Pro Football Focus released a list of the 101 best NFL players of the 2016 season, and former league MVP Cam Newton is nowhere to be found. You can see the entire list here.
On Thursday’s episode of The Herd, Colin Cowherd argued that while Newton may be one of the most marketable players in the NFL, he proved he’s not among the league’s elite on the field.
Cowherd: Newton is not one of the nine best QBs in the NFL
“Pro Football Focus, and they do their homework here, top 101 football players in the NFL has been released over the last couple days. And I overwhelmingly agree with it. Tom Brady is No. 1, Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams, defensive lineman, is No. 2. Aaron Rodgers No. 3. Kahlil Mack.. they’ve got all the good players. They moved Matt Ryan up [to No. 5]. They have four Broncos in the top 30.
But I want to tip my cap – and they have a lot of the offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys. You know who’s not on the list of the 101 best players in the NFL? Cam Newton.
Thank you for being honest.”
Cowherd: Newton’s numbers don’t lie
“The media panders. The media panders and apologizes for bad behavior and bad play if they like somebody. Cam Newton is not an elite quarterback in this league. Nine quarterbacks made this list, he’s not one of the best nine quarterbacks.
Cam’s career numbers – forget his name:
58 percent completion percentage.
136 touchdowns, 80 picks.
A quarterback rating of 86.”
Cowherd: Cam Newton is the Blake Griffin of the NFL
“Ryan Tannehill is better in all of those [categories]. Ryan Tannehill.
Cam Newton’s great looking and he’s got the smile and the big arm and I know he’s on every commercial. But Cam, to me, plays a lot like Blake Griffin. Nobody’s doubting Blake Griffin’s talent… but Blake Griffin’s not winning you games. The Clippers often go on winning streaks when Blake doesn’t play. Have you seen the Clippers’ record when Chris Paul doesn’t play. Last two years it’s 4-12. This Clippers win 68 percent of their games when Chris Paul plays, they’re 4-12 when he doesn’t. The Clippers went on a 10-game winning streak when Blake Griffin didn’t play.”
Cowherd: Newton’s status has been elevated due to one winning streak
“Cam Newton’s big and strong and handsome and got the smile and got some flair and he’s a great athlete. He’s not a top-10 quarterback. Every metric tells you he’s average.
Of the 91 games he’s played, he’s 50-40-1. And his career has largely been elevated by because of 10 games. Not this past year, the year before, he had a 10-game winning streak. They played the second-easiest schedule in the league at the time to the New York Jets, and they got on an emotional streak.
But even that year they got to the Super Bowl, Cam and the Panthers weren’t any good for the first seven weeks of the year. So he had a hot streak, but Pro Football Focus is saying what is absolutely, metrically and statistically, true. He is not an elite quarterback.”
Cowherd: Newton has a lot of room for improvement before the snap
“And I know two people who have played for the Panthers and have been in the huddle. He doesn’t audible at the level of the elite quarterbacks – the Russells, the Andrews, the Toms, the Drews and the Matts. He doesn’t audible to that level, he doesn’t check down to that level. He is a remarkable talent but the great ones, the all-time ones, manipulate pre-snap. He does not, at all, or very irregularly.
So hat’s off their for being honest there and saying ‘I’ve got nothing against Cam,’ but he is elevated to a status that is right there around Drew Brees. It ain’t close. Not close.”