2011 NFL Draft: Ranking the Top Quarterback Prospects in College Football

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2011 NFL Draft: Ranking the Top Quarterback Prospects in College Football
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

As the college football season nears an end, NFL Soup’s draft coverage begins. We are starting at the quarterback position, ranking the top signal callers in the NCAA in terms of NFL potential for the NFL Draft in April.

Many of these quarterbacks will strive to be the next Peyton Manning, John Elway or Joe Montana, and quite a few of them have the potential to become Super Bowl-caliber quarterbacks.

Check out NFL Soup’s top quarterback prospects for the 2011 NFL Draft.

 

1) Andrew Luck- Stanford**- 6’4 235

Luck is a longshot to come out this year, but he’s a legit Heisman candidate in 2010. He’s raw, but has a nice throwing motion and makes throws look easy.

Luck’s biggest flaw is that he needs to put a bit more touch on his passes. His accuracy is phenomenal and he’s athletic enough to move around in the pocket to buy more time.

If he does come out, he’ll most likely need at least a season to groom, but he’s going to be a very special player in the NFL. He has excellent athletic ability as well as exceptional intangibles.

Projection: Top 5

 

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

2) Ryan Mallett- Arkansas*- 6’6 240

Mallett is a big, strong-armed quarterback. Mallett stands tall in the pocket and delivers throws all over the field, but really has a knack for finding his receivers deep.

He’s greatly improved his accuracy in the middle of the field, and zips the ball on a rope to his receivers. His deep ball accuracy could improve, but in one on one situations, he generally doesn’t fail.

He’s a risk taker down the field, sometimes a bit too confident in his arm, but that can be improved. He threw for an outstanding 9.0 per attempt in 2009.

Projection: Top 15

 

3) Jake Locker- Washington- 6’3 230

This 6’3 230 pound specimen is one of the most talented players in college football. He puts good zip on the ball, really doing well with the short-intermediate routes.

He’s improved each season, and with a bit more accuracy, he will become an elite NFL quarterback. We want to see Locker set his feet and throw more, however.

He has the arm, and he can throw the ball with accuracy, but he’s often throwing on the run, and forcing the ball in some instances.

He’s been known to miss wide-open receivers, often overthinking the throw, but the upside is as good as anybody else in the draft.

Projection:  First round

 

4) Cam Newton- Auburn*- 6’6 240

Cam Newton has come out of nowhere to lead a talented Auburn team to the top of the NCAA rankings.

What makes Newton special is his versatility. Newton is a threat in the passing game, and he makes huge plays on the run.

Most scrambling quarterbacks tend to struggle throwing the ball, but Newton puts good zip on his passes and has surprisingly nice accuracy.

When he sets his feet, he’s a threat to make a deep throw downfield, but he could work on throwing to the middle of the field.

Projection: Second round

 

5) Nick Foles- Arizona*- 6’5 245

Foles has great footwork and puts nice zip on the football. He’s a pretty accurate passer, often leading his receivers and preventing them from getting hit big.

Foles won’t be a star in the NFL, but he has the talent to make the plays needed to win football games. Foles' decision making is iffy at times, however, often taking a shot down the field.

He will not light up the stat column very often, but he has the tools to be productive in the NFL. He may stay for his senior season to work on his mechanics.

Projection:  Third Round

 

6) Pat Devlin- Delaware- 6’4 223

If there’s one word to associate the former Penn State transfer with, it’s “accuracy.” Devlin can make all the short-intermediate passes and really only struggles with deep-ball accuracy.

He doesn’t have the strongest arm, but he utilizes his accuracy to dink and dunk his way down the field.

He’s excellent leading his receivers and allowing them to make plays after the catch and keeps the ball at chest level, putting it where only his receiver can catch it.

Projection: Fourth Round

 

7) Blaine Gabbert- Missouri*-6’5 235

Gabbert is rising on a lot of draft boards, and there’s good reason to. He’s got a pretty strong arm, and is exceptional making passes toward the sidelines.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Like Newton, he needs work throwing to the middle of the field, as he isn’t as good at threading the needle, but with improved accuracy, he could be a very good quarterback at the next level.

Gabbert also does well making plays with his feet, although he does tend to get happy feet in the pocket.

Projection: Fourth Round

 

8) T.J. Yates- North Carolina- 6’4 223

Yates is another guy moving up on draft boards. Yates has a big enough arm to make all the throws on the field.

His accuracy could be improved, but his decision making has been his biggest improvement in 2010 compared to past seasons.

