The Cam Newton experience has shuffled through Indianapolis. Now the bigger question is, where will he shuffle to next?
Buffalo is said to be very much in the conversation to draft the athletically gifted Auburn quarterback, but would he be willing to come to a place like Western New York? From all indications at his press conference Saturday, the answer is yes.
"As far as any teams right now, I'm not going to get particular on which teams that I'm interested in because right now I'm interested in every single team that's in the NFL who's willing to take me as a player," said Newton.
That's a great start for someone as polarizing as Newton is to a lot of different people.
To me, he looked and sounded to part of someone who is going to represent a franchise in to the beyond. He comes across with respect for the game and poise. Say what you will about how Ryan Mallett handled his press conference, but there is a notable difference between how Mallett and Newton handled their questioning.
One gave a leader's type of answers, the other could have handled things a little bit better. It's just the difference between a top five pick and a third round pick. Maturity is a very big factor in the draft process.
Newton cited preparation as something that is necessary for success at the next level, being the first one in watching game tape at team facilities. Now, I know, these are just words, but it's good to know his mind is in the right place. He talked about how much of a competitor he is and how he wanted to do anything and everything at the NFL Combine, very much in the mold of current Jets starting quarterback and former top five pick Mark Sanchez.
He addressed anything and everything regarding his past. After his opening statement regarding the 'entertainer and icon' comments that pointed out how they were a bit misunderstood, he then also took fault in the matter by saying he should have made himself a little more clear. Newton talked openly about his relationship with his father, the University of Florida allegations and the pay-to-play scandal in front of the biggest congregation of media I've seen here in Indianapolis.
Yes, the press conference was bigger than Tim Tebow's was last year.
The only thing I didn't like is that he referred to himself in the third person once. Here's the exact quote:
"For me, I'm just going to continuously keep working on my craft, and that's to become the best quarterback possible during this transition. Obviously everybody knows that Cam has been in a spread offense and I have been trying to work as much as possible on trying to be fluent and coming from under center. With the three-step game, the five-step, also the seven-step drop. Me and George [Whitfield] have been working day and night in the film room on the chalk board or on the field throwing rocks."
But after that, he showed humility for the game and the journey he's gone through. This will likely be the quote that people remember from his press conference at the Combine, the one that showed maybe he does really get it even with all the questions lingering over his head.
"With Cam Newton or without, the NFL will be. I'm just honored for this opportunity to be going in to the NFL."
He's got the personality to be a franchise quarterback at the next level, but now the bigger question is this: Does he have the game to take a team and win a Super Bowl? It's one that each of the teams at the top of the draft will have to ask themselves when they talk about drafting Cam Newton.