Tag:JaMarcus Rusell
Posted on: January 29, 2011 11:00 pm

Newton taking unnecessary risk with media workout

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton might be able to impress the media during a one-hour workout he's scheduled for February 10 at Cathedral High in Del Mar, California, but will it do any good?

Despite winning the Heisman Trophy and BCS Championship, there are plenty of questions about the Auburn junior's ability to translate his success into the NFL. The spread-option offense he ran under Gus Malzahn's direction won't cut in the NFL. He'll need to be able to read defenses quicker, be more accurate with a greater variety of passes and do both while dropping back from center -- something he was rarely asked to do with the Tigers.

Helping him improve in these areas is George Whitfield, the San Diego-based quarterback guru who helped keep Ben Roethlisberger fine-tuned while the Pittsburgh star served his four-game suspension this season.

I don't doubt Newton's talent as a quarterback, nor Whitfield's talent as a coach. I do question Cam Newton, Sr.'s decision to have this media-only workout in the first place.

And let's be clear, this is a media-only event. NFL scouts are forbidden to attend a prospect's workout of this nature in any other setting than the Combine, the player's hometown or his university.

The purpose of the workout, Whitfield told Jim Corbett of USA Today is to "differentiate [Newton] from Vince Young and JaMarcus Russell " and to determine if Newton should workout at the Combine or wait for Auburn's Pro Day in March.

The obvious question I'd ask is what could Newton possibly gain from this workout in front of the relatively untrained of national media?

Taking an optimistic approach, let's assume Newton blows us all away with his workout for a moment.

Doesn't he run the risk that NFL teams will be turned off by what appears to be an attempt to upstage the NFL and its Combine?

And to do what? Create some buzz? There isn't a more famous (rapidly becoming infamous) collegiate player in the country.

And, what if Newton struggles - or is even inaccurately portrayed by some as having struggled -- in his workout? Will he elect not to workout for scouts at the Combine, thereby opening himself up to questions about his competitive fire?

I asked a handful of scouts about this workout. All were mystified as to what gains could be made with what one front officie executive termed a "publicity stunt."

One high level scout put it this way:

"The Newtons would be best to realize they aren't in college anymore. Regardless of how good he looks for [the media], there isn't going to be a bidding war for him. We're not recruiting him. They could wind up turning more people against them than for them with this [workout]."

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