Cam Newton was historically good as a rookie quarterback in 2011, feeding his doubters who advised Carolina to pick Blaine Gabbert first overall (*raises hand slowly, and feels deep shame*) a steady diet of crow.
He broke the record for the most passing yards by a rookie in a game, and he did it in Week 1, throwing for 422 yards against the Cardinals. The following week he threw for 432 yards, becoming the first rookie to throw for over 400 yards in back-to-back games. He also finished with the most rushing yards by a rookie quarterback, the most rushing touchdowns, and the most total touchdowns.
Yet there could be five quarterbacks better than Newton in this year’s draft if you believe one unnamed scout who’s presumably basing his entire judgment of this year’s class on Tecmo Bowl simulations.
By now you’re well versed in April lunacy, and the odd thoughts and smoke sightings with little fire that dominate this month. But the words of our anonymous scout when he spoke to Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette are the kind of crazy that makes bloggers write lengthy posts questioning the level of sanity in some scouting circles.
Take it away, nameless man.
“I think there’s five of them that are better than any of them last year,” said one of the two scouts I talked to over the weekend about the quarterback class.
Newton was named the offensive rookie of the year after showing both tremendous skill, and promise for the future. Still, given the historic hype surrounding Luck and Griffin and the comparisons to the likes of John Elway, it’s not too far fetched to think they could eclipse Newton’s Year One superstardom. Beyond that, this scout’s statement made me reach for a bottle of Advil.
Gabbert was timid last year and ineffective, Christian Ponder was inconsistent, and it’s far too early to pass judgment on Jake Locker and Colin Kaepernick given their lack of playing time. However, beyond Newton’s record smashing there was also Andy Dalton, who came just two yards shy of 3,400 passing yards, and he led a young Bengals team that was supposed to be rebuilding to the playoffs.
After the top three, this year’s top five at the quarterback position is filled out by two of Brandon Weeden, Kirk Cousins, and Brock Osweiler, depending on which mock you read during any given hour. All have upside, but it’s exceedingly difficult to imagine a universe in which they’re all better than Newton, or even Dalton.
So this becomes another friendly GLS draft public service announcement, advising you to please exercise extreme caution while absorbing anonymous scouting scuttlebutt in April.