(this is Part 3 of the “Pro Draft Report” presented by Football Reporters and reposted with Permission)
BY ANTHONY S. CARILLO-Contributing Writer/Reporter/Football Reporters Online
1. Blaine Gabbert-Missouri 6’ 4’’ 236 lbs 4.62 40 Junior
Gabbert is the most polished and NFL ready quarterback in this years draft class. He has great size as well as great speed, and can make every throw that a NFL quarterbacks needs to make. One knock on Gabbert is that in the Missouri offense there were only a few reads for him to make, and if you watch the game tape there are some points where his primary and secondary receiver are covered and he decides to run, but the third option is wide open on the weak side of the field. Coming from a shotgun spread offense does throw up some concerns, but during the combine and pro day process he has shown that he has the footwork and poise to be able to run a NFL style offense.
His numbers did drop from his sophomore season to his junior campaign, but that is no need for concern. He is in almost the exact same position as Sam Bradford was in just a year ago, and we all can agree that Sam Bradford transitioned to the NFL pretty smoothly. Gabbert should be the first quarterback taken in this draft, and where ever he goes he will be battling for the starting job. Look for Gabbert to get scooped up within the top 5 picks, either to Carolina or Buffalo, and even if neither of those teams take him, he should not drop that far because 9 of the top 12 teams can make a case for needing a quarterback.
2. Jake Locker-Washington 6’2’’ 231 lbs 4.59 40 Senior
If this was last years draft, Locker would be at the top of everyone’s draft boards, but he decided to stay for his senior year, and that didn’t help him at all. He has played in an NFL style offense for the past 2 years, and has shown that he can be a great quarterback, but he has also shown at times that he can be a less than average quarterback. He has great athleticism, speed, arm strength and vision. He can throw on the run as well as drop back and stay in the pocket, and when he decides to tuck the ball in and run, he is just like a running back and knows exactly how to run the ball. One downside to Locker is that when he did play against some good teams, like Nebraska for example, he showed some signs that most NFL teams did not like, when he only completed 4 completions out of 20 attempts and showed a lot of inconsistency during the game.
Locker will most likely get picked up by a team with a veteran quarterback, letting him come in and learn the whole offense and watch a veteran play and let him get ready so he is not rushed into the starting quarterback position. When he does finally become a starting quarterback in the NFL, he has the tools to be a very effective quarterback, if he can stay consistent.
3. Ryan Mallet-Arkansas 6’6’’ 238 lbs 5.37 40 Junior
Mallet is a big quarterback, the tallest quarterback in this draft. He has a rocket for an arm, and has no problem making any and every throw in the NFL. He is the absolute definition of a gun slinger, throwing every pass and sometimes trying to hard to fit the ball between 2 or sometimes 3 receivers. He is not a very mobile quarterback, but when he stands in the pocket he can use his size to be able to see the whole field with ease since he is taller than almost every guard and center in the NFL now. In the pocket he doesn’t just stand there and not move, he can escape the rush and still keep his eyes downfield, but being as big as Mallet is does cause concern for him being able to set his feet and make an accurate throw.
Mallet is someone who is a first round pick if a team decides to take a quarterback, but he needs to learn how to be a good leader, because during the interview process there were signs on immaturity but under the right guidance he will mature quickly.
4. Cameron Newton-Auburn 6’5’’ 244 lbs 4.6 40 Junior
Newton is the player in this draft with the biggest upside, but also he carries the biggest risk as well. He has a strong arm and great pocket presence, as well as being able to throw the ball very well on the run. He can escape the rush in the pocket and is very hard to take down just like big Ben Rothelisberger. There are a few concerns for NFL teams to look for. Newton played in a total shotgun offense, and he really did not make a lot of NFL throws and really didn’t run any plays that are the typical NFL type play. Also, he has only played one full season in college as a quarterback, so the maturity is also a big issue. He has proven he can deal with off field issues this past season, which is a plus because he knows how to deal with all of the media. The things that he will need to show teams in the days leading up to the draft is his mechanics and his footwork, because in a shotgun offense you don’t need to really drop back as effectively as being under center.
Newton will be a top ten pick, but I put him at the 4th ranked quarterback because there are big risks that come with drafting him. If he is able to prove that he can run an NFL type offense and stay consistent with his throws and stay poised, he will be a very effective player in the league, but be warned everybody, be ready to see the second coming of Jamarcus Russell as well.
