One of the prospects that the Bengals are considering for the fourth pick in the upcoming NFL draft (in case you haven't heard), is Cam Newton of Auburn. Some, including Chuck Ludwig, believe that if he's there at No. 4 the Bengals won't hesitate to take him. Clearly, he's one of the most physically gifted athletes in this years draft class. At 6'5, 240 lbs, he was able to run the 40 yard dash in 4.6 seconds. And it doesn't end there -- he was also the best quarterback in all of NCAA college football last year. He lead the Tigers to an undefeated season, winning every game in the 'NFL lite' league, also known as the SEC, eventually defeating the Oregon Ducks in the BCS national title game. He did so in impressive fashion, completing 66.1% of his passes for 2,800 yards and 30 TDs, earning the nations best QB rating of 182.05. It doesn't end there either. Newton then ran for nearly 1500 yards, adding 20 TDs on the ground. And to put a cherry on the top, he also caught one receiving TD. So for those of you counting out there, that's 51 touchdowns that Newton was solely responsible for, last year alone. Statistically, Newton was among the best ever to play NCAA football.
So what's not to like about Newton? Well if your name is Nolan Nawrocki, it's his smile. Of Cam Newton's negatives, Nawrocki has this to say in his scouting report,
Very disingenuous — has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup. Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them. Has an enormous ego with a sense of entitlement that continually invites trouble and makes him believe he is above the law — does not command respect from teammates and always will struggle to win a locker room. Only a one-year producer. Lacks accountability, focus and trustworthiness — is not punctual, seeks shortcuts and sets a bad example. Immature and has had issues with authority. Not dependable.
To be fair, Newton's character has raised some red flags. He got into trouble at the University of Florida for an incident involving a stolen laptop, and was later under investigation again for allegedly accepting money from the University of Auburn to play for them. Without a doubt, these are legit character concerns. But his smile? It's not like Newton is auditioning to become a host of Sesame Street here.
Nawrocki's comments are understandably drawing plenty of scorn in the blogosphere not only because of the harshness with which he roasted Newton, but also because he has never actually met Cam Newton. If you needed any more proof that the NFL news cycle is becoming a 24 hour business, look no further than this report. Like it or not, we live in a world where smiles, flag pins and magazine subscriptions make the news if it has to do with somebody famous.
I'll leave it up to you to decide if you want the quarterback of the 2011 Bengals to have a genuine smile.