Most people talking about the top quarterbacks in this year’s NFL draft say Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert is the most NFL-ready passer, but Cam Newton’s potential is through the roof because of his amazing athleticism. Bills General Manager Buddy Nix, who is taking a close look at Gabbert and Newton with the idea that he might draft one of them, doesn’t necessarily see it that way.
In fact, after Gabbert visited the Bills on Friday, Nix said he views Gabbert as comparable to Newton athletically.
“People don’t realize,” Nix said, “they talk about what a good athlete Cam is, which he is, but this guy is a very similar athlete.”
Watching the two of them play, it sure didn’t seem that way, as Newton was a much more effective runner than Gabbert in college: Gabbert had 112 carries for 232 yards and five touchdowns last season, while Newton had 264 carries for 1,473 yards and 20 touchdowns.
But in terms of straight-line speed, Nix has a point: Gabbert’s 40-yard dash time at the combine was 4.62 seconds, just three-hundredths of a second slower than Newton’s.
So the question may be: Why, if the two of them are such similar athletes, was Newton so much more effective at turning his athleticism into on-field production?