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2011 NFL Mock Draft 3.0: The Rise of Cam Newton

Auburn Tigers Heisman Trophy wining quarterback Cam Newton warms up for the Tigers game against the Oregon Ducks at the BCS Championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ, January 10,2011. UPI/Art Foxall

I’ll tell you what sports fans, I don’t know how anyone can compile a mock draft these days without wanting to slam his or her head on their desk about 25 times. I’ve made roughly 6,000 changes to this latest mock since the scouting combine wrapped up and I still hate it.

I hate it!

One thing I don’t hate is the addition John Paulsen has brought to Mock 3.0. He’s a statistical madman and recently thought of the idea to use players’ combine numbers to draw comparisons to prospects from previous years. He explains in more detail below.

More Draft Content: NFL Mock Draft 1.0 | NFL Mock Draft 2.0 | Ten Combine Winners | Ingram’s 40 Time an Issue? | Thoughts on QBs

John: I compared each prospect’s combine scores with players from the last six combines to determine the best athletic comparison. There are eight categories: height, weight, 40-yard dash, shuttle, 3-cone, vertical leap, broad jump and bench press. Not all prospects compete in all six tests, so certain comparisons are more confident than others.

Realize that we’re not suggesting that these players will turn into their comparisons – we’re simply saying that athletically, this is whom each prospect compares to based on their combine numbers.

All right, let’s rock out with our mocks out…what?

No. 1 Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
I’m not going to run from the fact that this is now the sexy mock pick, but it does make sense. Ron Rivera attended Newton’s Pro Day recently and the Auburn QB looked sharp. Blaine Gabbert is still a possibility here and so is Patrick Peterson but at the end of the day, the Panthers might as well go big or go home. There isn’t a more polarizing player in this entire draft than Newton, who is the very definition of “boom or bust.”
Combine Comparisons: Vince Young; Tim Tebow.

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Owners, union agree to fix rookie wage scale

St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford throws the football under pressure in the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis on September 12, 2010. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

It seems that the NFL and NFLPA are starting to make some headway on important issues pertaining to the CBA.

According to Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports, the owners and players have agreed to install a rookie wage scale to replace the current, ridiculous rookie salary cap. Thus, the days of a No. 1 pick like Sam Bradford receiving $13 million a year appear to be over (assuming of course that the two sides can agree on everything else CBA-related).

Cole provides more details:

According to two sources familiar with the negotiations, the league and the union have reached a basic compromise on a rookie wage scale that will replace the current rookie salary cap. The owners backed off the idea of requiring first-round picks to sign five-year deals, instead limiting the contracts to four years before a player could become a free agent. The agreement is also expected to include a stipulation limiting the amount of guaranteed money and signing bonus offered to draft picks.

In addition, the league agreed that all players drafted after the first round would be limited to three-year deals, but teams would be allowed to put restricted free agent tags after the three years. That’s essentially similar to the current process where players can be tagged as restricted free agents after a three-year deal, although the existing rule allows players drafted after the first round to sign four-year pacts.

The union wanted to reduce the number of years teams can sign rookies because they want the players to get to free agency faster. That certainly makes sense, but something had to be done about the old rookie pay scale because players were making too much money. Teams had to invest a lot of dough in players that had never seen a down in the NFL, which made zero sense. On top of that, you had teams trying to trade out of the top 5 because they didn’t want to pay a player millions of dollars and have him turn out to be a bust. Yet, many times they couldn’t because other teams didn’t want to take on similar risks.

This is great news for two reasons. One, the old rookie pay structure was a joke and had to be changed. Two, it finally looks like the two sides are making some serious headway when it comes to the CBA.

Is Chris Bosh justified in complaining about role?

Miami Heat Forward Chris Bosh (1) during 1st half action against The New York Knicks at the American Airlines Arena, in Miami Florida, December 28,2010. The Miami Heat beat the New York Knicks 106-98.. UPI/Susan Knowles…

After the Heat’s loss to the Blazers on Tuesday, Chris Bosh grumbled about the types of shots he’s getting. (ESPN)

“I just have to get it where I’m effective. I’m a big man. I can shoot the ball but I’m a big man. So I have to get it where big guys get it. Then I feel I can start helping out this team more.”

“I’ve got to get back in my comfort zone, I haven’t been in my comfort zone,” Bosh said. “A lot of things are new for me. I just have to be more aggressive in demanding my [the ball] comfort zone, you know I’ll take the fault for that… I’m effective down in the low post area, so that is where I need to start getting the ball. I need to be assertive in demanding it.”

“I’m saying what I need to do as a player, a closed mouth doesn’t get fed,” Bosh said. “I’m uncomfortable now so you might as well do something else. If there’s a disagreement or something, that’s fine, we can talk about it. If they don’t want that, that’s OK, but I just feel that I have to be my normal self. I’m not there right now. I haven’t been there many times this season.”

All right, so he’s a big guy and he wants the ball on the post. That’s all well and good, but he said this back in October…

“I never really like to bump against people that are a lot, lot bigger than me,” Bosh said in October. “I’m not the biggest guy in the world. Coach is going to put him in that position sometimes. He’s not going to hang me out to dry. He’s going to put me in there when we have an advantage.”

That sure doesn’t sound like a guy who wants to be fed the ball on the block. I always thought that he was more effective at the mid-post or the elbow, where he could hit the little jumper or go by the defender.

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Watch Tom Brady dance at Carnival in Brazil [video]

Check out Brady’s dance moves as he attends Carnival in Rio de Janero.

Chris Webber breaks it down for Erik Spoelstra [video]

He doesn’t start making sense until the 0:30 mark, but from that point on it’s a good monologue.

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