Blog Entry

Who Ya Got: Cam Newton or Andrew Luck?

Posted on: November 1, 2011 10:35 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2011 1:01 pm
Posted by Will Brinson

Sometimes the most difficult questions can only be answered by bringing the brightest minds together, Roundtable style. Today's question: who would you rather have right now, Cam Newton or Andrew Luck?

If Andrew Luck left Stanford last year, the Carolina Panthers were going to take him No. 1 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. He didn't, and they were "stuck" with Cam Newton, one of the most highly-debated quarterback prospects in NFL history.

Cam's been, um, pretty good this year, if you'll indulge a little reverse hyperbole. But is he good enough to warrant passing on Luck, the biggest can't-miss prospect since John Elway in 1983? Who would you take right now if you had to pick one quarterback -- Luck or Cam?

Pete Prisco: Cam Newton or Andrew Luck?  Isn't that like asking whether you want pepperoni pizza or sausage pizza? Prefer DeNiro or Pacino? You can't go wrong with either of them, even if they are different.

Newton, the Panthers' hotshot rookie, has proven a lot of doubters wrong. He hasn't played like a rookie, and he sure doesn't play like some expected. He is a pocket passer, not a player who runs around. He isn't Vince Young, but more like Ben Roethlisberger.  As for Luck, he might be the cleanest NFL prospect since John Elway. I love the way he plays the game. He is smart, accurate, tough and carries himself like the next great star.

So who's my choice? I'll take Luck -- but barely.

PS: I like both sausage and pepperoni on my pie.

Mike Freeman:This is a serious question? Take a player who is proving to be one of the most dynamic rookies in history over an unproven commodity? Take the next great quarterback over a guy whom we have no idea how he'll react once the Klieg lights start to burn?

Not only would I take Newton over Luck. I'd take Christian Ponder as well.

Just remember these two words when anyone guarantees how a college player is going to star on the next level: JaMarcus Russell.

Clark Judge: This one's a no-brainer. I'll choose Andrew Luck because he's the perfect pro prospect, trained in a pro system where he takes snaps from center, operates out of the pocket and has experience with reads and progressions. No, he can't run like Cam Newton, but what do you want -- a quarterback or a running back? Me? I want someone who wins, is accurate, knows where to go with the football, makes quick and smart decisions and doesn't make stupid mistakes. Andrew Luck not only is the best quarterback in this year's draft; he's the best player, period. And he might be the best prospect in years. He took a program that hasn't had a history of great success, put it on his shoulders and carried it into the top 10. I have no doubt he can do that at the next level. 

Ryan Wilson: Without hestitation: Cam Newton. The simple answer is that we've seen Newton for two months and not only is he a legit NFL quarterback, but if he continues to improve, even if incrementally, he's a top-10 quarterback.

Luck, by all accounts, is a once-in-a-genration talent, the best, most complete passer since John Elway in the early '80s. I don't disagree but here's the thing: say you watched last Saturday's Stanford-USC game on a black and white television and the decals had been removed from the helmets. Would it it be obvious to you that Luck was the superior talent compared to Matt Barkley? Did Luck even outplay Barkley?

Josh Katzowitz: We've seen what Newton can do in a real, live NFL game. We've seen him use his amazing athleticism. We've seen his arm strength. We haven't seen him win much, but he will. What do we know about Andrew Luck? He's one hell of a college player. But so was Tim Tebow. So was Eric Crouch and JaMarcus Russell. Hell, even Jason White was pretty damn good in college. I'm not saying Luck is like any of those guys, and I'm not saying Luck can't be a better quarterback than Newton. But we know what we've got so far in Newton. We don't know squat about how Luck will perform in real, live NFL games. I'll go with the awesome present instead of taking my chances on a future that might or might not be more awesome.

Will Brinson: You know how we spend every waking moment debating Tim Tebow's existence? You might have forgotten, but we did the exact same thing all summer long, only it was about Cam Newton and whether he could be an NFL quarterback. We are no longer doing that, because Newton's doing something that Andrew Luck hasn't done yet: succeed in the NFL. Even the Panthers would probably admit if Luck had left Stanford they would have taken him, because Newton wasn't a sure thing.

But he's a sure thing now, unlike Luck. Don't get me wrong -- I buy the hype on the Stanford quarterback. And he could very well be a once-in-a-generation guy. 

