Added Note: I started writing this before Brian's post about Newton's press conference came up, but in between making my 3 year old supper, watching a movie with him and putting him to bed, I only managed to finish this after Brian's article was post on the front page, and before I even knew that he had put it up.
I will be the first to say that I am in no way a fan of drafting Cam Newton at number 3. His physical abilities may be out of this world, but I am still very concerned about all of his red flags. That being said, as I have stated on many occasions, if Nix and Gailey think that he is their man and choose to draft him at number three, I'll swallow my pride and see where Cam takes us.
But I should also state that I don't criticize without doing my research first, and I have been reading up on a lot of Newton's background and recent articles on him. And I have to say, what has been coming out recently has put me more at ease. That has lead me to writing this article, and put me in the very strange and unexpected position of defending Newton. So while I still hope to see the Bills draft Marcel Dareus at number three, I am now less opposed to us drafting Newton. Let me explain why.
Today was Newton's press day at the draft combine. And the kid impressed. He was very direct with the press, answered all of his questions without even trying to dodge anything, not even the questions about his red flags. He even started his speech with a written statement explaining his previous "icon" comments in a previous interview with Peter King.g. Now was the speech written and prepared for him? Probably. But the fact the he though enough to start his conference with that is telling us that his is totally aware of his negative image and is trying to shake it off.
Then there is also Yahoo! Sports article by Dan Wetzel (do read this interview, it is a very good article, and credit to Jcksn22 for putting up a FanShot about it) that includes and interview with Newton about His time at UF, Blinn, and what drove him to success at Auburn. Here's a quick exert from that interview:
Eighteen months ago, Newton was relegated to a junior college in rural Texas. He had left the University of Florida following a run-in with police over a stolen laptop computer and, as foxsports.com later reported, academic fraud.
He was a man child with a world of potential that was on the verge of kicking it all away. So when his father, Cecil, left him at a no-name school (Blinn) in a no-name town (Brenham), he offered his son one piece of advice.
"He said, ‘Cam, you can make this situation a dream or you can make this situation a nightmare,’ " Cam Newton recalled.
"That struck a fire under me. That was my drive."
He claims that his experience of nearly being expelled from UF and ending up at a no name college in Texas forced him to mature immediately. Newton actually owns up to his mistakes, saying that the poor decisions he made at "17, 18, 19 years old" define him.
"I don't think I'm the same person."
Perhaps the line that made me think the most is his admittance that had he not went to Blinn then he would not even be near the position that he is right now.
Whether or not this is all a show to raise his draft stock, or if this is him trying to show that he is genuinely past his mistakes remains to be seen. I'm also starting to see an honest young man that realizes his mistakes and is trying to move past them. My opinion on him is starting to change, I'll give him that.
But I'd still rather see us draft Dareus!