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NFL Draft 2011: Can Florida State QB Christian Ponder Help the Miami Dolphins?

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NFL Draft 2011: Can Florida State QB Christian Ponder Help the Miami Dolphins?
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Christian Ponder is an intriguing quarterback that the Miami Dolphins should take a chance on in the mid to late rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft.

If the Dolphins are patient, they could potentially pick up the former Florida State University QB anywhere from rounds 3-6.

Fellow Bleacher Report featured columnist Josh Baumgard does a great job of showcasing Ponder’s performance lines, but in a more in-depth look at the quarterback, he really could be a great fit in South Florida.

Initially, Ponder wasn’t really on any team’s radar prior to the Senior Bowl, but when he carved up the North’s defense on his way to taking home the MVP award, he quickly became a name worth mentioning.

He completed seven of 13 passes for 132 yards en route to showing scouts in Mobile, AL that he has the intangibles to make the transition to the NFL.

An elbow injury suffered during the Seminoles' second game of 2010 against Oklahoma hampered Ponder all season long, causing him to miss four games in his senior year. But from what many scouts and insiders are saying of Ponders, his injury issues are a thing of the past.

Ponder finished the 2010 season with 20 touchdown passes against just eight interceptions, but he is also a dynamic runner when the pocket is closing around him.

Ponder, a three-year starter for the Seminoles pro-style offense, has been compared to many successful quarterbacks, most prominently Matt Schaub and Chad Pennington in their prime.

Shaub, drafted in 2004 out of Virginia, was taken by the Atlanta Falcons and developed over years into the passer he is today with the Houston Texans.

This should be the same plan of attack if and when the Dolphins draft Ponder this year. He won’t be expected to start or even play immediately, but rather he will be the Dolphins developmental project for the future.

Ponder is an athletic passer with great feet and even better agility. His accuracy is above average, but he sometimes overthrows the ball to his receivers. This issue is minor and will be remedied as he makes his transition to the league with coaches who will pinpoint this concern.

While Ponder doesn’t have an elite arm to throw the ball 50+ yards, he can still air it down the field occasionally. He is also accurate, hitting the slant route and crossing patterns like clockwork.  

Recently Mel Kiper Jr. compared Ponder to a “poor man’s version of Chad Pennington.”

This doesn’t seem to be a fair comparison because it seems Kiper is comparing Ponder to Pennington injury-wise.

Here’s exactly what Kiper said of Ponder:

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Christian Ponder, average arm, super smart, he was the only player from an FBS school that already earned his MBA going into his senior year this past season. Accuracy is good. I thought he was somewhat of a poor man’s Chad Pennington going into the year. I think his stock has slipped a bit; you know he had the injury this year he had to try to work through. I thought he was maybe a second round pick early in the year if he would have had a real good season. I think third to fifth round for him.

Ponder is a smart kid who can make a difference as his game progresses to match the competitiveness of the NFL.

He is a born leader and while the Dolphins spend another year or two anticipating Chad Henne to reach his potential, Ponder will be waiting in the wings, learning and gaining experience until it’s his time.

If taken by the Dolphins anywhere from the third to sixth round, Ponder could be a real steal for Miami and shape up to be a quarterback for the future.

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