NFL draft: Cam Newton will succeed, Tim Tebow won’t

Cam Newton could be first pick in draft.

Cam Newton could be first pick in draft.

Tim Tebow was a surprising first-round pick.

Tim Tebow was a surprising first-round pick.

Tim Tebow was drafted in the first round by the Denver Broncos last year. That decision was such an overwhelming success that the organization was mocked and ridiculed, the Broncos finished 4-12 and coach Josh McDaniels, who pushed the button on the decision, was fired.

Cam Newton is expected to be the first overall pick of tonight’s NFL draft by Carolina. There’s a pretty good chance many will ridicule them for it. But it says here the Panthers would not be making a mistake.

Who will be more successful in the NFL?

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I can’t remember the last time two quarterbacks caused so much debate and even moronic dissection going into a draft. One draft analyst, Nolan Narwocki of Pro Football Weekly, even declared that Newton “has a fake smile.”

If that were the determining factor for success, you can throw out half of the Hall of Fame.

I am not a draft expert, something I’m comfortable admitting since even draft experts are not draft experts. (Hindsight proves that.) But I’ll go out on a limb on this one: Cam Newton will succeed as a starting NFL quarterback and Tim Tebow won’t.

Before I turn it over to you for your thoughts on the subject — and don’t forget to vote in our poll — here are some thoughts from your amateur draftnik.

♦ Tebow: He’s a great kid. He’s popular. He’s religious. I’m guessing you’ve heard all of those things. Did you also know that he ranked fifth in the NFL in jersey sales last season? The top five: 1) Troy Polamalu (Super Bowl winner); 2) Aaron Rodgers (Super Bowl winner); 3) Drew Brees (Super Bowl winner); 4) Peyton Manning (Super Bowl winner); 5) Tebow (9 games, 3 starts, five touchdowns, three interceptions, one fumble, six sacks).

Tebow is a project. He was a great college quarterback who projected as a mid-round pick for a team to take a flier on. McDaniels was a young, cocky coach with an offensive background and his ego convinced him that he could turn Tebow into something great. It was a bad decision. Now Tebow is stuck on a bad team with Brady Quinn and Kyle Orton to learn from. Good luck with that. If anything, there’s less of a chance of Tebow developing now than there was before.

♦ Newton: He has NFL-caliber talent. He has size, speed, strength. He enables a coach to expand the playbook because of his speed. The one trait he and Tebow shared in college is they both knew how to come through in big moments and win big games. The difference is that Newton progressed at a ridiculous rate from the start of last season with Auburn to the end. Tebow, not so much. Newton went from off the NFL radar to projected first-rounder. Tebow remained a source for debate.

Nobody ever has faced the scrutiny and pressure Newton did last season leading up to big games. He succeeded anyway. Whether you believe he is guilty or innocent of shenanigans surrounding his recruiting process, his resolve and resilience are undeniable.

Are there red flags with Newton? Absolutely. NFL teams don’t quickly dismiss potential character flaws before drafts, especially when considering taking the player in the first round. But it’s hard for me to look at what he did in one season at Auburn and project that he is going to faceplant as a pro.

Those are my thoughts. Now, I welcome yours.

NFL draft coverage: I’ll be blogging at least two more times today on the draft. The next post likely will be an early Falcons’ draft column, to be updated later tonight.

By Jeff Schultz

Recent posts

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271 comments Add your comment

Eli

April 28th, 2011
8:46 am

Who cares who’s first?

Love Mark Richt-Hate Coach Richt

April 28th, 2011
8:48 am

Tebow – no. Newton – maybe at best

secondguesser

April 28th, 2011
8:51 am

Right, and that’s why Cam was able to win the starting job from him in Gainesville. Spoken like a bitter dawg.

a47

April 28th, 2011
8:53 am

Newton = JaMarcus Russell 2.0

Incredible size, speed, and athleticism, but no QB instincts.

hirsutedawg

April 28th, 2011
8:56 am

Scam Newton and his punk a$$ teammate Dick Fairley will be the biggest busts in the draft……Mark it down.

JimmyT

April 28th, 2011
8:56 am

Really like Tebow, and would love to see him succeed, but just don’t see that. If he can’t pick up those short yards running in the pros as he did in college I don’t see him beating you throwing the ball regularly. I don’t see Cam as another Akili Smith or JaMarcus Russell. As long as he doesn’t rely solely on his physical talents, as long as he’s coachable, and works hard in the film room, he should do well in the NFL. Just hate the thoughts of seeing him so often if the Carolina Kitties take him.

GTT

April 28th, 2011
8:58 am

I think Newton can be a star and that Tebow could be an unspectacular starter. They both have “it.” It’s just Newton has more natural ability to go along with it.

