I think that everyone here that reads BR on a regular basis knows the ins and the outs of the amateur Cam Newton scouting report. Because I like to look at things at least semi un-biased (clearly my title gives away a good portion of my bias), I will attempt to break down the good and bad that I, a super enthused, 23 year old, completely novice, never played football, lover of football see in Cam Newton. Follow me after the break for my breakdown.
First and foremost, I'll be blunt. Cam Newton's Dad scares the living S#%* out of me. I really find it hard to believe that Cam Newton knew nothing about his Dad trying to peddle his services to the highest bidder, and I (while completely unfounded) find it hard to believe that someone didn't get paid off when Cam chose Auburn. With that said, the kid is in his early 20's (like me). I'm not going to lie. At my age, if someones Dad came to them and said that the family would be set for years to come if I go to this school or that school and play football to the best of my abilities, I would find it hard to question him. Me? I grew up in a middle class family that took care of me, but a lot of these athletes never receive the privileges that a lot of the other middle class does. I can only imagine how hard it would be to turn down a lot of money when your family could never dream of having that before your athletic talents were exposed.
Second, Cam Newton stealing. This is bad, very bad. I don't know that there is any excuse for stealing. I remember stealing something of nominal value when I was about 4 years old, and never wanting to do it again. I find it impossible to defend Cam Newton on this front, and in fact, I think even less of him because I have yet (correct me if I am wrong, please) to hear him own up to his mistakes. To me, there are two types of stealing. There is victimless crimes (rob WalMart), and there are crimes where you personally hurt/screw someone else. The second is what Cam Newton did in stealing a laptop. I will never know what he said in the interviews, and this would be the one point that I would sign off on Buffalo NOT drafting Newton had he not given a satisfactory explanation in the interview process.
Third, Cam Newton cheating. Everyone has heard this. He ALLEGEDLY cheated, got caught, bought a paper off of the internet, and cheated again. While I personally have not cheated in college (I'll admit, I was a nerd, studied really hard, and trusted no one over myself) during my time as a tutor and a TA I have witnessed a lot of cheating. You know the funny part? The majority of the cheating I saw was from the most dedicated and hardworking students in the class. These were kids that were going to get B's B+'s and A's. They cheated because they had such a drive to be the best, and such a fear of failure, that it drove them to do stupid things. I really believe this was why Cam Newton cheated. I honestly think he cheated because he slacked off most likely, and was so fearful of looking dumb/inferior, that in that moment he decided that cheating was a better alternative than the embarrassment of his own failure.
On the field, Cam Newton is much less risky than off the field. My biggest concern? I really cannot tell you whether or not Cam Newton is smart enough to be an NFL QB. I watched the Gruden QB camp, and the sly smile (and the seemingly WTF moment to his facial expression) when Gruden called out an NFL play made me truly wonder whether Newton will be able to grasp a NFL playbook. With that said, he has done literally EVERYTHING asked of him on the football field, and done it well. So i cannot hold this against him very much, because he has yet to be able to prove whether or not he is capable of learning an NFL playbook, or read an NFL defense. A lot of the reads that Newton had to do (not all, he did in fact read the entire field on occasion it seemed) were simple high/low receiver combinations, or reading only half of the field.
My other worry with Newton. Newton seems to throw a lot with his arms and torso, and not really use his legs to drive into his throws. Because of his outstanding athleticism, he was able to get away with it at the college level. Against NFL competition however, the windows are tighter, the timing is more precise, and the throws have to be even more perfect. I wonder about Newtons accuracy when he gets to the NFL level, although I think with some heavy coaching he can be taught the proper technique.
Ok, if your still with me (this is long), finally I am going to why I actually want this guy on the team.
First and foremost, Cam Newton is a winner. Say what you want about his "fake smile" or his fake personality, this guy walked onto TWO college campuses (Blinn college, and Auburn), and convinced the other players on the team that he truly is the leader of their team. Not only that, but he strapped two teams onto his back, said, follow me and we will win, and he did exactly that, to the tune of a JUCO national championship and a NCAA championship. Put simply, Cam Newton (at least so far in his career, which is all we have to base him off of) is a leader. While I have never played football, I have played a lot of organized sports, and as anyone else who has also can tell you, it takes a special person and a special personality to truly be a leader.
Secondly, Cam Newton has the "it" factor. What is the it factor? If pro NFL scouts can't figure this one out, I can't any better, but I will do my best. There are people who really want the ball in their hands, who don't just want the last shot, but truly demand it. These are the people who are great QB's. Supposedly, when shaking Robert Kraft's hand for the first time, Tom Brady told him that, this is the best decision that you have ever made for this franchise. Call that cocky if you want, I call that someone with enough confidence in their abilities to truly believe the statement is true. I think Cam Newton has this confidence, which many construe as cockiness. Newton (unlike Gabbert for example) does not ever seem phased by pressure, is unafraid to be hit, and unafraid to move up in the pocket, to move laterally, etc. When I watch Gabbert (only referenced because I think he is the only other top 5 worthy QB) I see someone afraid to step up out of fear of being hit, or fear of making a mistake. If you think you may make a mistake, you already have, because now the doubt has set in (see: Trent Edwards, post concussion).
Quite simply, Cam Newton is a scary prospect off of the field, and an even more scary prospect (in a good way) on the field. Lets face it. Buffalo is picking 3rd in the draft for a reason. The team is not good, and has not been good for a long time. As much as I like Dareus, Peterson, etc. they do not have the opportunity to single handedly transform this team from a bad one into a contender. The only spot on the football field that has that power is the QB. This is why, if available, I think the Bills should not even think about drafting Newton. I really believe if his supposed bad side is to be exposed, it will happen very quickly, and we can make a change in a year or two. Will Patrick Peterson (arguably the best player in this draft) take this team from 4-12 to 12-4? Never. But i really believe a franchise QB has that potential, and Cam Newton is the highest upside potentially franchise QB available.
The Bills have been bad for too long to watch another potential franchise savior slide past them in the draft. If Newton is available, please Buffalo, please, draft him.