Cam Newton seems to have found himself in a bit of hot water. A report on ESPN.com is claiming that a man “representing” Newton demanded a six-figure payment for Newton’s services this season. The NCAA is currently investigating the report.
No matter what happens to Newton and Auburn, rumors had already swirled around the internet that he intended to enter the 2011 NFL Draft as a junior. The early entry would make sense given Newton’s age – he’ll turn 22 in May – but he is far from a polished quarterback.
Newton reminds me of Vince Young in 2005, who also left a year of eligibility on the table at Texas. That’s quiet a compliment, but should also serve as a warning.
Young was not ready for NFL in 2006. But the Titans played him anyway and his pure athleticism led him to NFL Rookie of the Year honors. Unfortunately that has been the highlight of Young’s five-year career, although he is starting to turn things around this season.
Young’s issues stemmed from his reliance on his feet. Given time to move around, he can make plays, but you don’t always get that time in the NFL. Newton is playing a similar style of football at Auburn.
While Newton is an elite college quarterback, muchof his success has come from running with the football. That simply won’t be an option for him in the NFL. Michael Vick is the only quarterback to consistently have success with that style of football in the NFL. But Vick is six inches shorter and 50 pounds lighter than Newton, making him significantly more elusive.
The point I’m trying to make is that teams need to be cautious when evaluating Cam Newton this offseason. It will be easy to fall in love with his physical attributes and his potential and give him a top-10 grade. However, whoever drafts Newton should be prepared to wait two or three years before they see that potential turn into consistent performance on the field.