Right Field

Comparing Cam Newton to NFL Bust JaMarcus Russell

Evan Silva writes on ProFootballTalk about NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper’s recent comments on Auburn quarterback Cam Newton:

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper held a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning, and echoed some of the same concerns about Auburn quarterback Cam Newton that were expressed in Pro Football Weekly draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki’s scathing scouting report.

Specifically, Kiper has major questions about Newton’s work ethic and ability to handle adversity.

“We know he loves to play the game of football,” said Kiper. “But this isn’t the NBA,” referring to the amount of study time required by NFL quarterbacks.

“Things came easy to Cam Newton (at Auburn). I hope he doesn’t think they’ll come easy in the NFL.” Kiper also wondered how Newton would deal with it when/if people begin calling him a bust.

Kiper’s questioning of Newton’s capability to handle adversity is surprising. Newton led Auburn to a BCS Championship and won the Heisman Trophy with a major college football scandal hanging over his head. And the direct subject of the scrutiny was Newton’s dad.

I think what everyone is missing here is that there is no sure thing in the NFL. Here’s Mel Kiper from 2007 calling JaMarcus Russell — who could be the biggest first-round bust ever — “John Elway like.” Oops. The fact is, nobody knows how Cam Newton will do in the NFL and all this pre-draft talk is just that — talk.

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