But Cam Newton and all his physical abilities are once-in-a-lifetime. We've never seen a person play quarterback that has the combination of mobility, physical stature, arm strength, etc., as Newton. Now that he's shown he can adapt to the NFL game and that his learning curve is vastly shorter than any of us ever imagined, the sky is absolutely the limit with him as an NFL quarterback. And while we may eventually see someone like Newton again, it certainly won't be in next year's draft.

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Since: May 26, 2011
Posted on: November 3, 2011 11:17 am

Who Ya Got: Cam Newton or Andrew Luck?

Romo is actually a pretty good example of my point.  He came in with high hopes and little track record, had a great string of games and everyone anointed his greatness.  Since then we are still waiting for his greatness to arrive. 

Since: May 26, 2011
Posted on: November 3, 2011 11:15 am

Who Ya Got: Cam Newton or Andrew Luck?

Good points by War Eagle and Coach Faber.  I realize that Luck is a big gamble.  I realize that many before him were busts when predicted for greatness.  (By the way, no disrespect to P Manning intended, the article mentioned him as the last quarterback to be such a sure thing by the scouts, so I was agreeing with that.) 

What I don't get is how you can be so sure Cam isn't going to be a bust too.  It seems to me the argument that many college QB's don't make it holds against Cam as well.  OK he's had 8 good games.  Clearly he still has a LOT of work to do.  Plenty of guys never make those adjustments successfully.  There were so many doubts about his character, his work ethic, the translatability of his skills, his short track record, and now all of that is wiped away in half a season?  Heck for some people they were converted in a game or two.

I need more convincing.  I'm not dissing him, he may well become a great QB.  I'm just saying he is still a pretty big gamble, so the extra risk for Luck who may have a more traditional profile makes it worth taking the risk on him instead.


Of course, Luck MIGHT be a bust.  Definately could happen.  A lot will depend on which team he goes to and what they do with him.  But all we can do is look for the better bet and that's what I'm trying to do. 

Since: Nov 3, 2011
Posted on: November 3, 2011 1:24 am

Who Ya Got: Cam Newton or Andrew Luck?

Hmmm...guess you never heard of a QB named Doug Williams who was the MVP of Super Bowl XXII? Not only was he the winning QB and MVP, he also set the record for passing yardage in a SB up to that time of 340 yards and passed for 4 TD's! He was the first AA QB to ever play in a SB and he won it! Yep, a 6'4" mobile black QB. Guess who he destroyed that day (the final score was 42-10). A pro-style QB named Elway who threw 3 INT's! Here's a quote from Hall of Fame player Sam Huff about the game, "I tell you what I hope Doug Williams does - I hope he puts to bed, once and for all, (questions) about the black athlete in pro football." Sad that 23 years later we still have to listen to racist tripe like yours. While I do hope Luck succeeds in the NFL and can't wait to see him play, this is the easiest no-brainer ever. I would take Newton hands down. He will break every NFL rookie record ever this season. Given the steep learning curve to being an NFL QB and the incredible rookie season he is having, I only expect him to get better and better. He has proven he can be a pocket passer. Have you even watched one of his games? He provides highlight reel plays in every game. And I am not even a Panthers fan. I am a Cowboys fan. But I would give the Panthers Romo and a bunch of draft picks in a heartbeat for Cam. Read the Charlotte Observer is you want to see how one player can take the worst team in the NFL last year and get their fan base excited again and sell out games. Best of Luck to Luck but give me Cam by a landslide! 

Since: Nov 2, 2011
Posted on: November 2, 2011 11:11 pm

Who Ya Got: Cam Newton or Andrew Luck?

as a Panthers fan, if we somehow ended up with the first pick again (which we won't) I would 100% take Luck. But not to play him, I'm totally overjoyed with Newton and wouldn't trade him for anyone except Aaron Rodgers. But someone will be willing to pay dearly for Luck, I'm talking at least 2 first and 2 second round picks.

Since: Oct 18, 2006
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:53 pm

Who Ya Got: Cam Newton or Andrew Luck?

SCD, fair enough.

Isn't 8 games of pro experience more of a gauge than 0 games pro experience? That alone is where the bird in the hand comes from, sir. You can add that the level of play which Newton has played with is far and above not only what anyone expected, but well past the level of any expectations for a rookie QB. Any rookie QB.

You can't simply call Newton an unknown quantity at this point. He isn't.

