Blog Entry

Heisman Favorites a Menagerie of Pro Prospects

Posted on: December 10, 2010 10:25 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2010 11:23 am
Auburn quarterback Cam Newton enters Saturday's Heisman Ceremony as the prohibitive favorite to take home the award, but he's hardly the only one of the four finalists with a bright NFL future.

In fact, some scouts believe Newton, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck , Oregon running back LaMichael James and Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore – all underclassmen – all have a chance at NFL success, reversing a recent trend of Heisman candidates whose games simply didn't translate to the pros.

Newton, who led the country with 49 touchdowns and has carried Auburn to its first BCS Championship Game, is the most polarizing NFL prospect of the group.

There is no denying Newton possesses first-round tools. In joining 2008 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow as the only players in FCS history to have scored 20 touchdowns passing and rushing in the same season, Newton has dazzled scouts with his athleticism and strong arm. 

Scouts remain split, however, on how well the junior will be able to make the transition from Gus Malzahn's spread option offense to a pro-style scheme. After all, his success has come in an offense that emphasizes his athletic strengths and simplifies his reads. For as dominant as he's played, Newton has only this season's 13 starts at the FCS level, quite a small sample set for scouts to determine his pro readiness.

These concerns don't extend to the redshirt sophomore Luck, whose recognition of defenses and pinpoint accuracy have made him the favorite to be the first pick of the 2011 draft should he declare early.  The Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year broke John Elway's Cardinal record with 28 touchdown passes this season.

Newton and Luck will hear their names called in the first round should they leave for the pros following this season.

James is also highly regarded by pro scouts, though at 5-feet-9 and 185 pounds, he lacks the bulk to hold up as a full-time starter in the NFL. James' production for the Ducks has been staggering. He broke the Pac-10 freshman rushing record last year with 1,546 yards and promptly broke the sophomore record this season with 1,682 yards, which led the FCS. While James offers dynamic playmaking skills due to his agility and speed, teams will have a hard time justifying a pick earlier than the third round on a situational back.

At first glance, Moore lacks the size to be considered an elite pro prospect. The Broncos list their record-breaking passer at 6-feet, 191 pounds. Perhaps not surprisingly, scouts question if Moore has the arm strength to compete in the NFL, as well.

Moore has shown remarkable accuracy throughout his career, however, and is a virtual coach on the field. He reads defenses quickly and shows great anticipation, completing 71 percent of his passes for 3,506 yards and an eye-popping 33 touchdowns against only five interceptions this season.

Moore doesn't possess the measureables to warrant high-round consideration, so he may be the most likely of this group to return in 2011.

Should he do so - and enjoy similar success with senior receivers Titus Young and Austin Pettis moving on to the NFL - Moore could force scouts to look past his physical shortcomings and instead focus on his moxie and ball placement; traits that could earn him at least a late round selection.

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Since: May 23, 2007
Posted on: December 12, 2010 9:52 am

Heisman Favorites a Menagerie of Pro Prospects

Toosmart you are blinkered by size and strength. Yes LaMichael James is not big, but do you need height to play RB? I don't recall Barry Sanders being particularly tall. Or Emmitt Smith. In fact weren't they 5'8" and 5'9" respectively. And Walter Peyton was a massive 5'10". LaDainian Tomlinson is 5'10" too, the current active leading rusher.

I know what you are going to say - they were all over 200lbs. True, but Chris Johnson is a huge 5'11" and 191lbs, and he led the league last year with over 2000 yards, currently on 1137 for this year on a poor titans team, the same yardage as Jamaal Charles who is 5'11" 199lbs. Maurice Jones-Drew is 5'7", Bradshaw is 5'9" 198lbs, Mendenhall is 5'10".

What is the point in trying to say he won't succeed when others who are "small" have been, and continue to be, hugely successful in the league. Granted, he wouldn't necessarily be an All-Pro, but he could be immensely effective.

Moore's lack of size is perhaps more of a concern. These were the same criticisms aimed at Drew Brees and, more recently, Coly McCoy. Whilst it is too early to judge McCoy, Brees has had a pretty good career for a 6' QB. Again I think it would be blinkered to write-off a QB completely when they are undersized. If he stays in College and puts up similar or better numbers in 2011, he could be a late round steal for someone.

