Cowboys eye Cam Newton at combine
INDIANAPOLIS -- One of the 60 interviews the Dallas Cowboys will conduct at the NFL scouting combine during the next few days will be with Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, according to vice president/director of player personnel Stephen Jones.
Newton led Auburn to the BCS championship in his one year as a starter, throwing for 2,854 yards and rushing for 1,473 and combining for 50 touchdowns.
"I think obviously that position of quarterback you're immediately going to start looking for leadership," Jones said. "You're going to start looking for intangibles, and his physical abilities are pretty good. As far as in an interview, you're looking for a guy who is going to be the face of your organization that you feel like will be a leader for your team and is a winner."
The Cowboys hold the ninth pick in the first round of April's draft and have not taken a quarterback in the first round since selecting Troy Aikman with the No. 1 overall pick in 1989.
Interviewing Newton should be viewed as the Cowboys learning as much as they can about a player who burst onto the scene in one year, not a surefire sign they would draft him.
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The Cowboys have needs at safety, cornerback, offensive line and on the pass rush. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones has said he believes Tony Romo -- who missed the final 10 games last season because of a broken left collarbone -- is the type of quarterback who can lead his team to a Super Bowl, but he also wouldn't rule out Newton.
"I wouldn't dismiss any player that's going to be in that draft and wouldn't express interest," Jerry Jones said Friday. "So much happens with the circumstances that are there, not only on draft day but how we continue our process. But I do feel like we're in really top shape. ... I'm going to really say outstanding shape at the position. Obviously, a quarterback to draft right now is a future consideration. For that reason, I wouldn't dismiss him or any position."
Romo is under contract through 2013.
"This is what we do every year," Stephen Jones said. "You got to do all your work because you never know what's going to happen in a draft. It's part of doing your diligence as a personnel department. You can never assume anything and you can't leave any stone unturned. Give [director of college and pro scouting] Tom [Ciskowski] and our guys a lot of credit; they work hard at it and we get prepared."
Because of the offense Newton played in at Auburn and his limited -- albeit successful -- track record, there are questions he will need to answer in the next month or so.
Todd Archer covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com contributed to this report.