I hate to hammer on Cam Newton, but even as he seemingly falls (at least
in internet rankings), advocating for him becomes greater in the community.
I'd love the opportunity to get the average Newton supporter one on one, no audience to impress. Tell me more about his accuracy - we know his mechanics aren't great. Tell me more about his pocket presence - we know he can run, but while he's the type who could force rushers to slide off him, can he just slide in the pocket and get the ball out without the concerns?
Tell me more about him reading defenses - our offense is a deep-to-short offense. Can he read the defense, check down if needed? Tell me more about his release. Is it lightning fast? Tell me all about his footwork. His feet are fast, but can he get in his drops, quickly, consistently? Can he transfer his weight to the front foot and power into his release?
I have concerns about all of those questions. We know he's athletic and has a big arm, and those two attributes are secondary to the above questions - in that order, as my opinion stands, on any quarterback. So why bother the average fan? Because hammering the internet daily on a crusade for a player should, in my opinion, come with some knowledge.
Make no mistake, I don't think Blaine Gabbert is really it, either. He looks the part, but doesn't have many positives over Newton, and didn't have as good a season last year. He's a measurables QB, too - high wonderlic, tall, big - and while he's a better pro prospect for bust potential, he's got a long way to go, too. And the ceiling doesn't seem as high - he panics a bit in the pocket, he doesn't have a lot of productivity. If tape is what you go by, and it should be, Newton does
win that battle despite horrendous mechanics that won't fix themselves quickly.
And that's the problem. I don't know who fits. I don't like either at #1. I'd prefer neither, but would at least feel better about a trade down if we had to do this. The alternatives, without a free agency session before the draft, aren't great (and 2012 doesn't offer more hope). There could be a feeling inside Mint St that we need to pay the price while we have the capital, regardless of the downside.