By Dave Razzano, Playmaker Correspondent
Opinions about Cam Newton always seem to focus on his personal life and character. Every “draft guru” I listen to seems to think he has Top Ten ability with character / personality concerns being the big drawback.
My view is different. I have no issues with the personality part. The decisions he made at Florida off the field are documented. He seems like a nice enough kid. He likely has “followers” and people that are waiting to “cash in”. That is not entirely new to pro athletes.
My biggest concerns with Cam Newton are with his football ability. I see an athlete who has a laser for an arm and can run the ball extremely well when the play breaks down. What I don’t see is a first round talent, let alone a top ten pick.
He will need a lot of development throwing the ball and reading defenses. Far too many of his deep passes are thrown “up for grabs” into double coverage. His decision making is many times confusing. He looks to run quickly when his first read is covered, good for the college game but not the NFL. Though he can make “all the throws” his overall accuracy is very average. He can make every throw imaginable and that is great. But his consistency throwing the ball intermediate and deep needs tons of work. He doesn’t handle pressure very well.
He has been very successful in leading Auburn to the national Championship in his only year as a starter. That’s great. The offense he ran at Auburn was simple yet hard to defend. NFL defenses will be much more complicated and this is why it generally takes young QB’s a few years before they begin to feel comfortable.
So the need to focus so much on this player’s character is important but off base. Stick with ability first and foremost. And in terms of ability, I don’t see a first round talent.
Dave Razzano is a former NFL scout and Playmaker Mobile correspondent with more than 22 years of professional scouting experience with the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals under NFL coaches including Bill Walsh, George Seifert, Chuck Knox and Dick Vermeil. He's been a part of five Super Bowls with three Super Bowl wins (49ers, 1989, 1990; Rams, 2000).