At 6-6, 250 pounds, Newton possesses great size for the position. He stands tall in the pocket, keeps the ball held high and doesn’t have any type of trouble seeing over the line of scrimmage and viewing the entire field. Plus, he’s a strong kid with natural flexibility in his lower half. Displays the ability to consistently keep plays alive with his legs, showcases impressive lateral quickness and balance for a guy his size and accelerates extremely well out of his breaks. He possesses the type of strider speed to pick up yards in chunks once he gets into the second level and has the type of demeanor to finish runs. Does a nice job in short-yardage situations, being patient, dropping his pad level level and simply bulling for tough yards inside while consistently being able to shrug off defenders in the pocket, keep plays alive and create once he breaks contain. He’s a major threat any time he’s able to get into the open field and can really hurt you with his legs.
Simply put: the guy has the ability to make all the throws with ease. I can’t wait to see Newton’s hand size because the way the guy is able to grip and rip the football is as good as it gets. He generates good torque from his lower half when he’s able to step into his throw, transferring his weight well from his back foot and really produces a lot of explosion through his upper body when he lets go of the pass. He spins a clean football, as passes really seem to jump out of his hands, especially when asked to make plays in the intermediate pass game and down the seam. He showcases the velocity to consistently fit throws into tight areas, but never seems to be pressing of trying to overthrow the ball.
Also, looks very strong and natural on the move. Possesses the type of balance to again generate a lot of torque from his hips and core when asked to roll out, unleashing for the most part a tightly spun throw outside the numbers.
The one thing that really sticks out to me is how quickly this guy is able to reset his feet and get the ball out of his hands. He showcases good balance in the pocket, keeps the ball cocked and ready to throw, and in an instant he can just cleanly rip off a strong throw.
However, he does have a tendency to not really stride into throws with his front foot at times in the face of pressure. Seems content to short step throws and get rid of the football before the pressure is able to reach him, causing his accuracy and ball location at times to suffer. But there are quite a few instances where he was able to complete the throw with ease at the second level and fit the football into a tight window even when not ideally transferring his weight.
He will also get sloppy when asked to work off the play-action game and boot outside the pocket, getting lazy with his core and overall footing and simply just using his arm to complete throws and failing to maintain his balance through the play. A lot of his inaccuracies in the short passing game are a direct result of this. He also will get lethargic with his footwork at times when asked to throw one of his many bubble screens throughout the course of game, allowing himself to get upright and doesn’t consistently drive off his back foot, routinely just throwing with his upper body and loosely swinging his back foot toward the target.
Does take the majority of his snaps from the gun and will need to learn to how to work more predominantly from under center. However, in his limited opportunities working off play-action from under center, he showcases good balance and poise selling his fake and looks very coordinated throughout the process. But at times seems rushed trying to get his eyes around and will start to turn his body prematurely, instead of carrying out the fake and really snapping his head around before setting to throw. However, he is an athletic enough kid to certainly handle all the intricacies of taking snaps from center given more time to develop.
When Newton steps into his target and doesn’t get lazy with his footwork his ball placement is just fine. And in all honesty, even when he takes that short step in the face of pressure he can still make some big-time throws down the field. He spins a clean, tight football, is accurate in the pocket and can fit the ball through traffic into some very difficult windows that a lot of NFL quarterbacks wouldn’t dream of.
His lack of ideal ball placement seems to show up more in the underneath pass game, where he can get lazy with his mechanics and footwork and still complete throws because of his strong arm. This is where at times he will throw slightly behind receivers in the bubble screen game or when asked to boot, which really cuts down on his receivers’ run after the catch ability. However, when focused he seems to take much more pride in being fundamentally sound. So really it’s more of a case of him being inconsistent throughout stretches of the game and simply maturing in that area.
For a guy who doesn’t have a ton of experience playing at the FBS level he really has shown well for himself at times this season understanding his offense and breaking down opposing teams’ defenses. There were times on tape where he worked his way across the field and found a second or third option on the sideline. There were times he looked down the field, took care of the football and checked the play down to a back. And there were times where he was able to escape pressure and on the move find a secondary option, not forcing the football. So the capability is there, it’s just being able to do it at a more consistent rate.
