If not for race card, Cam Newton would be No. 1
Published: Sunday, March 27, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 1, 2011 11:04
OK, I'll say it: A black quarterback can't be the best quarterback in the NFL Draft because the NFL doesn't want one to be.
That is the only reason that former Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert is even in the discussion as the No. 1 signal caller.
It's obvious that Auburn's Cam Newton is by far the best quarterback in the draft, and that Gabbert is a novelty and future bust.
Where was Gabbert when Stanford's Andrew Luck was still presumed draft eligible? Nowhere, also known as Missouri.
Before January, Gabbert was not even on ESPN's draft expert Mel Kiper Jr.'s ‘Big Board'.
Luck was the consensus No. 1 quarterback. The prototypical passer with size, a good arm, accuracy, intelligence, and most importantly, whiteness. There is no doubt, though, that he was the most polished passer in the draft and deserved to be the No. 1 overall pick.
Flash forward to Jan. 6. Luck announced he will return to Stanford to finish his degree and almost in chorus, scouts began prepping the rise of Gabbert. That same day, Gabbert made his debut on Kiper's chart at number nine.
The plan had begun.
He was an apt replacement. He had the size (6-foot-5-inches, 240 pounds), a big arm, good looks, handled the media well, and most importantly, he's white.
He began to rise up the talking heads' draft boards. Kiper and fellow ESPN draft expert Todd McShay babbled about how he was rising fast and could be the most talented passer in the draft. During the East-West Shrine Game, McShay mentioned he could be the No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers.
Then, he landed the No. 1 quarterback spot on all the draft boards and the plan was almost complete.
But, just to make things better, Newton decided to throw at the Combine and so the talking heads criticized his decision and intelligence. Arkansas' Ryan Mallett and Washington's Jake Locker participated in passing drills as well. Both are also viewed as potential first-round quarterbacks, but neither were criticized.
Gabbert was in the right place at the right time. Yeah, he has enough talent to be a first-round pick. But it is no coincidence that when Luck announced he was staying, the scouts also seemed to notice Gabbert.
They were looking for him. They had to replace the prototypical-passer Luck with another white guy, a face of the franchise.
What scouts love about Gabbert (size, arm strength and athleticism) is also what sets Newton apart. The scouts say Gabbert has better accuracy, but Newton has a slightly higher completion percentage (66.1) than Gabbert (63.4).
Newton is by far the best quarterback in the draft but has "character issues." Why? Because he stole a laptop and threw it out of a window.
Newton also won the Heisman, and singlehandedly took an undefeated Auburn through the South Eastern Conference to the National Championship.
Character issues? Sounds like a hard worker to me. Look how Newton handled himself with all the pay-for-play allegations.
He did have one bad throw, however, in the end zone during the championship game against Oregon. Newton comes from a spread offense (as does Gabbert), has character issues and he's dumb.
Why is it that black quarterbacks are never smart enough for the NFL? The media won't say he's dumb, they just say that they question his decision making, his discipline or that he has character issues.
When Vince Young came out of Texas, many criticized his low Wonderlic test score. But last year Tim Tebow bombed the test yet everyone stood by him, calling him a football player ... blah, blah, blah.
There are some bright spots, however: former Titans head coach Jeff Fisher invested heavily into two black quarterbacks (Young and Steve McNair), Donovan McNabb is one the most respected players in the league, and the media embraced Michael Vick in his return.
Many believe that the Vicks and McNabbs are changing the way the NFL views its quarterbacks.
But, Gabbert's forged rise to the top shows that the NFL is still looking for the safe, traditional passer — the white passer.