Jon Gruden’s little sit downs and lessons with potential NFL draft picks are quickly becoming legendary. They are also said to be directly responsible for the way some players end up in the draft. There are many who believe that Gruden’s bit with Jimmy Clausen resulted in his dramatic drop in the draft. Cam Newton may experience the same thing.
On a segment that is airing on ESPN over and over and over again, Cam Newton sits down and works out with Gruden. In the segment, Gruden talks to Newton about NFL play calling “verbiage” or language. He asks Newton to give him an Auburn play call whereupon Newton sits there like a deer in the headlights. Gruden then goes on to give an example.
“Flip right, double-X, Jet, 36 counter, naked waggle, X-7, X-quarter.” Gruden rattles off as effortlessly as he would say his own name. He then asks Newton to give him something of the same from his Auburn days. No go. Newton goes on to explain that on the sidelines someone would hold up a sign with a number on it like say 36 and that was the play period. There was no play calling or play language remembering. This should be concerning for any NFL team and certainly for any team where an extensive play calling list that involves many words is included.
Newton also demonstrated his other problems. Newton used an gun analogy to demonstrate how he feels about his detractors. He was the gun supposedly and his detractors were to be used as his ammunition. On the field with the receivers he was working out with, he displayed the persona of an athlete looking for media attention. His ending workout huddle word was “swag” and as he was walking off he said for the cameras of course, that others shouldn’t copy that, saying it was copyrighted.
The more I see of Newton, the more he appears to be a clone of Vince Young. Very athletic. Extremely strong. Not NFL smart and all about the hype. In the NFL, those who would go by combine results or athletic measures to draft someone in the top spot and overlook the intangibles is deserving of whatever fate befalls their team when they do. For Newton, the intangibles are not invisible. He has time and again put them on display for anyone with eyes and ears. He hasn’t a clue how an NFL offense works and he wants to be on camera, be a star, more than he wants to be a team player.
Will he still be drafted number 1 overall? Probably. NFL teams have demonstrated their inability to resist the “star” rankings. Time and again these teams have paid the price. Vince Young anyone? The 49ers NOT taking Tom Brady because of his combine report? Cam Newton is looking more and more like a pile of trouble attached to a strong arm. Good luck Carolina.