Although he still seems more like a one-read guy at this stage in the pass game, he does do a nice job hiding his eyes and not too quickly showing his hand. Seems more content to look at the direction of where he wants to throw the football off the snap than actually staring down his read throughout the play. However, when asked to make plays down the seam he does do a nice job locating the safety, being patient and then quickly letting go of the football. Also, his timing is pretty solid as well. He has the ability to throw receivers open vertically down the field, but looks more content to hold onto the football and let his receiver uncover on more sharply breaking routes — especially the dig. However, again, the idea is there.
Does have the ability to get his team in and out of a play at the line if he doesn’t see something he likes, but every time I saw him check at the line it was to a run.
I have never talked with the kid, so take this with a grain of salt. But, from watching his demeanor on the field, his composure in those close SEC games he’s played this year and that infectious smile, he seems like a kid who can rally the troops and who his teammates want to play for. The guy is a winner. He has a national championship at Blinn College, is guiding his football team through the teeth of the best conference in America with a perfect record and is doing so while being the key man everyone is trying to shut down. So, on the field character looks pretty high.
However, when looking at some of the off the field issues surrounding Newton, there is certainly a track record…
-Faced felony chargers for burglary, larceny and obstruction of justice for being in possession of stolen property at Florida - a laptop- and then throwing it out a dorm window (Charges were later dropped after a pre-trial intervention for 1st-time offenders). Was suspended by the Florida football team as a result.
-Was accused of cheating — according to sources — three times during his time at Florida and even faced potential expulsion because of it.
- Had been said to have left the Florida program because of the return of QB Tim Tebow, which would have cut down on his playing opportunities. However, he was not even enrolled for college classes at Florida at the time Tebow made the decision, according to sources.
- He and his father are each surrounded in the controversy of possibly asking for a pay-for-play plan while (Cam) Newton was being recruited last offseason.
The skill set is there for this guy to be as good as he wants to be. He’s a great-looking piece of clay, has all the tools, can make all the throws and has the kind of athletic ability that is rare at the quarterback position in the NFL today. Now, he’s still a work in progress in terms of the finer points of the game, as he gets inconsistent with his mechanics at times and is still learning how to decipher information and more consistently work his progressions across the field in the pass game. However, there have been glimpses of him trying to do the right things and I think with some time and good coaching he definitely has the ability to mature in those areas.
As for the character concerns, he has definitely made some mistakes. Some could be as a result of him simply being young and dumb, some could have been caused from family and financial pressures, but the facts speak for themselves and there is some kind of a track record there.
Therefore, when trying to decide if Newton is a hard-working kid — which he appears to be — who loves the game — which also appears to be true — who has simply made some mistakes in his life, I think the best way to figure that out is simply by looking the kid in the eye and getting a feel for him during workouts and meetings. And I think he’s a player you either have a gut feeling about or not.
Again, I have not had that opportunity yet, but as of now I don’t think I would feel 100 percent comfortable drafting this kid with a high first-round pick, which is what I ultimately think will end up taking to land him come draft day. Now, my mind could still change, but as of now looking over the facts there is simply too much that goes into the development of becoming a great quarterback in the league and some of his past immature efforts are just enough to make me look elsewhere at the QB position when trying to identify my new future signal caller if I need to invest first-round money in the kid.
6.6: Clean player who is inconsistent in his play due to character, alertness or competitiveness…Has all the physical tools needed to become a starter…If he overcomes his deficiencies he will be a star in the league…If he doesn’t he will be a complete failure — There is NO middle ground!
I don’t think there is any way this guy makes it past the first round. However, like I stated earlier, I just wouldn’t feel comfortable taking Newton in round one at this stage. He seems like a much safer pick in round two where the financial investment isn’t nearly as high, which is why I would give him a second-round grade as of today."
Newton entered the 2010 season with a shorter bio in the official Auburn media guide than the Tigers' long snapper. By the end of a magical season, he'd helped guide the Tigers to a BCS Championship, earning the Heisman Trophy along the way.
A highly-touted recruit, Newton originally signed with the University of Florida, but chose to transfer when it became apparent that Tim Tebow would return for his senior season. Wanting to play immediately, Newton transferred to Blinn College in Texas, where he accumulated 3,488 all-purpose yards and scored 38 combined touchdowns while leading the Buccaneers to the 2009 NJCAA championship.
