Uh oh, Nolan, he's wearing sunglasses, so obviously he isn't taking his career seriously... right?
In late March, Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki wrote a scathing scouting report of former Heisman-winning Auburn QB Cam Newton. Nawrocki's comments outraged some people, but a majority of NFL fans bought into the report and believed it to be the truth because he was an accomplished writer, which he actually is.
Nawrocki's criticism ranged from Newton believing he was "above the law" to accusing him of having a "fake smile." The "above the law" comments are about one single incident when he was at Florida in 2008, when he bought a stolen laptop and, in a panic, threw it out of his window. He went to JUCO and claims he grew up, but don't tell Nolan that.
As for the "fake smile?" I'm not even going to go there because it's outrageous, especially since Nawrocki told NFL Network after the release of his scouting report that he had never even met the Auburn star. Yes, he's NEVER been in the presence of Cam Newton, let alone ever talked to him.
As if it wasn't bad enough, he included these pure nuggets of gold:
"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."
So... Cam Newton has a big ego, isn't a leader, can't win over a locker room, can't be trusted, isn't mature, can't be coached and he isn't dependable.... Well, after reading this, I was sure that Nolan either had never met Newton or simply shared "stuff" with Charlie Sheen.
I wrote an article attacking Nawrocki's report, calling him uninformed and flat-out wrong. I knew in my heart it was wrong. Auburn players and coaches were outraged at the report, calling it pure garbage, and that all of his criticism of Newton was simply incorrect. Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn wasn't sure if Nawrocki had any sources, saying that Newton was the team's vocal leader and was beloved by everyone in the locker room.
In the comments section of my article, I was attacked by people who believed the ridiculous assessment by the PFW writer. I knew it was wrong, but unfortunately, many of my readers didn't feel that way, as they used my status as "Auburn Featured Columnist" to make a point that I was purely biased and couldn't see through the orange and blue glasses that were apparently blinding me.
So, it is with great pleasure that, since nobody else has done it, I put the egg in Nawrocki's face and make it known that he was completely wrong. I want to make it widely known that his report was completely fabricated and it had terrible sources, if it even had any sources.
With the NFL lockout in place, players have begun their own minicamps all over the country, where they go over plays and work out. It's training camp, only without the coaches there.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, the Panthers just wrapped up their own minicamp, and almost all players were in attendance, including the rookies (obviously including Cam Newton). The media wasn't allowed at the workouts, but after the final day of camp, some players spoke out to the media about any particular events in camp. A majority of questions, of course, were about the Panthers' new QB.
The answers were nothing but positive.
Linebacker Jonathan Beason, the heart and soul of the Panthers' defense, said that Cam Newton was going to earn the respect of his peers. Players said he was one of the first ones to camp, always eager to learn the system and get to work and improve as a football player. They said, while getting to know the team, he was quiet and was trying to earn respect, rather than demand it. Offensive lineman Jordan Gross stated that Newton was working hard and, at one point, was flipping tires with the offensive linemen.
From the sound of things, Panthers players are sure that Newton will be the leader of that team in no time. They do seem quiet sure he's one of the hardest working guys on the team. Some players say he was showing plenty of respect to Carolina's other two QBs, Jimmy Clausen and Matt Moore. Newton didn't come off to teammates as cocky, lazy or even "iconic." He came across as a guy with strong work ethic, great leadership qualities and the glow of a leader. Certainly, teammates don't seem to buy that he has a "fake smile", nor did any players state that they didn't trust him. They have already assured they have Cam's back, and that he has theirs.
Will Newton be a bust? My guess is as good as yours. My predictions are as good as yours. He could be a flop. He could be a legend. However, Nawrocki has already been proven wrong by people who have actually met Cam Newton, and people who have actually played with him and gotten to know him and work out with him.
Nolan Nawrocki, you are the weakest link. I know you're accomplished and I know a majority of your work is trustworthy and factual. However, your scouting report on the former Tiger wasn't even close. Next time, when you want to do a scouting report that talks about a person's entire background, try a little harder, such as actually meeting the scout or talking to teammates and players, because, for lack of a better term or a more gratifying term, your Cam Newton report was an "epic fail."