Dr. Phil

April 28th, 2011
8:58 am

NFL teams consider character? If that were true, Rothelsburger and Vick would be in the WWF. Newton is probably the best football player I have seen, and that includes Herschel and Bo Jackson. His talent is still developing. I would not write Tebow off, but Newton is going to dazzle the NFL.

Matt

April 28th, 2011
9:05 am

How about neither will amount to much of anything. Especially cambo. That guy has bust written all over him.

vc

April 28th, 2011
9:06 am

I think Tebow will make it. He has the size, athletic ability, and mental ability to be coached into the position as long as Denver is willing to work with him to change college habits. Cam certainly has athletic ability but I don’t believe he has the mental ability to grasp a pro offense. His interview with John Gruden indicated that Auburn kept it simple for him and his athletic ability was able to shine in college.He couldn’t give Gruden any examples of plays they ran at Auburn. Big difference in the pros…..will whoever takes him be willing to teach him and have patience. Newton’s past also indicates an unwillingness to “wait”. Where will he take off to if his team doesn’t have the patience or if they set him up to fail by forcing him to play too soon? I’m not sure his passing ability is suited for the pros….alot of air with heaves that maybe an excellent receiver can cover up for him like they did in college. I hope he make it along with Tebow but I think Tebow has an edge that Newton doesn’t given all things being equal. If Tebow doesn’t he has another career ahead of him by having a college degree. Newton better save his money while he has it.

Ryan

April 28th, 2011
9:07 am

It is likely that niether will succeed, but I can promise you that Newton is too stupid to be a successful NFL QB. Tebow has an outside shot if he ends up in the right situation.

FAMILY

April 28th, 2011
9:09 am

Both he and Nick Fairley will be good to great NFL players and succeed in the league. Newton’s atheletic ability and quarterback skills are off the chart. Ideally I’d like to see him sit somehwere for a year (a la Aaron Rogers). Unfortunately, not going got happen.

juvenal

April 28th, 2011
9:10 am

scam can play several positions……

wolfman

April 28th, 2011
9:12 am

Tebow will be successful where it counts — life… Newton?? You have to be kidding. Character still counts.

Anonymous!

April 28th, 2011
9:14 am

I just don’t see it, Tebow and Cam’s physical skills seem about equal ( in my unqualified obvservations ) with maybe a slight edge to Cam, but Tebow has a huge edge in work ethic, character, and just about every other qualifier except maybe mechanics… and you talk about Tebow going to a bad team, if Cam goes 1 overall to Carolina who is he going to learn from, Jimmy Clausen? Matt Moore?

honest_abe

April 28th, 2011
9:15 am

i’m a dawg so i can’t stand tebow. but i respect that kids heart. he gives it more than 100% every time he gets on that field. and he easily won the respect of the locker room coming down the stretch of last season. he’s a gamer so i wouldn’t write him off so easily.

cam is disingenuous. how in the world do i know that? listen to one of his interviews if that isn’t the biggest bunch of bs. he does have a fake smile. he played in even more of a gimmick offense than tebow. tebow had the luxury of playing behind orton who was having a great year and he was picked in the latter part of the first round. newton will have to start and as the #1 overall pick he comes with too much baggage. the bust factor on this kid is too high for me.

G4tor

April 28th, 2011
9:16 am

Both have great potential to succeed in the NFL. I may be a bit partial to Tebow b/c I’m a Gator fan, but how is it he has less of a chance even with more collegiate experience? Newton played for 1 year, and was great at that, but your logic doesn’t prove much of anything. If given the chance and if circumstances are right, both will do great.

BigTimeTECHFan

April 28th, 2011
9:16 am

Are you saying Tebow doesn’t have size, speed, strength, you need to go watch tape of Tebow again. I remember the pregame show before one of Tebow’s bowl games how they were talking about how inaccurate his throws were, then he goes out and completes like 17 or 19 passes in the 1st half.

If I were starting a collage team I would take Tebow or Vince Young before Cam Newton, but in the end I think they are all very good.

Supes

April 28th, 2011
9:19 am

Tebow can have a serviceable NFL career in the right “offense”. The way things are in Denver right now…he’s set up to fail long term…maybe he can get out of there.

Newton don’t kid yourself is JUST as much as a PROJECT as Tebow is…he has greater upside is all.

Good luck to any team that is going to be taking Newton in the draft…you’re gonna need it.

Jason

April 28th, 2011
9:20 am

I find it interesting that nobody is making a big deal about how Cam has been taking the vast majority of his snaps from shotgun and that he rarely has to read the defense. No, those things aren’t his fault, but those are issues that he’ll have to overcome just like Tebow.

Also, who is Cam Newton going to learn from on the Panthers team? Jimmy Clausen? Or if the Bills take him, is Ryan Fitzpatrick really going to be able to give him good guidance. The fact is that Cam will also be on a bad team. These teams are missing much more than just a quarterback, so I don’t see how Cam’s situation is any different than Tebows. All this article really states is that Schultz believes that Tebow is a little more athletic than Tebow.

