Early feel for QBs may prove meaningless

February, 27, 2011
2/27/11
9:49
AM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- As I rolled through Twitter last night, I found myself thinking about the aside that was missing from so many media reviews of the news conferences of Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett.

[+] EnlargeCam Newton
AP Photo/Darron CummingsAuburn's Cam Newton received mostly positive reviews for his media session at the NFL combine.
Newton generally got raves. He was accountable for recent comments where he talked of aspiring to be an icon and an entertainer, saying he was in spokesperson, not football, mode and was guilty of being unclear and allowing for misinterpretation.

Mallett was staunch in not addressing the red-flag type of concerns about him that have been clinging to him. He said he wouldn’t put those questions to rest because he didn’t want to. He said critics of his decision-making and accuracy should look at his numbers.

In a room of 500 reporters who prefer to feel respected than slighted, it's not hard to understand how the prevailing feeling was we were pleased with Newton’s demeanor and almost insulted by Mallett’s.

But as we all tweeted about their podium performances, we failed to add two things to the tail end of those messages that are quite significant:

  1. Winning the press conference is nice, but ranks very low on a player’s list of combine priorities and things that teams consider important.
  2. A fantastic NFL quarterback could be a complete dud at his combine media session. A terrible NFL quarterback could conceivably wow us.

None of that fits neatly in a 140-character review.

Sure, it stands to reason that a guy who can’t handle the rush of questioners in a club section of Lucas Oil Stadium isn’t going to do well under the type of fire he’ll face in meetings with teams, and ultimately on a football field on a Sunday.

But there is hardly a direct correlation.

Our exposure to these guys right now is limited. Our business is rushing to judgment faster than ever.

So we're ready to call this the Cambine (just heard that from a colleague) and drop Mallett into the third round.

It’s a good time to remember that the performances we all tweeted so enthusiastically or negatively about Saturday aren’t likely going to be something we look back on as accurate gauges of what came after.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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