- Cam Newton plans on holding a workout for members of the media on Feb. 10, roughly two weeks before he works out for NFL teams at the NFL Scouting Combine. (Photo: Associated Press)
If you haven’t heard by now, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton will be holding a workout for the media on Feb. 10 at a high school in San Diego.
The Heisman Trophy winning quarterback is expected to be one of the players taken in the early to mid first round of April’s NFL draft. And despite his accomplishments this past season at Auburn, there still are plenty of questions about his skills. There's no denying that Newton -- who some expect the Redskins to take if he is available with the 10th pick -- is a supremely gifted athlete, but only one full season of Division I football raise questions about his readiness for the NFL.
To improve his skills and better tailor them to the NFL game, Newton has been working with personal coach George Whitfield, who worked with Ben Roethlisberger last year. Newton spent his time at Auburn operating primarily out of the shotgun, and Whitfield is working to get Newton used to taking snaps under center as well as improving his footwork, rhythm and timing.
Newton’s highly-scrutinized father, Cecil, actually is the one that has set up the workout session, and both Newtons have come under fire for holding it at all.
Rules prohibit NFL scouts from attending a player workout other than at the NFL Scouting Combine late this month, or at his university’s pro workout day. Newton’s camp can send tape of the 60 to 90 minutes workout to NFL teams. But some believe Newton is wasting his time, and he and his father are being accused of simply pulling a publicity stunt.
A high-level scout told Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com, “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]."
Meanwhile, Whitfield told USA Today’s Jim Corbett that the purpose of the workout is to "differentiate [Newton] from Vince Young and JaMarcus Russell " and to help the quarterback and his camp decide if he should workout at the NFL Scouting Combine, or if he should wait until Auburn’s pro workout day in March.
How exactly will the media workout session help gauge that? I guess if he struggles mightily and reporters kill him for his performance, Newton and Whitfield would decide to get more work under his belt and wait until March.
The scout is right that it’s not the media’s decision to make, but a strong workout possibly could help Newton a little bit. Perhaps the quarterback’s coach wants him to get used to throwing in front of scrutinizing eyes to help prepare him for the pressure he will be under at the combine or Auburn pro day. Or, maybe the Newtons believe this will show NFL teams how seriously he is taking their pre-draft evaluation process and that he wants them to know he’s working hard to improve.
A strong workout on Feb. 10 isn’t going to sway an NFL front office over whether or not they need to draft Newton or move up into the draft to get him. Some probably have their minds already made up about Newton, other’s will come to their on conclusions with what they see with their own eyes at the combine or Auburn pro day.
What say you? Is Newton wise to hold the media workout session? Or is he setting himself up for the risk of turning NFL officials off?