March 9th, 2011 08:37 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Auburn
Tags: GM, NFL, Orlando Ledbetter, SI
Maybe Cam Newton can take his Auburn receivers with him to the NFL. Last month at the NFL combine, Newton had a disappointing day throwing the football and he blamed his problems on poor timing with his receivers — who came from all over country.
Yesterday, Newton had no problems hitting his old, familiar AU targets. In fact, after completing just 11 of 21 passes in Indianapolis, the former Auburn star connected on 54 of 65 passes yesterday.
According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of The AJC, Newton “dazzled more than 125 NFL executives” in a “spectacular workout.”
“We wanted to show everyone who was in attendance, not only the intermediate game, but the perimeter throws, the (skinny posts) and the out routes,” said Newton, who also worked from under center. “For me, I just wanted to show everybody what I’ve been working on.”
Ah, but not everyone thought the workout was as great as Mr. Ledbetter did. Rob Rang of CBSSports.com gave Newton a “B” grade. SI.com analyst Tony Pauline said Newton’s work was “solid, not spectacular.”
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock believes Newton’s footwork “has a long way to go,” but he added that that’s the case with “any young, spread quarterback.”
ESPN analyst Todd McShay — who gave Nick Fairley high marks for his pro day work — says Newton’s throwing motion “did seem a bit mechanical at times,” but he also said it’s clear the QB is making progress. His overall views:
His accuracy and consistency are not elite, but he offers rare athleticism and playmaking ability. For most quarterbacks, this kind of pro day performance would have been enough to make teams comfortable selecting him anywhere int he top five overall.
However, Newton isn’t a squeaky clean prospect and there are enough character concerns and unanswered questions to give teams something to think about. The physical tools are there and will likely keep him in the top 10-12 picks, but in the end it will come down to teams being comfortable enough with his mental makeup and work ethic to pin the hopes of their franchise on him.
When it comes to the NFL draft, it only takes one team to fall in love. Don’t be surprised to hear Newton’s name called in the first three to five picks with that team’s GM saying, “We just couldn’t pass on a guy with this much potential.”
Perhaps a GM like Ron Rivera of the top-pick-owning Carolina Panthers? Rivera and Newton “could be seen joking, laughing, and having extensive conversations” yesterday. Hmmm.
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