5. Christian Ponder-Florida State 6’2’’ 229 lbs 4.65 40 Senior
Ponder is my sleeper in this draft class to really shine and become the best quarterback out of all of the quarterbacks. He played at Florida State under hall of fame coach Bobby Bowden, and even when Jimbo Fisher took over the head coaching job, Ponder really showed his leadership and the team really did not have one of those down years as they change coaches. He has great field vision, and even better pocket presence. He can get the ball out in a hurry, and also knows when to tuck the ball in and run with his great running ability. He arm is not as strong as Mallet or Gabbert, but he is very accurate and consistent. He played in an offense that he needed to drop back as well as be in the shotgun, and he has shown that his footwork is very good.
Ponder could sneak into the first round but most likely will be a second or third round pick, but under the right guidance and coaching staff this quarterback can really blossom into a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback.
6. Andy Dalton-TCU 6’2’’ 215 lbs 4.87 40 Senior
Andy Dalton took a “mid-major” college and really threw them into the spotlight in college football over the past few years. He has a good arm, and he can make people miss in the pocket as well as throw the ball well on the run. He is very consistent and a very accurate quarterback. The only concerns is that in the Mountain West Conference, he played against some teams that some people think are easy teams to play against compared to the SEC or Big 12 teams. If he can show that he is not a quarterback that just feasted on lower level defenses he can be a late round pick and possibly flourish as a quarterback in the NFL, but regardless he will be a very effective backup for many years in the NFL.
7. Colin Kapernick-Nevada 6’4’’ 233 lbs 4.53 40 Senior
Kapernick is a very raw quarterback, but also shows a lot of upside. He has a good arm, but his mobility will be the thing that gets him drafted. He has a very lean frame, and will need to put on some weight if he wants to survive a full season in the NFL with all the hits that come with playing quarterback. He played in the pistol offense, so there is major concern about him transitioning and running an NFL offense. If the quarterback position does not work out for Kapernick, moving positions to wide receiver is a very big possibility for this prospect. He has the size and speed to be able to be an effective WR in the NFL, but if he gets the right coaching he may be able to develop into a NFL quarterback. Look for him to get drafted in the later rounds, and be a project for whatever team drafts him.
8. Pat Devlin-Delaware 6’3’’ 225 lbs 4.86 40 Senior
Devlin comes from Delaware; the same school that Joe Flacco came out of just a few years ago. Devlin is not as NFL ready as Flacco was coming out of college, but Devlin is a very good prospect for a late round draft pick. He has a good arm and he has good size for a NFL quarterback, but his consistency is questionable and is something that he is going to need to work on. If a team is willing to take a chance in the later rounds to draft Devlin, they will most likely need to take a few years to mold him into an NFL ready quarterback, but some team will over draft this quarterback because of the success that Flacco has had in the NFL through his short career so far.
9. Nathan Enderle-Idaho 6’4’’ 240 lbs 5.15 40 Senior
Enderle is one of the smartest quarterbacks in this year’s draft class. He played at least 9 games all 4 years of his career at Idaho, and has shown that he is a great leader and very passionate about the game of football. He has a very strong arm, and has great pocket presence, and even if he does get pushed out of the pocket he is able to still make an accurate throw downfield. One concern about this quarterback is his slow release as well as his consistency and sometimes his accuracy as well. He will most likely get drafted between the 6th and 7th round, as some team will possibly take a draft pick to draft this project quarterback.
10. Ricky Stanzi-Iowa 6’4’’ 223 lbs 4.93 40 Senior
Ricky Stanzi can be one of the steals in this year’s draft. He has great size for an NFL quarterback at 6 foot 4, and he is a lot a decent mobile quarterback as well. He has played in a pro style offense his whole career at Iowa, so the transition to the NFL will be a lot easier for Stanzi than for other quarterbacks. Excellent pocket presence; he is able to scan the field and find his third and sometimes fourth options in the passing game. His footwork is something that needs a lot of work. He tends to throw the ball flat-footed and off balance. He also tends to take a lot of sacks during his career, so his timing and getting the ball off is another issue. Stanzi will be drafted somewhere in the mid rounds, and he will most likely be in the NFL for a long time as a backup and possibly a starter.
11. Tyrod Taylor-Virginia Tech 6’0’’ 217 lbs 4.51 40 Senior
The best dual threat quarterback we have seen since Michael Vick came out of Virginia Tech. Has great running ability and great mobility outside of the pocket. Very strong arm, and very accurate in the short range passing attack, and does not lose any accuracy while rolling out left or right. He can throw, run, and also catch the football. Has very quick feet and is a very agile athlete, and can break tackles without breaking a stride. Will be very hard to tackle one on one in the open field in the NFL. He still needs some work on the touch passes down the field, because he tends to try to rifle the ball in instead of airing it out and leading receivers into open spaces. Could also be a very effective wide receiver in the NFL if playing quarterback does not work out, or could even be a very effective wildcat quarterback.
