Last week the NFL’s 2011 Combine began in Indianapolis, Indiana. Over 300 NFL hopefuls went to Lucas Oil Stadium to showcase their talents and interview for NFL personnel. Most of the attention centered on Cameron “Cam” Newton. The Heisman Trophy winner who led Auburn to a National Championship is expected to be one of the top quarterbacks selected in the upcoming draft.
Before Cam arrived at the Combine, the media was gushing over him. This enthusiasm elevated when he entered to address the media on Saturday. Unlike other players, he began with a prepared statement prior to taking questions from members of the media. In anticipation of questions about his focus and arrogance, his remarks addressed a comment that he made a few weeks ago about his endorsement with Under Armour in which he asserted that he was an “entertainer-slash-icon.” Cam explained that football is a priority for him, but since he is representing more than just football gear he wants to be the best ambassador for Under Armour.
The other point that had the media salivating was his announcement that he would participate in all of the quarterback workouts including throwing. This was a big deal because a lot of top quarterbacks do not throw at the Combine. Many agents recommend that they save that for their school’s pro day, so they can throw to receivers that they are very familiar with. This year all of the top quarterbacks threw except Blaine Gabbert from Missouri.
Yesterday Cam, completed his workout. It was a lackluster performance. He didn’t perform poorly, but like any high-profile athlete the expectations are lofty. So, great from them just comes across as mediocre. I was not surprised to see him complete just over 50% of passes (11 out of 21). I was not expecting to see accuracy from a quarterback who barely threw in his college offense, but it was disappointing to see a guy who is known for jetting out of the pocket tie for third in the 40-yard dash. Now a 4.58 in the 40 is really fast. To put it in perspective, last year’s #1 pick was quarterback Sam Bradford who ran a 4.79 in the 40. However, Cam is a runner, so I thought that he would be a little closer to Vince Young’s 4.48 time in the 40.
In my opinion, Cam exited the Combine the same way he entered. He is full of talent, strength, and potential and has the gushing eye of the media. I don’t think that this weekend diminished his draft stock or strengthened it. He’ll have another opportunity to show off his arm next week at Auburn’s pro day.
Heels & Helmets®