2011 NFL Draft: Ranking the Top 10 Quarterbacks
This year’s quarterback class really took a hit when Stanford’s Andrew Luck decided to return to school. Yet there is still a lot of top talent in this year’s draft, as I expect to see four quarterbacks off the board in the first round, especially considering how many teams need some help at the quarterback position.
I think this draft has some decent depth, as there are some mid-round quarterbacks who I could see making an impact in the NFL in a few seasons.
So here’s a look at my list of the top 10 quarterbacks that are available for the 2011 NFL Draft.
10. Nathan Enderle, Idaho
Weight: 233 pounds
Overview: Nathan Enderle was a four year starter for the Idaho Vandals, where he passed for over 10,000 yards in his career.
Enderle has great football IQ, as he is known for his ability to read defenses and make pre-snap adjustments. He has nice size and his experience in a pro-style offense will be a plus in the eyes of many scouts.
Enderle has average arm strength and he throws a lot of interceptions because he tries to fit some of his passes into windows that just aren’t there.
2010 Stats: 3,314 Passing yards, 22 Passing TD, 16 INT, 56.7 Completion Percentage
Projection: Round 5 or 6
9. Pat Devlin, Delaware
Weight: 222 pounds
Overview: Pat Devlin started his career at Penn State, but played his final two seasons at Delaware, where he led them to the FCS title game this past season.
Devlin has a strong arm and he is accurate enough to where he can hit his receiver downfield. He has good mobility and he is very tough, having played through numerous injuries in the past.
People see how well Joe Flacco played coming out of Delaware, but the fact is that Devlin is nowhere near the player Flacco was coming out of school. He doesn’t read coverages well and he needs some work on his footwork.
2010 Stats: 3,032 Passing yards, 22 Passing TD, Three INT, 68.0 Completion Percentage
Projection: Round 4 to 6
8. Ricky Stani, Iowa
Weight: 230 pounds
Overview: Ricky Stanzi is a three year starter for the Iowa Hawkeyes, who had a very good season in 2010, despite his team’s underwhelming record.
Ricky Stanzi has all of the intangibles of an NFL quarterback. He has a high football IQ and he has led his team to some late fourth quarter victories. He has a good frame and he was a very accurate passer in his senior season.
Stanzi isn’t the best athlete and he has basically average arm strength. His physical attributes aren’t really that impressive overall, but he has the kind of intangibles that teams look for in a starting quarterback.
Stanzi’s intangibles and his accuracy lead me to believe that he is a mid-round quarterback who has the ability to become a starter in a few seasons.
2010 Stats: 3,004 Passing yards, 25 Passing TD, Six INT, 64.1 Completion Percentage
Projection: Round 3 to 5
7. Andy Dalton, TCU
Weight: 220 pounds
Overview: Andy Dalton is a four year starter who led his team to a total of 44 wins and only three losses in those four seasons.
Dalton has excellent arm strength to go along with very good accuracy. He also has great mobility, as he has made a lot of big plays with his feet. He is a team leader who has led the Horned Frogs to some pretty big victories in his career.
The biggest knock on Dalton is that he is listed at six feet, two inches, which is relatively small for a pro quarterback. He also played in the spread offense, so he hasn’t had a lot of experience taking snaps from under center.
Dalton is another mid to late round quarterback who I think has the ability to become a starter in the NFL in a few seasons.
2010 Stats: 2,857 Passing yards, 27 Passing TD, Six INT, 66.1 Completion Percentage
Projection: Round 3 to 5
6. Christian Ponder, Florida State
Weight: 227 pounds
Overview: Christian Ponder has really raised his draft stock in recent weeks due to him being named the MVP of the Senior Bowl.
Ponder is a pretty good athlete who is very smart with the football. He is fairly accurate and he has been a team leader for the Seminoles since he’s been there.
While Ponder is tough, he does have quite a few injury concerns. He has been inconsistent, as he had a down senior season after his breakout junior campaign.
He really helped himself with his Senior Bowl performance and I think that he has put himself back into the third round discussion.
