NFL Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills Evaluation of Cam Newton

From Vikingsgab.com

Cam Newton during his days at Auburn.

One name in April’s NFL Draft seems to be floating around the city of Buffalo like a lake effect snowstorm in January.

Cam Newton.

While there are many reasons as to why Newton would fit with the Bills, there are also just as many reasons why Carolina could pull the trigger on him with the first pick in the draft. Just last week both of ESPN’s draft experts, Todd McShay and Mel Kiper project Newton to be selected first overall by the Panthers.

The Panthers are in a similar situation as the Bills; many holes to fill and a quarterback currently on the roster who wouldn’t be a complete waste of time to move forward with, Jimmy Clausen. Clausen was a second round draft pick last season out of Notre Dame, and has shown signs of potential, but still plays young. But like the Bills, if they feel there is a franchise changing quarterback available, you can’t pass him up.

But is Newton that type of player? He is notorious for being in the spotlight for off the field issues, and he has been criticized in the media for this. While enrolled at Florida, Newton was suspended for being in possession of a stolen laptop. And also the pay-for-play recruiting scandal involving his father with Auburn. Both of these mistakes on Newton’s part have split the NFL organizations on whether or not the self-proclaimed superstar is mature enough to lead a team.

You need to form your own opinion as to whether or not you feel these are fair criticisms, but know that it takes more than talent to be a franchise player in this league. I feel that this criticism isn’t undeserved, when a player makes mistakes such as Newton has, you can’t expect everyone to ignore them. Talent can only bring you so far in the NFL, and with teams investing so much money into you, you can’t blame them for taking everything into account.

There is no question that Newton has the ability to lead a football team to victory. There hasn’t been a guy in college football who has shown this much talent combined with that much will to win in the past decade. But when he comes into training camp this July (well maybe not if the players and owners don’t stop this ridiculousness) he’s going to have to earn respect from veterans on his team. If he walks on to the practice field and acts like he’s the most important guy out there, he’s going to have enemies immediately. When Tim Tebow came to the Broncos this past year, the whole team knew he was coming in with hype and a media circus. But what did he do? He worked his ass off, he didn’t see himself differently than anyone else on the team.

I’m not saying Newton will come into camp hot doggin’ it, I don’t know him well enough. But I do know he was quoted saying this during an interview with Peter King of Sports Illustrated.

“I see myself not only as a football player, but an entertainer and an icon.”

He’s got the right idea; football is more than just being a player in the modern era. Everyone knows this, you don’t need to mention it Cam. All sports are is entertainment. Look at Peyton Manning, he knows this better than anyone. The amount of commercials he does is silly, but does he go out of his way to let everyone know that he is an entertainer? Nope. He just does his job, and he’s one of the best ever at doing it.

I don’t want to make any judgments on Cam, I’ve heard he’s a great kid. I’m just presenting what the Bills are going through while making a decision, whether or not they feel he is the type of player that can be the face of a franchise.

The draft is still weeks away and a lot can happen before then. Who knows, maybe the Panthers drafting Newton ahead of the Bills could be a blessing in disguise, giving the Bills an opportunity to draft a much-needed defensive play maker such as Texas A&M’s Von Miller.

Regardless, the Bills are going to have an opportunity to draft a quarterback with the third pick, either Newton or Blaine Gabbert. The decision the organization has to make is one that will affect the future of the Bills greatly. If you blow a top five pick, it will set your franchise back. And if you blow that top five pick on a quarterback, it will set you back even further. Chan and Buddy Nix know this, and they are taking everything into account while evaluating Newton.

Follow me on Twitter @C_Rahn and @billschronicle