Cam Newton will be selected early Thursday evening when the NFL Draft begins. Many believe he is worthy of the first pick and the best player available. Period.
How far he has come…so quickly…and how he arrived at this moment in time…is a movie in waiting.
Wasn’t that long ago he left Gainesville, Florida so charges of his involvement in a stolen laptop would be dropped. Counseling and community service after his departure is his unfortunate legacy at Gator Nation.
Went on to Blinn, Texas and won a national Junior College championship…then stopped off in Auburn, Alabama to win the BCS championship…and a Heisman Trophy. Of course, while with the Tigers there was that little matter of his father trying to shake down Mississippi State to pay for his son’s services…prior to landing at Auburn.
Whatever you think of his past, his path or his parent…he has passed the “eye test” with me.
For the uninitiated the “eye test” is often used by sports analysts to describe whether or not some one – or some team – is as good as advertised. Sometimes statistics don’t tell the whole story…you actually have to watch the player or team with your own eyes…the “eye test.”
I watched Cam Newton play in a half a dozen games last season and I have never seen anyone quite like him at the quarterback position. Newton was dominant. That doesn’t mean I think he will translate into an equally successful pro. We all know that is a big, big question because of the differences in the two games…and his multiple abilities to move the ball – while dominating college gridirons – will meet much stiffer resistance at the next level. Others before him have been judged to have potential and that’s all we ever get from them once they turn pro…potential can be an unfortunate legacy itself.
He commented to Sports Illustrated a while back he wanted to become “an entertainer and an icon.” There is all the afore-mentioned”baggage” from his brief sojourn to success. There isn’t a lot of history against big-time competition…really, we’re talking one year folks. It was the SEC, but it was one season. One.
That being said, someone is going to take him. Very early. And it can only be assumed the team selecting him feels he passed their “eye test” as well. He was measured, poked and prodded at the NFL Combine and survived all those tests also.
You can’t see into someone’s soul…you can’t predict their future mindset – how they’ll adjust to the money and the fame. All these teams really have…is what they’ve seen.