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Cam Newton: Draft Day Fool’s Gold

Posted By Steven Keys On Apr 28 2011 @ 2:54 pm In Auburn | 4 Comments

He’s the latest crest in a new wave of run-first college quarterbacks, following in the fleet footsteps of campus legends Vince Young (Texas) and Tim Tebow (Florida).

Like the affable Tim, Auburn’s Cam Newton is perfectly packaged for sport celebrity.

Sizable and speedy, the elusive Camster kept his pearly-whites in perfect form by often avoiding the punishing tackles of many a hapless collegiate defender.

And like his All-American predecessors, he’s gonna’ hate the NFL game.

While flash QB is quickly becoming the trendy-tool of every desperate college coach in the land (Michigan 2010), the pro-set will have none of those shenanigans.

If you can’t sit-tight in the pocket and absorb the habitual hits necessary to let receivers route and re-route, your days as a professional field general will be few and far between.

And it’s not a skill you can master on the job at dangerous workplaces like Soldiers and Heinz Fields. Top NFL quarterbacks begin honing their pocket skills as early as junior league.  It’s a long, painful, sometimes frightening process, learning to resist the fear-flight instinct and endure the massive blows in order to matriculate the drive and keep defenders guessing.

Yet all indications are that Cam will go quick in the draft, likely first overall (Carolina).  He’s being portrayed by media shills as the quick cure for the struggling franchise, the same high praise we heard about Mr. Vick and Young on their own draft days.

In fairness to Vince, he has the mature pocket presence.  His problem appears to be emotional and far outside the purview of NFL expertise.  I hope he gets help.

As GMs are certainly well aware of Newton’s shortcomings, I have to believe that any organization that’d spend a 1st rounder and hitch their wagon to a flash QB can only be putting revenue ahead of title aspirations.  To some owners, it makes no difference whether it be celebrity or victories that ring the register (See; Philadelphia Eagles).

The one thing a GM can never do on draft day is to operate by the ’What if?’ approach: draft a player you don’t believe in simply because you fear he might become a star elsewhere and you end up on one of those god-awful ‘Ten Worst All-Time’ shows.  It’s the ultimate loser mentality for a decision-maker.

Their jobs may get more complicated if the 8th Circuit (Missouri) sides with the owners and puts the brakes on recent player activities.  Until both sides work out their money differences, higher courts with more judicious minds will be loath to interfere in the fight.

Like many young prospects who’ve done time on Gruden QB Camp (ESPN), Cam and Tim are brimming-over with annoying confidence.  Nevertheless, both seem to genuinely enjoy life and the game of football.  But the run-first style which made them collegiate superstars won’t translate into NFL success.  It never has…it never will.

Keys to Sport

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