Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Moon, who has helped prepare Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton for the NFL draft and the career that will follow, says he's "about 90 percent sure" the Auburn quarterback will go to the Carolina Panthers with the No. 1 selection.
"I'm not completely sure ...," he told the "Doug & Wolf" show on Phoenix's Sports 620 KTAR on Wednesday. "Usually, at this point a team has pretty much played their hand if there was a guy that they were going to take at (No. 1), they even maybe have started on negotiations with a guy if they really felt like they were going to take that guy at No. 1. But Carolina has really played their hand close to the vest.
"I think everybody kind of figures that they're going to take him No. 1, but they haven't said anything one way or another, and you just never know in this draft right now. Because there's so many good quarterbacks, because there's so many good players in it, they could be maybe trying to move around a little bit, maybe move down in the draft. It's really hard to figure out right now. They're doing a very good job of not playing their hand."
Moon, who started his career in the Canadian Football League after he went undrafted out of the University of Washington in 1978, said he's been working with Newton since "Cam's family reached out to me right after the (BCS) national championship game."
"I've been doing this for a long time. I've dealt with a lot of young quarterbacks over years ...," he said. "(Newton's family) asked me about getting involved with him, helping him train for his NFL pro day and also just kind of being a mentor to him, kind of show him the way as far as making that transition from college football to professional football."
Moon says he also is "very, very close" to University of Washington star Jake Locker, also among the top QBs available in the draft, which begins at 8 p.m. ET Thursday. Locker, he says, is a genuine first-round prospect.
"I think in this draft, he definitely is," Moon said. "There's so many teams at the top of the draft who need quarterbacks. You look at Carolina, you look at Buffalo, you look at Cincinnati, you look at Arizona, you look at the Tennessee Titans. There's a lot of teams that need a quarterback, and if you need one, you've got to go out there and you've got to get one. Maybe there are no guys who are a bona fide John Elway or Troy Aikman in this draft, but I think there are a lot of good quarterbacks in this draft that are going to help some football teams down the road, and I think Jake Locker is one of those guys."
Where will Auburn quarterback Cam Newton go in the draft? Our writers and analysts examine how the first round could unfold, and when and where the Heisman Trophy winner will go, at
Moon says he has been impressed with Newton and how he's handled criticism, especially of his father, former Dallas Cowboys safety Cecil Newton, who was alleged to have asked for money during his son's college recruitment process.
"This kid is an amazing kid as far as his resiliency," said Moon, who played for the Houston Oilers, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs during his 17-year NFL career. "He just doesn't seem to let things bother him. He has such a strong base as far as how he was raised and what his father preached to him all these years growing up about how great (he) can be, never taking anything for granted, all these different things that he taught him. He just seems to go along his life and have a great time, and he knows exactly what he wants to do, he knows how to get it done, and that's what he's going about doing.
"Yeah, he hears some of the distractions. Yeah, it bothers him when he hears a lot of the negativity, especially things that are pointed toward his dad ... but he uses it as motivation to make him a better player and make him a better person."
Moon, who is in New York with Newton for the draft, isn't sure he'll be with the QB during the festivities.
"I haven't decided. He's got so many people here with him -- he's got his Pop Warner coach, his high school coach, he's got a lot of family here," Moon said. "There's a lot of people that are really trying to be involved in this process with him, because it could be a big, exciting day for him. I want to let him have that whole spotlight, but if he wants me there, I'll definitely be there."