Tuesday, April 26, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Preview-QBs

Over the next couple of days we will be breaking down position by position coverage of the 2011 NFL Draft. Today, we start with the QB position. We will give our takes on the top 5 players at each position, and will outline who will shine, who will flop, and who our sleepers will be. Without further delay, here is our take on the QB position.


     There are no surefire number one selections in this season's QB class. There are many risks, and much potential for broken hearts on much promise with very little return. One of the weakest overall classes at the QB position in a long time, as the only certain number one pick, Andrew Luck, stayed in school for another season. If your looking for a QB, find a veteran free agent, and ride it out until 2012, when the class will be richer and deeper. Let's take a look at the top five available.

Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
     Gabbert has the prototypical size that you look for in an NFL QB, at 6-4. Has the ability to see over the line, and has solid run skills when in trouble. Passed for solid yardage for the Tigers in 2010, as he averaged 245.1 yards per game through the air, with a rating of 127.3. Big hands. Totalled 3186 yards on the season. Smart, and is a solid leader. Well liked by his teammates and coaches.
     Would have been better off staying for his senior season. Only passed for 16 TDs, and tossed 9 picks last season. Seemed to regress. Did not have big games with big wins against big opponents. Side armed release. Played in a shotgun high school offense, not used to taking snaps under center. Will have problems adjusting to normal pro based offense. Will be better to go through the Aaron Rodgers route, where he can go somewhere to learn and grow without pressure. Perfect for later first round selection, and would be a solid fit for a team like New England. Makes more sense as a second rounder. Needs a solid teacher in a QB Coach.

Jake Locker, Washington
     Extremely athletic, and runs a 4.52 40, which was a better time than Cam Newton. Rocket armed. High character player. Has the necessary passion to compete and succeed. The right attitude to survive on the next level. Played 4 seasons as a starting QB for the Huskies. Ran a west coast offense, which is the predominant offense in the NFL.
     Lacked wins at UW. Lost his head as a sophomore and cost his team a win against BYU by celebrating enough to get flagged. Not ideal height at only 6-2. Had some quality wins, but lost some head scratchers, and was absolutely abysmal in the first game against Nebraska in 2010. Health issues in 2010. Missed some time due to injury. Not ready to be an impact NFL QB. Will likely be drafted somewhere in the 1st round, but we would not project him at better value than a late second or third round pick. Best hope is that he would be a solid backup. Projects to be a Jeff Hostetler type QB.

Cam Newton, Auburn
     Ideal size for a QB, and is 6-5 and 248 lbs. Passed for 30 TDs and rushed for another 20. Passed for 203 yards per game last season, his only season as a starting QB. Played in 14 games. Rating of 182.5. Completed 66% of his passes last season. Has the potential to make the big throws. Can break the pocket and run like hell, and won't be easy to take down in the open field without help.
     Played for 3 different programs in 4 seasons. Did not have a great game against the best team that he faced all season. Got down and shaken when Oregon attacked and hit him in the championship game. Was easily rattled when challenged. Played in a simplified shotgun offense, and is not used to playing under center. Would have been better off staying for two more seasons at Florida. VERY questionable character. Huge self promoter...it's all about him. Cares more about being an entertainer than being a football player and leader. Will take some time learning how to adjust to an NFL offense. Will find it hard to win over and lead a locker room. Better off going to a better team, because he never has played on a losing team. No telling how he would take to the adversity of being on a losing team. Not a good selection if you want an instant impact player. Needs to learn to think pass first. Compares to Vince Young, and may be just as eratic. Will not be coddled and babied on the next level. Probable top 10 pick, but would not take him before mid 3rd round. Too many variables and certain red flags. Money would get to his already overly inflated ego, and it may effect his output. May pout if he doesn't get his way, and is extremely disengenuous.

Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
     Can't argue his productivity. Huge production guy. Offense sailed smoothly under his leadership. Had a junior season in which he passed for 3000 yards and rushed for 1000, and extremely rare feat. Tremendous athlete and has also played basketball. Built like a hoopster. Ability to pick up and run, and runs well.
     Played some weak competition, with the exception of Hawaii and Boise State. Folded as a junior in the bowl loss to upstart SMU. Played in a funky college offense in the pistol, and has never played in a pro set offense. Not used to playing under center. Will be forced to be a pocket passer on the next level, something that he has never been. Needs time to develop, and will not be an impact guy for a few seasons. Needs to develop and learn entirely new aspects of the game. Projects as a solid backup who could get a shot if he works his ass off and puts in the time. Better fit for the CFL, where he would most definately flourish.

Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
     Huge size and can see the field. Can easily see over his linemen. Cannon arm with the ability to seemingly toss the ball 80 yards if he wanted to. Completed 64.7% of his passes for 3869 yards and 32 TDs. Can make all of the throws that you would need. Played in both the SEC and Big 10. Huge comeback wins against Georgia and LSU in 2010. Played in a pro style offense at Arkansas.
     Early out. Was a transfer after falling out of favor at Michigan due to an offense change. Has a dumb guy look to him at times, a look of arrogance at others. Lacks overall football intelligence. May get a receiver or two killed by mistiming throws. For being so tall, tends to lose field vision at times. May be too tall for the position, and at times looks like the adult throwing the ball to children. Has to sometimes look down to find a receiver due to his height. May have issues delivering the ball to a 5-9 slot receiver type. Easy target to hit. Lacks pocket presence and is easily rattled, like in the Alabama game. Slow as can be. May be a quitter. Has been alleged to have a drug habit. Likes the party.Like Cam Newton, money could go to his head. Lacks solid understanding of football terminology. Needs to be coached up. Compares to Dan McGwire, another super tall QB who never panned out. He will be drafted in the second round, possibly late first,, and some teams will be easily fooled by his size. Should go in the 5th or 6th round. Tom Brady had a better career than Mallett, and was more of a sure thing.


Andy Dalton, TCU
     All Dalton did was win at TCU. He is not the flashiest, and is not the most exciting QB on the market, but he understands how to win, and comes from the best organized program that I have had the pleasure of spending time around. He's a settled down young man who is already engaed to be married, and has his priorities straight. HIgh character, from a high character program. May not be ready right away but will be a solid backup, and certainly is not the kind of guy who loses games for you. 4 year starter for the Frogs. Big winner. May be the perfect fit for the Patriots as a developmental pick to be the heir to Brady.
     May have trouble making all the throws. Lacks ideal size. Very few real negatives other than lack of flash. Could wind up as a career backup, like a Billy Volek type, but like Volek, as always on the cusp of stepping in. Weaker competition. Projects to 4th or 5th round pick for us. Would have value going higher, say in 3rd. Could go higher than that if the right team takes a chance.

Greg McElroy, Alabama
     Very intelligent. Rhodes Scholar candidate. Winner on the highest level. Has a national championship ring. Is highly consistent. Never too high or too low. Makes solid choices and has a very high completion percentage. Low mistake totals, and won't hurt your team. HUGE character guy. Great locker room presence, and easily takes to leadership. Hard worker who knows how to break a game down.
     Lacks arm strength, not a deep ball guy. Small size. Undersized for the position at only 6-1. Overly cautious at times, and is not a chance taker. Tends to analize too deeply at times and shies away from the big play. Doesn't have the skill set to go out and be the primary winner of games, but won't lose you one either. Would fit best with an outdoor stadium, cold weather team that runs first and centrifies the defense. Would be a perfect fit for an NFC North team, other than Minnesota. Projects to be a Jason Garrett type career backup, but one who has high value. Almost like having an additional coach on the field, and has a future as a front office guy or maybe even a head coach. Probable 7th round or priority FA type. We would draft him as early as the 5th round, especially if we had extra picks kicking about.


Pat Devlin, Delaware
     Passed for 3032 yards last season, with a 22/3 TD to pick ratio. Completed just a shade under 68% of his passes for the Hens in 2010. Started his career at Penn State, but lost out on the starting job to Darryl Clark, and transferred to Delaware so that he would not have to sit out. High energy, solid motor. A winner. Missed one game due to injury, but still managed to drive Delaware to the title game. Seems healthy now and worked out at the combine.
     Could not win a job at the highest level, so instead of waiting or competing, opted to transfer. Played lower level  competition, albeit in one of the toughest FCS leages. Played in a shotgun, zone read offense. Short pass dumpoff passer, and may lack the arm strength to make the big throw. Did not play well at the East West Shrine Game. Has a thin frame. Not for everyone. Compares to another former Delaware QB in Rich Gannon, who also did not play in an NFL offense at Delaware but managed to be a productive pro. Late round pick or priority FA, but we would draft him in the 6th round.

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