NFL Mocks is  rolling out our new scouting repor..."/> NFL Mocks is  rolling out our new scouting repor..."/>

2011 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Cam Newton, Auburn


NFL Mocks is  rolling out our new scouting report template that brings you even more in-depth analysis.  We break down several key traits and grade them on a scale from 5-1.  The breakdown is that 5 being the best and 1 being the worst.  We then will give the prospect an overall grade that is also based on the 5-1 scaling system.  At the end of each of the reports we give an overall assessment as well as a definition of our grade.  This reports are rather lengthy but it really gives you a good feel for each player.  If your looking for a quick breakdown check out the top graphic which gives our strengths and weaknesses for the specific player.  So please continue reading to see our full scouting report!

Athletic Ability: If you have followed College Football this season you were sure to see Newton’s athletic ability on display.  Newton has exceptional speed and quickness for the quarterback position.  He has the ability to threaten the defense with this running ability.  Newton can easily out run the defensive angles and gain significant yardage, this is due to his top notch 2nd gear.  While in the pocket Newton possesses a natural bend which gives him good balance in his drop back.  Overall Newton’s athletic ability is a major asset that allows for him to overcome other deficiencies.


Measurables: At 6-6 250lbs Newton has elite size and bulk for a quarterback.  He has a very solid build that allows him to absorb contact.  This is very important because Newton will have to utilize his legs to be an effective quarterback, early in his career.  There is no doubt in my mind that Newton will be the star of the NFL combine.


Football IQ:   This is an area of Newton’s game that is going to be under a lot of scrutiny as the draft approaches.  While Newton has a good feel for the game of football he struggles to perform all the necessary quarterback duties.  I feel that he will struggle to quickly learn and grasp an NFL playbook.  While watching the film on Newton it is apparent that he relies heavily on his offensive coordinator to signal in audibles and changes.  This has a lot to do with his ability to read defenses but also his grasp of the offensive concept.  In order to make the proper audible you need to know the playbook inside and out, not to mention, the responsibilities of everyone on the field.  Newton’s football IQ and overall brightness will be a major part of his evaluation.  There is going to be a lot of adjustments needed for Newton to succeed such as learning a pro style offense, learning to read defenses, adjusting his footwork, and getting comfortable taking snaps under center.

Competitiveness: Everything I have viewed suggests that Newton is a true competitor willing to do what it takes to win a football game.  However, watching the National Championship game I got a vibe that he wasn’t completely invested in the game.  After every offensive series he went to the bench and put a towel on his head.  As far as I am concerned I want my quarterback engaged in the game and talking through potential play concepts with his coaching staff.  While this display will have an impact on how I grade Newton I don’t plan on beating him up to much over it.  Newton’s effort and play on the field overshadow this little blip on the radar.

Technique: Auburn’s offensive system resulted in minimal snaps under center for Newton.  As with several other quarterback prospects, Newton will need to spend significant time learning to remain balanced in his drop while reading the defense.  Newton has natural bend when standing in the pocket which provides him with balance.  He holds the ball close to his chest and above his breast plate which helps avoid wasted motion.  Newton is inconsistent with setting his feet and body towards his target and often falls off his back foot.  His inconsistency in his footwork is a problem because it directly impacts his accuracy.  Newton typically has a sound over the top throwing motion but when faced with pressure he will short arm his passes.  Whatever team selects Newton will have to spend a considerable amount of time working on mechanics and consistency.

Arm Strength: Making all the necessary NFL throws will not be an issue for Newton as he has elite arm strength.  He delivers the football on a line and with good zip in the intermediate passing game.  Newton has the ability to get the ball out in front of streaking receivers.  While watching Newton throw the football you notice that he gets a ton of zip on the ball even with poor throwing technique.  Arm strength can sometimes be an overrated attribute but it’s defiantly apart of the evaluation process.


Accuracy (short, intermediate, Long, on the move): Newton has inconsistent accuracy across the different levels of the passing game.  While he has the capability to deliver a catchable short pass he routinely throws the ball behind his receiver.  The fact that he doesn’t get the ball out in front limits the receiver’s ability to produce yards after the catch.  In the intermediate throwing game we have the same story; his passes on the skinny post are regularly behind the target resulting in stopped routes.  The biggest concern I had was his ability to deliver a catchable bucket pass.  He struggled to get adequate loft on the football which resulted in balls being either over or under thrown.  Auburn attempted to utilize Newton’s athletic ability by rolling him out but he struggled to deliver an accurate football while on the move.  All sense of proper footwork went out the window while Newton was on the move.  The ability is present for Newton to deliver catchable balls but his inconsistent footwork impacts his ability to be precise.  Another issue that we will touch on later is his lack of anticipation which results in balls arriving late and behind his target.  Overall the accuracy of Newton is going to be a major sticking point in the NFL, which is all about ball placement.

Pocket Presence/Under Pressure: Defensive coordinators are going to fear Newton’s ability to get out of the pocket and gain yardage with his feet.  I was impressed with the way he kept his eyes down the field searching for an open target.  However, from time to time he did vacate the pocket quicker than an NFL team would prefer.  Overall, Newton had a good feel for the pressure around him and utilized his athletic ability to make plays.  I liked that he wasn’t afraid to run the football even if that wasn’t preferred by those scouting him for the NFL, he ran because he it helped his team win.  I had some minor concern with Newton’s willingness to stand tough against pressure and deliver the throw.  When pressure got came across his face he would fall off and short arm the throw rather than step up.

Reading Defenses: This is the area of Newton’s game I feel he will really struggle with during his transition to the NFL.  Auburn’s offensive system doesn’t translate to the NFL which will force Newton to basically start from scratch.  The film I watched showed me that Newton was a 1st read quarterback that struggled to go across the field with his progressions.  A lot of this was a direct result of his superior athletic ability which allowed him to create with his feet.  Newton relied on his feet if he didn’t feel comfortable with his first read; this is something that he will need to address in the NFL.  Newton was also lacking on his throw anticipation often delivering the ball late to his target.  He didn’t quickly diagnosis the information in front of him and forced the football into coverage.  The combination of poor anticipation and keying on his first read will allow defensive backs to jump on his throws.

Overall: Newton is a terribly tough prospect to evaluate; his athletic ability is off the charts and makes it easy to fall in love with him.  However, I just don’t see enough positives in the quarterback specific traits that would tell me he is a top notch quarterback prospect.  Athletic ability can only get you so far then instincts have to take over.  I feel that lack of anticipation, questionable accuracy, and inconsistent footwork will keep Newton from developing into a franchise quarterback.

Grade: 3.7– There is no doubting the potential of Newton but he also has a good chance to bust.  He is a true boom or bust prospect in my opinion, there will be no middle ground.

Games Viewed– LSU, Kentucky, Arkansas, Oregon, Alabama