Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Newton No. 5 among apples and oranges
By David Newton
It's hard for me to argue with the coaches, scouts and front-office personnel who ranked Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers last among the young quarterbacks in Wednesday's Hot Read on ESPN.com.
I'll be the first to admit I'm not an expert evaluator of talent, even though former Carolina general manager Marty Hurney began his career as a sports writer.
However -- Indianapolis' Andrew Luck, Washington's Robert Griffin III, Seattle's Russell Wilson and San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick are surrounded by a better supporting cast than Newton has had in his first two-plus seasons.
Even our experts admitted that, ranking Newton fifth in that category.
Who knows what Newton would have done with a decent second wide receiver to Steve Smith. Or had his offensive line and defenses been better.
Wilson and Kaepernick, in particular, had better supporting casts. According to our evaluation, the Seahawks and 49ers both had defenses and rushing attacks that ranked in the top five in the NFL last season.
Carolina ranked 10th in defense and ninth in rushing.
The ranking also has Newton fourth in durability, ahead of only Griffin. I'd argue Newton should have been first in durability, based on how many plays he missed versus how many times he carried the ball and was hit.
Among these five young QBs, Newton ranks second behind Griffin with 5.8 yards per carry since 2011, according to ESPN Stats & Info. In most yards per drop-back, he ranks third behind Kaepernick and Griffin with a 7.0 average.
The experts ranked Newton fifth in accuracy even though he had a better completion percentage -- 57.7 to 54.1 -- than Luck did last season. Even though Luck threw 18 interceptions to Newton's 12.
The survey also should take into consideration that Newton had 741 yards rushing, second only to Griffin with 833, and that his eight rushing touchdowns were the most among the five.
Where Newton loses big is in wins and losses. He is 13-20 and hasn't made the playoffs. The other four have.
But nobody knows what Newton would have done in another system any more than we know what the four he's being compared to would have done in Carolina's.
Apples and oranges, I say.