He’s still making plays despite the loss of his star wide receiver Greg Little, and he’s found ways to keep winning games in the ACC.

Projection: Fifth Round

 

9) Andy Dalton- TCU- 6’3 220

It’s not often that a TCU quarterback becomes a legit draft option, but Dalton has a lot of upside. While Dalton makes quite a few plays downfield, it’s his accuracy that really stands out.

He seems to make the necessary plays late in the game that gives TCU the extra boost.

He’s a smart passer and more of a game manager than anything, but he could be a solid option at the next level.

Projection: Fifth Round

 

10) Christian Ponder- Florida State- 6’3 225

I have Ponder a bit lower on my board than many others do. I don’t think Ponder is a bad quarterback at all, but his decision making really makes him a risky quarterback at the next level.

Ponder has good sideline accuracy, but he doesn’t have a very strong arm, and doesn’t put much zip on the football. He is great in eluding the pass rush, and making plays on the run, but I want to see better decisions out of the guy.

He’s a short-intermediate passer who rarely makes a big play. In 2010, his longest pass play has been just 41 yards. But the upside is there, as he’s very coachable.

Projection: Fifth Round

 

11) Ricky Stanzi- Iowa- 6’4 230

Stanzi has been a blessing for Iowa fans with his smart quarterback play. His arm strength is mediocre at best, but his accuracy and intelligence sets him apart from many of the other quarterbacks in his class.

Geoff Burke/Getty Images

Projection: Sixth Round

 

12) Nathan Enderle- Idaho- 6’5 233

When you look at Enderle, you see a strong-armed pocket passer. Enderle can make all of the throws with his arm, but has very questionable decision making and accuracy.

Projection: Sixth Round

 

13) Kirk Cousins- Michigan State*- 6’3 204

Cousins is more of a soft tossing quarterback that has solid accuracy in the middle of the field. He’s a smart quarterback who’s most effective in the red zone.

Projection: 6th

14) Ben Chappell- Indiana- 6’3 240

Chappell’s throwing motion is as ugly as they come, but he has a strong arm and knows how to put touch on his passes. His decision making needs to improve, and he needs to work on not throwing off of his back foot.

Projection: 7th

15) Case Keenum- Houston- 6’2 210

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

What really makes Keenum special is his ability to get the ball out of his hands quickly. A quick release really throws defenses off. His accuracy is solid, but his deep ball could use some work.

Projection: 7th

16) Kellen Moore- Boise State*- 6’0 190

Moore is as accurate as they come. He works the sidelines very well, and can sets up the long pass with a series of short-intermediate throws, slowly wearing down the defense. His arm strength and mechanics could be improved, however.

Projection: 7th

17) Terrelle Pryor- Ohio State*- 6’6 235

To be frank, Pryor’s position in the NFL is most likely wide receiver. His arm strength is poor as he tends to lob the ball way too much, and struggles to lead his receivers. However, his elusiveness and ability to make plays on his feet is amazing.

18) Colin Kaepernick- Nevada- 6’6 230

Kaepernick’s run and shoot ability is fantastic at Nevada. Unfortunately, that’s not the sort of offense that’s run in the NFL often. He makes a lot of plays with his feet, and in the air, as his big frame isn’t easily knocked down.

19) Jerrod Johnson- Texas A&M- 6’5 246

Perhaps one of the more disappointing stories this year, Johnson has really struggled. His arm strength is quite weak and his decision making is iffy at best. He has the accuracy to make throws, but doesn’t put much zip on them.

20) John Brantley- Florida*- 6’3 220

It’s taken Brantley some time to adjust as the starter in Florida, and he most likely won’t come out for 2011, but he’s slowly improving. His footwork could use a big time adjustment, as well as his delivery. But he’s smart enough to make smart decisions and could be one of the better quarterbacks going into the 2011 NCAA season.

21) Scott Tolzien- Wisconsin- 6’3 205

22) Greg McElroy- Alabama- 6’3 220

23) Tyrod Taylor- Virginia Tech- 6’1 215

24) Taylor Potts- Texas Tech- 6’5 223

25) Adam Weber- Minnesota- 6’3 220

26) Zach Frazer- UConn- 6’4 231

27) Mitch Mustain- QB- USC- 6’2 205

Be sure to follow NFLSoup.com for all of your 2011 NFL Draft coverage!

Follow us on Twitter at @NFLSoup@NFLSoupTaylor@NFLSoupKeet and @NFLSoup_Kevin.

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