NFL pie fight over Cam Newton’s future ignores TDs, wins

Cam Newton, with father Cecil (center) and mother Jackie (bottom center), was honored by the Georgia legislature last Friday.

Cam Newton, with father Cecil (center) and mother Jackie when he was honored Friday by Georgia legislature, has faced some unwarranted criticism leading up to draft. (AP photo).

NFL general managers go to great lengths to probe every conceivable aspect of a player’s psyche and background, which would lead you to believe that the draft is a far more exact science than two teenagers seeking their fortunes on a Ouija board. Sometimes, it isn’t.

We cite as examples: JaMarcus Russell and his spin on the protein shake (“purple drank”); Ryan Leaf and his fully developed cranium of a two-year-old; Michael Vick’s sudden and previously unknown desire to become an entrepreneur, somewhere back in the woods in painted black sheds in Surry County, Virginia.

Which brings us to Cam Newton.

He is possibly the most dissected potential first overall draft pick we’ve ever seen, and the debate about his future is creating household names of people like Nolan Nawrocki – who until last week lived in relative Google anonymity. The debate also has prompted one of Newton’s mentors, Warren Moon, to foolishly play the race card.

My kingdom for a mute button.

The worst thing about being a member of the 24/7 media these days is finding yourself central to these nonsensical circuses. Unfortunately, the loud pie fights won’t end until Newton is on a field again.

Moon's charges of racism seem baseless.

Moon's charges of racism seem baseless, even if ...

Newton, a native of College Park, was in the relatively controlled surroundings of the state Capitol the other day when he was honored by the Georgia Legislature. While he managed to bring professional pie fighters together under one gold dome, this is what swirled around him:

Nawrocki, a draft analyst for Pro Football Weekly, issued his

... Nawrocki probably took analysis too far.

... Nawrocki probably took his analysis too far.

scouting report on Newton and and parts of it read like an old Saturday Night Live skit, when Dan Aykroyd would turn to Jane Curtain during “Point/Counterpoint” and say: “Jane, you ignorant slut.”

Some of Nawrocki’s “negatives” on Newton: “Very disingenuous. Has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup. Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them. Has an enormous ego with a sense of entitlement. Makes him believe he is above the law. Does not command respect from teammates. Always will struggle to win a locker room. Lacks accountability, focus and trustworthiness. Not punctual. Immature. Not dependable.”

Left unsaid: whether his feet stink.

Moon, a member of the Hall of Fame, responded to this criticism in an unusual way: “A lot of the criticism is unfortunate and racially based.” And the media inferno spread.

Ever witness a debate in which you wanted nothing to do with either side?

Nawrocki gets paid to critique players, so he can say and write what he likes. But remarks like Newton “has a fake smile” and is “very disingenuous,” are just silly. Nawrock admits he never has had a conversation with Newton so that’s kind of a strange leap to make. (Also, how does a quarterback engineer a 14-0 season without winning over a locker room?)

Moon’s general feelings about race and the draft are understandable. He wasn’t drafted in 1978 and began his career in Canada. But the NFL hasn’t been a whites-only quarterback league for some time. The time line stretches from Doug Williams to Josh Freeman, with Donovan McNabb, Steve McNair and dozens of others in between.

When Moon suggested no white QBs had to face this kind of pre-draft criticism, was he counting Tim Tebow?

Here’s what we know about Newton: Athletically, he has few peers at the quarterback position. He just completed arguably the single greatest season by a college player: a BCS title, an undefeated season, Heisman Trophy, 30 passing touchdowns, 20 rushing TDs in his only year as starter at an SEC school.

The debate rages on as to what he knew and when he knew it regarding his recruiting process. We know his father, Pastor Cecil “Huggy Bear” Newton, did everything but list his son on Craigslist with the words, “Available for $10,000 and fur-lined pulpit, or best offer.” But regardless of whether Cam Newton is dirty or clean, few athletes ever have faced the same pressure, adversity and scrutiny, and responded so well on the field.

If Carolina takes Newton with the first pick, it will be because of those tangibles. Eventually, we’ll learn if Newton’s perceived flaws will submarine his career. But until I see something other than touchdowns and wins, I’ll assume the rest is empty noise.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

221 comments Add your comment

Asheville Dawg

April 3rd, 2011
5:13 pm

Am I finally first!

bullettbob

April 3rd, 2011
5:15 pm

How did he get away from UGA and become a Gator then a Tiger?????

