Draft Breakdown: Quarterbacks

April 8th, 2011

Renowned draft guru Justin Pawlowski, aka The Commish, continues to hammer out his intense draft analysis here and on the draft page at 620wdae.com. Might the Bucs be looking for a quarterback in the late rounds? Doubtful. But if they plan to move Josh Johnson? …



1. Cam Newton – Auburn
6’5’’ – 248 lbs – 4.59
Top 5

Why The Commish would take him: Well, it’s pretty easy to take a player who might be the best athlete to ever play the quarterback position. He’s Tim Tebow with a lot more talent. Newton’s strong arm allows him to make throws all over the field. Obviously, he’s bigger and faster than most quarterbacks to ever be in the NFL.  Finally, I find it extremely impressive how Newton dealt with as much adversity that was around him and still lead Auburn to a National Championship.

Why The Commish would stay away: There are plenty of issues swirling around Newton, but what he does on the field matters to me most.  My biggest question is how Newton will fair in a pro-style offense and having to read NFL defenses. As for his off-the-field antics, I would look at how he handled all that adversity in college and rely on the background work my department does. I think Newton’s character concerns are not as heavy as most people think.

Commish’s Final Say: Comparisons to Vince Young or JaMarcus Russell were unfair and just flat out wrong early in the draft process.  Newton has never once had his work ethic questioned. As for Vince Young, Newton has already handled 10 times more adversity than what Young couldn’t handle.  Newton is a great talent that will need to put his work ethic to use mainly in the classroom and film room in the NFL.

Comparison:   Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers

2. Blaine Gabbert – Missouri
6’4’’ – 234 lbs – 4.62
Top 15

Why The Commish would take him:  What I like most about Gabbert is his quick decision making. In Missouri’s spread offense, the quarterback has to make quick decisions on every pass play and get the ball out of his hands. Gabbert is also very accurate on the short quick passes. I also think Gabbert’s athleticism is underrated due to so many athletic quarterbacks already in this class. I think Gabbert ranks right up there with the rest when it comes to athleticism.

Why The Commish would stay away:  Two glaring weaknesses have me most concerned.  First, Gabbert’s accuracy on throws more than five yards down the field was awful.  Sure, many throws at Missouri were short and quick throws, but you got to have accuracy down the field to be considered an elite quarterback in my eyes. I also am very concerned about Gabbert’s ability to handle the rush.  It seemed as though Gabbert would lose his cool whenever the pressure would get to him. Being a high draft pick means your’re probably going to a bad team with what could be a poor offensive line.

Commish’s Final Say:  I’m not as high on Gabbert as others are. I also didn’t fall for his performance at his pro day.  Scouts and analysts were gushing about Gabbert after his pro day, but that enthusiasm has faded as scouts go back and watch film on Gabbert. His lack of down-field accuracy is most concerning and could drop him from the top 5 on draft day.

Comparison:   Kyle Orton – Denver Broncos

3. Christian Ponder – FSU
6’2’’ – 229 lbs – 4.65
1st/2nd Round

Why The Commish would take him: Ponder’s intangibles are off the chart. He’s a fantastic leader, great in the huddle, and has a great work ethic. Ponder is also a very accurate quarterback who might be best suited for a west-coast offense. Ponder is also comfortable under center in a pro-style offense. That means Ponder is experienced reading defenses and making reads in the pass game.

Why The Commish would stay away:  Health and arm strength are the major concerns surrounding Ponder. The last 2 seasons have been cut short for Ponder with a shoulder injury to his throwing arm in his junior season and an elbow injury to his throwing arm as a senior which required two in-season surgeries. 

Commish’s Final Say: Technology is a funny thing as I remember Drew Brees going down with a catastrophic shoulder injury before signing with the Saints and becoming one of the great passers in the game today. Ponder reminds me of Brees coming out of Purdue.  Ponder might not be the flashiest quarterback, but he might have the best intangibles, which NFL teams cherish in a quarterback.  I’m definitely not saying that Ponder will be just like Brees, but they do have similar qualities.

