Think what you want of Cam Newton, but there is one thing you can not dispute, he is one of the most unique quarterbacks in the game today. Few signal callers over the years have matched his combination of size, speed, elusiveness, and arm talent. Newton is a freak of nature, and has the unteachable aspects of the game that very few possess. What makes him even more unique, is the fact that he is a tremendous human being off of the field. He spends a lot of his time with the underprivileged kids of Charlotte, and good works off the field in the NFL, are becoming scarcer and scarcer. Let’s delve into what makes Cam Newton Super Cam, and how fortunate the Panthers are to have him lining up under center.
Cam Newton has the size of an NBA player. At 6’5’’, he is just slightly taller than teammate Kelvin Benjamin and is almost the exact same height as Charlotte Hornet’s player Lance Stephenson. The average height of a NFL quarterback is 6’3’’, putting Cam in the top echelon of quarterback height. We all know success isn't ridden on the height of a player, but Cam’s size is very key to his style of play.
Speed and Elusiveness:
Despite weighing in at 248 pounds at the combine, Cam Newton blistered out a 4.59 time at the 40 yard dash. This time ties him for the ninth fastest 40 time among quarterbacks since 2010. The fact that he was at least 15 pounds heavier than anyone that was as fast or faster than him (Kaepernick was second heaviest at 233 pounds), makes this even more impressive. Cam Newton’s height, weight, and speed combination makes him a tough guy to tackle, but what actually happens when a defender gets an arm on him? In Newton’s last fully healthy season (2013), he broke 25 tackles according to Football Outsiders, including 20 “Houdinis” which is when a quarterback evades a possible sack. In 2013, he broke 10 more tackles than the next highest quarterback (Russell Wilson with 15); and had 8 more “Houdini” escapes than the next quarterback (Ben Roethlisberger with 12). This past season due to multiple injuries and 14 regular season games played, his numbers dropped, but he still remained in the top 3 in the broken tackles department. It is pretty safe to say that Cam is the hardest quarterback to bring down in today’s NFL, and maybe all-time with Michael Vick being his biggest challenger..
It is pretty hard to measure how hard a quarterback can throw a ball, but we do know Cam Newton can zip it. According to Physics in Football’s Kinematics, it took 1.25 seconds for a Cam Newton thrown ball to get in his receiver’s hands from 20 yards out, that equates to a speed of 32.7 MPH. On a pass thrown 50 yards through the air, it arrived in a timely 2.75 seconds, for a speed of 37.1 MPH. I found these numbers mind boggling, but not surprising. Cam has one of the strongest arms in all of football, it’s like a compressed coil. This in part makes some of his short passes hard to catch, and his usual one speed throws are definitely a knock against him. He has improved his touch passing since his rookie year, and is on the verge of becoming a complete quarterback. With fast wide receivers on the roster like Philly Brown, Stephen Hill, and even Damiere Byrd; there should be several opportunities to unleash the cannon attached to his shoulder this upcoming season.
There is no quarterback in the NFL today that matches Cam’s ability as a passer and runner of the football. The closest in comparison would probably be Colin Kaepernick, but he has a different style of running, and simply isn't as good of a player. This upcoming season will truly test if Cam has the ability to be great within him. A rebooted offensive line, and a plethora of weapons at tight end, wide receiver, and running back will finally give us a chance to see what he can truly do, and stop making excuses in his favor. The drive for greatness doesn't rely on the size of a body, but the size of the heart inside the body. If Cam is going to put himself on the same page with the game’s greatest; it won’t be solely because of his God-given ability, but how he puts it to work. I think Cam Newton has what it takes, watch out NFL, here he comes.
By Grant Hughes
Follow Grant on Twitter @KenjonVander