As the 2009 NFL Combine prepares to come to a conclusion today in Indianapolis, it is time for us to take a look back and try to sort out what we learned from this year’s version of the NFL’s meat market.
This time out, the gates we are looking at the top-performing quarterbacks and ranking them.
These rankings are a combination of the quarterback's body of work along with his combine performance.
A high ranking on here does not mean a top draft pick, but it does show their ranking relative to the others in their draft class.
1) Matt Stafford, Georgia
Matt Stafford came to this week’s weeks combine as many people’s top-rated quarterback, and he will leave Indianapolis as the top-rated quarterback in this year’s draft.
Stafford did not throw at the combine, but he did not need to. He went through many of the running drills—and frankly, he outperformed my expectations.
Stafford measured at just over 6'2" and 225 pounds, which was actually a bit lighter than what we originally anticipated. In addition, he showed solid mobility. He didn’t blow anyone away with his athletic ability, but Stafford did prove that he is not Drew Bledsoe.
That is enough to ensure that he is the top quarterback available in this year’s draft.
2) Pat White, West Virginia
Pat White may be the biggest over at any position at this year’s NFL Combine.
Just a few weeks many (including myself) doubted that White could be a productive NFL quarterback. In fact, many scouts were looking forward to Pat White’s workout with the receivers rather than his workout with the quarterbacks.
However, once White took to the field to work his passing trees, all thoughts of working as a receiver were forgotten.
Pat White was the most impressive all-around quarterback at the NFL Combine this year. His arm strength was far greater than I expected. He had the ability to hit his receivers in stride on the deep ball, and his deep out balls had plenty of zip on them to catch up to the wideouts.
Obviously, White tested well on the athleticism side of things—he is the most athletic quarterback available in this year’s draft. Most importantly for Pat White, he proved to scouts that he is more than just a Wildcat formation quarterback.
He has the potential to become a starting QB for someone in the NFL, and on Sunday White took a major step in that direction.
3) Mark Sanchez, USC
Most people still have Mark Sanchez as their second-ranked quarterback in this year’s NFL Draft class; personally I just cannot give him that ranking.
While Sanchez to show good mobility during his workouts in Indy, and he was willing to go through just about every drill imaginable, he just did not score that well on my charts.
Athletically speaking, Mark Sanchez is fine, he moves well, a bit undersized height-wise (6'2") but solid.
What I did not like about Sanchez was his arm strength.
Sanchez continually underthrew his receivers when tossing the deep ball. In addition, he struggled to zip the ball to the outside when throwing outside the numbers.
Quarterbacks with weak arms scare me. While I don’t need a guy with a cannon to toss it 70 yards down field, I do want a quarterback who can consistently hit the deep out route.
4) Josh Freeman, Kansas State
On the measurables alone, Josh Freeman is literally head and shoulders above the rest. At 6'6" and 248 pounds, Freeman has what everyone would consider ideal size for a quarterback.
Freeman also has the strongest arm in this year’s draft. There are rumors of him being able to toss a 70-yard bomb.
There are two reasons why Freeman only grades out to be the fourth-best quarterback in this year’s draft.
First, is he is only a junior. Due to a coaching change at Kansas State, Josh Freeman will be unable to play his senior year. That extra year of playing time would have done him well.
The second reason for his lower ranking is his lower pass-completion percentage.
I believe that Freeman can become a solid producer in the NFL. He could be a very special midround pickup.
5) Nate Davis, Ball State
Nate Davis put together an amazing regular season, but he stumbled down the stretch in the MAC Championship and in his bowl game against Tulsa.
There is plenty not to like about Nate Davis. He’s undersized, a bit unorthodox, comes from a small school, a little overweight, perhaps—you know, all the usual knocks on a small-time quarterback.
Nonetheless, Nate Davis proved to be a miracle worker at Ball State this past season. He posted a lifetime QB rating of 147, and he threw for over 9,000 yards.
I’m not really sure where Nate Davis would fit in at in the NFL, but I do believe he could become a productive player someday down the line.