I wanted to look and evaluate the 2nd tier quarterback prospects from the upcoming draft.
And I’ll do them in order of where I’d rank them!
Jake Locker, Washington College Stats: 7637 Yards, 53.7 Completion %, 53 TDs, 35 INTS
I like Locker. He hurt himself by going back to school, and I’ll buy the questions about whether his heart is in football or not. All the scouts say he’s better outside the pick than inside, but here’s what I like. His mechanics are sound, he’s been a sound leader for the Huskies, all the concerns for him are fixable. His accuracy is the only one that could potential be a problem, but there are many less accurate passers currently in the NFL. Locker, like most 2nd tier guys, will need a soft landing place, and if the Vikings can get a hold of him at a good price (say early 2nd) then I think he has a long productive future ahead for him. If a team with a mess of needs (say Buffalo) tries to plug him in day one, he can easily flounder.
Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
College Stats: 10098 Yards, 57.9 Completion Percentage, 82 TDS, 24 INTS
The buzz around this kid is that he’s got great upside. He’s got a cannon for an arm, which wasn’t always utilized by the pistol offense of Nevada. He’s fast, like Tebow, and can throw on the run as good as Locker. The concerns are all about his mechanics. Watching him throw, for anyone that watches a lot of football, is pretty ugly. One arm is almost immobile through the release. There’s a lot of untapped power in his arm. His footwork is good through the drop back, but once he hits his peak the disconnect between his upper and lower body saps some of that momentum. Despite all of this, he’s an incredibly accurate passer. It’ll be up to a coach to decide if he wants to spend the time tweaking that throwing motion, because Kaepernick’s arm strength is excellent already. The Titans are enamored with him, reportedly, and there’s some talk that he may be sneaking up to the late 1st (even the Colts have been rumored as a destination for him, which would be a good fit).
College Stats: 6872 Passing Yards, 57.6 Completion Percentage, 49 TDS 30 INTS
Ponder began his last year with an outside chance to move into the 1st round. Despite a strong season for FSU, his numbers didn’t jump off the board. He had career best in touchdowns, but his completion percentage dropped from the off the charts 68% to a 61. His yards also fell. The problem with Ponder is that he didn’t carry the team. He got out of the way of their success and managed them to a solid season, but he didn’t provide a big boost and win games for them. An elite quarterback does what Andrew Luck did this last season, he decimates opposing defenses in college. However, Ponder has a lot of potential. His accuracy is off the charts which means he’s a likely target for a lot of timing based west coast teams. His arm strength could be better, but Joe Montana had similar concerns and he seemed to work out pretty good. He could struggle in windy areas, ie Brady Quinn. The best landing places for a Ponder could be San Francisco, Cincinnati, or Minnesota (the first of which is probably the best of the three).
Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
College Stats: 8388 Passing Yards, 54.6 Completion Percentage, 69TDS, 24 INTS
Mallett’s about as far opposite from Christian Ponder as you can get. Ponder’s pretty squeaky clean whereas Ryan Mallett legion of red flags following him. Ponder’s arm is a major concern, Mallett’s is his biggest strength. Ponder regressed a bit his senior year, Mallett excelled his junior season. They’re two quarterbacks that fit different team needs. Mallett is a pro style guy. He flourished in a high octane offense that utilizes a lot of pro concepts. He’s the Jimmy Clausen of this year, again with a lot of concerns, but he’s a winner in college and a leader on the field. He’s a statue in the pocket, but Tom Brady often looks like the Statue of Liberty and he seems to be working out. If a team can protect him, he can dissect a defense at the next level. He’s got to stay clean however, and with some drug use rumors, as well as some law incidents in college, following him around, it might be late 2nd or 3rd round that Mallett finally hears his name called. Cincinnati is the best landing spot, but Buffalo, Washington, Arizona, and Miami could all be decent fits for him. Just one teams got to love the player for him to get drafted.
Andy Dalton, TCU
College Stats: 10314 Passing Yards, 61.7 Completion Percentage, 71 TDS, 30 INTS
I like Dalton enough. He’s been very accurate, but he’s pretty average in terms of mobility, arm strength, and mechanics. He won’t wow you on tape, but he’s consistent in the pocket and can buy time. He’s always been a winner too. TCU climbed from the rank and file to an upper echelon team during Dalton’s tenure. His yards and completion give a testament to how good he was at TCU. He has the potential to be a starter in the NFL, but he doesn’t have a very high ceiling. He reminds me of a Trent Dilfer, Kerry Collins, or Chad Pennington. He’s got some characteristics in common with all of them, but isn’t any one of them (for instance his arm strength is much better than Pennington’s, but probably less accurate). San Francisco has been taking a long look at him, and he that could be a team that he could step in day one and manage the show around him. He’ll probably be a 3rd-4th round draft pick.