Chizik: Newton won't disappoint Panthers if they pick him No. 1

Auburn coach Gene Chizik leaves little doubt about his feelings on quarterback Cam Newton's chances of going No. 1 overall in the NFL draft.

"If the Carolina Panthers take him first, again, I won't be shocked, and they won't be disappointed," Chizik told Sporting News at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, where he served as grand marshal for the Aaron's 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

"I think that Cam Newton will be a great fit for any team -- period," Chizik added. "He's a great competitor. He's a great teammate. There's no question in my mind that, if somebody takes him -- which somebody will take him, and they will take him early, OK, and there's no question in my mind that that will happen -- they're not going to regret it. They're going to look back years later and realize that that was a very wise pick."

Newton, the 6-foot-5, 248-pound Heisman Trophy winner who led the Tigers to the BCS national championship in January, met with the Panthers for two days earlier this month and hopes he makes the cut.

"To some degree, I'd like to go No. 1," Newton said April 8. "The most important thing is to come out each day and get better. That's what I can control. ... I can't control where I get picked."

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said earlier this month that the team is beginning to narrow its candidates for the top selection in the April 28-30 draft. If they pass on Newton, he likely will find a home in the first round after invitations to visit the Denver Broncos (No. 2 overall pick), Buffalo Bills (No. 3), Cincinnati Bengals (No. 4), Cleveland Browns (No. 6), Tennessee Titans (No. 8), Washington Redskins (No. 10), Minnesota Vikings (No. 12) and Miami Dolphins (No. 15).

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