2011 NFL Draft logo2011 NFL Draft

NFL Draft 2011: Top 5 Quarterbacks and Their Possible Destinations

Jim MancariCorrespondent IFebruary 14, 2011

NFL Draft 2011: Top 5 Quarterbacks and Their Possible Destinations

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    Each year, much hype is given to the quarterbacks of a particular draft class. This year is no different as a handful of rookie quarterbacks may be expected to slide into their team’s starting role right away.

    Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow and Jimmy Clausen all saw extended time in their rookie years.

    I’ve compiled a list of the top-5 quarterbacks in this year’s draft, followed by a possible destination for said player.

    These teams would be wise to select a quarterback with their first overall pick, though they certainly have other needs to fill.

5. Colin Kaepernick, Nevada

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    Kaepernick uses his arm and legs to make big plays. He will bring an exciting style of football to whichever team drafts him.

    He is said to be a raw talent, and the team that drafts him may need to be patient.

    He has huge upside but may not be worthy of a first round pick. However, there may be a team willing to give him a shot early.

Washington Redskins or Minnesota Vikings

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    The Redskins and Vikings both appear to be in the market for a quarterback.

    They may opt to select a surer thing at another position with their first pick, but could view Kaepernick as a risk worth taking in the second round.

    Kaepernick would breathe some life into offenses that struggled last season.

4. Jake Locker

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    Locker was a four-year starter at Washington, so he has plenty of seasoning under his belt. Scouts and analysts believe that he might be the most NFL-ready quarterback in the draft.

    A strong showing at the NFL combine may lead to his stock rising further.

    Though he may wind up being selected in a later round, if things fall into place, he might bump up significantly to a team needing a quarterback.

Tennessee Titans

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    With Jeff Fisher out, it looks like the organization has placed its faith in Vince Young.

    That doesn’t mean that the Titans won’t be drafting a quarterback. The Titans have the eighth pick, and Locker could jump up.

    Eighth overall might be a stretch however, and a more likely scenario would be if one of the top-tier quarterbacks projected to go earlier drop to eighth.

3. Ryan Mallett

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    The Arkansas product recently won the quarterbacks accuracy contest at the All-Star Football Challenge.

    While that in no way determines NFL success, it shows that he has the tools to elevate his game to the next level.

    His arm coupled with his size and strength make him an intriguing candidate for a high first round pick.

    He will need a good showing at the NFL combine to show he is worth the choice over another talented quarterback.

San Francisco 49ers

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    It’s looking like the 49ers are losing patience with Alex Smith. Troy Smith had a few good games last year for San Francisco, but the organization might want to go in a different direction.

    That direction may include drafting Ryan Mallett, possibly in the first round.

    Though some teams draft the best available player rather than for their team’s needs, the 49ers desperately need a quarterback. They have offensive weapons in Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis, so a strong quarterback could tie together some loose ends.

2. Blaine Gabbert

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Gabbert flew under the radar behind Cam Newton until his performance in the Insight Bowl.

    Though his team lost, he finished 41-of-57 for over 450 yards and a touchdown.

    As of mid-January, Mel Kiper had Gabbert going fifth, but Kiper had him as the first quarterback selected.

    Kiper seems to have jumped on the Cam Newton bandwagon and now ranks Newton as the top quarterback in the draft, but it will come down to the team’s, not Kiper’s, decision.

Arizona Cardinals

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Matt Leinart never panned out for the Cardinals, so they will likely try again with a quarterback in the first round.

    Derek Anderson showed last year he is not answer.

    The Cardinals draft fifth and could take Blaine Gabbert. There’s a chance Gabbert could go to the Bengals as well.

1. Cam Newton

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    Kent Horner/Getty Images

    Cam Newton’s stock has significantly risen since his victory in the National Championship.

    With his training day for the media to his highly anticipated workout at the NFL Combine, Newton will continue to draw plenty of attention.

    Each day, it seems more likely that he is the first quarterback selected in the draft.

    The 2010 Heisman Trophy winner has dynamic skills that would allow him to succeed on the next level.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Bengals have the fourth pick and may see Newton fall right into their laps. The Panthers, Broncos and Bills all have young quarterbacks so may draft players at other positions.

    The kicker here is that Carson Palmer has demanded a trade and has even said he would retire if he was not granted one. That leaves a gaping hole under center for the Bengals.

    Newton would benefit from having Chad Ochocinco as a main target and a strong running back in Cedric Benson.

    This could be a likely scenario as the clock ticks down to the NFL Draft.

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