Busted Cam: Why the Auburn QB Will Be a First-Round Flop in the 2011 NFL Draft
When you think of a quarterback, you think of a general, a leader. A quarterback is someone who is the face of his team, and ultimately leads his team to victory each and every Sunday.
In the NFL, there have been numerous drafts in which top-flight college quarterbacks such as Fresno State's David Carr (Houston Texans), Georgia's Quincy Carter (Dallas Cowboys), Miami's Ken Dorsey (San Francisco) and, most notably, Washington State's Ryan Leaf (San Diego Chargers) have been high draft picks and had high expectations, but have ultimately failed to meet them and thus have earned the dreaded "bust" label.
Cameron Newton, the heralded quarterback from the BCS national champion Auburn Tigers, is projected to be a top 15 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, and he has been the subject of some controversy as his father, Cecil, has been named in allegations that he sacrificed his son's NCAA eligibility by soliciting cash from Kenny Rogers in return for Cam's commitment to Mississippi State, as his former offensive coordinator at Florida, Dan Mullen had become MSU's head coach.
Newton was suspended by the NCAA, and then was reinstated the following day because the NCAA had no concrete evidence that any wrongdoing was committed by Auburn or Newton.
Am I buying the fact that just because Newton and the Tigers dominated the country en route to a convincing 22-19 victory over the No. 1 Oregon Ducks in Glendale, Arizona that he is going to be a solid NFL quarterback? Not so fast.
Here are five reasons as to why Newton will not join the list of "all-pro" college quarterbacks:
1) Flawed Mechanics
In the NFL, most quarterbacks are fluid and consistent in their delivery. They must be able to see the entire field and not make their receivers go the extra mile to catch up to a pass. Cam Newton has neither. Here is an excerpt from his scouting report from the 2011 NFL Combine:
"Limited field vision — does not process the passing game. Inconsistent throwing mechanics with a flick delivery — generates all of his power from his upper-body strength and too often arms the ball. Streaky passer with spotty accuracy. Makes his receivers work hard and throws into coverage." (PFWWeekly.com)
Newton's mechanics are not NFL-ready. It's one thing to have a 200-210-pound defender from the speed-abundant SEC coming after you, but when a 230-240-pound NFL safety or linebacker is coming full force after you, the sense of urgency is a bit different as NFL defenders are faster and hit harder.
2.) Not Ready for NFL Offense
Cam Newton has been a student in the shotgun offense, an offense simplified to his strengths. He has shown the tendency to run at the first signs that his receivers are covered downfield.
NFL defensive secondaries are better than in the SEC. NFL defensive backs are quick to react to the slightest bad throw, and will jump with wide receivers to force turnovers and defensive coordinators are becoming more and more aware of quarterbacks such as Newton and have developed packages and schemes to slow and contain mobile quarterbacks.
NFL defensive coordinators will no doubt be looking at tape on Newton and will be more than ready to give the former Tigers QB a hearty NFL welcome.
3.) Darth Cecil
The man you see pictured above who looks like Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars films with Cam Newton is his father, Cecil Newton. This man has been named in allegations that he solicited a pay-for-play bidding war for his son's commitment. Cam's initial desire was to play at Mississippi State where his former offensive coordinator from Florida, Dan Mullen, had left Urban Meyer's staff to become the head coach.
Kenny Rogers, the man who many believe was involved more than everyone was led to believe, allegedly offered a six-figure payment to influence Cam to commit to play and eventually lead the Auburn Tigers to the BCS title at his father's insistence.
Cecil is a detriment to the entire process. Cam should be allowed to be the adult that he is and make decisions regarding his athletic career on his own terms. Athletes are respected individuals who make decisions which earn said respect. Cam, you are a talented athlete, leave your father out of it.
Darth Cecil just needs to step out of the way and let the cards fall where they may.
4.) Just Another Knucklehead Personality
Cam Newton has been scrutinized more than most, but some say he deserves all the criticism he gets. No, Warren Moon..the criticism of Newton is not based on his race. Here is an excerpt on his character issues from his scouting report from Pro Football Weekly:
"Very disingenuous — has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup. Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them. Has an enormous ego with a sense of entitlement that continually invites trouble and makes him believe he is above the law — does not command respect from teammates and always will struggle to win a locker room. Only a one-year producer. Lacks accountability, focus and trustworthiness — is not punctual, seeks shortcuts and sets a bad example. Immature and has had issues with authority. Not dependable." (Pro Football Weekly)
NFL quarterbacks are the faces of their franchise. Newton is projected to be a top-15 pick. He is allegedly not a model of good character, as it has been suspected that Newton transferred from Florida to avoid academic sanctions due to allegations that he purchased a paper offline and signed his name to it, knowing it was someone else's work.
His name also surfaced in an incident in which a fellow student's laptop computer was stolen from his dorm room and he was allegedly rumored to have thrown the laptop out his window when authorities arrived to question him.
The NFL, led by Sheriff-Commissioner Roger Goodell, will not put up with such immaturity. Everyone knows well the tale of Adam "Pacman" Jones, a highly-talented player that has spent most of his NFL career suspended, or more recently, Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick, who also spent two years suspended because of boneheaded decisions.
Please, Cam. For your sake, make sure you dont "make it rain" in the clubs or engage in dogfighting. Such decisions will not end well. Just ask the NFL players who have been made examples of by the league and its personal conduct policy.
5.) Where Would He Fit?
Cam Newton is projected to be a Top-15 pick. He has been linked with teams such as the Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills. He worked in a simplified, run-first offense that was suited to his strengths.
NFL offenses are complex. I honestly see Newton fitting in with a team that runs a variant of the West Coast offense. The offensive coordinator and or head coach will have to constantly be on him in order for him to realize his potential.
Here is another snippet from his scouting report:
"An extremely talented, dual-threat QB who carried Auburn to a national title, Newton has the arm and athletic talent desired in a rollout, play-action, bootleg vertical passing game and would fit ideally into an offense such as that of the Redskins or Raiders."
Only time will tell whether he will reach his full potential.
In summary of all the points I have made, I do not believe that Cam Newton will be a quality NFL quarterback. He doesn't have the intangibles necessary to win a locker room and lead a team. He will be more of a follower than a leader, as he has shown time and again that he will test the rules and test team chemistry with all the issues that are swirling around his final season at Auburn.
The team that drafts him will probably be in panic mode, and reach to pick him. He is the ultimate example of high-risk, high-reward, and he will be a headache for any offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.
My idea? Let him sit until the later rounds of the draft, and if a team is looking for a project, and I mean PROJECT, then maybe someone will take a chance on him.
In my opinion, he will be like all the other highly-rated quarterbacks to come out of college and not make it in the NFL.
Only time will tell.