Now, Newton has erupted over the last three weeks, re-establishing himself as one of the most talented young signal-callers in the NFL. But former Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti, now an analyst for ESPN, says he thinks current Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota will be better than Newton at the next level.
Bellotti said Mariota is a "better student of the game" than Newton, and that Newton -- a 6-foot-5 and 245-pound physical marvel who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds at the combine -- has been able to rely on his natural gifts to get by.
"Cam has never had to work as hard, and I think he is finally now starting to get it and spend time in the classroom with the coaches," Bellotti said. "A lot of things come really easy to Cam. I think he still thinks he can just go out there and do it.
Depending on one's perspective, this is actually a good thing. Cam must be doing something right (even though Bellotti doesn't fully realize it).