Top athletes at every NFL position

Each February, the NFL world descends upon Indianapolis for the league's scouting combine, during which future NFL players take part in an array of physical events that can help a prospect boost his stock in advance of the draft. The combine highlights player athleticism and has led to certain prospects making a major leap in visibility among draft enthusiasts through their athletic traits. And while athletic ability alone doesn't always translate to a capable player on the field, it's quantifiable in a variety of ways. It takes into account speed, explosiveness, quickness, reactive skills, agility and more. With that in mind, below is a look at the most athletic player at each position in the NFL.


Quarterback: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

"He looks like a defensive end," one NFL personnel man said. "He's so big, moves well for his size and he makes guys miss in the open field." The 6-foot-5, 245-pound former No. 1 overall pick -- who goes by the nickname of Superman -- is arguably the most unique physical quarterback of his generation. He checked in at 248 pounds at the 2011 combine, and then proceeded to run a 4.59 40 and jumped 35 inches in the vertical leap, all amazing measures at that size. Given his size, power, instincts as a runner and ability to absorb contact, Newton is among the best short-yardage/goal-line rushers in the league, as was evidenced by his 14-rush touchdown campaign as a rookie in 2011. When Newton is used on designed runs consistently -- as was the case in Week 14 -- the Panthers are at their best. However, the quarterback has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, following a car accident in which Newton suffered two transverse process fractures in his lower back. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was another name that came up at the position.