NFL Draft 2011: Ranking The Bust Potential Of 10 Top QB Prospects
Every year there are a whole host of quarterbacks with true bust potential in the NFL. And every year a whole fan base talks themselves into a quarterback who is just too small, too inaccurate or simply not good enough.
This year is no different.
So who are the top 10 quarterbacks with a chance to leave their potential teams scratching their heads, wondering just where they went wrong? Who will be the JaMarcus Russell of the 2011 NFL class?
Click ahead to find out.
10. Andy Dalton, TCU
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Andy Dalton had a tremendous senior season at Texas Christian University this past year. He led the Horned Frogs to a 13-0 record and a win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
Dalton possesses many qualities you want in an NFL quarterback including accuracy, poise and decision making. The Horned Frogs run a pro-style offense, meaning Dalton's transition should go over rather smoothly. He has good mechanics and foot work as well.
Unfortunately, he lacks a big-time arm or the speed to elude rushers. He seems almost like Chad Pennington, an accurate passer who struggles to get the ball down field. Another downside to the Rose Bowl MVP is the competition he went up against during his college career.
Regardless of how many wins he accumulated at TCU, the fact of the matter is that he was playing against BYU, Colorado State and Utah every year as opposed to say Alabama, LSU and Florida.
9. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
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Mallett presided over one of the most potent offenses in the nation last year as the quarterback for Arkansas. He constantly faced some of the fastest defenses in the nation, as he squared off against LSU, Alabama and Auburn.
Mallett has all of the physical tools to become an NFL quarterback. He has a rocket arm and shows reliable accuracy on most of his balls. However, when he gets rushed from the pocket he has a tendency to throw without resetting his feet, leading to some awkward passes. He is tall enough to see over the line and accurately read defenses.
His biggest question mark is his leadership and determination. He was never voted team captain at Arkansas, despite being the starting quarterback. If he gets his head on straight, Mallett could be a very valuable quarterback.
8. Pat Devlin, Delaware
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The former Penn State quarterback took the Joe Flacco route and transferred to FCS Delaware when he couldn't find solid playing time with the Nittany Lions.
Devlin led Delaware to the FCS title game where they lost to Eastern Washington. Devlin is an accurate passer with a quick delivery, and he has also shown the ability to maintain the accuracy while scrambling. He is tall and built well for an NFL quarterback.
Unfortunately, Devlin starred in a spread-style offense, something that he won't be using in the NFL. His inability to get on the field at Penn State could lead to questions about his abilities as well. He also does not have the strongest arm.
7. Jake Locker, Washington
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After an absolutely outstanding junior season, Locker returned his senior year and let everyone down with his poor and inconsistent play. Since the end of the season, Locker has managed to rise up the draft boards again thanks to impressive work at the Senior Bowl.
Locker is equipped with all of the intangibles you could want in an NFL quarterback. He has a rocket arm, quick feet and is very tough. He is one of the more mobile quarterbacks around, an Aaron Rodgers of sorts. He has shown great leadership throughout the year, leading Washington to comeback victories multiple times.
Unfortunately for Locker, he seems to have trouble reading defenses and has accuracy woes at times. Hopefully those issues can be ironed out and fine-tuned while being trained by an NFL coach. If he ever figures out defenses and becomes slightly more accurate, you may have a top five NFL quarterback.
6. Greg McElroy, Alabama
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Greg McElroy led the Alabama Crimson Tide to the title game in 2009 and quickly made a name for himself after he replaced John Parker Wilson.
McElroy is an accurate passer who has shown great composure over the years. He has adequate arm strength and has shown excellent decision making in the past. He has won at every level he has every played at, capturing titles at both the high school and college level.
One major hit against McElroy is the fact that he has always been blessed with outstanding talent around him, leading many to wonder if he was just at the right place at the right time. His throwing motion is far from perfect, and he often panics when faced with too much pressure.
