2011 NFL Draft Analysis: Cam Newton and the Buffalo Bills Are a Bad Fit

Eli NachmanyCorrespondent IIIFebruary 21, 2011

Cam Newton's success at Auburn wouldn't translate to success on the Buffalo Bills.
Cam Newton's success at Auburn wouldn't translate to success on the Buffalo Bills.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Over and over again, Cam Newton and the Buffalo Bills are linked to one another in NFL mock drafts.

Newton seems like a great fit, considering his athleticism would translate well into Chan Gailey's offense and his recent National Championship ring shows that Newton is a proven winner. The physical specimen would, hypothetically, sit behind Ryan Fitzpatrick for a few years learning the Bills offense and then take over the reins in Buffalo.

And they lived happily ever after.

While this fairy tale may well come to fruition, as reports out of Buffalo's camp indicate that GM Buddy Nix is a Cam Newton fan, the former Auburn Tiger wouldn't be a fit in upstate New York.

Cam Newton has been talked about as a possibility with the third pick because it is widely assumed that the only way Chan Gailey can run an effective offense is with an athletic quarterback.

While Gailey certainly doesn't oppose a quarterback taking off and gaining yards on the ground, using Tyler Thigpen and Kordell Stewart as examples of athletic quarterbacks are outrageous when compared to Cam Newton. Newton is a chiseled athlete, Thigpen and Stewart were just unafraid to run with the ball.

While it is never bad to be too athletic, Newton's game revolves around the run. If he came to Buffalo, Newton would have trouble making all of the NFL throws.

The young quarterback is a "one-look guy;" if his first option isn't open, he'll tuck it and run.

Usually, the first option was a man either wide open down the field, or a check-down receiver in the flat. In the NFL, passing the ball doesn't work like that. There's an inherent difference between a scrambling quarterback and a guy who would rather run the football.

The problem with Newton's approach to passing would be the depth of the wide receiving corps in Buffalo. Newton has well-documented troubles when it comes to cycling through his reads, and the young quarterback wouldn't be able to look for tertiary options down the field.

On the contrary, in 2010 Ryan Fitzpatrick looked through all of his options before throwing the ball, helping No. 2 receiver Stevie Johnson to emerge as a breakout star in Buffalo. Newton would handicap the offense with his unwillingness to stay in the pocket for an extra second and find open men, and Chan Gailey wouldn't be able to run three- or four-receiver sets effectively like he was able to with Fitzpatrick.

Having Fitzpatrick, a slightly athletic quarterback who is more known as a pocket passer, made the Bills offense an explosive unit at times last season.

In fact, it wasn't the Bills offensive totals that did the team injustice in 2010. It was a defense that couldn't stop the run.

With the third pick, top-flight defensive linemen like Da'Quan Bowers (assuming the Broncos don't take him second), Marcel Daerus and Robert Quinn (if the Bills are serious about re-installing principles of the 4-3) will be available.

There is just no reason to draft a quarterback with the third pick unless the guy is a surefire franchise signal-caller.

Newton is the exact opposite. There are a ton of questions surrounding him, including how his lack of throwing accuracy would be exacerbated by the howling winds in Buffalo.

Don't forget, either, that many scouts and coaches have their doubts about Newton's makeup and character. The Bills can't afford to set their franchise back by five years with a botched quarterback pick.

The Auburn product just doesn't make sense at No.3 .

The question of how to use the No. 3 pick in Buffalo is, in fact, comparable to the conundrum in Cleveland. If AJ Green is available with the pick, I've read a few columns in which Browns fans would pass on the ultra-talented wideout.

Cleveland fans figure that with all of the wide receivers that would be left by the time the Browns' next pick rolls around, it would be more suitable to draft for the defense with their top-10 pick.

In Buffalo, the team brass has to figure that Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback who would be a much better fit in Buffalo due to his lack of makeup concerns and ability to throw the ball into the wind, could be obtained in the third round.

After one of the league's worst defensive efforts against the run in 2010, the Bills need to reinvent the defensive line.

With Marcus Stroud given his outright release and Kyle Williams emerging into a star in the trenches, Buffalo would be well-suited to scrap plans of drafting Newton and make it a top priority to scout the elite defensive linemen at the scouting combine. The Bills would both provide Kyle Williams with help and get a stout run stopper to grow with the young defense.

For the sake of improving one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, stay away from Cam Newton. Stay far, far away.