The Second Coming of Ryan Leaf?

It’s here. It’s finally here.

I hoped it wouldn’t be.

Christian’s are waiting around for the second-coming of Jesus Christ. Well, NFL fans no longer have to speculate. The second-coming is here.

Ryan Leaf is back, in the form of…

#1 overall pick Cam Newton.

I really can’t help but feel this is going to be a HUGE bust, possibly the biggest since Alex Smith.

Cam Newton is an awesome athlete, don’t get me wrong, and at 6’5″ he’s definitely a force. He’s hard to bring down and has the mobility and speed to escape some pretty wicked pass rushers.

Well, NCAA pass rushers.

Newton is in for a long haul. Not only is he playing in Carolina, where the receivers drop more passes than hippies on LSD, but he gets the luxury of having an unstable front office who apparently aren’t concerned with the growth and development of their players.

After all, they did draft a quarterback last year.

Even all that aside, we have to look at Newton himself. In college, he ran a simplistic offensive scheme at Auburn, which definitely won’t translate in Carolina. The Panthers have been forced in recent years to run the ball – a lot. Newton’s accuracy and decision making are also in question. No doubt, he has a powerful arm, but what he really needs is the ability to connect passes, especially with receivers who make Eddie Drummond look like an All-Pro on the outside.

Now, here’s the meaty part.

The Panthers did what everyone thought they would do, but what is also what everyone HOPED they wouldn’t do. Honestly, I wanted the Panthers to fix their defense a bit, maybe draft Von Miller or something, but I guess when it comes down to it, GM’s don’t really draft for positions they need, but on who they think will put fans in the seats.

Let’s see how many fans show up to watch Cam Newton set an NFL record for interceptions in a season when the Panthers sit at 2-13 at the end of the season.


Now, why the Ryan Leaf reference?

Every year, from the beginning of February through the end of August, every personality who even acknowledges the NFL tries to figure out when we’re going to get the next Ryan Leaf.

For those who don’t know…

In the 1998 Draft, Ryan Leaf was looked at as a superior quarterback to the great Peyton Manning. I know, weird, right? And so, he was drafted second overall by the San Diego Chargers. He fell apart before the season began. Poor games with lots of turnovers and an unfriendly relationship with the media tainted him, but some owners within the league thought he was rushed into the starting job in the wake of Stan Humphries’ retirement. The Buccaneers gave him a shot, and he fell apart, so did the Dallas Cowboys. He retired in 2003, after five seasons, with a quarterback rating of 50.0 and a TD-INT ratio of 7-18, which is, on average, 7 touchdown passes for every 18 interceptions. He is also, according to NFL Network, the biggest quarterback bust of all-time.

Still not getting it?

Newton is in the exact same situation Leaf was. An unstable team (the ’98 Chargers were in the Super Bowl just three season before and had fallen mightily and the Panthers have been a cellar team since 2008); An unstable coaching staff (the ’98 Chargers had turned Kevin Gilbride’s job to June Jones after the sixth game of the season and the Panthers just recently fired long-time head coach John Fox); Problems with wide receivers (the ’98 Chargers receiving core was more-or-less intact from the ’95-96 Super Bowl team, but horribly underachieved during the ’98 season and the Pathers’ receiving unit led the NFL in dropped passes from 2009-11).

Both Leaf and Newton were big, quick, and strong athletes, but lacked some accuracy in their passing. Leaf played a similar style of offense at Washington State as Newton did at Auburn, and in fact, the two both had been accused of having a less-than-desirable work ethic.

I guess, in a way, only time will tell if these accusations are correct, but I have a feeling about this one. Cam Newton is not being put in a position to succeed, and hopefully, if he ends up walking the path of Ryan Leaf, he’ll notice it and get the hell out of Dodge.

I really wanted to see Carolina make a smart draft pick for once, and they had the first overall with over three hundred people to choose from. They could have picked any ailing position and grabbed the best guy for the job. Yeah, a quarterback is necessary, but how are you going to win games when your defense continues to give up between 24-30 points every game?

Again, only time will tell these answers – but as it looks right now, Cam Newton is on the fast track to becoming yet another quarterback bust.


About Robert L. Franklin

Ah, the About Me section - social networking's excuse for you sounding like an elitist prick. Hmm... what to say? What to say?
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