In summary, for someone "too smart" you are blinded by numbers and forget that someone who can play will always be a player regardless of size. His accuracy numbers and winning record are excellent and to some that is vastly more important than being able to throw like JaMarcus Russell. It is to me.

Since: Oct 17, 2010
Posted on: December 12, 2010 8:53 am

Heisman Favorites a Menagerie of Pro Prospects

BAck it down a whole bunch, all you have to do is look at the past winners and you will find the Heisman is nothing more than a glorified paper weight when it comes to a players ability to transition tio the next level? Would you say Carson Palmer would be a better pick than Tom Brady? The list is long with past winners who had little or no success in the NFL. As for those who talk negatively about the abilities of Kellen Moore I ask where did Jerry Rice attend college or didnt Randy Moss go to MArshall? All around athlete Cam Newton wins but the position of QB he is not in the top 5 in this catagory. Here is a list of past Heisman winners how many of these guys went on to have successful careers in the NFL? * 2,229 1971 Sullivan, Pat 1,597 1972 Rodgers, Johnny 1,310 1973 Cappelletti, John 1,057 1974 Griffin, Archie 1,920 1975 Griffin, Archie 1,800 1976 Dorsett, Tony ^ 2,357 1977 Campbell, Earl *^ 1,547 1978 Sims, Billy * 827 1979 White, Charles 1,695 1980 Rogers, George * 1,128 1981 Allen, Marcus ^ 1,797 1982 Walker, Herschel 1,926 1983 Rozier, Mike 1,801 1984 Flutie, Doug 2,240 1985 Jackson, Bo * 1,509 1986 Testaverde, Vinny * 2,213 1987 Brown, Tim 1,442 1988 Sanders, Barry ^ 1,878 1989 Ware, Andre 1,073 1990 Detmer, Ty 1,482 1991 Howard, Desmond 2,077 1992 Torretta, Gino 1,400 1993 Ward, Charlie 1,743 1994 Salaam, Rashaan 1,743 1995 George, Eddie 1,460 1996 Wuerffel, Danny 1,363 1997 Woodson, Charles / / 1,815 1998 Williams, Ricky 2,355 1999 Dayne, Ron 2,042 2000 Weinke, Chris 1,628 2001 Crouch, Eric 770 2002 Palmer, Carson * 1,328 2003 White, Jason 1,481 2004 Leinart, Matt 1,325 2005 Bush, Reggie (vacated)<sup id="cite_ref-11" class="reference"> </sup> <sup id="cite_ref-14" class="reference"> </sup> 2,541 2006 Smith, Troy 2,540 2007 Tebow, Tim 1,957 2008 Bradford, Sam * 1,726 2009 Ingram, Jr., Mark 1,304 2010 Newton, Cameron 2,263

Since: Dec 12, 2010
Posted on: December 12, 2010 4:26 am

Heisman Favorites a Menagerie of Pro Prospects

Lord, where do I begin Rob, where do I begin? I'll start from the top and work my way down, I guess that's usually how it works huh?

You start out by showing Cam Newton love and stating the obvious, that he has "first-round tools". Then you attempt to justify the tools with a Tim Tebow reference, like scoring 20 touchdowns rushing and passing translates into "first-round tools". Tim Tebow doesn't possess "first-round tools", and may not even possess second. Denver hurt themselves this year by wasting a first-round selection on a B-SPN fairytale. Tebow owes his success to Meyer's system and the talent around him; Cam's impact has allowed some of the player's around  him to reach production levels they never dreamed of. For example, they have a true freshman on the verge of 1,000 yards and McCaleb averages nearly 9 yards per carry. It's not just a coincidence that a teammate of Cam leads the nation in yards per attempt, for most of which he's untouched. Auburn would have a losing record without Cam at quarterback, and yet they now find themselves in unfamiliar territory located in Glendale, Arizona. He is a once in a generation football talent, physically as well as mentally. "First-round tools", is an understatement, especially when there's never been another player, period, to base his so called first-round toolset off of. 
You continue on to say that scouts are "split" on whether Cam can be effective in a pro-style offense, because Malzahn's spread offense "emphasizes his athletic strengths and simplifies his reads". Well, in this case, I'd like to be the first to welcome you to the game of American Football Rob! Any offensive coordinator with a job uses this same strategy when running their offenses, from high school all the way to the NFL. I mean, you're not going to build an offense around a quarterback's weaknesses or make the reads more difficult for them are you? Malzahn has benefitted much more from Cam Newton, than Newton has from Malzahn. Cam would make a lot of offensive coordinators look really good, in any scheme.

