Everybody loves quarterbacks, and the drama that ensues a team lurking for their next hot arm. This year, teams in the top 10 seem to be looking more towards defensive ends, corners and wide receivers. With former powerhouses like Minnesota and Arizona without a gunslinger at their disposal, we could either have some of the best picks we've seen in the last 10 years, or more quarterback busts.
Blaine Gabbert is projected to be the first QB picked this year in the NFL Draft.
Tyrod Taylor is definitely not a force to be reckoned with, but with solid footwork and an average arm, he could potentially work up to being a quality back-up for a team. He needs to be coached up at the next level, but with his athletic ability, he may not need to rely too much on his arm.
Taylor, who completed 66 percent of his passes last season for a 10.0 YPA, can probably be expected to be picked somewhere between the sixth and seventh rounds.
With the kind of skill set that Taylor has, he could be a beneficial fit to a team like Detroit. With Stafford being injured last year, the Lions may be looking for an athletic, young quarterback that could support another young, but injury prone quarterback, and who knows, there have been quite a few late round quarterbacks to prove themselves in the NFL.
Christian Ponder is an average sized quarterback with an average sized potential. Ponder, who recently had shoulder surgery, has lost some of the zing in his arm and has seen his draft stock drastically fall. The best thing that the scouts can say about Ponder, is he has a veteran quarterbacks decision making abilities, and an incredible amount of poise.
Ponder, who showed an impressive answer a week after an awful 11-28, two INT performance against Oklahoma, proved just how tough mentally and confident he really is.
There are a few teams who are willing to take a risk drafting a quarterback with more mental ability than physical ability, but I don't think you will see Ponder go before the at least the fourth round.
Carolina could definitely benefit from somebody like Ponder. Although Jimmy Clausen has not at all proven to be worthy of the NFL, the Panthers organization is capable of trying to make something out of Ponder while trying to figure out what to do with Clausen.
Nathan Enderle has had success running a pro-style offense at Idaho, with only one noticeably bad performance against Nebraska. Although Nebraska is one of the elite defenses in the NCAA, they do not get any easier in the NFL. Enderle's five INTs at Nebraska could be an early red flag for control issues and bad decision making skills.
Enderle's impressive stats towards the end of the season, including a completion percentage over 70, has definitely earned him a second round selection, but depending on his Senior Bowl performance, realistically expect him to go in the late third or early fourth round.
Houston, coming off a poor season may be looking to go in a different direction with their quarterback, and Tony Romo is not becoming any more popular in Super Bowl driven Dallas. For Enderle, expect a team from Texas to take him, just in case things start to look bad in the Lone Star State.
Pat Devlin is a big quarterback with a strong and an accurate arm. He stands at 6'4" and 220 lbs., which is generally a good size for an NFL quarterback. Devlin has had great stats at Delaware, and has shown that he can stay poised in the pocket.
Devlin has been critisized for holding the ball too long, but every quarterback coach in the NFL can take care of that, but he also compensates with his quick release.
Devlin will most likely go in the second round of the NFL draft, and he seems like he would be a great fit to Jim Harbough's San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers will definitely have a shot to get this guy, and possibly develop him into a quality starter in the NFL, but he won't be another Andrew Luck for Harbough.
Andy Dalton is the most underrated quarterback in the 2011 NFL draft. Dalton led his Horned Frogs to an undefeated season in 2010-2011 and an impressive win against a driven Wisconsin team in the Rose Bowl.
Dalton is very mobile and likes to scramble if he doesn't have an open receiver, but Dalton is more impressive in the pocket and likes to display his talent of finding every receiver on the field. Dalton is a quarterback that can scan the field, find an open receiver and sling an accurate pass in under three seconds.
I think that Dalton's style of play will intrigue a lot of NFL scouts, but I think he will be seriously considered by the Buffalo Bills in either the second or third round. Dalton has the skills to become a force in the NFL. Hopefully he can land himself somewhere with the coaches that can do it.
Ricky Stanzi is not going to blow anybody out of the water with his physical skills, but again, like Ponder, he can wow you with his intelligence. Quarterback intelligence is something that is very underrated when it comes to NFL fans. Drew Brees is not the most athletic quarterback in the NFL, but he is the smartest.
