Senior Bowl 2011: Future NFL Quarterbacks in the Crosshairs

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Senior Bowl 2011: Future NFL Quarterbacks in the Crosshairs
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

One of the most exciting parts of being in a dynasty league is the annual rookie draft. To fully prepare, a savvy dynasty league owner needs to become familiar with the players involved well before the NFL Draft in April. A huge opportunity to do just that comes this week with the annual Senior Bowl.

While there are many position players to watch this week (Leonard Hankerson, Vincent Brown, DeMarco Murray), the quarterbacks are going to be squarely under the microscope. There are three in particular who I’m very interested to see perform this week in practice and the actual game. There are lingering questions all of them will have the opportunity to answer this week.

Let’s take a closer look at each three.

Jake Locker, Washington
6’2 1/4″, 228 lbs

Those who read DLF regularly know I have a bit of a sweet tooth for the University of Washington. That being said, Locker was a huge disappointment this season. After passing up millions of dollars and possibly being the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, Locker came back to UW and threw for 2,265 yards, 17 touchdowns, and nine interceptions.

The questions surrounding Locker have nothing to do with his athletic ability. Trust me, he’s going to blow people away at the combine with his ability to run, jump, and move. However, his passing accuracy is justifiably coming under fire. Steve Sarkisian was unable to help Locker take the next step and some are doubting his ability to play at the NFL level. After all, accuracy with the football is perhaps the most important trait a quarterback can have.

This week is huge for Locker. Much like Tim Tebow last year, Locker has the chance to either impress the coaches or see his draft stock continue to tumble.

Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
6’5″, 225 lbs

If you want production, look no further than Kaepernick. His resume highlights include 10,098 passing yards, 4,112 rushing yards, 82 passing touchdowns, and 59 rushing touchdowns over the past four years. When you combine that with just 24 interceptions and no lost fumbles and you have a busted record book for the Wolf Pack.

So, what’s the holdup?

There are major questions about Kaepernick’s competition. Let’s be realistic. It’s one thing to throw for 10,000 yards against teams like Utah State, and Idaho than it is doing it against the LSUs and Floridas of the world.

Kapernick has impressed early with his arm strength and has been labeled as the most impressive quarterback early on in practice. If he can keep it up and prove to just one GM that he can play, he could vault himself into the first two days of the NFL Draft as a project quarterback with great upside.

Andy Dalton, TCU
6’2″, 213 lbs

Dalton already dodged his first bullet at the Senior Bowl by measuring in at 6’2″. Anything less than that would have raised a red flag. With that out of the way, Dalton looks to answer a much different question than the others. Does he have a strong enough arm?

Like the aforementioned Kaepernick, his statistics are great. He threw for 10,314 yards, and 71 touchdowns as a four year starter for the Horned Frogs. The offense that TCU ran certainly didn’t require Dalton to fire the ball down field on every play, but his 9.0 yards per attempt average is something that’s seemingly being overlooked.

As I expected, Dalton is showing thus far that he does have the ability to make all the throws required for an NFL quarterback. If he can do that at the game this weekend, and at the combine, he could easily be a second day (second round) pick in the draft.

It’s an exciting time in dynasty leagues. Stay with DLF all Winter, Spring, and Summer as we break down the Senior Bowl, Combine, NFL Draft, and minicamps with the dynasty fantasy football spin.

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