 Being a successful quarterback is about finding ways to convert on third down, scoring in the red-zone, and performance in the 4th quarter. Look up Cam's stats in those departments when you get a chance... Exactly what scouts are you talking to? Have you been reading Mel Kiper's blog again? Shame on you Rob! Kellen Moore and LaMichael James project well into the League? really? Let's be serious. 5'9"(generous) 185 pounds is sufficient for the pattie-cake they play in the Pac-10, but not the NFL. You need size to be a running back in the league. James is nothing special, running backs are a dime a dozen, look at player's like Adrian Foster. I Bet Adrian would've put up big numbers in Oregon's cute little offense too, whereas he seemed average at UT. Boise State is a joke, they shouldn't even be in the top 25. Kellen Moore is lucky he got to visit New York. He seldomly gets pressured and throws to basically uncovered wide receivers. ESPN created the whole "Boise State can Compete with anybody" story to spice up an otherwise ordinary college football season, where the BCS system actually got the picks right.

CBS needs to give me your job. Forward this to your supervisor as my cover letter, ill get my resume in the first of next week. 

Since: Oct 2, 2010
Posted on: December 12, 2010 1:22 am

Heisman Favorites a Menagerie of Pro Prospects

How exactly did Newton skate in on his conference affiliations?  He played against better quality opponents.  In fact, wasn't there two competitors from the Pac10 and only one from the SEC in there?  Moore is an Excellent QB of that there is no doubt, but he played only two ranked teams in the past two years.  So exactly how is Moore better than Newton?  I have a better idea, why don't you just keep your mouth closed as you are sucking up all the air for people who actually have something educated to say.

Since: Oct 2, 2010
Posted on: December 12, 2010 1:18 am

Heisman Favorites a Menagerie of Pro Prospects

.  Auburn isn't toast you moron.  Auburn isn't anything except the next National Championship team.  Don't hate cos they toasted UGA.  Kinda grasping for straws with the Victoryland scheme aren't you?  I think it's funny how everyone is trying to be a sports reporter. 

Since: Feb 7, 2007
Posted on: December 11, 2010 10:32 pm

Heisman Favorites a Menagerie of Pro Prospects

Speaking as a Stanford/Luck fan, I'm not bitter about Cam winning the heisman, he deserved it regardless of whether he should or shouldn't be eligible---getting money wouldn't make him play better. That said, I would be very bitter that Auburn is in the title game if indeed "the money was too much", buying players would give an unfair advantage to the program. Morally speaking, I don't blame poor young college students for seeking money---but college programs selling their souls and giving out money is what's terrible.

Since: Mar 3, 2008
Posted on: December 11, 2010 10:03 pm

Heisman Favorites a Menagerie of Pro Prospects

To add to the errors in this article, Colin Kaepernick also joined the 20 rushing and passing TD club this year.

Since: Dec 1, 2007
Posted on: December 11, 2010 9:32 pm

Heisman Favorites a Menagerie of Pro Prospects

Scam Newton will bring down the entire Auburn program ala the SMU death penalty.  Rumor has it that Victoryland dog track in Alabama was rigging machines for parents of recruits to win and that is how they got paid.  Victoryland was supposedly already bugged by the feds and Cecil Newton called a the wrong time.  We will see how that pans out but Auburn is toast.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: December 11, 2010 8:17 pm

Heisman Favorites a Menagerie of Pro Prospects

The fact that a non-aq player was even invited shows how much better he is.  He got there based on how good a football player he is with the cards stacked against him, he didn't skate in on his conference affiliation.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: December 11, 2010 8:16 pm

Heisman Favorites a Menagerie of Pro Prospects

Kellen Moore has everything JeMarcus Russell doesn't...and some positive things he does.

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