NFL Draft 2011: The Top 10 Quarterbacks Available
The 2011 NFL Draft is less than two and a half months away, and there are many NFL teams looking for a game changing quarterback. Teams like the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers feel that they are a decent quarterback away from competing year in and year out.
This year's draft is not as loaded with quarterbacks as many other years, and it turns out that the quarterback every team was looking to draft, Andrew Luck, is returning to Stanford.
However, there are still many quarterbacks available that have the potential to turn an NFL franchise around.
We rank the top 10 quarterbacks available for the 2011 NFL Draft, which is set to take place at the end of April.
10. Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech
The 2010 ACC player of the year, Taylor is an terrific athlete, has the abillity to avoid sacks and can run extremely well in the open field.
Tyrod Taylor had a fantastic season in 2010, throwing for 24 touchdowns versus just five interceptions, and winning 11 straight games during one stretch.
Both the 49ers and the Raiders are hoping to choose Taylor in one of the later rounds of the draft.
9. Andy Dalton, TCU
A three-time bowl game most valuable player, Dalton had an outstanding college career with TCU, going 42-7 in his four seasons.
Dalton can throw the football with high velocity and is also very mobile, possessing the ability to throw on the run or sprint for a first down when he scrambles. Coaches love his leadership ability and work ethic, so much so that Dalton could go as high a third round pick.
Last season, Dalton threw 27 touchdowns with just six interceptions, and had an incredible passing efficiency rating of 166.5.
8. Christian Ponder, Florida State
Despite battling arm injuries all season, Ponder had very solid season, throwing for over 2000 yards and 20 touchdowns.
A true leader, Ponder commands the huddle and has a very high football I.Q.
What really separates Ponder from your average quarterback is his speed. His quick feet allow him to extend plays and he forces the defense to be conservative for the possibility of Dalton taking off and running.
7. Pat Devlin, Delaware
In 2010, Devlin led the nation in pass completion percentage (.680) and was fifth in passer rating.
One of the toughest guys around, Devlin fractured his left wrist against South Dakota State, but came back just two weeks later, and proceeded to throw for 241 yards on just 21 attempts.
With a strong arm and a quick release, Devlin is expected to be a mid-round pick in April’s draft.
6. Ricky Stanzi, Iowa
Stanzi really took off in his senior season, throwing 25 touchdowns with just six interceptions after previously having just a mediocre college career with Iowa.
An excellent game manager, Stanzi takes care of the football and has the special ability to improvise when a play breaks down.
NFL scouts are most impressed with Stanzi's leadership ability and toughness, and expect him to be a mid-round draft choice.
5. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
With arguably the strongest arm of any player in the draft, Mallett has the potential to be a star in the NFL.
Mallett is coming off of a sensational season in which he threw 32 touchdowns, averaged 9.41 yards per attempt, and won every game not against Alabama or Auburn.
Although he can be inconsistent at times, Mallett has shown flashes of greatness, finding his receivers through tiny windows in coverage and making big plays in crunch time.
4. Jake Locker, Washington
A very coachable quarterback, Locker is a great athlete with a strong arm and excellent mechanics.
After a great 2009 season in which he threw for 2800 yards and 22 touchdowns, despite little talent around him, Locker was arguably the most sought after college prospect.
However, with high expectations in 2010, Locker had a disappointing season, completing just 55% of his passes, although much of this could be attributed to a weak supporting cast.
The biggest question coming into the draft is Locker’s inconsistency, as we have seen him look spectacular and awful in the same game, and sometimes even in the same series.
3. Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
Likely a first round pick in the upcoming draft, Kaepernick is a very good athlete with tons of upside.
Kaepernick is coming off of his fourth consecutive impressive season with Nevada, having averaged 8.42 yards per pass in 2010, while losing just one game all season.
Although he has a goofy delivery that he must work on, Kaepernick makes up for it with his accuracy and speed.
2. Cam Newton, Auburn
One of the most athletic players in the entire draft, Cam Newton is a special talent.
Newton is a proven winner and vocal leader, and the only reason why a team would not take him early would be skepticism regarding his behavioral issues off the field, in particular the possibility that he illegally accepted money to play for Auburn.
Newton lacks experience as a pocket passer, which he must work on, but he has great size and speed for the quarterback position, as well as a quick release.
1. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
Blaine Gabbert put up very solid numbers with Missouri, throwing 40 touchdowns with just 18 interceptions during his two seasons as a starter.
Blaine Gabbert has a strong arm with very good accuracy, but does not do any one thing particularly great.
NFL scouts are most impressed by Gabbert’s work ethic, leadership and intelligence. Most people around the league don't expect Gabbert to be the next Peyton Manning, but just about everybody is expecting him to be better than say, Alex Smith.