Pursued by all of the major colleges following his tour with Blinn, Newton appeared headed towards Mississippi State due to his relationship with head coach Dan Mullen, formerly Newton's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach with the Gators. Instead, he selected Auburn, emerging as the best player in college football.
Newton was an unstoppable force in Gus Malzahn's spread option offense, passing for 2,874 yards and 30 touchdowns (against only seven interceptions) and rushing for another 1,473 yards and 20 scores. He joined Tebow and Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the only players in NCAA history to throw for 20-plus touchdowns and rush for 20-plus touchdowns in the same season.
As gaudy as Newton's production was at the collegiate level, there are significant concerns about his ability to translate his skills to the NFL, especially considering that he's only started one season at the FBS level. Newton wasn't asked to make complicated pre- and post-snap reads in Malzahn's offense and hasn't demonstrated the consistent accuracy scouts would like.
His upside, however, is tantalizing, especially in a draft lacking a sure No. 1 quarterback. If Newton can convince teams of his ability to mentally handle the conversion to the NFL as well as answer their questions about his off-field decisions, Newton could wind up as a top 10 pick in the 2011 draft.
Accuracy: Generally demonstrates good accuracy, though he is inconsistent in the all important intermediate areas. Good ball placement on underneath routes and when hitting the back on the swing pass when he sets his feet. Among his best attributes is his deep ball accuracy. Possesses very good touch and trajectory on the long ball, showing the ability to drop it in the bucket from 50 yards out. Shows the ability to step into his throws and fire the slant, post and deep out passes, though his accuracy drops when he's forced to move his feet. Doesn't always reset, making quick tosses that are primarily "arm" throws.
Arm Strength: Possesses plenty of arm strength to make every NFL throws. Can zip the slant and deep out through tight windows. Good strength to complete passes even with defenders draped over him. Can flick the ball 50 yards downfield without significant windup, and closer to 70 when he does.
Setup/Release: An area of legitimate concern. Takes virtually all of his snaps out of the shotgun and while he clearly has the athleticism to handle dropping back from center, will be making the difficult transition of doing so while making multiple reads of the defense -- something he wasn't often asked to do at Auburn. Possesses an efficient, over the top release with good follow-through. Generally steps into his throws, though he will too often fail to do so when on the move. Stops his feet and will shotput throws, leading to passes fluttering and coming up short.
Reading Defenses: Another area of concern. Was only asked to make 1-2 reads at Auburn before having free reign to tuck the ball and run with it. Rarely was challenged with complicated blitz packages as collegiate defenses typically were more worried about protecting against the run. Essentially will be asked to make twice as many reads in half as much time in the NFL.
On the Move: Clearly his greatest trait. Buys time in the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield. Can elude defenders in tight quarters due to good elusiveness for the position. Rare acceleration. Possesses a second gear to sneak through cracks in the defense and break away. Possesses rare strength and size. Can bowl over defenders to gain yardage. Every bit as dangerous as a runner as he is a receiver. Capable of completing throws with defenders draped on him.
Intangibles: Scouts question whether he has the football intelligence necessary to handle the myriad of formations and adjustments to be successful in a pro offense. Though his football IQ has been questioned, scouts rave about his poise on and off the field, as well as his leadership ability. Quickly emerged as Auburn's unquestioned leader. Despite his leadership, teams will have to do their homework on Newton's off-field behavior. Was arrested while at Florida for possession of a stolen laptop computer. He and his father were infamously investigated for their role in a pay-for-play scheme at Mississippi State that endangered Newton's eligibility and Heisman candidacy. The NCAA and SEC chose not to suspend Newton due to a lack of evidence that he had knowledge of his father courting payment in exchange for his son accepting a scholarship offer.
Newton’s strengths right now are hitting backs out of the backfield on screens and his deep ball accuracy, which is actually among the best in the class. Has shown good touch on both long and short passes. Puts the ball in a catchable position on underneath routes and lets his receiver run in to the ball.
Arm strength: Phenomenal arm strength. Has no trouble putting the ball over 50 yards in the air. Can make every throw you could ask of him. Unlike his accuracy, Newton shows great touch and understanding when throwing the long ball. Arm strength is top notch. Newton has thrown at least 70 yards in the air that we have seen- and that is during a game.