ATL

April 3rd, 2011
5:16 pm

Jeff your kidding yourself if you don’t think he has a fake smile and selfish…. Thank god someone like Arthur Blank would never draft nor get in free agency. His father will get what’s coming to him too…..

Asheville Dawg

April 3rd, 2011
5:17 pm

Miracles do happen!

Now, how does a sportswriter do a critique on someone he’s never met?
Bogus writer, bogus story. Period.

RTR

April 3rd, 2011
5:18 pm

half of america still hates this kid

Go_Cocks_Fight

April 3rd, 2011
5:20 pm

Nawrocki gets paid to critique players and treats all players equally. He critiques Ryan Mallet and everyone else just as hard as $cam. If you heard Nawrocki you would know that.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

April 3rd, 2011
5:22 pm

i think newton will be a bust in the NFL. he does carry a lot of arrogance with him. he will the next reggie bush in a couple years….ncaa will finally uncover the really truth about what went down in auburn.

ATL

April 3rd, 2011
5:24 pm

“But until I see something other than touchdowns and wins, I’ll assume the rest is empty noise” – I guarantee you he will not run over linebackers nor throw on corners like he did in college. He wont know what do to when he has to read a defense

Hillbilly Deluxe

April 3rd, 2011
5:26 pm

Somebody will draft him, probably pretty high in the draft, and then we’ll see what he can do, assuming the lockout ever ends. None of the rest of it really matters.

DirtyBird

April 3rd, 2011
5:28 pm

I am not sure how you think Nawrocki took his piece to far. He treats everyone he writes about equally. Why dont you do another piece on why he picked on Ryan Mallet to much too or are you just a Cam Newton homer?

51WTGW50

April 3rd, 2011
5:28 pm

With never speaking to Newton how can Nawrocki make the statements he made? Newton maybe Great or Terrible, but only time will. tell. I still don’t see a true 1st round money QB in this draft. If Luck of Stanford had come out then I would say he is a 1st rounder. Moon never should have made his statement either.

Dale Carnegie

April 3rd, 2011
5:30 pm

Wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot poll. Think the NFL guy hit the nail on the head.

51WTGW50

April 3rd, 2011
5:31 pm

BullettBobb
UGA’s Brain Trust has Cam listed as a Tight End.

DirtyBird

April 3rd, 2011
5:32 pm

His dad is not even smiling… probably coming up with new ways to make money off his son while this photo was taken.

51WTGW50

April 3rd, 2011
5:34 pm

Are there NO NFL gurus that can Create an Offence to take advantage of QB’s with the abilities of a Tebow of Newton? If these guys can play, then NFL minds should get them on the field as much as possible.

SEC FAN>

April 3rd, 2011
5:39 pm

The Cam Newton hatred is a weird thing. Yes, he bought a stolen labtop at a discounted price from another student and paid the price. Look at the last two years at UF under Urban Meyer, that was the least of his worries with the amount of students arrested for drugs, fights, and DUIs etc.. I have never seen a player raked over the coals like Cam in all my years. Hell, Dan Marino was snorting Cocaine all through his Pitt years and everyone knew during the draft which he fell in but nobody really cared and he was a hero his rookie season. Like AU or not this kid carried them and played with more heart than anyone I can remember in leading a team….If AU went 10-2 this past year you would hear half of this negative talk but since he led them to a NC there are alot of haters..

Asterisk

April 3rd, 2011
5:45 pm

Vince Young had great statistics too. How’s that working out for the Titans?

Auburn Tigers – 2010 National Champions**

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
5:46 pm

If race didn’t enter into the evaluations of quarterbacks at all — as people who wish to dismiss Warren Moon want to think — then Cam Newton (the guy who hasn’t had drug problems) wouldn’t be the guy getting compared to JaMarcus Russell. Ryan Mallett (the guy who has had drug problems and is much closer to Russell’s size and skill set) would be.

Jeff Schultz

April 3rd, 2011
5:51 pm

Asheville Dawg — Can’t think of somebody I wrote about that I never had a conversation with, or wasn’t in a press conference with, or wasn’t reacting to something he actually said or did.

