On Sunday, Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese, as well as former Bengals receivers coach Mike Sheppard, got a chance to work out with the quarterbacks participating in the 2011 NFL Combine. The voice of the mother ship, Geoff Hobson, was there to tell us who looked good and who didn't. And according to Hobson, it wasn't Cam Newton who wowed the coaches and scouts with his arm, it was Arkansas' Ryan Mallet.
The 6-6, 240-pound Mallett is the one guy that looks like a NFL quarterback when he drops back in the pocket. He had no problem throwing the go, or the deep out, or any other route.
ESPN analyst John Clayton added:
"As for Mallett, Clayton said he was flawless "arching the ball with perfect touch and hitting receivers in stride. On out routes to the sideline, Mallett delivered his best fastball and was perfectly accurate. The ball exploded into receivers’ hands."
Hobson also mentioned Nevada's quarterback Colin Kaepernick's workout. Kaepernick has the most velocity on his passes but wasn't as accurate as Mallet was.
Coming out of the anti-pro pistol offense, he would be the perfect developmental quarterback behind a solid No. 1 because he'll need two to three years to develop.
Even though Washington's Jake Locker did impress scouts by running his 40-yard dash in the same time as Newton's, his passing performance failed to make anybody go "wow." However, Clayton still didn't get too down on Locker.
"He opened by showing great arch and touch on seam routes down the middle of the field," Clayton wrote. "Though his throws on slant routes were fine, a drop and a miss-step by a receiver led to two of three incompletions…(he) wasn’t as sharp in two of his three `nine’’ routes to his left, being a little high with a couple of throws. Locker bounced back with a strong performance of throws to his right. He completed two of three throws on short ``out’’ routes."
TCU's Andy Dalton had a good workout as well. Of all quarterbacks, he had the highest percentage at the combine but he struggled on long passes and passes over the middle of the field.
And finally we get to Heisman winning quarterback Cam Newton. While he impressed some coaches and scouts with his news conference, according to Hobson, he sounded "defensive when challenged" during some of his individual interviews. As for his workout, a report on ProFootballTalk.com says he looked terrible.
Opinions may very well vary. The reality, however, is that teams that love a player will be inclined to say bad things about him, both to throw other teams off the scent and in the hopes that the player will be available when the team uses its first draft pick. Teams that hate a player will be inclined to say they love a player, in the hopes that someone else will burn a pick on the guy, pushing truly coveted players farther done the board.
In another report by ESPN's Tim Graham, Newton overthrew receivers and calls his workout "underwhelming."
Newton was off target throughout, frequently overthrowing receivers. But it should be noted quarterbacks work with unfamiliar receivers at the combine. They run at different speeds and break varying routes.
Since the Bengals are going into the Combine and the Draft as if they're not going to have Carson Palmer on the roster next year, there's a decent chance (probably better than decent, actually) that they'll have to address the quarterback position in this year's draft. Even though Mallet impressed scouts with his workout, he didn't impress them with his press conference and interviews.
The Bengals are going to have some tough decisions to make in the coming months.