2011 NFL Draft Preview: Who Will Draft Christian Ponder?

Daniel BrommerCorrespondent IFebruary 21, 2011

MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 29:  Quarterback Christian Ponder #7 of the South Team  is hoisted into the air while celebrating after passing for a touchdown to wide receiver Jeremy Kerley #84 against the North Team during the fourth quarter of the Under Armour Senior Bowl on January 29, 2011 at Ladd-Pebbles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images for Under Armour)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Former Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder is entering the next chapter of his life after leading his team in his senior season to a 10-4 record with an ACC championship appearance and although he didn't get to finish the bowl game, his presence was with his team.

Ponder participated in the Senior Bowl and took home the MVP honors after passing for 132 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He wasn't the main attraction of the game, especially when it came to quarterbacks, but he displayed the type of poise and finesse that an NFL quarterback possesses.

Ponder had an up-and-down career and he finally had a breakout year last season as a junior, but this season he battled more injuries than usual and he even had to deal with having his elbow drained weekly.

The final straw came in the bowl game when Ponder suffered a concussion and was forced to watch from the sidelines, something that he has almost become accustomed too. Which brings us to the argument, is Ponder an NFL quarterback?

In my opinion, yes. He has great size and a strong arm, but it's his other intangibles. His leadership and his off-the-field intelligence. He is well known in the community and is a fan favorite with no character issues. Isn't that what NFL executives look for?

Ponder isn't flashy, he certainly doesn't compare with the likes of Blaine Gabert or Cam Newton, but given the right situation under the right coaching he could develop into a starter.

My prediction is that Ponder will get drafted by a New England or Indianapolis in the third round. Both will need to look for successors for Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and both are looking for dependable backups.

Ponder comes from an NFL style of offense so he should be able to pick up on the playbook instantly and, given the right home, he could surprise a lot of people right away.