2011 NFL Draft Preview – Quarterback
The 2011 NFL Draft features the most debatable Quarterback class, in terms of ranking, in recent memory. It is loaded with boom or bust prospects, athletes, and not one starter from Day One. Here is a breakdown of the Top QB prospects.
Blaine Gabbert, Missouri: Gabbert threw for over 3,100 yards and 16 touchdowns, 9 INTs this past season. Ran for 475 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has come a long way since replacing Chase Daniel who took the program back on the map and was inexplicably undrafted. That is not to say he ever struggled, in fact, I’ve been impressed with him since he played Illnois as a sophomore. My favorite part of his game is his ability to hit the receiver in the numbers.
I never expected him to be a potential #1 overall pick. Gabbert surprised some by declaring for the draft after his junior season, but he was a prized prospect entering college who has built a nice reputation. Prediction: Top 15.
Cam Newton, Auburn: In one season as the starting QB Newton threw for 2,854 yards with 30 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He completed 66% of his passes and had a 182.05 QB rating. On the ground he gained over 1400 yards and scored 20 touchdowns. He led his team during eight come-from-behind victories. Although, many of those comebacks were done with his feet and playfakes. Cam was so dominant in college, like Michael Jordan in NBA, because not only was he bigger than the defenders but also faster.
Newton played in an option offense in college and will certainly need work learning how to read defenses, probably more so than Gabbert. His deep ball accuracy is elite but his short-range accuracy is needs work as the ball sails on him at times. I recently compared Cam Newton to Donovan McNabb and think he will be a Top 10 pick.
Jake Locker, Washington: Threw for 7,639 yards and 53 touchdowns during his career (injured during Soph year). Posted 17 TDs and 9 INTs this past season. There are some outstanding athletes in the QB class of the 2011 NFL Draft and Locker may be the best (former baseball player). H was never surrounded by a ton of talent in college, and nonetheless plagued by some accuracy issues (58.2% was his best season). Locker’s collegiate career inevitably disappointed. Like many of the other QBs he has issues, most notably his footwork. He is definitely a gamer (see BYU 08, USC this year) who has a lot to work with at the next level. Late first, probably early second round pick.
Christian Ponder, Florida State: Threw for 20 TDs and 8 INTs while completed 61.5% of his passes. Ponder is another mobile QB (although only 180 yard last season), who has been a little turnover prone in his career. He has impressed many scouts in preparation for the Draft and has seen his stock rise. But he does have some concerned with his health as his junior season was cut short due to a shoulder injury. Adequate arm strength, accuracy, and vision on the run make Ponder an intriguing prospect. Prediction: Early second round
Ryan Mallett, Arkansas: In two seasons at Arkansas he threw for 62 TDs and 19 INTs. He had nearly a 65% completion percentage and despite being sacked 25 times didn’t lose a fumble. Mallet has had a turbulent career, first starting at Michigan and transferring to Arkansas. He is not much of an athlete, but sure does have a rocket arm. Some have started called him Ryan Leaf 2.0. He didn’t look like much of a leader this past season and his performance (see also: attitude) in the bowl game was discouraging. Another thing that caught my eye was how well Arkansas played after he was injured versus Auburn. Prediction: 2nd Round
Colin Kapernick, Nevada: Only player with 4000 rushing and 10000 passing yards. Completed 65% of his passes and threw 21 TDs, 8 INTs. In four seasons, 82 passing and 59 rushing touchdowns. I really enjoyed watching CK play for the past four seasons at Nevada. Not only is he a dynamic player, but he is also a fiery competitor and a natural leader on the field. His 6’6 frame combined with a strong arm and great mobility has impressed scouts around the country. Nevertheless, he will need time to develop, both transitioning from the Pistol offense and his in delivery. Prediction: Late 2nd round.
Entry filed under: NFL Draft. Tags: 2011 nfl draft, blaine gabbert, cam newton, christian ponder, colin kaepernick, draft preview, draft rankings, Football, NFL, NFL Draft, QB, Quarterback, ryan mallett, Scouting, Sports.