Athleticism/mobility: Has unquestioned athleticism. Was allowed to tuck and run at any time at Auburn. Can get outside the pocket and hurt a defense. Is not only fast, but has rare size for the quarterback position. Imagine Ben Roethlisberger with Vince Young’s speed. Does a nice job moving around in the pocket, freeing himself to throw.
Decision making: Has been asked to make at most two reads pre-snap at Auburn. Will need time to learn to read multiple fronts and coverages. He has the ability, but will need time and reps in practice to learn this. Some have questioned his Football IQ and ability to pick up reads, but Newton has never been taught these things. He’s a blank canvas in terms of IQ.
Field vision: Has enjoyed playing in a shotgun system that lets him stand back and read the field. Newton has little to no experience reading a defense, as he was fed his keys from the sideline. Must show better vision pre-snap. Keeps his eyes up and down field. It is hard to judge his field vision at this time, as he has only played in wide-open systems that have not asked him to make difficult reads or decisions. This will be determined in the NFL.
Mechanics: Does a nice job stepping up and through his throws. Needs to do a better job setting his feet when throwing short-to-intermediate throws. Has played in a shotgun-only system at Auburn, and also during his time as a back up at Florida. Has virtually no experience coming from under center. Will need his drop steps taught to him before any other work can begin.
Has a compact delivery and a good over-the-top motion. His delivery and release will not need work. He will fail to step in to passes at times, which results in an incomplete pass.
Pocket awareness/poise: His accuracy seems to drop off when forced to move in the pocket, which is somewhat surprising considering how athletic he is. Has good vision in-pocket while moving. Does not get scared or rattled by defenders flying around him. Great poise in the pocket.
Final word: A one-year starter for the National Champion Auburn Tigers, Newton comes by way of small Blinn College in Texas after leaving Florida instead of playing behind Tim Tebow for another year. At Blinn College Newton led the team to the 2009 NJCAA championship game before signing with Auburn. Newton quickly asserted himself, rising to the position of starter and winning the Heisman Trophy in 2010.
All of this comes with controversy. As is well documented, there are allegations that Newton’s father Cecil offered a play-for-pay deal to Mississippi State, among other schools. Cameron was cleared of any wrongdoing by the NCAA, but the cloud continues to hang over his name.
It is undeniable that Newton is an electric athlete and leader at the position. Much like Michael Vick, Vince Young and Tim Tebow before him, there are questions not about his athleticism, but his ability to succeed long-term in the NFL as a pure passer. Newton’s production cannot be argued, he was simply fantastic during the 2010 season, but can he fulfill his potential? That is the question NFL teams will be left pondering this April.
Newton is, by all accounts, a likely top ten pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. While he is not ready to start at the NFL level as a rookie, the promise of his potential is too great to pass over."
Arm strength: Showed very good arm strength to make throws all over the field. When Newton uses proper footwork, he routinely puts a good spin on the ball and doesn't have his passes wobble. Even with his strong arm, Newton puts good touch on short and intermediate passes. If Newton can improve his deep accuracy, his arm is going to be a real weapon.
Decision making: Newton rarely put his receivers in bad position and didn't throw the ball a lot into double coverage. He just needs to get faster making decisions in the passing game. Comes out of Gus Malzahn's spread option where he doesn't have to make multiple reads. Doesn't anticipate a receiver's route that well.
Field vision: Here is where Newton is going to need the work. A lot of Auburn's passes came on receivers running double moves and deep crosses. They're routes where receivers get themselves open and don't necessarily have to rely on the quarterback fitting the ball into a tight window. In addition, a lot of Newton's passes come on the first read. When it's not there, the offense called for him to pull the ball and run. Since teams stacked the box to defend Auburn against the run, Newton didn't see a lot of complex coverages. He did early against Oregon in the BCS National Championship game and got into trouble. He'll have to spend a lot of time in the film room to learn how to pass against defenses with good secondary play and an array of coverages.
Mechanics: Has an awkward throwing motion and will need to adjust his release point. Has a throwing motion very similar to Vince Young's. Has long legs and do better setting up his feet to avoid throwing off his back foot. Took almost all of snaps out of the shotgun. Will probably need to work on drop back footwork. More importantly, he'll have to learn how to read a defense while doing so.
