Christian Ponder Goes Under the Knife: 2011 NFL Draft Stock Plummets

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterDecember 15, 2010

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 04:   Teammates EJ Manuel #3 and Christian Ponder #7 of the Florida State Seminoles watch on during warmups before the start of their game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Bank of America Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Before the 2010 college football season began there was one debate heard more than any other: Who would be the first quarterback taken in the 2011 NFL Draft? 

Most pundits, myself included, put Florida State's Christian Ponder and Washington's Jake Locker at the top of the discussion.

Ponder was coming off a good junior season that included 2,000 yards passing and 14 touchdowns on an otherwise unimpressive Seminole offense. Scouts and writers agreed that Ponder's statistics did not tell the whole story.

Ponder is a very technically sound player with good throwing fundamentals, solid footwork and enough ability to survive in the NFL. He also has ideal size, arm strength and is an accurate passer.

The 2010 season was supposed to be his coming out party, instead, Ponder missed two games due to injury and has had his second surgery on his throwing elbow this offseason.

Ponder underwent his second surgery in the past month to relieve an issue with a burst bursa sac that ultimately turned into the removal of scar tissue. Not only does this put Ponder's status for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, but this also puts a damper on the draft stock of the projected second-round passer.

The big question is, can Ponder rehab in time to play in the Senior Bowl?

This will be key to his draft stock. With the top three quarterbacks in the 2011 Class (Andrew Luck, Ryan Mallett, Cam Newton) all underclassmen, Ponder would be competing once again with Washington's Locker for the "top" quarterback spot among seniors.

A good week in Mobile would start a potential rehabilitation of Ponder's draft stock before the all-important NFL Combine.