Stanzi's experience under center should attract a lot of NFL scouts, but the fact that he could probably already mentally handle an NFL game is very impressive for someone coming into the league.
I think after the Tennessee Titans pick up a veteran quarterback, they will look to draft someone like Stanzi in the third or fourth round that they feel they can try to develop into a quality pick.
Although Ryan Mallet has had a relatively successful career in college, he has a lot of downsides playing for him. He has a very slow release, and that fact that he's almost a statue in the pocket does not help his inability to avoid the rush.
Mallett has had character concerns, much like a young JaMarcus Russell, but with a little mentoring, he can most likely overcome that. Mallett's accuracy has been an issue lately and with his inability to avoid a collapsing pocket becoming more present, he may find it hard to complete a pass in the NFL.
Although I do not believe Mallett is worth the hype, I don't think that the Arizona Cardinals have a choice but to pick him with the 38th pick (sixth in the second round).
Unless he can make some drastic changes in his first year, say hello to another Matt Leinart Arizona fans.
I think it's safe to say that Jake Locker should not have returned for another year at UW. His stats last season were mediocre, and his stats were much better as a junior. Locker can bring his draft stock back from the dead with an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl, but if he doesn't preform, he could plummet into the second or third round.
Locker is usually accurate with his strong arm, and can make relatively good decisions. But when he panics, his arm gets wild, and he doesn't think about where he is throwing the ball.
Locker can expect to go anywhere from seventh overall to San Francisco to 25th overall to Seattle, but I couldn't see him dropping any lower than Seattle, assuming he has a decent performance in the Senior Bowl. It would make sense for Locker to be picked by the Minnesota Vikings 11th overall, considering, well, the Vikings flat out need a quarterback, and are willing to take a risk with Jake Locker.
Here he is, your Heisman winning, National Champion quarterback, Cam Newton. Cam Newton carried Auburn's offense this season, all the way to the BCS National Championship where he took care of the Ducks just like he had with every other opponent last season (Dalton is the only other undefeated QB in the draft).
Newton is just an athlete. He can run, he can throw and he even has the decision making ability that most scrambling quarterbacks do not posses. It's hard not to be impressed with what Newton did with Auburn last season, but his accuracy could be a concern in the NFL. He tends to panic and throw across his body when he has nowhere to run. That just won't cut it in the NFL.
Newton will most likely land himself in Miami with the 15th overall pick, mostly because that's the kind of offense he belongs in. He is not going to match the talent of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and a few other noticeable athletes in south beach, but with the right coaching, he could become a more pocket oriented, Michael Vick-esque quarterback.
Blaine Gabbert has been referred to as the number one quarterback in the draft the moment after Andrew Luck announced his return to Stanford. Rightly so. Blaine threw for over 3,500 yards as a sophomore and 24 touchdowns, and his junior year was almost as impressive.
The Washington Redskins will take Blaine Gabbert with the 10th overall pick, although there are a few teams before the Redskins such as Buffalo, Arizona and Tennessee that would be making a mistake passing him, unless they expect to be bad enough to get Luck next year.
Gabbert threw for a little over 3,000 yards last season and threw 14 touchdown passes. Not the most impressive stats in the NCAA last season, but he seems like he is turning into the kind of quarterback that will succeed in the NFL.
Washington needs Gabbert. Shanahan is the kind of coach that could make this kid the next Eli Manning or maybe even better. But there are skeptics, and they do have a point seeing as Gabbert is not a very good decision maker and he has not developed his field vision He has a very accurate arm, and exceptional arm strength that can take him far in the NFL.
I don't know if you can predict what is going to happen. Regardless, it will be fun to watch all of these players flourish in the NFL, or at least try. If I had to choose, I would say that Andy Dalton and Pat Devlin could be sleeper picks in the draft, but who knows? Nobody knew who Tom Brady was when he was drafted.
The coming months will be some of the most nerve racking and important in these young men's lives, but only time will tell whether they will succeed like Brady, Brees and the Mannings, or just be yet another 21st century quarterback bust.