The scouts knew that Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett were going to throw the heck out of the ball Tuesday at their Pro Days.
But the questions remain. Newton's raw footwork and ability to adapt to an NFL offense and Mallett's off-field concerns and slow foot speed.
Yet physically they put on a show. NFL.com reported that Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was part of the throng watching Newton complete 50 of 60 passes and ESPN.com reported many of the incompletions were dropped. Newton worked under center and analyst Mike Mayock said on NFL Network he was impressed with the power Newton drove out of his five- and seven-step throws, the balls he has to throw in the NFL after leading Auburn to a national title from a three-step shotgun in a spread scheme.
But even though Mayock says Newton proved Tuesday, "he can make every throw," Mayock says his footwork is still raw, he has to speed up his release, and "you either buy into the kid or you don't." And former NFL general manager Charley Casserly went as far to tell the NFL Network audience that Newton "is a project. He still has vision issues. He still has instinct issues. There's no comparison between him and (Blaine) Gabbert."
Meanwhile, NFL Network reported that Mallett had a sensational day throwing the ball with the reminder that he's the only one of the top quarterback prospects who comes out of a system in which he consistently threw out of three-, five- and seven-step drops. But there is some fear that Mallett's glacial 5.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash and an uninspiring 26-inch vertical leap point to a bunch of sacks as he learns the pro game.
They weren't slam dunks going into Tuesday and the experts are saying they're not slam dunks now despite the fireworks. Newton still has top 10 talent, they say, and NFL.com wondered if Mallett's big arm got him back into the bottom of the first round.