A lot of draft experts are calling Auburn’s Cam Newton this year’s version of Tim Tebow, who was drafted by Denver last year. It’s understandable because both are quarterbacks who played in unique offenses in college. Tebow played at the University of Florida, which is where Newton actually started his career before moving to Blinn College and then to Auburn.
Let’s turn to our friends at ESPN Stats & Information to see how Newton and Tebow really compare. Let’s look at some numbers from their final college seasons -- Newton in 2010 and Tebow in 2009.
Most people don’t think of Newton or Tebow as true pocket passers, but the numbers show there’s some room to debate that. On throws from the pocket last season, Newton completed 66.9 percent of his passes for 27 touchdowns with six interceptions and his passer efficiency rating was 187.2. In Tebow’s final college season, he completed 72.2 percent of his passes inside the pocket with 19 touchdowns, four interceptions and a 179.1 passer efficiency rating.
On throws of 15 yards or longer, Newton completed 50 percent of his passes in 2010 with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions. On passes of similar distance, Tebow completed 52 percent of his throws in 2009 with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Much has been made about the ability of Newton and Tebow as runners and that’s a big part of their game. Last season, Newton gained more than 1,400 yards on the ground. Designed running plays were called for him 196 times and he averaged 6.3 yards per carry with 22 rushes of 15 yards or more. Newton also ended up running on 43 scrambles. In those situations, he averaged 9.2 yards per rush and had eight runs that went for 15 yards or more. Sacks and quarterback sneaks were not included in these numbers.
In SEC games in each of their college seasons, Newton and Tebow each scrambled 27 times. Tebow averaged 7.1 yards per rush while Newton averaged 10 yards. Tebow had two scrambles that turned into rushes of 15 yards or more while Newton had five.