As usual after Auburn's pro day, we like to hear what the experts had to say about it. Thankfully, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. did another teleconference today. Here's what he had to say about Cam Newton and Nick Fairley:
(On Newton's pro day)
"I watched it. And you knew that it was going to be better. You knew it wasn't going to be any worse. Pro days are usually the best scenario. And that's why I questioned it, I went on the record, I wouldn't have thrown at the combine. I thought it was was a mistake before. It was a first guess, as Lee Corso says, not a second guess. I said it on the air, on numerous shows and before the combine even began, that if I was advising Cam Newton, I would have advised him not to throw. I wouldn't have had that media day either. I would have just saved it for that pro day. That's the best opportunity to show accuracy. To show the NFL that, hey, I'm going to wow you over with my physical ability and my ability to make precise throws down the field short, medium and long.
"And he improved. Now, he had some overthrows on the outs, he had some overthrows long, he had some drops. His receiver corps wasn't what he thought it would be going into that workout yesterday, so they had to kind of mix and match there a little bit and pull some guys in late to catch the football. But I think Cam showed well, which a pro day is a great scenario for that. I think he right now is looking at the fourth pick to Cincinnati, seventh pick to San Francisco in that area. Buffalo would be in that mix as well, but I keep hearing maybe not. Carolina could consider him certainly at No. 1. Cam's going to go high."(On if Fairley measuring up smaller than anticipated affects his draft stock)
"Not at all. In fact, I'd prefer to see somebody at that height, because to me it's all about leverage, it's all about the lowest man wins. And he's got the ability to bat down passes, to be disruptive. He's a quickness guy. He's a guy who beats you with that athleticism and weakness. He does some great things from the interior. It's hard to find pass rushers. And this is a guy who can really get after it.
"He's a guy who is a better pass rusher than (Gerald) McCoy coming out. Ndamukong Suh beats you with power, he was underrated quickness wise. That's why I liked him better than McCoy last year. A lot people liked McCoy better than Suh. I was a Suh guy from Day 1, stayed with it all the way through the draft, because three straight years he dominated. Not one year. Three years. Played four, dominated for three and even showed flashes of brilliance the fourth year. And with Fairley, only one year, really as a starter, only started a few games prior to that. So that's the only thing, that one-year wonder, that one-hit wonder when you're talking about the first or second pick overall that would concern you a little bit with Nick Fairley, other than he was a lights-out player, some lulls in his play sometimes in games, which there usually are for defensive linemen. It wasn't with Suh. That's why he was so great after the fact. He was the No. 1 guy overall for that reason. A lot of other people like McCoy over Suh.
"But for Fairley, if he had played a couple more years at Auburn at that level, he'd had been clear-cut ... one more great year at Auburn, instead of just the one, he'd have been the clear-cut No. 1 guy in this draft."Kiper also said Fairley could go as high as second, with an outside shot at going No. 1. Worst-case scenario, he said, would be Fairley dropping to eighth. Who has that pick? The Tennessee Titans, who recently hired Tracy Rocker as their defensive line coach.
Kiper also came out with his latest mock draft on ESPN. Here are his top-four picks:
1. Carolina -- QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri2. Denver -- DT Nick Fairley, Auburn3. Buffalo -- DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama4. Cincinnati -- QB Cam Newton, Auburn