2011 NFL Post-Combine Buzz
Cam The Entertainer
Follow me ... Follow me to freedom! ...
2011 NFL Combine Results
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2011 Post-Combine Buzz
The Julio vs. A.J. Battle
Cam The Entertainer
The No. 2 RB Is ...
The No. 3 WR Is ...
The Slow Little Guys
The Small School Stars
The No. 1 OT Is ...
The Mark Ingram Workout
The Mediocre Tight Ends
The New Wave Of Athletic QBs
2011 NFL Combine Position Analysis
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Everyone came to see the show, and Cam Newton didn’t disappoint.
The issue, though, and it’s a small one if Newton turns out to be a superstar NFL quarterback, is that a lot of it seemed staged. He might have a $180,000 smile, and he might be as charismatic as they come, but he also comes across as extremely well-coached. Some have suggested that he might be a phony, but that’s a bit harsh and a bit off-the-mark considering he’s trying to handle everything being thrown at him at once. He hasn’t been able to catch his breath since becoming CAM NEWTON, and it’s asking a lot for anyone to possibly process everything that happened in one of the most interesting out-of-left-field stories in recent sports history.
Remember, Newton was just another college quarterback six months ago, and now, yes, he really is an entertainer and he really is an icon, like he said in an ill-advised quip. Tim Tebow had his big high school games televised on ESPN and had been used to the spotlight when he hit Indianapolis last year. Most top NFL prospects have been on the radar for years and know how to handle themselves. Last year at this time, Newton was about to go into spring ball trying to fight for a starting job.
So let’s get this all out of the way as we move forward over the next few months before the NFL Draft at the end of April.
Yes, he is being handled extremely well by a number of professionals who are running his campaign to perfection. There is a little bit of an act to everything he says.
Yes, he has an ego as big as his game, and after several weeks of living the life of Cam Newton, Heisman winner and national championship quarterback, he might think he has more in common with Jay-Z than Jay Cutler.
Yes, the Teflon quarterback really is just a big, goofy guy who might have several character flaws and has probably gotten away clean, but for all the red flags and all the past issues, he’s not a bad guy. He comes across as likeable, and he comes across as a guy who people want to succeed.
And no, he is not JaMarcus Russell in any way outside of conference they played in. Remember, Russell put on one of the greatest pro days ever, but he also came to the 2007 Combine 25 pounds overweight and looking and acting like a guy who wasn’t exactly serious about his craft. Newton came in cut, willing to do anything and everything asked of him, willing to make every throw, run through every drill, and answer any question. He acted like he owned the Combine because he did. This was his show, and he managed to come out of it a mortal lock to go in the top ten, if not the top three.
Considering there have been quarterbacks as big as Newton, and several have been more athletic, and several have had bigger arms, but no one has had the same combination of skills. He’s not like any quarterback prospect the NFL has ever seen, and the scouts, coaches, and general managers in Indianapolis are going to be tearing their hair out wondering if he’s worth the ultimate boom-or-bust risk. This is going to be a call that will define the draft and will change one franchise for good or bad, and no one appears ready to jump all in.
Much will be made about how his throws were a bit off in the drills, but he was more than fine. No one of importance actually cared if a throw sailed here or dove there; all that mattered was that his release was beautiful, his arm strength was excellent, and he was every bit the athlete and every bit as big as anyone could’ve expected.
There’s a chance that ten years from now, draft historians will look back and wonder how Carolina and Denver could’ve ever missed out on such an obvious, transcendent performer. There’s a chance that Buffalo, a franchise in desperate need of an identity, has to take the Newton splash. There’s a chance that Blaine Gabbert is the first quarterback taken and is forever remembered as a Kevin Dyson when Randy Moss was still on the board. There’s also a chance that Newton is a mirage and is only special when everything on the field is working.
The question isn’t whether or not Newton will work at it; again, he’s not JaMarcus. The question isn’t whether or not he has the talent; that’s undeniable. The question is how he’ll handle the adversity of failure. He passed the test with flying colors during the season with all the scrutiny and all the controversy, but he was also insulated in a ten-foot-thick Auburn cocoon. No one around the Tiger program wanted to see the dream slip away because of some silly NCAA technicality, and Newton was able to get through it all by focusing on the task at hand on the field. Yes, he was able to handle the adversity, but he was also on the way to winning a national title and a Heisman.
What’s going to happen if and when he’s the starting quarterback for a 3-9 team and he has thrown four touchdown passes, 14 interceptions, and is getting booed? What’s going to happen if he really does go to Buffalo? How is that going to play for a guy who’s now used to being courtside at Laker games? How is he going to handle it when he struggles, like all rookie quarterbacks do, and the media starts questioning whether or not he’s a bust?
We’re all going to get to find out. After Andrew Luck chose to pursue a career in architecture, I said Newton would be the No. 1 pick in the draft once everyone started to realize just what a special skill set he has and just how unique a talent he really is. I was wrong. He’s not going to go No. 1, but he will go in the top five and one way or another he’s going to be one of the biggest NFL stories of the next several years. It’s going to be a fascinating ride.