Comparison:   Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints

4. Ryan Mallett – Arkansas
6’7’’ – 253 lbs – 5.50
1st/2nd Round

Why The Commish would take him: Mallett is the best pure passer in this draft. He is also the most NFL-ready quarterback in this draft.  Mallett should be able to step into any offense and not have any issues throwing the football. Strictly by play on the field, Mallett is the best “quarterback” in this draft.

Why The Commish would stay away:  It’s no secret that Mallett has some questionable character. I’m still not sure if I believe the drug rumors that were floating about. Mallett has still proved to be a bit of an issue when it comes to his attitude. He has been compared to Eminem, which is not a good thing. Mallett also did not handle the media well at the combine.  I worry that if the going gets tough in the NFL, whether Mallett will be able to handle it.

Commish’s Final Say:  It takes just one team to fall in love with a player and draft him.  There have been many rumors surrounding Mallett, but the fact is Mallett is the quarterback that is most ready to step in and play right away in the NFL.  I think a quarterback like Mallett is worth  taking a risk on in the late 1st or early 2nd round.  I wouldn’t be shocked if Mallett went much higher or much lower than most people think.  His range is as big as any player’s in the draft.

Comparison:  Phillips Rivers – San Diego Chargers

5. Jake Locker – Washington
6’2’’ – 231 lbs – 4.59
1st/2nd Round

Why The Commish would take him: Locker has a ton of experience against top competition. I also like the fact that Locker played in a pro-style offense at Washington. Locker is an incredible athlete with a strong arm. Locker also has great intangibles. He’s a great leader, has a great work ethic, has lead his teams to wins late in games, and has played in horrible weather.

Why The Commish would stay away: Accuracy. Locker had seven or fewer completions in theree separate games last season.  He struggled with accuracy in games, at the senior bowl, and at the combine.  I’m the type that does not want my NFL quarterback without accuracy.

Commish’s Final Say:  I still think Locker could get drafted high, but I have major concerns about him ever developing his accuracy.  He does remind  me a lot of Jeff Garcia.  Garcia was a fiery quarterback who had control of the huddle and was a great athlete.  I laugh, though, when people call Garcia accurate.  If you saw how many open receivers he missed as quarterback for the Bucs and how off target his throws were, you’d be sick.  With that said, Garcia had a successful career, and Locker could have the same.

Comparison:  Jeff Garcia – San Francisco 49ers

6. Colin Kaepernick – Nevada
6’5’’ – 233 lbs – 4.53
1st/2nd Round

Why The Commish would take him:  There is a lot to like about Kaepernick. First, he’s a humble kid without any glaring or major concerns. That is really good for this QB class. Kaepernick is an unbelievable athlete with an incredibly strong arm. He was a four-year starter at Nevada, so he has a ton of good experience, including some in big games.  Kaepernick is a great leader and has fantastic work ethic.

Why The Commish would stay away:  Kaepernick did not play in a pro-style offense, so there are questions about him taking snaps from under center, reading a defense, and being able to go through a progression.

Commish’s Final Say:  I am concerned that Kaepernick is more of an athlete with a strong arm than a quarterback. He does possess some unique physical skills that are very intriguing.  With proper coaching and development, I think Kaepernick could be special.

Comparison:   Randall Cunningham – Philadelphia Eagles

7. Andy Daulton – TCU
6’2’’ – 215 lbs – 4.87
1st/2nd Round

Why The Commish would take him:  Intangibles are strong with Daulton. He won MVP in three separate Bowl games. Daulton is an outstanding leader with great work ethic. He is also very tough and durable. Daulton is also a very confident player with great mobility inside the pocket.

Why The Commish would stay away:  There’s nothing real flashy about Daulton.  In a QB class with so many questions, I’m thinking a majority of these prospects, including Daulton, will be over-drafted. Daulton doesn’t have elite arm strength and could be limited to a west-coast offense.

Commish’s Final Say: I think Daulton is a solid quarterback with great leadership skills. It’s tough to say whether he’ll become an elite   quarterback, but he has potential to become a very solid starter and leader on a football team.

