College Football: Newton looks good at Pro Day
AUBURN, Ala. ó Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton waited more than four hours while his Auburn teammates went through their drills at pro day.
Then came the 48-minute grand finale, where the quarterback once again put his arm and footwork on display before dozens of NFL officials. Newton felt he had plenty to prove after drawing less-than-rave reviews for his throwing session at the combine.
ěEvery single day I feel like I have coaching pointers,î the 6-foot-5, 248-pounder said. ěThe combine was no different. I left there not happy with my performance but came out today and wanted to focus on the things I didnít do well at the combine.î
That means making passes on patterns like comebacks, posts and out routes and being more consistent in making the transition from the spread to prostyle offenses. His performance drew some nice reviews.
ěIt was way better than the combine,î NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. ěI saw what I expected to see. Heís a big-armed kid. Heís working real hard on his footwork. By no means is he a finished product. Like any spread quarterback, heís got a long way to go with his footwork.
ěHis footwork hasnít caught up with his arm yet. Heís working hard. The throws I was most impressed with were the ones I wanted to see, which were the deep ins, the skinny posts, the deep comebacks. Those are the throws you donít see a lot in the spread offense.î
There were 125 NFL officials, including five head coaches, at the 51/2-hour pro day, Auburn said. That includes new Carolina coach Ron Rivera, whose team has the first overall pick that some buzz has indicated might go to either Newton or Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley.
Rivera declined to comment on the afternoon, but praised Newton at the combine.
Newton and Fairley both participated only in the position drills and let their 40 times and other performances from the combine stand.
That meant a long wait for both, who went back-to-back at the end. Newton chatted with NFL types ó including Rivera ó and former teammates, shagged field goals and basically hung out until his time came.
Even with all the focus on his throws, he offered both wide smiles and banter to people on the sidelines.
Unofficially, he threw 53 passes with receivers running routes and completed 42 of them with a few drops and several overthrows, including a couple on deep sideline routes. He was 10 for 10 before that.
His personal coach, George Whitfield Jr., called out a checklist of plays and then asked if there were any more that NFL officials wanted to see.
ěThat was his routine today. Go through it. Attack everything,î said Whitfield, who has been working with Newton in San Diego. ěAnd I thought he did that. He had fun. Heís laughing, heís playing. I kind of think playing back here at Jordan-Hare (Stadium) maybe added a little bit to his comfort level, and hey, heís a very, very proud athlete and heís a very competitive guy.î