Andrew Luck or Cam Newton?
If this question was to be asked, most wouldn’t think twice and pick Andrew Luck. Why? The word “prototypical” comes to mind. Luck has the size, accuracy, arm strength and athleticism most people prefer in a pro system. Andrew Luck came into the NFL after a stellar college career at Stamford University. It was there under coach Jim Harbaugh that Luck was able to go toe to toe with powerhouses like USC and Oregon. Luck entered the NFL as the most “sure thing quarterback prospect” since Peyton Manning, who he ultimately replaced in Indianapolis when he was drafted #1 overall. Luck had a squeaky clean image accompanied with a degree in architectural design as he entered the draft in 2012. Cam Newton may not have the accuracy of Andrew Luck, but his over-all athleticism puts him in a very limited class of people in the NFL.
While attending Auburn University, Cam Newton accomplished two things Luck didn’t in college: he won a National Championship AND a Heisman Trophy – and he did it in his one year as a starting quarterback. Cam Newton played in the SEC which is known for having the most pro-ready defensive athletes in a college conference and absolutely scorched everyone he played totaling over 4200 total yards and 50 touchdowns. Cam Newton was also taken with the number one overall pick but he didn’t come into it without some criticism. Nobody denied his talent, but questioned his character. Newton started his college career at Florida but was arrested for being in the possession of a stolen laptop which subsequently left him to transfer to a junior college, Binn, the following season (where he dominated as well and won the NJCAA Championship). Also, while being recruited by Auburn, Cam’s father, Cecil Newton, was accused by Mississippi State University of trying to get “more than just a scholarship” for his son to transfer there.
Aside from the “baggage” Cam brought with him, he immediately became “must watch” football in the NFL and even set the record for most passing yards by an NFL rookie in a season with 4051. It was an amazing feat until it was broken the following season by Andrew Luck who threw for 4374 yards. . . And while Luck was riding that impressive rookie season, questions about Cam Newton arose. In Cam’s rookie season, he was all smiles and energy week in and week out – but he suffered that “sophomore jinx” – you know, the same one many face after defensive coordinators have a season’s worth of tape on you, so they break down your mechanics and tendencies. . .
Cam appeared less like the jubilant kid with the big smile, and instead exemplified the characteristics of a spoiled brat. His body language was terrible, his effort seemed questionable in losses and word around the league was that he was a hardcore “diva.” All of this was going on while Andrew Luck was being anointed as “the next big thing.”
Luck found himself in a better situation than Cam Newton. Add to the fact that Luck did bring all the tools to be star from day one – it was a smooth transition. Consider that while Andrew Luck was being coached in his rookie season by a great offensive mind in Bruce Arians and was helped along the way by having future hall of famer, Reggie Wayne to throw to – it was in Luck’s favor not to fail. Cam Newton on the other hand had a defensive minded coach in Ron Rivera and although he had a future hall of famer in Steve Smith to throw to – Steve Smith is not the prototypical build or personality as Reggie Wayne is. There was also something Cam needed to learn that Andrew Luck already understood. Cam had to realize, he doesn’t have to try to do it all.
While in college, Cam literally was Mr. Do-It-All. Due to his amazing abilities he was able to manipulate his talents to his advantage and take it to anybody he faced. . . at the college level. In his rookie season, he pretty much played the same way but as previously mentioned, he found himself struggling by year two. While people questioned his maturity and actual ability, Cam Newton himself realized he needed to be a better leader and study the game more because all he knows is to win, and that’s what he needs to do. By his third season Cam polished his mechanics a bit more, was more in tuned with reading defenses and most importantly showed patience in the pocket. He had his lowest totals in passing and rushing yards but that’s because he understood he didn’t have to rush things or try win the game on every throw. Carolina had one of the best defenses in the league – when you have that on your side, as a quarterback the best thing to do is keep drives alive and limit the turnovers, which is what he did and helped lead Carolina to a 12-4 record, bringing Cam to the playoffs for the first time. Cam had to restrain his instincts and sacrifice personal stats for the betterment of his team – which is what a leader does.
Andrew Luck has found himself in the playoffs in the two years he’s played, and under two different head coaches. Most thought Andrew Luck’s numbers would’ve been higher by his second season but they actually lessened from 4374 passing yards to 3822. He did cut his interception numbers in half from 18 to 9 but alot of these stats are due to the fact that he threw the ball less under coach Chuck Pagano . . . which seemed to make no sense. In a league where it benefits you to throw the ball, especially with a talent under center like Luck – many were left scratching their heads as to why Luck was being held back.
Keep in mind that while Cam Newton is in a division where he has to win in shootouts against the Falcons’ Matt Ryan and the Saints’ Drew Brees – Andrew Luck has had the luxury of playing the Titans and the Jaguars twice a year – add to the fact that Houston was terrible last year, which made that division a cake walk.
Is there a clear cut advantage of picking either Andrew Luck or Cam Newton? To some there might be. It all depends on the type of quarterback you’d rather have under center. Andrew Luck brings what every team wishes they had in terms of character, intellect and ability to the position. Cam Newton brings a package we’ve never seen at this position and has showed that when he applies himself he has the smarts to break down defenses and make the intelligent decisions come game time. Both are still young in their careers and it should be a fun ride for us, the fans to enjoy for a long time.