NFL Draft 2011: Why Cam Newton Is Not Worth a First-Round Pick
Cam Newton had one of the more memorable college careers, so it's not surprising that this "icon" has had one of the more controversial combine sessions thus far.
But behind all the bluster, the fact remains that Cam Newton simply isn't worthy of a first-round pick. Here we examine the reasons why Cam shouldn't hear his name called on the first day.
Ten years ago, Cam's off-field issues would have been no big deal. But the NFL has toughened up on their personal player conduct policy, and it's tough to guarantee millions of dollars to a guy who's struggled with off-field issues his entire career.
Whether it be cheating at Florida, or stealing laptops at Florida, or having his dad basically try to sell him to Mississippi State, there is a lot to be concerned about if you're an NFL team.
Newton has made his career off his athleticism rather than his smarts, which may work in college, but not in the NFL. Look at Michael Vick—a much more talented and athletically-gifted QB than Newton. As great as Vick was in college, he struggled in the NFL for years with decision-making, which led to him using his legs over his arm. That led to injuries, and inconsistent play.
When Vick came to the Eagles, he became a smarter QB, leading to a career year. Newton still relies too much on his legs, which will get him into trouble in the NFL. And speaking of his athleticism...
Newton isn't as athletic as people make him out to be. His 4.59 forty-time is impressive, but it's the same time Jake Locker clocked in and only good enough for third amongst quarterbacks. It was also only .03 seconds faster than Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert's forty-time.
Yes, Newton will be able to make plays with his legs. But Locker was the presumed top pick in the draft last season, and a weak senior season has seen him drop to the end of the first round. Locker is more experienced, more talented and seemingly just as fast as Newton, leading scouts to wonder if it's worth taking a risk on the bigger name in Newton, over waiting and snagging a guy like Locker.
While Newton is a junior, he really hasn't played much in college. He played one game in two seasons at Florida, while playing one season at Blinn College (junior college) and one season at Auburn. The point is, a quarterback takes years to develop. Newton has played Division I football for one season in his career.
Any team that drafts him will have to do so with the knowledge that he won't be able to come in right away and start and is a project.
Newton's hackneyed throwing motion has worried scouts, though it's not entirely his fault. He's bounced around schools while in college and hasn't had time to develop in a system under consistent coaching.
If he's able to work with a coaching staff for a few seasons (like Tim Tebow is now doing with the Broncos), then he should be able to correct it.
However, a team will have to be very high on his other qualities to use a first-rounder on him with concerns of his throwing motion.
While this isn't a particularly strong QB class, it does feature Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, Arkansas' Ryan Mallett and Washington's Jake Locker. All three could easily be drafted ahead of Newton.
On top of that, Andrew Luck—a better prospect than any quarterback in this year's class—will be a senior, and entering the draft next season. Teams may want to wait a year for a stronger class than reach on a guy like Newton this season.
Newton described himself as an "entertainer" and an "icon" in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, quotes that certainly won't go over well with NFL front offices.
Unlike in college, where Newton is the star, he'll be just another one of many faces in the NFL, meaning outlandish quotes like this will infuriate his equally-talented cohorts.
As a quarterback, respect and command of the huddle are two huge factors for success, and Newton's attitude could cause issues in the locker room.