Comparatively, can't you question Luck's cred? He plays in the Pac-10, not exactly a hotbed for tough D. He is being called 'pro ready'. So was Matt Leinart. So was Jimmy Clausen. So much so there were people calling teams fools for passing up on him. Pro ready does not translate to NFL ready. Or NFL good.

Put it this way. If somehow the Panthers had the #1 pick this year as well...would you pick up Andrew Luck if Cam Newton were your starter?

(dang, that's actually a really good question)

Since: Oct 11, 2006
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:50 pm

Who Ya Got: Cam Newton or Andrew Luck?

Ok, let me first LAUGH at BOTH Mike Freeman and Judge here. Sorry, but i would NOT take Ponder over Luck. Ponder has played ok, but he's not Luck, NOW i laugh at Judge for saying Newton's a running back HA, funny. Now, knowing what i know now, it's Newton over Luck, though like Prisco says, it's like asking what's better between two things you really like.

Since: Aug 25, 2008
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:49 pm

Who Ya Got: Cam Newton or Andrew Luck?

SCD1234 really?!?!?!?! You take what you don't know over what you know. You said a lot of players have a good or better 8 games or even a season? Think about how many players get drafted then try to figure out how many guys have a good 8 games or so from that number, it's not a lot man. To play good at the QB is even harder bc every mistake is magnified. They have pretty much the same offensive talent on offense except for two tight ends that one was called over the hill and the other was to soft. Now with him at the helm they are one of the most explosive offenses in the game. So yes I take any proof over none.

I do not care that this guy tears up defenses every saturday ,Tebow did that, Leaf did that. I want the guys who do it on sunday already. The good college player normally doesn't even make it on a pro roster. These guys he will be going against are stronger, faster, heck just better then he has seen on a field at one time. He is a great college QB but to set a franchise back possibly a decade for a hunch over the known is crazy to the most simple man. Also when he gets to the pros you wont have such novice defensive plans as you do in college, reading coverage vs. Arizona is nothing like reading it against any pro team.

Also do not disrespect such guys as Payton Manning and say he is the best recruit for 20-30 years. P Manning was great in college and even better in the pros. So lets not put Luck in that class yet please. A lot of great college QB's are coaching because they couldn't cut it in the NFL, it is extremly tough. You make it sound like a right of passage but its anything but I played QB and the difference in levels is big its not just size of the guys. Not saying I was any hwere need the worst QB ever in D1, they were better then me but I got to see the difference first hand and now I coach as well haha. Luck needs to hope he has just that some "Luck" on his side its not a done deal.   

Since: Jun 16, 2007
Posted on: November 2, 2011 12:57 pm

Who Ya Got: Cam Newton or Andrew Luck?

I like Andrew Luck but you have to say Cam.  The Panthers offense was dead last in the NFL in 2010.  With Cam they're in the top five and he's second in passing yards and tied for second in the NFL in rushing TDs.  He brings a new element to the game.  Luck will be very good, probably, but he could go to a trainwreck of a team and be stuck between a bad offensive line.  It's impossible to say what he'll look like in an NFL jersey.

Since: Apr 21, 2011
Posted on: November 2, 2011 12:33 pm

Who Ya Got: Cam Newton or Andrew Luck?

All I know is Cam Newton is filling the seats and that should be all that matters.

Who the hell would want to watch Clausen throw 3 picks and the Panthers lose by 30 pts every week?

I hope Luck is an awesome QB, and that he goes to a division rival so we can see these two twice a year, what a treat!

Since: May 26, 2011
Posted on: November 2, 2011 12:24 pm

Who Ya Got: Cam Newton or Andrew Luck?

Here's what I don't get.  Everyone is saying it is a "bird in the hand situation" where you know about the performance of one, but not of the other. 

Why does anyone think that?

Can Newton has played in what, 8 pro-football games?  And OK, he has played well in them, but does that really tell us anything about him?  Lots of players have 8 good games, or even a good season, and then regress. 

I would say what we have here is TWO unknown quantities, and in that case, I'd want the one with the better chance of future success.  The one with the background of a top-rated quarterback, the pocket passer.  Not a guy how has surprised all of his doubters for 8 games. 

It's kinda funny to me, before the season, may people questioned whether Cam could even be a pro quarterback at all.  Now they are arguing to pass up on the best prospect in at least 20-30 years based on the performance of 8 games?  I don't get it.

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