I think it’s great that Cam Newton is planning on going through all the drills at the combine. I also think he has little to lose and a lot to gain in doing so. Make no mistake, Cam Newton is a physical beast and will likely shine this week at the combine. Think JaMarcus Russell with a much better work ethic and way better feet and athleticism. There is one small caveat though: It’s not what we see of him on the NFL network this weekend that will determine where he ends up being drafted.

Regardless of how well he performs in the drills, it is how he does on the psychological testing and the individual interviews when he visits teams later on that will ultimately determine where he ends up. It may come as a surprise to some that most teams will have very little interest in all the allegations that swirled about and centered on his father this past season. In fact, many may look at how he handled that adversity and continued to thrive as a positive. It showed he has the ability to compartmentalize his life and keep outside matters, unrelated to the playing of football, from affecting his performance. This is an underrated skill and one that teams generally cannot find out about a player until after they have been drafted.

One of the things that teams will be concerned with relate to how much he has grown since he left the University of Florida. Were his issues at Florida a simple question of maturity, or were they deeper seeded problems relating to his character? The personality inventory tests he will be taking at the combine will give each team a lot of information in that regard. These tests are designed to find subtle contradictions and are not easily fooled. They famously gave a clear indication that Peyton Manning would be a future Hall of Famer and Ryan Leaf would be a flop. They are not infallible, but those who ignore what they say, do so at great peril.

Without having the benefit of seeing the results of those soon to be taken tests, I would say there is nothing to suggest Newton will be another Ryan Leaf. He seems to have the desire, work ethic and competitive streak needed to acquire the mental edge necessary to succeed in the NFL. If I had to compare his risk level to a current NFL quarterback I would compare his risk to that of Ben Roethlisberger. We all know Ben can play the game; it’s a question of whether his actions away from the field will get in the way.

If Cam’s tests results show little to be concerned with, then I think he is worth the risk of being taken with a top ten pick.


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