Mayock presents different Newton theory

When it came to evaluating Cam Newton's media workout Thursday, ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer was effusive.

NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock was refusive.

Mayock didn't attend the workout in San Diego, said he didn't need to watch the workout and generally dismissed it as meaningless when it comes to appraising the former Auburn quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner.

"He's got a classic overhand delivery," Mayock said on the NFL Network. "He's got a big arm. You and I in gym shorts out at the local high school can throw pretty accurately. So I would guarantee you he would look great in a pair of gym shorts. He would throw with accuracy and arm strength. His mechanics are very good.

"But I would offer one cautionary note, and that is the best pro day for a quarterback I ever attended was JaMarcus Russell, and that same day -- even though I admitted it was the best pro day I ever saw -- I also said I wouldn't take him in the first round."

Russell, the No. 1 pick in 2007, is the worst bust in NFL draft history.

The Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins are the AFC East teams that could select a quarterback in the first round. The Bills draft third (Dilfer's apparent range for Newton), while the Dolphins draft 15th (closer to Mayock's range for Newton, but still probably too early).

Dilfer said "The ceiling is so astronomically high for this player, Cam Newton, that the scouts, the GMs, the coaches are really going to be slobbering about the prospects of having him on their team."

Mayock ranks Newton third in this year's quarterback class behind Missouri's Blaine Gabbert and Washington's Jake Locker.

"For me, it's not about [Newton] throwing in shorts," Mayock said. "It's about a lot of other things. He's going to throw the ball beautifully in those controlled environments.

"To me, there are two issues with this kid. Issue No. 1 is he came out of a shotgun, and if you watch the tape it's basically a very simple offense. One read and either the ball was out or he was out. So can he adapt to, can he process and assimilate to a very structured and complex pro offense against a complex pro defense?

"Secondly, and most importantly, when you get to a certain skill level in the NFL, which this kid certainly has, at the quarterback position, what kind of kid is he? Is he going to be the first guy in the building? Is he a gym rat? Is he football smart? Is he a leader of men?

"All those things to me are way more important than any workout in shorts."

Dilfer, meanwhile, was blown away and said Newton's stock should skyrocket. It's fascinating how two men who played in the NFL and have been around the game for decades would place such dissenting opinions over the value of Thursday's workout.

Dilfer played quarterback in the NFL for 14 years. He played for five organizations, went to a Pro Bowl and won a Super Bowl.

If anything, the divergent viewpoints of Dilfer and Mayock indicate how 32 teams can judge a player differently and why arguments sometimes break out among a team's scouting department over a given player before a pick is made. It also helps explain how the New York Jets could take Vernon Gholston sixth overall.