Jeff Schultz

April 3rd, 2011
5:52 pm

ATL — “I guarantee you he will not run over linebackers nor throw on corners like he did in college. He wont know what do to when he has to read a defense.” … You might be right. But I think every college QB has to overcome those things in the NFL. Until you prove you can do it, people will assume you can’t.

Jeff Schultz

April 3rd, 2011
5:54 pm

Najeh Davenpoop — Ryan Mallett has been pounded leading up to this draft. It’s not like he has skated from criticism (which, by the way, he hasn’t handled very well).

Jeff Schultz

April 3rd, 2011
5:55 pm

SEC FAN — Please repost your comment without the obscenity (the cleverly misspelled word).

Whistlebritches

April 3rd, 2011
5:55 pm

ATL, a lot of people go at someone when you’re on top. Especially those that have never accomplished anything close to another person. We think there must be something wrong because he accomplished a lot. Do you think Chizik would’ve kept him on the team had he felt the same way this nfl scout does, who has never met him? Chizik kicked off four players immediately after being arrested a few weeks ago. Is Washaun Ealy still on Georgia’s team?

51WTGW50

April 3rd, 2011
5:56 pm

Jeff you used the SNL line JANE you……….
You posted a Wordy Durd. LOL.

cattle dawg

April 3rd, 2011
5:57 pm

Steve Spurrier also thought cam might be a tight end in college cause he didnt like his passing skills.

SEC FAN>

April 3rd, 2011
5:59 pm

ATL..your boy Arthur Blank would never draft a guy like Newton?…Really, he covered for Mike Vick for 6 years while he was smoking dope and fighting dogs but he would never draft a guy like Newton? Give me a break…If Newton led uga to a NC this year you guys would be wearing #2 jerseys and worshiping the guy like you still do Hershel Walker…Oh yeah, Hershel never got any “money” while playing at UGA either..

S'paw_99

April 3rd, 2011
5:59 pm

I just don’t like Newton’s character. I think he’s very arrogant/selfish, not sure he’s a team guy. To be a leader in the NFL, you have to be a team guy. I just don’t know about his maturity & work ethic. While he has better mechanics than Tebow, I view them very similar (spread QB’s in Coll). I just question Newton’s intangibles, where Tebow’s (leadership/work ethic) are off the chart.

poopdawg

April 3rd, 2011
5:59 pm

Dirtybird hit the nail on the head , Newton hasn’t faced anything compared to the crap the media threw at Ryan Mallet. NFL qbs have a tough job and whether Newton is or is not successful nobody can take his prior years success. SECFAN bought ? The owner of that laptop lived 2 doors down. The bigger question is how will Cam act when he gets more than 180000 in his pocket?

cattle dawg

April 3rd, 2011
6:01 pm

Thats one hell of a trifecta in the photo. Casey Cagle, scam,and cecil. Whos the dirtiest of those 3?

SEC FAN>

April 3rd, 2011
6:09 pm

poopdawg, nice name…Your facts are wrong he bought the labop from another student, the labtop was stolen, I’m not saying Cam is an angel just relaying the facts. I’m sure Cam will be happy when he gets 180k in his pocket…

SEC FAN>

April 3rd, 2011
6:11 pm

Cam’s leadership? He just led his team to a 14-0 season, something Tebow could never do..Cam Newton is a lot more talented than Tebow..better arm, bigger, faster

cantondawg

April 3rd, 2011
6:13 pm

Cam Newton is a special player. He has it all. Height, size, speed and big play ability. He has an NFL arm and speed. I GUARANTEE YOU that he will be a great player in the nfl. Besides Herschel Walker, he’s the best collegiate player that i have seen..

poopdawg

April 3rd, 2011
6:16 pm

My facts were Cam couldn’t be charged for stealing the computer but the lessor charge of possession of stolen property was given. When i buy something i then turn and throw it out the dang window?

Supes

April 3rd, 2011
6:16 pm

S’paw_99

nailed it! Couldn’t have said it better myself.

This entire QB class is full of question marks, I’m glad the Falcons are set at QB and don’t have to draft any of these “top guys”.

Newton…covered to death and we know what he did/didn’t do? Allegedly ;)

Mallet…possible drug use and other issues of being a mental “midget” and not being able to handle QB at the NFL level…

Locker…great intangibles, good leadership…but he regressed his senior year and his passing accuracy is below average.