Comparison:  Matt Hasselbeck – Seattle Seahawks

8. Ricky Stanzi – Iowa
6’4’’ – 223 lbs – 4.93
2nd/3rd Round

Why The Commish would take him: The first thing that should stand out is Stanzi’s success in the Big Ten while running a pro-style offense. He has good size, very good technique, and a great work ethic. Stanzi was also a  captain and leader for Iowa. 

Why The Commish would stay away:  Accuracy downfield is my first concern.  I also worry about how Stanzi will handle an NFL pass rush.  He seemed to get rattled at times. Stanzi also did not show up well in clutch situations.

Commish’s Final Say:  I think Stanzi might be one of the underrated quarterback prospects in this draft.  If Andy Daulton is getting as much run as he is, I’m surprised that Stanzi isn’t getting much at all.  It wouldn’t shock me at all if Stanzi went much higher than most people think.

Comparison:  Tony Romo – Dallas Cowboys

9. Greg McElroy – Alabama
6’2’’ – 220 lbs – 4.91
4th Round

Why The Commish would take him: McElroy is smart and a game manager.  He is very calm in the pocket and makes good decisions.   McElroy has only lost 3 games as a starting quarterback since the 8th grade. McElroy is a great leader, great in the community,

Why The Commish would stay away:  I think McElroy is destined to be the next Josh Johnson.  Yep, a career backup. McElroy does not have a strong arm and does not have the traits of a starting-caliber quarterback in the NFL.

Commish’s Final Say: If I’m a team in need of a backup quarterback, I would definitely target McElroy in the middle of the draft.  He could end up challenging for a starting job down the line, but will immediately bring a solid leader and stability to a team’s quarterback position.

Comparison:  Mike Kafka – Philadelphia Eagles

10. Tyrod Taylor – Va. Tech
6’1’’ – 217 lbs – 4.51
4th Round

Why The Commish would take him: Tyrod’s speed and athleticism is the most intriguing part about him. He is a great athlete with a very strong arm.

Why The Commish would stay away:  I have questions whether Taylor can be a true quarterback in the NFL.  I worry about his accuracy and reading defenses.

Commish’s Final Say:  Taylor is a hell of an athlete, but I’m not so sure I’d want him as a quarterback. He seems certain he’s staying as a quarterback. I view him as a Josh Johnson-type backup quarterback that can run the “Wildcat” offense.

Comparison: Seneca Wallace – Cleveland Browns

18 Responses to “Draft Breakdown: Quarterbacks”

  1. Theodore Says:

    Is Blaine Gabbert being compared to Kyle Orton supposed to be a compliment?

  2. Pete Dutcher Says:

    If ever there could be a class full of quarterback busts, this would be it.

    I am nowhere near sold on Cam Newton. The comparison’s of him with Vince Young or JaMarcus Russell might have been unfair, but let me throw another out there…Ryan Leaf. Problems off the field, overblown abilities. It may be different playing styles, but there are other similiarities.

    And the rest of the quarterbacks? There might be quality backups amongst them, but most are duds.

    I know it’s the draft and people traditionally get excited about unproven players, but how people cannot see the busts in this list from a mile away baffles me.

  3. Not A Rocket Surgeon Says:

    Newton is going to be a 3 year project, minimum. A very desparate, QB needy team is going to take a crack at him for sure – early.

  4. becks Says:

    not trying to be a dick but i thought this site was aimed at buc news. last time i checked we have a quarterback that we drafted 2 years ago and hes pretty dam good. lets spot light some positions that we might actually draft.
    Thats what id like to see atleast. i couldnt care less about this qb draft class.

  5. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    @Becks — Hey, the draft affects every team in the league. All positions are being broken down here. They’re all archived here on the draft page. Surely you’ll find something that interests you. https://www.joebucsfan.com/?cat=19

  6. Camby Says:

    Christian Ponder as Drew Brees?

    Brees at least stayed healthy for most of his college career. Ponder will probably get his feelings hurt from this post and be out 6-8 weeks. He’s the guy who everyone loves in shorts but hasnt ever showed me anything in big games, much less ever stayed on the field.

    Like the refreshing view on Newton- Perhaps GMs and scouts are seeing a different version of him. Still with such a small sample size of his passing capabilities, if I’m drafting top 5, I might just pass on a QB this year and maybe hope to land Luck next season.