Other than the fact that Schultz believes that Cam is a little more athletic, I really don’t see any solid evidence for his argument that Cam will be better. So what if Cam had a great year. That year may have been significantly different if it weren’t for a senior offensive line. How does the fact that Cam came from nowhere to 1st rounder in a single year mean anything? If Auburn had been any good in the years prior, he wouldn’t have been coming from nowhere. Tebow was a big deal from the start because he played his freshmen year on a team competing for the National Championship, so I hardly see how that is a strike against him.

I’ve never been a Tebow or Cam fan (I’m a Georgia Tech grad), but I just don’t really see any solid evidence to back up Schultz’s conclusion. This seems more like Schultz is sharing his gut feeling. It may be true, but personally if I was writing the big paychecks to one guy or the other, I’d feel a little more confident in Tebow’s work ethic than a guy that has suddenly become famous in a single year. I’d be real worried about what might happen to Cam’s work ethic once he gets his initial signing bonus. But then again, it wouldn’t be bad having that kind of money to blow if neither of them worked out…

Jeff Schultz

April 28th, 2011
9:20 am

Second-guesser — 1) I didn’t attend Georgia; 2) We’re not in Gainesville anymore.

BartenderBart

April 28th, 2011
9:21 am

After watching the Jon Gruden QB Camp stuff on TV, I’m completely against Cam Newton. He showed me absolutely nothing. Gruden asked him to call one paly and he couldn’t do that. He said they would show numbers on the sideline and the whole team knew what the play was. Then word comes out that they had to simplify the offensive scheme for Newton. If your first read isn’t there, pull it down and run. That might work for one quarter in the NFL.

By contrast, Ryan Mallet was shown one play on TV and asked by Grudne to tell him what was going on. Mallet stood up and diagramed the play on the whiteboard, detailing the routes each receiver would run, what options they had, who his reads were, the order of progression on the play, and more. If he could get his off-field issues settled, I have more confidence in Mallet being a long-term NFL QB than in Newton.

Jeff Schultz

April 28th, 2011
9:21 am

A47 — I had a lot of doubts about Russell going into draft, though not to the extent he showed.

Jeff Schultz

April 28th, 2011
9:22 am

Hirsutedawg — I agree with you on Fairly. He’s a ticking time-bomb.

Jeff Schultz

April 28th, 2011
9:23 am

Wolfman — “Tebow will be successful where it counts — life.” … That’s pretty much a lock.

Bazooka Joe

April 28th, 2011
9:23 am

Tebow wont make it because he has crappy people to learn from in Denver. Scam will not make it because he is dumber than a bag of rocks.

S GA AU FAN

April 28th, 2011
9:24 am

Tebow never beat Auburn, don’t you haters wish you could say that!

hirsutedawg

April 28th, 2011
9:24 am

Dr. Phil put down the pipe and slowly step away. Better than Herschel and/or Bo? How much are you paying per oz. for that stuff you’re smoking?

Jeff Schultz

April 28th, 2011
9:24 am

BigTimeTechFan — I’ll take Cam’s arm over Tebow’s seven days a week. But yes accuracy needs to improve.

Larry

April 28th, 2011
9:29 am

Tebow’s an honest man; Newton isn’t!

Who SHOULD you pull for?

dean

April 28th, 2011
9:30 am

If Tebow doesn’t succeed as a QUARTERBACK, if he would swallow his pride (isn’t Pride a sin?), he could succeed at a different position. Some things are obvious to the most casual observer. :)

Hike

April 28th, 2011
9:34 am

Tebow will succeed in the NFL because he has more “drive” than almost anyone else. I saw a clip of him chewing out a much larger Bronco teammate when he believed the player was slacking off. He has fire in his belly and if nothing else one day will make a super coach… and this is coming from a Dawg fan.
Can Newton learn an NFL playbook and make good decisions with the ball…super fast….that is the main question mark for me…

DawginLex

April 28th, 2011
9:34 am

I’m wondering about both of them enjoying any amount of success.

Both were spread QB’s in college trying to translate to pro style offenses.

leghumper killer

April 28th, 2011
9:35 am

Enter your comments here

DawginLex

April 28th, 2011
9:35 am

This next set of comments should be rich from “leghumper killer”………………..

Tim

April 28th, 2011
9:36 am

A man with character will beat a man without character every time. I’m a die-hard Dawg and I can’t wait to see Tebow prove you wrong.

leghumper killer

April 28th, 2011
9:37 am

in the words of charlie sheen, tebow is a winner winner winner. all you pups just cant get past the hate for the gators. cam will get into trouble.

Jeff Schultz

April 28th, 2011
9:39 am

Tim — “A man with character will beat a man without character every time.” …. In life, yes. But not always on a football field. (And I would dispute conclusions that Cam Newton doesn’t have character.)

