes Bunting of National Football Post. Bunting, correctly, notes that Newton is an athletic freak capable of making plays outside the pocket, and his pocket presence is improving. As he writes:

So, as a physically gifted athlete, we have a strong-armed, accurate thrower of the football with an elite athletic skill set for a guy his size who can move around in the pocket, buy time and hurt you significantly with his legs in the open field.    

He's stating the obvious, but it's particularly relevant here. If the Redskins do take a quarterback for some reason, they probably won't be able to fully fix their offensive line. A mobile quarterback is therefore more valuable than a pocket guy like Ryan Mallet, who was awful when forced out of his comfort zone in the Sugar Bowl. If the Redskins do take a quarterback, at least having him be mobile is a silver lining. 

Obviously, Newton brings plenty of questions too, especially with his off-field character, as Bunting notes. Throwing him into the Redskins' culture is the kind of thing this organization would do, even if it's probably wrong. But again, if we assume the Redskins are thinking quarterback in the first round, irrational as it seems, Cam Newton might be the best choice they could make.