As the 2011 NFL Draft approaches, Cam Newton has reportedly set a schedule of private workouts with various teams around the NFL. The teams working out Newton include the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals,Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, and Minnesota Vikings. Additionally, the Miami Dolphins are scheduled to work out Newton this Sunday.
The two most notable absences from that list are the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers are looking for a quarterback, but it remains to be seen whether Newton is on their radar. Jim Harbaugh referred to Newton as "plutonium-grade raw material" due to his tremendous upside. This could be Harbaugh just blowing some smoke, or it could be actual interest. And of course, there's also the fact that even if Harbaugh has interest, he may decide Newton is not a fit for his offense. I actually don't think the latter is the case. If Harbaugh likes Newton's upside and what he brings to the table, why wouldn't he draft him? In that case, I'd imagine the reason to not draft him is because the downside is not worth the risk. That's something we will NOT here from Harbaugh leading up to the draft. Or maybe we already have heard it given how dangerous plutonium can be.
This report doesn't mean Newton will not workout for the 49ers before the draft or that he's not on the 49ers radar. It just sort of is what it is for the moment. The 49ers worked out Colin Kaepernick already, but it's entirely possible the difference is how much they feel they know about a given player. It's possible they feel they know where Newton is at and don't think a private workout would impact their decision. That might not be the case, but it's one of many theories to consider.