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Sunday, February 27, 2011
Newton struggles while Mallett does well

By Calvin Watkins

INDIANAPOLIS -- The quarterbacks here at the combine are done working and there was plenty of talk about for two: Cam Newton of Auburn and Ryan Mallett of Arkansas.

Mallett, who Cowboys officials most likely will speak with if they haven't already, was accurate during his throwing session and displayed a strong arm.

Newton, who talked to the Cowboys on Friday night, struggled with his accuracy on some deep balls.

Some quarterbacks don't throw at the combine because they can't control the conditions. At pro days quarterbacks normally throw to wide receivers they know, but at the combine it's a receiver a quarterback might not be familiar with.

John Clayton watched both quarterbacks inside Lucas Oil Stadium and filed this pool report:
Overall, Newton completed 11 of his 21 throws after helping out receivers in the across-the-field pass-catching drills.

Newton is a great arm thrower, not using much leg power to put velocity behind his throws. He can throw 50-to-60 yards with an easy arm motion. There is no throw he can’t make.

Newton was two-for-three on deep post-corner routes, his best throws of the day. The post-corner routes were the last passes of the workout. He took a little off his first throw to get a completion and was a little long with throw number two. No. 3 was perfect

His most consistent throws were the 17-yard "turn-ins" to his left and 12-yard "turn ins" to his right, completing five of six of those throws.

What’s clear is he needs to work on his footwork on passes to his left. Like a lot of young quarterbacks, Newton tended to overstride and not be accurate on passes to his left. The longer the pass, the less accurate he was. He was one-for-three on short "out" passes to his left, rebounded with his leftside "turn-in" passes and missed all three of his "go" routes down the left sidelines.

Perhaps the most disappointing part of his performance was overthrowing receivers on three passes to his right on short "out" passes to the sideline.

This is the report on Mallett:
What was evident -- as expected -- was his strong arm, an arm that sometimes was almost too strong. Mallett’s first throw on a short route was so strong and hard it caused Mallett to step back and almost hit himself with his hand as if he was mad at himself for throwing a 5-yard route with such velocity. After that, he settled down and had a great day.

Mallett elected not to run but instead to throw, emphasizing his strengths as a quarterback. On deep seam routes in the middle of the field, Mallett was flawless, arching the ball with perfect touch and hitting receivers in stride.

On out routes to the sideline, Mallett delivered his best fastball and was perfectly accurate. The ball exploded into receivers’ hands.

His slant route throws were perfect although some of the throws are so hard and fast they will challenge the hands of receivers.

He was particularly impressive on his post corners on the right, going four-for-four. If there was a weakness, it was his 17-yard turn-ins to his left. His first pass was high. His second one was a little off, but by the third throw he was perfect.

Mallett has excellent deep touch on his throws. His challenge is making sure he can be accurate on his intermediate throws.