12. Greg McElroy-Alabama 6’1’’ 212 lbs 4.97 40
A natural born winner, at one point in his career he had not lost a football game since the 8th grade. A very smart quarterback, he has Rich Gannon like accuracy with the short range passes, but not a real strong arm to be able to really stretch the field. A great leader, look for McElroy to get picked up around the 4th round, but if teams take quarterbacks early and often, McElroy could sneak up to the 2nd round.
13. Scott Tolzien-Wisconsin 6’2’’ 212 lbs 4.93 40 Senior
Tolzien has played in an NFL style offense his whole career at Wisconsin, and is a great game-manager. He is a very smart player, getting Academic All-Big Ten honors his senior year, as well as winning the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award. Has great field vision, and rarely makes a mistake on his reads. He does not really feel the pressure in the pocket as well as coaches would hope, and that results in him taking a lot of sacks and unnecessary hits.
14. Jerrod Johnson-Texas A&M 6’4’’ 243 lbs 4.70 40 Junior
A very big quarterback who has a great arm and even better running ability. Has great mobility and is very hard to take down alone. Is able to create space and accurately throw the ball downfield to receivers. Very inconsistent at times and decision making could be a lot better than it is right now. Played in a shotgun heavy offense in college so will need to work on his footwork and drop back ability.
15. Ben Chappell-Indiana 6’3’’ 239 lbs 4.82 40 Senior
A very strong armed quarterback, but sometimes takes unnecessary risks. Can fit a football into any window to get the ball to the receiver, but sometimes forces the ball into traffic. His mechanics in his throwing motion is a concern due to his long release, but when given time to throw the ball he can be deadly accurate.
16. T.J. Yates-North Carolina 6’3’’ 219 lbs 5.10 40 Senior
A very football smart player who can figure out a defense before the defense figures itself out. Can put the ball exactly where it needs to be to complete the pass, but also when things do not go well he has been known to have a bit of a temper. Possibly another Ryan Leaf type attitude player.
17. Mike Hartline-Kentucky 6’6’’ 210 lbs 4.78 40 Senior
Very slender frame but also a very tall quarterback, so he can see the whole field with ease. Has a decent arm and can manage the game without making that many mistakes.
18. Josh Portis-California(PA) 6’2’’ 211 lbs 4.62 40 Senior
A jack of all trades type of quarterback. Big strong and fast player who has a decent arm. Can also play WR if QB does not work out for him.
19. Taylor Potts-Texas Tech 6’3’’ 220 lbs 4.95 40 Senior
Potts comes from a pass happy offense at Texas Tech, so transition to a drop offense may be a challenge for him. Has a good arm and decent pocket presence.
20. Kevin Riley-California 6’2’’ 224 lbs 4.90 40 Senior
Riley played a lot of games during his career at Cal, but has problems with accuracy and consistently.
21. Jeff Van Camp-Florida Atlantic 6’5’’ 222 lbs 4.92 40 Senior
A good game manager with a decent arm, but lacks leadership.
22. Adam Froman-Lousiville 6’3’’ 220 lbs 4.52 40 Senior
23. Chris Dieker-Southern Illinois
24. Mitch Mustain-USC 6’3’’ 200 lbs 4.80 40 Senior
25. Trevor Vittatoe-Texas El Paso 6’2’’ 220 lbs 4.72 40 Senior
26. Austen Arnaud-Iowa State 6’2’’ 226 lbs 4.60 40 Senior
27. Michael Herrick-Northern Arizona 6’0’’ 209 lbs 5.00 40 Senior
28. Carson Coffman-Kansas State 6’2’’ 205 lbs 4.95 40 Senior
29. Drew Hubel-Portland State 6’4’’ 205 lbs 5.00 40 Senior
30. Josh Nesbitt-Georgia Tech 6’0’’ 217 lbs 4.68 40 Senior
31. Ryan Colburn-Fresno State 6’2’’ 220 4.75 40 Senior
32. Ross Jenkins-Louisiana Tech 6’2’’ 212 4.75 40 Senior
33. Justin Roper-Montana 6’6’’ 220 lbs 4.80 40 Senior
34. Eric Watt-Trine 6’3’’ 200 lbs 4.75 40 Senior
35. Eric Czerniewski-Central Missouri State 5’1’’ 190 lbs 4.90 40 Senior
36. Josh Boudreaus-Arkansas-Pine Bluff 6’3’’ 234 lbs 4.64 40 Senior
37. Ricky Dobbs-Navy 6’0’’ 203 lbs 4.50 40 Senior
38. Zac Lee-Nebraska 6’1’’ 215 lbs 4.80 40 Senior
39. Keiffer Garton-Penn 6’2’’ 200 lbs 4.80 40 Senior
40. Cameron Higgins-Weber State 6’1’’ 211 lbs 4.85 40 Senior