With the NFL Combine in full swing this past weekend, all eyes were on the marquee players on display Sunday as the quarterbacks, wideouts, and running backs put their skills to the test in front of GM’s, Coaches and owners in the hopes of raising their draft prospects. Headlining this group is perhaps the most physically gifted quarterback to ever come out of college, Cam Newton, who shocked many by participating in all the drills.
The results of this participation, however, were mixed.
Physically, Newton reaffirmed what a freak he is. He tied for the third fastest 40 time among quarterbacks with 4.59 seconds and tied for the best broad jump at 10 feet 6 inches. He also impressed with a 35-inch vertical jump.
When it came down to the throwing and mental aspects of the game, however, Newton failed to wow as he completed 11 of his 21 throwing attempts, frequently overthrowing unfamiliar receivers. His struggles manifested themselves mainly on the 10 yard out patterns and the 15-yard ins and fly patterns. The 12-yard hooks and the Z-out passes he handled with pinpoint accuracy.
“I underestimated the timing aspect of playing quarterback,” Newton said in an NFL Network interview afterwords. “You had receivers from the SEC, the SWAC, the MAC. … I was somewhat frustrated, but at the same time, I was having fun out there.”
Though he went against the advice of those closest to him by fully participating, Newton’s agents and advisers wanted him to skip the passing portion of the combine and save those drills for campus workouts with receivers they know, he still managed to show enough to impress the majority of those watching.
"The ceiling is so astronomically high for this player, Cam Newton,” ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer remarked. “that the scouts, the GMs, the coaches are really going to be slobbering about the prospects of having him on their team."
Next up for Newton is his pro day on March 8th where he will have another chance to wow prospective teams and improve his draft stock. With 9 of the top 12 teams in the draft having legitimate quarterback issues, a great workout, with hopefully improved mechanics, would considerably raise his stock.