When you think of some of the greatest years in Auburn’s football history, you think of 2010. That season was led by none other than Cam Newton.
The Patriots find themselves in an interesting position with the decision between new signee Newton and second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham, but Newton is the obvious pick between the two.
Newton has four years of professional play under his belt before Stidham even started his NCAA career. Let’s break it down chronologically.
Newton transferred and started playing for Auburn in 2010. Newton started the first game of the season and led Auburn to one of its most successful seasons. The Tigers went undefeated under Newton’s leadership and won the BSC National Championship, where the Tigers defeated Oregon 22-19.
He had a 66% completion rate during this season, passing for 2,854 yards. This performance earned him the Heisman Trophy, and he was taken with the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers.
Newton won the starting position almost immediately. His rookie season may have only resulted in six wins, but it showed the endurance of a young quarterback and the potential he could bring to his team.
Over the next two seasons, Newton improved enough to lead the Panthers to their first playoff appearance under Newton in 2013. The season featured an eight-game winning streak and a 61% completion rate from Netwon.
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As the season ended, Netwon had plans for a small surgery that ultimately had the consequences of a four-month recovery.
That surgery and another hairline fracture from the preseason didn’t slow Netwon down, though. He took the Panthers even further into the postseason with the team’s first playoff win in nine seasons.
Newton had proved who he was as a player in college and the NFL by 2015. This was also the year Stidham started his career as a backup quarterback at Baylor University. This comparison alone shows how much more ready Netwon is to take the starting spot for the Patriots this fall.
Since 2015, Newton has slowed down due to injuries but still led his team into the playoffs. All the while, Stidham was just up and coming into the college football world.
This last season speaks volumes of the two quarterbacks. Newton, coming off of shoulder surgery, played in two games, passing for 572 yards. Stidham played backup to Tom Brady but had small opportunities to prove himself in three games, passing for just 14 yards with an interception.
Looking forward to next season for the Patriots, they have a lot to prove. They have to prove they can still be a winning team without Brady.
Newton has the criteria and experience to fill those shoes. Ultimately, Stidham just isn’t seasoned to take on a role this large. Stidham continuing as a backup to Netwon will give him a greater insight as to what an NFL quarterback is.
Patriots fans should plan on seeing Netwon’s name listed on the depth chart as QB1.
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