2010 Stats: 2,044 Passing yards, 20 Passing TD, 8 INT, 61.5 Completion Percentage
Projection: Round 3 to 4
5. Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
Weight: 225 pounds
Overview: Colin Kaepernick is a multi-threat quarterback who has been a very productive four year starter.
Kaepernick is a very good athlete who had over 4,000 rushing yards in his career at Nevada. He has solid arm strength and he really improved his accuracy during his senior season. He has been a team leader and someone his teammates look to for motivation.
He hasn’t had much experience taking snaps from under center, so he may need a few years before he is ready to start in the NFL. He takes off and runs with the ball a lot, which lead to him taking a lot of big hits.
Kaepernick has a lot of potential and he has the ability to become a dual-threat quarterback at the next level. But he is going to need a couple years to refine his game before he’s ready to become a starter.
2010 Stats: 3,022 Passing yards, 21 Passing TD, 8 INT, 64.9 Completion Percentage
Projection: Round 2 to 3
4. Jake Locker, Washington
Weight: 230 pounds
Overview: What a disappointing year it’s been for Locker, who was the early favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft.
A lot of flaws were exposed in Locker’s game this past season, but he still has a lot of strengths that’ll make him a first-round pick in April. He has a great arm and he can really hurt you with his legs if he needs to. He has also played in a pro-style offense, which should make for a quicker transition to the NFL.
Locker really has struggled with accuracy his entire career, but he really had trouble with hitting his receivers this past season. He has been very inconsistent from game to game and he really had some awful performances this past season.
Locker really lost a lot of money by going back to school for his senior season, but he still should hear his name called in the first round of the draft.
2010 Stats: 2,265 Passing yards, 17 Passing TD, 9 INT, 55.4 Completion Percentage
Projection: Round 1
3. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
Weight: 238 pounds
Overview: Mallett is a quarterback who is sort of a boom or bust type of prospect.
He has a very strong arm and he can make all of the deep throws. He has put up some big numbers during his junior season at Arkansas.
Mallett is going to need to rework his mechanics at the next level. He has a somewhat awkward throwing motion and his footwork is inconsistent. It is said that he has some character concerns, which could be a big issue for teams that need a franchise quarterback.
The talent is definitely there with Mallett, but it’s just a matter of whether he can put it all together. He should be an early pick who would be best served sitting and reworking his mechanics during his rookie season.
2010 Stats: 3,869 Passing yards, 32 Passing TD, 12 INT, 64.7 Completion Percentage
Projection: Top 20 Pick
2. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
Weight: 235 pounds
Overview: Blaine Gabbert really came out of nowhere once the 2010 season ended. I think he is overrated, but he does have some qualities that could make him a very good starting quarterback.
He has very nice size for the position and he is a good athlete who can hurt you with his feet. He has a strong arm and he has been fairly accurate in his career. He has a lot of upside and he could become a very good passing quarterback in the NFL.
Gabbert played in a spread offense, so it’ll take some time for him to learn how to take snaps from under center. He has some technical issues that he’ll have to work on, including his footwork.
Gabbert has a chance to be the first quarterback taken in this year’s draft, but the team that drafts him is going to have to understand that he isn’t ready to play just yet.
2010 Stats: 3,186 Passing yards, 16 TD, 9 INT, 63.4 Completion Percentage
Projection: Top 15 Pick
1. Cam Newton, Auburn
Weight: 250 pounds
Overview: It’s a close race in my opinion, but I think that Cam Newton will be the top quarterback taken this year.
Newton has a lot of things to like, such as a strong arm and very good accuracy. He had a very productive season this year and he is a player who can beat you with his legs, as evidenced by his 1,474 rushing yards. His recent workout really impressed scouts and I expect him to continue to raise his stock at the combine.
Newton really needs to work on his footwork. He doesn’t set his feet well and it gets even worse when he is under pressure. He also has had some questions about his maturity and he may have some character concerns.
He isn’t a finished product, but he has all the abilities to become a great quarterback in the NFL.
He has a lot of potential and I personally think that he’ll be the best quarterback out of this class. He may be picked earlier than expected, as there are a few teams that have a big need at the quarterback position.
2010 Stats: 2,854 Passing yards, 30 TD, 7 INT, 66.1 Completion Percentage
Projection: Top 15 Pick