Cam Newton and the NFL Draft

LEXINGTON, KY - OCTOBER 09: Cam Newton #2 of the Auburn Tigers throws a pass during the SEC game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on October 9, 2010 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

As an NFL Draft prospect, Cam Newton is a man without compare.

He's not a bigger Randall Cunningham or a more athletic Ben Roethlisberger. Both were worlds ahead of Newton as a passer early in their careers.

Simply being a better version of former Jaguars wide receiver Matt Jones is still bad news. Being a bigger version of Michael Vick is slightly better news. But is Newton really that? Probably not. He's fast, but he's not a freak athlete like Vick. Vick may have even been more developed as a quarterback coming out of Virginia Tech.

So as a player without a comparison, it's hard to gauge Newton's NFL future. Against Georgia on Saturday, Newton had a good game throwing the ball. He consistently made NFL-style throws, completing 12 of 15 passes. He's shown that he can laser the ball on deep comebacks, one of the tougher throws a quarterback has to make. Newton consistently puts a good spin on the ball, but doesn't overpower throws like Ryan Mallett.

Still, Newton's mechanics need work. When he drops back to pass, he'll often have his feet square to the line of scrimmage like a running back. That might be because Newton comes from a system at Auburn where he has to only make a read or two before pulling the ball down and running. Having his feet square forces Newton to have to adjust into the more traditional throwing position. Because of that, his passes can be late developing. Newton also has a slight windup delivery that needs to be tightened.

Also, for as good of an athlete as Newton is, he struggles at times throwing on the move. When he's rolling out, he'll often throw off his back foot causing the ball to float some.

Tim Tebow had similar mechanical issues as Newton but still became a first-round pick. Newton could be too, but he'll have to prove it.

Newton's professional standing can be more properly judged following the Iron Bowl against Alabama on Nov. 26. Nick Saban's defense will be the best Newton has faced all year and has many pro-style traits. Alabama's linebackers are big and fast enough to play the edge against Newton and the Tide defensive line should be able to collapse the pocket.

That may force Newton to stand tall in the pocket and deliver passes like a traditional quarterback. That may also indicate whether or not Newton has the potential to be an NFL quarterback.

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