Cam Newton is going to turn pro after the National Championship Game. Anyone who says otherwise is dilusional or a liar. And when he does, speculation will begin that maybe maybe he – not Andrew Luck – should be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft.
If I were running a team, not only wouldn’t I draft Newton No. 1 overall, I wouldn’t draft him at all.
No matter what you believe about Newton’s involvement in his recruiting process, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s demonstrated a pattern of behavior which leads me to believe the game of football isn’t his top priority.
To play quarterback in the NFL there is one thing you need above all else: commitment.
How many times have we seen extremely talented quarterbacks come and go without so much as making a mark league? Just look at the 2006 NFL Draft as an example. Matt Leinart, Vince Young and Jay Cutler were all supposed to be franchise quarterbacks for years to come. Well, two of the three are already on their second team and the third may be joining them soon.
All three have the ability to be great quarterbacks. Yet all three have significant character flaws, most notably a lack of effort on the practice field.
Compare Tom Brady to Vince Young. Strip the names off their jersey and just throw them out on a practice field together. Which one do you think NFL scouts will drool over? Here’s a hint: it’s not the three-time Super Bowl champ.
Raw skill gets you noticed, but it doesn’t win games.
Some of the hardest working quarterbacks in the league are Brady, Petyon Manning and Drew Brees. So do you think it’s a coincidence that they’ve won a combined five Super Bowls in the past decade?
Numerous others with limited natural ability have risen to among the best in the game in recent years due to an exceptional work ethic and a willingness to put in the time and effort on the practice field. Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Delhomme are two great examples.
So while Cam Newton may have all the ability in the world, I question his desire to turn that ability into greatness. He may prove me wrong, but chances are he won’t until years down the road after he’s already blown an opportunity with the team that drafted him – much like Michael Vick.
Players such as Vick – and Newton – can get by with their abilities. As a result it stunts their desire to take their game to the next level. Why spend hours studying when they could just be mediocre and enjoy the social life that comes with being a NFL quarterback?
That attitude plagues too many young quarterbacks these days. If teams do their homework, however, they can avoid making a $50M mistake. If a player acts a certain why in college, he’s unlikely to change after receiving his multi-million dollar signing bonus.
So buyer beware, Cam Newton is a bust waiting to happen.