RabidDawgFan

April 28th, 2011
9:39 am

You know what? I’m a Dawg fan, but I hate it when people disrespect Tebow. He was a freakin legend at the collegiate level and will forever will be remembered as one of the greatest college football players to ever grace a college football field. Cam Newton had one magical season, and they want to annoint him as a Hall of Famer?! I don’t buy that for one moment. All I know is that Tebow was and is a leader that didn’t have to get money to decide his college. He didn’t leave after his junior season because he has loyalty. He was at Florida from his freshman season till his senior season. Can Newton say the same? He’s been to 3 schools in 3 years. Not good. Tebow has 2 rings and a Heisman trophy along with many other accolades. I know Newton is a great player, but good grief give Tebow a break. I also remember a guy from LSU, who wore #2, and was expected to come in and light up the NFL. Hmmmm, what was his name? Darn it.

BartenderBart

April 28th, 2011
9:40 am

I really wish Tebow the best in the NFL. I was no fan of his during college, but I respected him, and that respect grew when I began to learn of his devotion to his faith. Of course, there will always be someone trying to tear him down, like Jeff Pearlman, who called Tebow’s evangelic belief “pretty evil.”

That said, I also told a friend once that Tebow would make a fantastic running back in the NFL.

secondguesser

April 28th, 2011
9:41 am

“I’ll take Cam’s arm over Tebow’s seven days a week.”

That statement pretty much sums up the difference in us and why I think your soooooooo wrong,Shultzie. I’ll take a hard working less talented guy(although that ain’t the case here) anytime over more talented lazy body any time. You show me a lazy man and I’ll show you a man that won’t get it done! Can’t deny what he did at Auburn but like you said,”We ain’t in Gainesville anymore. That applies to Mr. less-than seven-days a week also.

RabidDawgFan

April 28th, 2011
9:43 am

The offense that Newton ran at Auburn was simplified. He even said that himself. They held up numbers on the sidelines and he knew what the play was. WTF? Are you serious? In the NFL, you have actual plays. Not numbers. Newton will fail.

95 more touchdowns means a lot

April 28th, 2011
9:43 am

6′ 3″ 245 lb. Tim Tebow had
9,286 yards passing, 2,957 yards rushing and 145 touchdowns at Florida.

6′ 5″ 248 lb. Cam Newton had
2,854 yards passing, 1,473 yards rushing and 50 touchdowns at Auburn.

Dawglasville

April 28th, 2011
9:45 am

I have doubts about both. I think the spread option offense, if I understand it right, is perfect for college. It seems easier to teach these kids how to read and react than it is to teach them a playbook the size of the yellow pages. It seems like those coaches would throw in a few wrinkles each week. With the speed of the NFL I don’t know if either of them will be able to have great success. I hope they both do well. I’m just glad UGA doesn’t have to face them anymore.

Trojan

April 28th, 2011
9:46 am

At least we now know that the NFL does not value character and integrity. Stolen PC’s, academic cheating, pay for play.

Paul H

April 28th, 2011
9:46 am

Newton won’t be another JM. See Jeff’s quote “his resolve and resilience are undeniable.” Jemarcus was big and fat and didn’t care. Newton will stay in shape and work hard to succeed. He is definitely not another JM.

Trojan

April 28th, 2011
9:48 am

Jeff: How would you defend Cam’s character? Either he has no character or he is really dumb, “I just let my Dad choose my college”

GT-Armchair QB

April 28th, 2011
9:48 am

Neither of them are as good as Reggie Ball was.

Dirty Dawg

April 28th, 2011
9:48 am

Newton may indeed become a successful NFL QB, but I question that it’ll be at Carolina. This ‘character’ thing and all the crap still hanging over his head is real and Jerry Richardson, Panthers owner, conservative businessman and former NFL receiver for the Colts, is, I believe too proud to risk having someone that could become the ‘Michael Vick’ Face of his franchise. I mean can you see him fawning over Newton the way Arthur Blank did Vick when he got hurt that year – pushing his damn wheelchair for God’s sake.

No, I believe that Richardson will have done his due diligence and decide that all that smoke says there’s still a fire smoldering out there and he doesn’t want to be the one holding the grenade when it goes off.

By the way, how much do you figure these kids were paid to go on Gruden’s show? Cause it couldn’t have been enough if it were my client. What’s the up-side? You know Gurden’s gonna find fault with something, so why do it unless there was a nice payday involved, and no way they could have paid enough to overcome the ridicule and questions raised…and not just for Newton.

DawginLex

April 28th, 2011
9:48 am

leghumper killer,

You dam idiot. Nobody said anything about hating him because he was a gator.

Did you take reading comprehension in school?

This is regarding their potential success in the NFL.

Just go back to sleep moron.