The first installment of Phil Simms and Boomer Esiason talking about the NFL Draft centered around stats, and how much they may or may not impact the draft process. Today, we talk quarterbacks. Four or possibly five could get drafted in the first round next Thursday, including Cam Newton going first overall.
Q: The big topic of discussion leading up to the draft is regarding QBs. Cam Newton, Mallet, Locker – how good is this class? And what do you think of Newton as the first overall pick in the draft?
SIMMS: I do not think it’s a special QB group at all. Every year, the quarterback gets overvalued. It’s the only thing everybody can talk about it. It’s the leading story on every draft show. Turn on the NFL network [Ed. Here goes Simms again with his sarcasm] – I can’t even watch it – same stories every week now. What about Cam Newton … what do you think about Cam Newton? Cam Newton? Cam Newton. It’s the Cam Newton network. He’s the hot story. Sports stations are just going to talk about what’s hot. Everybody wants to keep the viewers. It’s numbing.
ESIASON: I know Cam a little bit. I met him in 7th grade. When he walks into a room, he lights up a room. He has the QB presence. The one thing about him that cannot be minimized is the presence he has … I think people were a bit taken aback because he called himself an icon. But this is an ESPN world, a Madden football world where they’ve seen what other athletes who have gone to great heights have done with their careers.
SIMMS: Last year, it was Jimmy Clausen, Jimmy Clausen, Jimmy Clausen. He’s our top-rated QB!. Wow. I don’t get it. He had a good career at Notre Dame, and that was great. Was he a top 10 player? No. But he was a good player. But all that was out there, every day … what about Sam Bradford? Oh, well he is injury-prone, what will happen? Hey, how about the 7,000 throws he had before he got hurt? It is sort of like when Matt Leinart was coming out and [people were saying] you couldn’t mention Jay Cutler in the same sentence … that’s moronic. It’s incredible that was said. I’m going to evaluate the guy, then I’ll rank them. I can only go by what I see on tapes and on TV. It’s not going to change every 4 days. Once I evaluate and rank, it’s over.
Q: Where do you draw the line when it comes to drafting a talented player with character concerns? What do you look for that allows you to make the selection?
ESIASON: I understand that kids in college drink. Anyone who thinks any different … it’s asinine to think these guys should live life with a bible in their hands because they play football. But i would hope guys like Newton and Mallet can learn from the Ryan Leafs of the world that you have to go out on the field and earn it. Nobody cares what you did in college. All they care about is production. Talking is not production. I would certainly be worried about some of that stuff, but … I can sympathize with some of the issues these guys are having. I think I had character issues coming out of college as well. I can imagine what it must feel like to read the pundits.
Q: Do you like Cam Newton best of the 2011 QBs? Would you take Cam Newton first overall?
SIMMS: I would take Cam Newton with the first pick for a lot of reasons. Ryan Mallett is the most gifted and natural thrower, by far. Locker I think will fit certain teams very well. Gabbert is more of a quick-rhythm thrower. I don’t look at him as a dynamic downfield thrower. But if the Panthers draft Cam Newton first, there’s the ticket sales and ESPN and the NFL Network will be at the Panthers’ training camp every day. Can you give us a status report on Newton? How did he do today? You will be like, ‘wow’ when you see the amount of coverage he gets. If they draft Gabbert, how much time will he get on TV?
Cris Collinsworth, Boomer Esiason, Howie Long, and Phil Simms appeared at an NFL Draft preview event in New York City on Monday night, April 25th, as part of the newly formed The Experts Network (TXN) http://www.TXNSPORTS.com. Follow TXN on twitter: @TXNSports.
The Big Lead has exclusive access to Collinsworth, Esiason, Long and Simms to get their thoughts on the NFL Draft. We will be publishing those interviews, as well as additional custom video content from the event which will be available at The Big Lead.