Rivera hitting the road to see Newton

Posted on March 7, 2011 

We'll get back to updates on the labor situation as soon as there's tangible proof any fan is interested.

But while the big business of football is happening in Washington this week, the football is happening on campuses across America.

This is a big week for pro day workouts, beginning with tomorrow's at Auburn.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera is expected to be there to eyeball QB Cam Newton -- and ostensibly DT Nick Fairley, though he's not thought to be in the mix for the top pick.

Rivera raised more than a few eyebrows with his effusive praise of Newton at the combine, comparing his size and strength to successful QBs such as Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco. 

Tuesday, he'll get a first-hand look at Newton again, as the Panthers consider what to do with the first choice in the draft.

The allure is reasonable. Rivera went on and on about the need for a "franchise quarterback," during his talk in Indy, a clear change from what you've heard from his office in the past. While it's unclear if Newton can develop into one, he's clearly the one in this draft with the most tools.

He's big and strong, can run fast and throw a football over the mountain. He's also led his last two teams to national titles, something you can't overlook.

Can he convince Rivera to trust him? We'll see.

 

-- Darin Gantt

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