Ryan Mallett and Cam Newton Appear to be on Different Paths at NFL Combine


Two quarterbacks, one dream.

Auburn’s Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett have both had very interesting paths to the NFL, paths which are not yet complete. Right now though, it seems as though Newton is going to be the one that gives himself a decent chance to succeed, while Mallett could be destined for some other career.

There’s no doubt that both players possess elite measurables. Mallett has an extremely strong arm, and Cam Newton’s “howitzer” as Mel Kiper describes it was a big reason he won the Heisman trophy in 2010. Both guys are from the SEC, and both played for two very prestigious programs. In both cases, the players also previously committed to other powerhouses before winding up where they did.

Newton’s college career began at the University of Florida, and Mallett started off at Michigan. Newton transferred because he didn’t feel he could compete with Tim Tebow, and Mallett transferred to Arkansas because they hired Rich Rodriguez and were moving to the spread offense.

While Newton was leading his team to a dramatic victory agains Oregon in the National Championship game, Mallett saw a golden opportunity dissipate in front of his eyes against the Ohio State Buckeyes when his Razorbacks were a hop, skip, and a jump away from winning their bowl game before he threw an interception to end the game.

Now, at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine, both players are continuing on their paths, for better and for worse.

Cam Newton has been a shining star, and while many don’t like his choice of words at times, no one disagrees that he has the ability to command a room, and a huddle. Ryan Mallett was asked numerous questions about off-field issues, and proceeded to end his interview at the Combine prematurely. Sure, he was being thrown to the wolves for the first time since news came out about him potentially being a cocaine addict, which is a bit harsh as he is already probably very stressed.

Still, prematurely ending the interview was not the right way to go. One scout characterized Mallett’s interview as “uncomfortable, combative, and chippy.”

It’s clear that these two quarterbacks are on different paths. One can’t help but be enamored with Cam Newton. He showed up to the combine in great shape, and has done a great job of side-stepping some of his controversial comments, namely the ones about him being an “entertainer and icon.”

Newton seems to have the intangibles, and Mallett does not. These are two quarterbacks on very different roads. I personally don’t believe Mallett will warrant higher than a third round pick, and if I was a general manager, he would not be on my board whatsoever. I’m probably not alone in this thinking, but again, it only takes one team to take the risk on Mallett.

This is not to say both players cannot succeed, but I think Mallett right now has a bit more Leaf than Manning, and what we saw from JaMarcus Russell (great size/arm strength) could scare teams away from Mallett who has huge red flags right now.

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Tags: 2011 NFL Draft 2011 Nfl Scouting Combine Arkansas Football Arkansas Razorbacks Auburn Football Auburn Tigers Cam Newton Cam Newton Vs. Ryan Mallett Character Concerns Quarterbacks Ryan Mallett SEC