    Not a big fan of Gabbert either. Honestly I like Mallett more than any other QB in this draft- big arm, showed me something in big games- now getting the Warren Sapp treatment in the media in the offseason (OMG he smoked pot! BUST!)

  7. Pete I Says:

    Well I am certainly glad the Bucs don’t need a QB in this draft. I’ll keep Freeman for now thanks very much.

    Its funny that the first 15 teams in the draft almost all have QB issues or outright need a QB. From there on the rest of the teams are mostly pretty set. The league does seem to be QB driven.

    How much has the spread of the “spread” offense in college hurt finding NFL franchise passers and runners too? Seems like fewer and fewer QB’s are “NFL ready” these days with some exceptions.

  8. IMHO Says:

    This yr QB’s are full of uncertainty. There is not 1 safe, sure pick at QB. Every single one of them has problems ranging from injury, drug usage, payola, offensive system, accuracy or turtle syndrome(Ryan Mallett).

  9. Jonny Says:

    Thanks Jonny. Feel free to email Joe with tips. Don’t want to threadjack Justin’s work. — Joe

  10. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Pete I Says:

    April 8th, 2011 at 1:26 pm
    Well I am certainly glad the Bucs don’t need a QB in this draft. I’ll keep Freeman for now thanks very much.

    Its funny that the first 15 teams in the draft almost all have QB issues or outright need a QB. From there on the rest of the teams are mostly pretty set. The league does seem to be QB driven.

    Well, we can at least hope they all are dumb enough to gamble on the QBs this year…that way the chances of us getting hte right guy go up!

    becks Says:

    April 8th, 2011 at 12:47 pm
    not trying to be a dick but i thought this site was aimed at buc news. last time i checked we have a quarterback that we drafted 2 years ago and hes pretty dam good. lets spot light some positions that we might actually draft.
    Thats what id like to see atleast. i couldnt care less about this qb draft class.

    You are right in stating that we already have a quarterback, but by analyzing all the positions, we can get an idea of how our own draft will play out.

  11. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Here’s a question…

    …which of these quarterbacks would you take over Josh Johnson?

  12. Camby Says:

    I’d say the JJ cutoff would be around Dalton or Stanzi. After that, I think JJ’s arm strength and speed still make him more intriging than Greg McElroy, or Stanzi for that matter.

  13. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Even with his professional experience? I think JJ can become a starting quarterback in the right system. He has good enough arm strength. All he needs is a patient hand to develop him. I think he might be getting that here, but he also won’t get the opportunity here.

  14. BigMacAttack Says:

    Cam Newton is the only one I’d take over JJ, but I don’t believe Newton will be a franchise QB. I don’t believe Cam has the intelligence or moxie to be an elite QB in the NFL. No, I can’t back it up, it’s a hunch. He looked flustered at times against the Ducks and when he speaks, I don’t like the things coming out of his mouth. I still think he will be a starter, will make big plays at times, but will also choke repeatedly in the clutch. I think it’s all about the Paycheck with Newton.

  15. MichiganBucsFan Says:

    Newton is not more athletic that Michael Vick, lets get that straight right now

  16. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    I know this is a little off topic, but…we should trade JJ, the 20th pick, and a 4th or 5th rounder to SF for the #7 pick overall. IF Patrick Peterson or Robert Quinn is still there at 7. Our D-Line would be so sick if we could add Quinn. And Peterson is straight nasty as a cover man and return man. Wow!!! Thats an amazing thought to have him in our secondary!! Him or Quinn would be worth that trade ALL DAY LONG!!!
    Then for our back up QB problem. We should draft Colin Kaepernick in the 3rd round. In the second round we should take the best available CB or best DE left. Depending on which position we draft in the 1st round.

  17. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    And before people say trades can’t be made involving players…deals can be made behind the scenes and agreed to without making the trade “official”. SF would pick who we told them to. And we would make the pick they want at 20. Then wait for the lockout to be over. And presto…we have either Peterson or Quinn. Either way, that position would be fixed for atleast 7-10 years barring injury!

  18. Weneeddefense Says: