NFL Draft 2011: 10 Reasons Not To Draft a First-Round Quarterback

Mike Foster@michaelsfosterCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2011

NFL Draft 2011: 10 Reasons Not To Draft a First-Round Quarterback

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    I know what you readers are probably thinking after reading this article headline.

    After all of the success rookie quarterbacks have had in the past few seasons, how in the world could anyone argue against taking a signal-caller with a first-round pick?

    Yes, there has been a strange phenomenon in recent years with quarterbacks, but it's not yet time to correlate first-round draft picks with immediate starters.

    Here are 10 reasons why this year's class may not have that special quarterback like a Sam Bradford, Joe Flacco or Matt Ryan.

Kevin Kolb Is On The Market

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    The Philadelphia Eagles had a rare one-two punch at quarterback this season.

    Seeing two top notch quarterbacks on an NFL roster is pretty rare, and with the Eagles franchising Michael Vick, Kevin Kolb becomes one of the more valuable free agents on the market.

    Any team who wants to draft a first-round quarterback might want to think twice. Kolb has proven he's a pretty good passer in the NFL, completing 60 percent of his passes in 2010. His interceptions need to go down, but he's still going to be a pretty good option. 

    Without a rookie salary cap, Kolb could be a better financial option as well.

None Of The Quarterbacks Appear To Be Top 10 Picks

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    Last year, Sam Bradford was declared the top pick in the draft days before it happened. He was the consensus top prospect on most boards.

    Most pundits don't seem to be leaning that way this time around. The top 10 draft prospects on most lists do not include a player from the quarterback position. That's a rarity, as most evaluators find quarterback the easiest position to evaluate and over-hype.

    Blaine Gabbert of Missouri seems to be the top quarterback prospect as of right now. Can anyone honestly claim Gabbert is anywhere near the household name status that Bradford was?

    Not to say that being a household name is vital to being a top prospect, but there certainly doesn't seem to be as much of a buzz at that position considering Andrew Luck is heading back to school.

Andrew Luck Was "That Guy"

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    Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is returning to school. As stated in the previous slide, Luck appeared to be a shoo-in for the draft and had most analysts salivating.

    Without him, people are scrambling to find a better option. 

Ryan Mallett Flopped In The Sugar Bowl

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    The Ryan Mallett we had heard about as the top quarterback prospect sure didn't show up for the Sugar Bowl against Ohio State.

    I was rather unimpressed with his performance. He seemed nervous and hesitant with his decision-making, and also threw a lot of completable balls into the ground.

Your Best Option Might Be Further Back On The Board

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    Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder had an outstanding Senior Bowl performance. He's a guy who has all of the tools to be an elite quarterback, and honestly resembles Andrew Luck more than the rest of them.

    Ponder ran a pro style system in college, which is something a lot of other guys have not done.

    He's a smarter player with tons of upside, but quietly flew under the radar during his career. Ponder surely doesn't seem like he's going to go in the first round.

    That means he's a serious steal for whoever gets him later.

Jake Locker Has Underperformed

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    Washington quarterback Jake Locker has been the talk of the Northwest since he arrived at school to play for the Huskies.

    He became a household name with his questionable unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. But, Locker has never been a winning quarterback or a stat machine.

    In 2010 he only threw 17 touchdowns to nine interceptions. He's underperformed with plenty of guys around him. And, some say he has decision-making issues and has never gotten comfortable in an offense.

    He's a running threat with a good arm, but he needs smarts, and he's not a proven winner. 

Andy Dalton Is a Winner, And A Second- To Third-Round Pick

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    Andy Dalton helped TCU become one of the winningest and most prestigious football programs in the country, overshadowing the likes of Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma in recent years. 

    Sure, he comes from the Mountain West Conference, but if you watch him on tape he's a top notch decision-maker.

    That's what you want in an NFL guy. He's not flashy. He's not going to break away and run for tons of yards.

    But he has proven the mental abilities and has enough physical tools. He's another guy, like Ponder, who is a valuable player who won't leave the draft board in the first 32 picks.

Cam Newton Has a Major System Change To Deal With

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    Don't get me wrong, Cam Newton might have surpassed Tim Tebow as the most dominating college football player of all time.

    He's an MVP with tons of intangibles. 

    But, Newton is coming out of one of the most obscure offenses in college football. Auburn's system featured tons of misdirections, pre-snap motions, trickery and improvisation from Cam himself.

    The NFL might not be as much of a playground, and it's hard to claim that the SEC defenses he played against were anywhere as near good as they have been in the recent past.

    Newton has a rocket arm and great running ability, but he's going to be making the biggest mental shift out of anyone in the draft.

Blaine Gabbert Hasn't Faced a Defense

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    Coming out of the Big XII, Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert has had some pretty easy sailing.

    His statistics are impressive, and his size at 6'5", 235 pounds, is a nice touch.

    But, Gabbert, like Newton, has been in a wide open system. To further skew things, he's been playing against what many consider to be inferior defenses.

    Missouri's Gabbert seemingly is following in the footsteps of former Texas Tech quarterbacks who have left the air-raid offense in Lubbock to find little to zero NFL success.

There's Too Much Rare Talent at Other Positions

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    For teams picking early, there are plenty of extra incentives to pick at other skill positions.

    There's some seriously rare talent out there, including Georgia's A.J. Green, Auburn's Nick Fairley, Alabama's Julio Jones and Iowa's Adrian Clayborn, to name a few.

    Early pickers might want to avoid the worms and go for the gold.

    Yes, quarterbacks are staples of winning teams, but the fact is the quarterback position is way behind the rest of the positions when it comes to talent level.

    Early teams itching for a signal-caller to quiet their unruly fans could miss out on a receiver or defensive lineman who can be just as much of a game changer.