Today Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer was in Bradenton, FL for the Buccaneers' mini-camp. While this normally wouldn't register on the radar, in the case of a lockout any information is good information-- especially when Tampa's QB Josh Freeman worked alongside Newton at IMG Academy prior to April's draft.
While we didn't get a great deal of information from Freeman, what we did get was fairly complementary of the rookie QB. He described Newton as "clearly talented", but was quick to assert that he and Cam are very different athletes, characterizing Newton as "faster". Furthermore, it also seems that Freeman isn't buying into the common theme that Cam will take a long time to develop as a QB saying that the Panthers "have enough leaders in the locker room" to ensure his transition is easier than expected.
More after the jump
It's important for Carolina Panthers' fans to realize that Newton is not an analog for Freeman. While they share a similar build and throwing motion Cam is not as polished a passer as Freeman was coming from Kansas State, however, what he lacks in the pocket he more than makes up with his ability outside it. That being said, both Newton and Freeman share one aspect of their careers- both were seen as physically gifted, but players who needed a lot of work upon entering the NFL.
Personally, I believe Freeman is on the cusp of being one of the finest QBs in the NFL, provided he can repeat his stellar 2010 performance. What this means ultimately is that the NFC South will remain a terror for defenses forced to deal with Freeman, Ryan, Brees and now Newton.