Cam Newton. The Buffalo Bills. A match-made in heaven? Or another draft pick that will send the franchise into yet another abyss of playoff absence?
You may love Cam Newton. Think he'll transcend the quarterback position as a new-age, more athletic Ben Roethlisberger. Or, you hate him as a pro quarterback prospect, and point to his occasional inaccuracy, one year of production in college, and simplistic zone-read offense in which he operated at Auburn as reasons to why he'll ultimately fail in the NFL. For what it's worth, here's my case on why the Bills should make Cam Newton their first-round selection.
When Cam Newton becomes a professional, outside of maybe Michael Vick, he'll be the most athletic quarterback in the NFL. I'm fully aware that guys like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have become the best quarterbacks of their era, maybe even of all-time with limited athletic ability. But if you ask me, I'm fine with my signal caller possessing an innate ability to avoid the rush and make something out of nothing on a critical 3rd and 6. Moreover, scrambling quarterbacks, for coaches and fans alike can be utterly terrifying. With Newton, I'm not as worried. He's a muscular 6'4'' 245lbs, with room to grow and get stronger. We aren't dealing with Trent Edwards here (no real injury history either). His physique is just the beginning.
Newton's got all you could ask for in terms of arm strength. He's NFL-ready with every pass you need your quarterback to make and delivers the ball naturally and relatively quickly. Most importantly for me, the guy is a proven winner. His comeback against Alabama in Tuscaloosa will forever live in Auburn football lore and although he didn't do it by going 20-20 in the second half with 5 touchdown passes, he was the driving force behind that incredible comeback in the most hostile and rowdy environment for Auburn. After that, he won the National Title. What more could you want?
Sure, he only started one season, but it was in the SEC, and are we supposed to expect that he was en route to a worse season next year had he stayed with the Tigers? To those who think he's inaccurate and believe his one-read offense at Auburn didn't properly prepare him for the NFL brings to me to my next point. I'm not asking Cam Newton to come to Buffalo and save the franchise at the start of next season. I'll admit, he's probably not ready. I love my man Ryan Fitzpatrick and honestly think he'll only get better as he continues to jell with his receiving corp under the tutelage of Chan Gailey.
Chan Gailey, he's the X-factor in all of this.
As an offensive player, for the first time in a while, coming to Buffalo actually puts you in a good situation. Gailey knows offense, and proved last year he can get the most out of his players. If Gailey can work with him, sharpen his accuracy and provide the needed information on the nuances of the quarterback position, maybe even mold some of his offense (that's already a spread-like system) around Newton, he could be more playbook-ready by Year 2. That will make for a more smooth and unhurried transition to becoming an NFL starter. Lastly, this is the time for Buffalo to draft a quarterback. Let's hope the Bills aren't drafting No. 3 overall anytime soon after this April. You've got to get your franchise signal callers in the first round. Those mid-round guys rarely pan out.
I'm ready to take the heat if the Bills select Newton and he's a bust, and I'd be OK with a few other prospects at No. 3, but this is a match that I can't envision the Bills passing up.