Gabbert from MO…could be serviceable wouldn’t think he could step up and be a franchise QB.

Bottom line…there is NO FRANCHISE QB in this draft…unless u find one (aka Tom Brady) in the 5th round somewhere he sits and develops and SHOCKS everyone for passing on him down the road.

cantondawg

April 3rd, 2011
6:18 pm

And when i mentioned Herschel Walker as being the best player it’s obvious that i am very biased. If i were an unbiased person i would probrably say CAM had a better collegiate season than Herschel.

SEC FAN>

April 3rd, 2011
6:21 pm

He knew he was doing something wrong when he bought the computer, I’m sure he knew it was “hot” , read the police report he bought stolen labtop..

51WTGW50

April 3rd, 2011
6:25 pm

I think Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, and Archie Griffin were great College players too. Cam just touched the ball on every offensive play.

hirameagle

April 3rd, 2011
6:25 pm

S’paw_99….not sure what you’re basing your dislike of his character on, but that’s certainly something most of us do…make decisions on how we like or dislike a person based on very little if any personal knowledge of the person. As to his leadership and work ethic, his coaches at AU have stated several times that he worked hard from the beginning and that the team looked up to him as a leader…it’s hard for us to have the insight they did after working with him for a year on an almost daily basis. And specifically in the last two days, his QB coach at AU responded to this guy, Nawrocki, or another NFL “analyst” who said Cam wouldn’t be able to win over the team (locker room leadrship, etc). Malzahn said that was not true….in fact he said while most people gave the coaches the credit for the locker room leadership that resulted in the 2nd half come from behind win at Alabama, it was actually Cam who took over in the lock room at half time and called people out, said what they had to do and were going to do and then led the comeback on the field. Malzahn said he didn’t think he’d seen another player better than Cam at doing that. And I personally believe coach Malzahn wouldn’t say something like that if he didn’t believe it and mean it.

Character Counts

April 3rd, 2011
6:28 pm

Character counts. Enough said!

poopdawg

April 3rd, 2011
6:30 pm

SECFAN if you believe he bought it thats fine . The original owner of the laptop lived very very close to the person arrested for possession of stolen property. Pretty big coincidence ? Should of saved his receipt, but throw it out his window? Someones knocking at my door , got to toss the laptop. Happens everyday in Gainesville i guess.

blueboy

April 3rd, 2011
6:30 pm

He’s another Tebow. If Tebow can make it in the NFL Cam can do the same. I bet Cam dont’t give a damn if anyone of you likes him are not. He’still a first round NFL pick.

51WTGW50

April 3rd, 2011
6:34 pm

Character rarely counts in sports, politics, or modern relationships it seems today. Look who people look up to, vote for, and get promotions at work. It is better to BE a character than it is to HAVE character. IMObservaions of Popular people that are splashed all over the media.

WDE Baby

April 3rd, 2011
6:37 pm

The War Eagles only sign mental giants to play football.

If you don’t believe me see for yourself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEzotpH6Dqw

If it walks like a Duck

April 3rd, 2011
6:40 pm

Pay-ola baby. WDE Baby

SEC FAN>

April 3rd, 2011
6:40 pm

AJ Green’s wonderlic’ was pretty impressive…wasn’t he the lowest or the bottom 3 of the entire draft? That is impressive…

Worm

April 3rd, 2011
6:42 pm

See the last two number one picks in the draft from Auburn-Tucker Fredrickson and Aundra Bruce..Cam falls somewhere in the middle..Never called an audibile in College unless it was sent from bench,three step timing passer,character issues,etc..Carolina picks Gabbert from Missouri and Charle Chan Gailey has his next Cordell Stewart project.

Worm

April 3rd, 2011
6:46 pm

SEC FAN, I believe Marino was the 28th pick that year and about the 6th QB taken.

SEC FAN>

April 3rd, 2011
6:46 pm

Poop, read the report he bought the stolen labtop, I’m not saying that is a good thing just stating the facts..The kid is not perfect

poopdawg

April 3rd, 2011
6:47 pm

What more impressive AJ’s wonderlic score or SECFAN believing Cam bought a laptop then threw it out the window ?

SEC FAN>

April 3rd, 2011
6:47 pm

Worm, you are right…his cocaine rumors hurt him but nobody really cared once the seson started…