We all love anonymous scout opinions, where people that refuse to put their name on something dish on a young man. Sometimes, though, the concerns and issues pointed out by someone in confidence prove to be accurate. I thought I would take a look back at some recent past quarterbacks who have played enough for us to make an evaluation, and see if the scouting comments proved prescient or problematic.
Bob McGinn, who used to write for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel compiled scout comments on the draft for years, and so I am looking at what he relayed for the 2011 to 2014 drafts.
2011, of course, was the year of the lockout and also the year that Cam Newton was entering the league. That entire spring was full of negative comments about Newton, most notably with the controversy involving Nolan Nawrocki’s assessment of Newton.
I could not find a recap that went down each QB individually, like some future editions, but McGinn did go in depth on Newton.
Let’s start of with this fire assessment from one scout. “I don’t like any of them, really. There’s no Sam Bradfords. There’s no Josh Freeman. I think they’re all second- or third rounders.” That one does not stand up well to history. Freeman flamed out soon after and Bradford never became a star, while Cam Newton won an MVP award, Colin Kaepernick appeared in a Super Bowl, and Andy Dalton has started for almost a decade.
Bill Polian was quoted as saying there was a big dropoff after Cam Newton, but of the 24 personnel people interviewed by McGinn, most thought Newton would be a bust. Sixteen of them had Blaine Gabbert as the best quarterback in the class, and only two thought Newton would be a perennial pro bowler.
Some scouts did favor Newton, though. One said, “our coaches just ripped his (expletive), but I’d take him top-10. This guy is so talented, so much a winner, such a force.”
That scout has largely been proven right.