Nolan Nawrocki isn’t shy when expressing his opinion and as Super Bowl 50 approaches that may have come back to bite him. The former Pro Football Weekly scribe is known for his scathing critiques of NFL draft prospects and one in particular has stood out as the gold standard of his work.
Before the 2011 NFL Draft, Nawrocki went all-in at the anti-Cam Newton poker table and nearly five years later he has clearly been sunk by a bad hand. In his fifth NFL season, Newton is poised to be the NFL’s MVP, while also guiding Carolina to the Super Bowl with a 17-1 record.
Here’s what Nawrocki had to say about Newton back in 2011:
"“Newton has a track record as a non-dependable, non-trustworthy, fake rah rah leader at a very key leadership position, he could really struggle to win a locker room. He projects as a top 15 pick in this year’s draft, but he is still very much a project. In five years, don’t be surprised if he is looking for another job.”"
I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty surprised if Newton was looking for another job this offseason.
Nawrocki was also convinced that football people weren’t as high on Newton as the media was. Here’s what he had to say about media projections of the Auburn star going first overall: “the perception in the media is a little different than in NFL circles. There’s a good chance he could slide.”
He didn’t stop there, he even threw some shade at then Panthers general manager Marty Hurney:
"“I think if Marty Hurney takes Cam Newton he’s setting himself up for a similar legacy to Bobby Beathard (the GM who drafted Ryan Leaf)…I think in three years he’s going to be out on the streets and Cam Newton is going to be a mediocre NFL quarterback.”"
Oh, but Nawrocki’s all-out assault on Newton wasn’t done, in fact he doubled down:
"“Well, most concerning is that he cheated academically for one, he’s stolen on more than one occasion, he’s also lied. So he has some serious concerns there. In the words of one general manager I talked to last night, he’s a narcissistic con artist.”"
Wow, that’s some pretty heavy criticism to lob at a kid in his early 20s. But he also called Newton “a fraud,” “very disingenuous,” and claimed Newton “always knows where the cameras are” and had a “me-first makeup.”
Look, everyone who has ever scouted players has some pretty bad misses. I once told a friend that the one person in the NBA who could turn Kwame Brown into an All-Star was Phil Jackson. How’d that work out? And to Nawrocki’s credit, he nailed his assessments of Geno Smith and Johnny Manziel. That said, Newton was his biggest, most hyperbolic take and he swung and missed completely.
Nawrocki took aim at Newton and repeatedly bashed him using words that went beyond just being critical of his interpersonal skills. He went after the kid personally and in the end he has been exposed for it.
Newton is headed for Super Bowl 50 and is the overwhelming favorite for the league’s MVP award, and Nawrocki is the one who went bust.