Pocket awareness: Newton is the ultimate improviser in the pocket. Does a pretty good job of feeling the blitz, but isn't the kind of quarterback who will hang tight and step into a throw in the pocket. Instead, Newton likes to pull the ball down and run. He has a tendency to get cute in the pocket trying to be creative. He gets himself in trouble behind the line of scrimmage too often. Still, he has the strength to stay up when defenders are wrapping up his legs to at least release the ball.
Final word: Cam Newton will be the most polarizing player in the 2011 NFL Draft. It's easy to see why some will fall madly in love him and why others will go mad if their team drafts him.
Newton is a rare talent. With his size, athleticism and arm strength, Newton has more potential than any player in this year's draft. That alone will get him picked in the first round. He also displays great leadership skills that are impossible to teach. In only one year at Auburn, the Tigers rallied around Newton and he led them to a national title.
But his negatives may scare some teams off completely. Newton will have to greatly refine all of his mechanical flaws if he wants to succeed in the pros. His field vision and pocket poise are average, at best. Then there are the questions about his character – fair or not. He's had multiple off-field issues and has bounced around from Florida to Blinn Junior College to Auburn.
The offseason process is going to be big for Newton. It could determine whether or not he's a top-10 pick or if he's taken later in the first round."
Negatives: Completes a high percentage of his passes but does not show great accuracy when asked to throw within small windows, many of his throws require the receiver to adjust ... Average footwork, still needs to set his feet better and he throws on the run too much... Does not redirect his feet well when scrambling, throws off balance... Footwork completely breaks down when he's under pressure, has a tendency to jump off his back foot while throwing when defenders are coming after him... Has only one year of starting experience at the division one level... Tons of character concerns surrounding his recruitment to Auburn along with questions about his maturity... Current offense asks him to make plays with his feet more often than his arm, will be a tough adjustment for him to sit in the pocket in the NFL... Plays like a running back, runs with wreck less abandon, doesn't slide with the football, may be prone to injury when NFL linebackers start hitting him... Still very raw� Will get a ton of comparisons to Vince Young."
Weaknesses: Newton has played in a spread offense his entire collegiate career. No experience taking a snap from center and dropping back in a three-step, five-step or seven-step drop. Has relied mostly on his athleticism and size to succeed at the college level. Newton has mostly had to make one or two reads in the offenses he's played in, not having to make multiple reads against complex defenses. He has not had to go through a read progression, as he'll need to learn how to do so and not stare down receivers. Needs to step into his throws more consistently, as he throws off his back foot too often. Off-the-field and character concerns centering on his departure from Florida and his recruitment to Auburn from junior college. Alledgedly purchased a stolen laptop at Florida. His father alledgedly shopped Cam's services as a recruit to teams in exchange for a fee."
When I look at how these Scouts and Analysts regard a QuarterBack, I don't give a rat's ass about how far he can throw it on a wire, or how fast he runs the 40: Anyone who thinks that those Skills are the most critical ones in assessing a QuarterBack's ability to lead a team to a Championship have overlooked the last 90 years of History.
When I look at how these Scouts and Analysts regard a QuarterBack, 90% of my evaluation derives from comments on his Processing Speed, his Decision Making, his Field Vision, his Pocket Presence, and his Mechanics.
And Cam Newton comes up awfully short in Processing Speed, which I consider the Alpha and Omega of Skills. He also grades poorly in Field Vision and Mechanics, and is an unknown quantity in both Decision Making and Pocket Presence. I like the guy, and he's a natural leader, but I just don't see him developing into a dependable QuarterBack, much less the Super Star that so many expect.
Mind you: He is such a Force ~ and such a natural leader ~ that I expect his initial impact will likely be a positive one, much like Michael Vick's in Atlanta. But ultimately, I believe opposing Defenses will figure out how to contain him, and I just don't see enough of a QuarterBack ~ as opposed to an exceptional Athlete ~ to overcome that, which I believe will start a spiral that ends, at last, in mediocrity and failure. In fact, I'm going to go on the record and say that, ultimately ~ while he'll provide a lot of excitement ~ Cam Newton is going to prove to be a Bust.
Here's hoping he proves me wrong.
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