NFL Draft 2011: How Does Cam Newton Compare To Tim Tebow?

Jake CoxCorrespondent IApril 27, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Cam Newton passes the ball during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Cam Newton vs. Tim Tebow

Every year leading up to the NFL draft, fans and analysts everywhere compare current draft prospects not only to their draft mates, but also to current and former NFL players. 

It’s a helpful tool that can help us predict how a certain player may perform throughout his NFL career.  So this begs the question of how the most recognizable talent in this year’s draft (Cam Newton) compare to the most recognizable talent in last year’s draft (Tim Tebow).   

Cam Newton and Tim Tebow are two of the biggest stars to enter the draft in recent years, yet I have rarely heard of them compared to each other.  There are some obvious differences between the two, but when you look a little closer at their careers up to this point, you will see that they are not so different after all.

The Differences

First of all, let me start their comparison by pointing out some of their differences, because those differences are what sets them apart from each other.  The biggest difference between the two of them is their character and maturity. 

Nobody will ever question the character of Tim Tebow, as he has the highest level of character that I have ever seen in any draft prospect.  Cam Newton has had his character in question multiple times throughout his college career, the most notable of which was the NCAA investigation of him and his father a few months ago. 

Newton has also been accused of other questionable decisions since stepping on campus, something that never happened with Tebow.

The other difference between the two is how they came to be first round NFL draft prospects.  Tebow was a huge hit from the moment he stepped onto campus, as he made a sizeable impact on the football field in his freshman season.  Everybody knew that he was going to be a star, and he was the unquestioned starter once Chris Leak graduated. 

Newton on the other hand, had to take a much longer and adversity filled path to stardom.  He actually started his college career as a backup to Tebow at Florida, but realized that he would have to go somewhere else if he wanted to play quarterback. 

He transferred to a junior college in 2009, before going to Auburn last season.  He wasn’t even guaranteed the starting quarterback position when last season began, as he had to fight for the job in spring practice.

Those are some pretty noticeable differences, but the two of them have many more similarities then they do differences. 


Comparing Their Strengths

One accomplishment that both of these quarterbacks can claim is that they were the starting quarterback for a national championship team. 

Both Newton and Tebow played a huge part in taking their respective teams to the title, as they are excellent leaders when they are on the field.  They both want to be the best, and they commanded the respect of their teammates. 

Another strength that both of these quarterbacks possess is their ability to make plays with their legs.   They both showed great elusiveness and vision when on the move, and it gave opposing defenses something else to worry about when playing against them. 

Tebow and Newton also possess solid size to speed ratios that have made them particularly intriguing to NFL scouts.  They have the strength to bowl over defenders, as well as the speed to run away from them. 

The most obvious comparison between the two when they are throwing the football is the arm strength that they possess. 

One of the most important things when evaluating quarterback prospects is whether or not they can make all of the throws in the NFL.  Both Newton and Tebow passed that test with flying colors, as that is the biggest strength of both of these two quarterbacks when they are throwing the ball.


Comparing Their Weaknesses

While these two championship winning quarterbacks have strengths that are comparable, they also have some of the same weaknesses as quarterbacks.  The most talked about weakness for both Tebow and Newton is how they played in a quarterback friendly offense that didn’t call for them to make multiple reads.

The offensive scheme that both Florida and Auburn ran while Tebow and Newton were in college didn’t call for them to go through their progressions like they will have to do in the NFL. 

The offenses only asked them to make one or two reads before they could take off with the ball, which is something that won’t fly in the NFL.  Tebow had a big learning curve to go through last year in this area, and Newton will go through that same transition in his first season in the NFL.

Newton and Tebow both took the majority of their snaps out of the shotgun, which is becoming somewhat of the norm in college football.  However, this is something that was a concern for both of them leading up to the draft because everyone questioned their ability to play in a pro style offense. 



Cam Newton and Tim Tebow will both go down as some of the best college football quarterbacks of all time. 

Both have lead powerhouse SEC schools to national championships in their college careers, while also attaining great personal glory by winning the Heisman trophy. 

At first glance, you might not see just how comparable that these two quarterbacks are coming out of college.  I will say that even I didn’t really think that these two quarterbacks were similar when I first looked at them.  That feeling has changed though, as I now see that these two quarterbacks have some very similar strengths and weaknesses.

The future success of these two young quarterbacks is yet to be determined.  I think that both of them will have successful NFL careers, although Newton does have more potential than Tebow.  While they are very comparable at this stage in their careers, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their NFL careers will run parallel to one another. 

Within the next 24 hours they will, however, have yet another thing in common; both of them will be able to say that they were first round draft picks in the NFL draft.