Cam Newton took a huge risk by attending the NFL’s annual scouting combine in Indianapolis this past weekend. He may be regretting that decision today.
While his draft stock probably didn’t take as big a hit as some are saying, Newton was underwhelming on Sunday. He ran a 4.59 40-yard dash and showed good arm strength, but he completed just 11-of-21 throws he attempted during the passing portion of Sunday’s workout.
His ball reportedly was high on 10-yard outs, 15-yard ins and fly patterns. He nailed all three of his 12-yard hooks, but he wasn’t anything above average with his throws all day.
On the other hand, fellow quarterbacks Ryan Mallett and Jake Locker impressed during their throwing sessions. Mallett in particular was incredibly impressive with his accuracy.
Newton’s athleticism definitely isn’t a problem, he was on point for most of the workout. Maybe the pressure of the situation got to him during the throwing session, or maybe working with unfamiliar receivers threw off his timing. Whatever the issue was, he was less than impressive.
So what does Sunday’s performance mean about his overall draft stock? Probably not much. Newton is still likely to be either the first or second quarterback taken in April’s draft. Word is, talent evaluators either believe in him or they don’t. It’s that black and white. If someone likes him, they’re not going to get turned off to him because of a bad throwing session. Similarly, a good workout probably won’t convince anybody to take him.
The question now becomes, who believes in Cam Newton?
Will the Bills take a risk and snag him at No. 3? Or will he fall to a team like the Washington Redskins at No. 10?
The other quarterback scouts are in love with is Blaine Gabbert, who chose not to throw at the combine. If Gabbert now goes out and wows scouts at his upcoming workout, there is a good chance he becomes the first quarterback taken. But that chance already exists. Likewise, Mallett’s stock continues to climb and he could be working himself into top-15 range.
As for Newton, I never understood why he planned to workout at the Combine. Maybe he feels like he has something to prove. Whatever he was thinking, it was likely a bad decision. He’ll likely impress at his pro day on March 8, but his passing work from Sunday will be probably broken down and discussed 1,000 times before then.
After Sunday he’ll certainly keep the “work in progress” label that has been given to him to this point.