Predicting Where The Top 5 QB’s Land


The NFL Draft is just 3 weeks away. There are many questions that need to be answered, but perhaps the biggest question is where will the quarterbacks go? This is a very intriguing quarterback class with no clear cut #1 quarterback. In previous years, Sam Bradford, Matthew Stafford, and Matt Ryan were all pronounced franchise QB’s and were the heads of their respective classes. This year, there seems to be a lot more discussion as to who is the best quarterback. Some will say Cam Newton, the very athletic quarterback with tons of upside, but character concerns. Others will say Gabbert, the big, strong armed quarterback who needs to learn to play from under center. Additionally, Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett, and Christian Ponder are all QB’s who have a decent chance of going in the 1st round. The fact is that no college quarterback is perfect coming out of college, but this year that sentiment remains especially true. However, all of these QB’s will still be drafted. The question is where? Let’s take a look at where these 8 potential starters could wind up.

Cam Newton, Quarterback from Auburn

From a physical standpoint, Newton is one of the most impressive prospects to come out. He stands at 6 ft 5, 248 pounds. He was a Top Performer at the Combine in the 40 yard dash, Vertical Jump, and Broad jump with marks of 4.59, 35 inches, and 126 inches respectively. He has an elite arm. He can sling the ball anywhere he wants with little effort. He was a leader during his brief time at Auburn leading his team to the National Championship.

On the downside, there are a lot of questions about Newton’s character. Newton came under fire from the NCAA earlier in the year when there were questions about whether Newton’s dad received money in exchange for Newton’s attendance at Auburn. Additionally, he has been characterized as immature and a prima dona. From a football stand point, Newton only has 1 year of collegiate experience and none of it was spent in a NFL style offense.

Prediction: Carolina Panthers

Ron Rivera needs a quarterback and Newton is oozing with upside. If Newton works hard and stays out of trouble, he will be one of the best quarterbacks in the league someday, but that is a big if.

Blaine Gabbert, Quarterback from Missouri

Gabbert is a well put together prospect with all the tools to be a great player. He stands at 6 ft 4, 234 pounds. He had marks of 4.62 for the 40 yard dash, 33.5 inches in the Vertical Jump, and 120 inches in the broad jump. He’s got a fantastic arm and will have no problem making all the throws required in the NFL. He is an above average athlete more then capable of scrambling for a first down if necessary.

The main negatives for Gabbert have to do with the style of offense Missouri ran. At the University of Missouri, the team ran a spread offense. He has little to no experience playing from under center. Additionally, Gabbert has to improve with his reads. Often times, Gabbert would only make one read before he scrambles out of the pocket.

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals

Ken Wisenhunt’s could be fired from the Cardinals if there isn’t significant improvement this year. If the Cardinals want to be competitive in the NFC West, they need to get a new quarterback because Max Hall, Derek Anderson, and John Skelton are not going to win them many games. They would most likely want to get a player like Kevin Kolb or Kyle Orton, but with the CBA being a mess, they aren’t able to acquire any veteran player. Gabbert is a nice prospect to groom for the future and if he shows promise, he could save Wisenhunt’s job.

Jake Locker, Quarterback from Washington

Locker is a physical, athletic quarterback who was once viewed at as a top 5 pick. However, he returned to Washington for his senior year and his draft stock has pummeled since. He is 6 ft 3, 231 pounds with 4.59 speed and a 35 inch vertical. He has good mechanics and operated from a pro style offense at Washington. He has very good arm strength and very good awareness in the pocket.

The biggest thing with Locker is his accuracy. He struggled mightily in his Senior year, particularly against the University of Nebraska. He played Nebraska twice, once during the year and once in the Holiday Bowl. In both of his starts, he totaled just 9 completions out of 36 for 127 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions.

Prediction: Buffalo Bills

I think Locker would fit very nicely with the BIlls. He is a hard working kid who needs time to develop. Thankfully, the Bills have Ryan Fitzpatrick who can start while Locker learns the ropes. If Buffalo believes Locker can be their franchise caller one day, they can use #3 and the rest of their picks to focus on defense. I don’t know if they will need to trade back up into the 1st round, but if Locker is there at their second rounder, I can see the Bills pulling the trigger.

Ryan Mallett, Quarterback from Arkansas

Every draft analyst agrees: Mallett is the best pure passer in this draft. He has a rocket of an arm that can sometimes lead him a stray. He thinks he can fit passes through tight windows and it occasionally will not work out. He stands at 6 ft 6, 238 pounds. He’s as athletic as a snail running a 5.3 40 yard dash. He has displayed a nice touch when asked to drop the ball into a deep receiver.

Mallett comes from Bobby Petrino who has never put out a good QB. He struggles with inaccuracy. His arm is so strong that he relies on it and has some bad mechanics because of it. Finally, there are a ton of character concerns with Mallett. There have been tons of reports that he had drug problems and doesn’t have a good work ethic. It will be up to Mallett to persuade a team that they do not have to worry about those problems.

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals

This is becoming a very common pick, but it makes sense. The Bengals need a franchise caller with Carson Palmer vowing never to play for Cincy again. If Mallett can overcome his character concerns and work on some of his mechanical problems, he could be a great QB in the league. How good he will be is entirely on him.

Christian Ponder, Quarterback from Florida State

Ponder was a highly touted player before injuries started derailing his performances. He is a bright, high character player with good mechanics and instincts. He has good pocket awareness and good small to medium accuracy. He has a good understanding of defenses and shows good anticipation.

Ponder’s senior year was pretty poor thanks to significant injuries that hampered his play. However, his tape as a junior is pretty impressive. He has average arm strength and his general upside might not be that high. His lack of arm strength is apparent in his deep passing.

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars

David Garrard is not the future of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He is 33 and he is an average quarterback. The Jags need a QB and it would not surprise me if they reach for one at #16. Ponder is an accurate, high character guy that can run the Jaguars offense. Keeping him in-state will also be a plus.

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