INDIANAPOLIS — Auburn QB Cam Newton probably didn’t do himself any favors with his NFL Scouting Combine workout that’s drawing mixed reviews. Then again, the consensus seems to be that he didn’t show talent evaluators anything they didn’t already know about his game.
Three of our analysts checked in with their takes on what they saw Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium:
NFL Network analyst Charles Davis: “I thought it was a good workout overall. Obviously, the athleticism came to the forefront in drills like the 40 and broad jump. That part was tremendous. While throwing, I thought the ball came out of his hand well. He wasn’t as accurate as the other guys — he missed on some balls and was high on some others — but those aren’t factors that dissuade me from thinking he’s an elite talent, because he is. Newton’s mechanics need refinement, but he has all of the basics, and I think he’s way ahead of the game compared to all of the guys he gets compared to, which I believe is unfair. He’s a guy teams will want to work with.”
NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi: “I think Newton is very raw. Today showed he’s not very comfortable in three- and five-step drops, and there’s a lot of work to be done. He has an immense amount of talent — arm strength, power, size — that he brings to the table, but he’s a project. There are a lot of things for teams to work with and sort through to see if they can handle it all and develop him. His mechanics were inconsistent, but I expected that. I never thought Newton would be able to handle it all because he’s never done it before. It’s all about repetitions for quarterbacks. I’m not saying he can’t do it, but there’s a lot to overcome. A team that takes him isn’t getting a finished product but someone who has to improve and develop.
NFL.com senior analyst Pat Kirwan: “Had Newton worked out yesterday and dealt with all of the cameras today, he would have had a better workout. I didn’t think he was relaxed, and some of the things he did were out of tightness. I would have loved to have seen him take reps before or after (Arkansas QB) Ryan Mallett. I’m going back to watch more tape of Newton, especially his out routes and throws to his right. He had some mechanical issues, including not settling his feet, not transferring his weight correctly and releasing the ball high. He sailed a few balls in a row to his right. These things are correctable, and some he’ll correct himself. Newton was tremendous on the deep throws but was raw in his mechanics. His footwork isn’t as good as Mallett’s, but he’s a tremendous athlete. I don’t think Newton helped himself, but he’s still in the top 15.”
Will Sunday’s workout alone really hurt Newton? It’s doubtful. His talent is unmistakable, but teams know what he isn’t when it comes to the development of his mechanics and passing game.
The bigger question for teams will be their conviction in knowing how hard Newton is willing to work to refine his game. Expect to see Newton work quite a bit from under center as teams scrutinize his footwork and mechanics at his pro day March 8.