5. Cam Newton, Auburn
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The sky is the limit for the national championship winning quarterback. After rebuilding his name after his disastrous tenure at Florida, Newton led the upstart Tigers to a season of epic proportions.
Newton has a cannon of an arm at his disposable, as well as an NFL-body and outstanding speed and quickness. He has shown the ability to make plays out of nothing time and time again during this season. His accuracy could be better, but it will get him by at the NFL level.
On the flip side, Newton could become anything from a larger version of Michael Vick to Kordell Stewart- that's a pretty big discrepancy. He has often times relied too much on his pure athleticism and skill to compensate for his inability to read defenses. He also has questions regarding his character following his years of Florida.
When pure skill would carry you in college, you need the IQ to read and understand defenses at the next level. If Newton can get that down pat, then watch out.
4. Christian Ponder, Florida State
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As a UF fan, maybe I'm a bit biased but I never saw into the hype of Christian Ponder. After some seriously underwhelming seasons he was picked as an early favorite for Heisman contention, although he quickly fell out of that race.
Ponder has some serious physical traits that should lead to an NFL career, but the results just haven't been there on the field. He had good arm strength, solid accuracy and a quick release. His feet allow him to scramble out of tough situations as well. He played all of his college years under a pro-style offense, which should allow a quick transition to the NFL.
His biggest weakness is his inability to read defenses. He seems to hone in on a single receiver, without checking down to other options. Besides that he has all the tools to have a nice career in the NFL. Maybe things will be different there, considering his college career was very disappointing.
Although that may have been more to do with the tumultuous times with Bobby Bowden stepping down and multiple academic sanctions against the team.
3. Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech
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Taylor basically seems like a less skilled but more polished passing version of Cam Newton, which may not be a bad thing.
Taylor never truly lived up to his hype at Virginia Tech. He would constantly make plays that screamed NFL-ready, but he always seemed to follow it up with ill-advised throws or just plain stupid decisions. He constantly improved as a passer during his time in college, which allowed him to run even more as defenses began to account for his passing ability. Taylor has been a relentless worker throughout college.
The major knock on Taylor has always been his passing ability. He has had the strength but lacked the accuracy or the ability to accurately read defenses. During the past season, he would often lean on his throwing ability and abandoned his most dangerous trait, his feet. He seemed to want to prove that he could throw at a high level.
2. Mitch Mustain, USC
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Someone who had to transfer out of Arkansas due to butting heads with the coaches and then couldn't get on the field at USC is now being seen as a potential NFL quarterback? Maybe I'm missing something.
Granted, Mustain clearly has all of the physical tools to be an NFL quarterback. He has a rocket arm, an NFL-ready body and the height to see over the line. Mustain was a highly touted high school quarterback, and those skills don't just disappear.
On the other hand Mustain is a known headcase. Someone who talked himself out of Arkansas due to a lack of playing time and constant bickering with the coaches. Then once he got to USC, he still couldn't get on the field.
The tools are clearly there, I just doubt the headaches are worth the end product.
1. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
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It says a lot about the state of this QB class when the highest rated quarterback, who is rocketing up draft boards, also has the most question marks around him.
Gabbert clearly has all of the tools in order to make it as an NFL quarterback. He has a strong arm, with good accuracy and a nice pocket presence. He is mobile enough to keep plays alive and gain those extra yards when needed. Gabbert has also proven to be a formidable leader within the locker room and a dedicated student in the film room.
The biggest knock on Gabbert is his dedication in the weight room. He has often come into the season overweight and out of shape. Questions have popped up about his size multiple times, as he has been overweight multiple times. The combination of that, his inability to read defenses and the way scouts have been drooling over his cannon arm have led many to compare him to JaMarcus Russell, not exactly stellar company.
Gabbert is clearly the most well-rounded QB in the draft class, but anytime you draw comparisons to disgraced Oakland Raider JaMarcus Russel, I would politely have to pass. Sure the upside for Gabbert is off the charts, but so is the downside.