Despite being a first rounder,Aaron Rodgers benefitted from sitting behind a veteran like Favre.
The 2011 draft is hyped by specific positions each year, as one always seems to be a bit more loaded at one position rather than another.
In 2008, it was all about the running backs. That year, running backs Rashard Mendenhall, Chris Johnson, Ray Rice, Felix Jones, Darren McFadden, Johnathan Stewart and Jammal Charles highlighted the class and have all made a name for themselves in the league.
In 2009, it was about the linebackers, especially with the USC trio of Clay Matthews III, Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga. All were drafted high in the first two rounds and are all current starters for their respective teams.
This year it's all about the quarterbacks.
Out of many analysts' top five quarterback prospects, four of them are first-round caliber and all of them have a chance to be drafted in the first round, especially if they put on a good showing at the NFL Combine. And it's not just those guys; there is plenty of value in the middle rounds for a quarterback to develop behind a veteran for the long term.
However, while the talent is there, many are still concerned about the overall ability of these quarterbacks. Concerns arise due to the fact that the college system is less pro style, rarely taking under center snaps and taking so many snaps from the shotgun. The adjustments to taking snaps from under center can be tough for these quarterbacks, and they need time to learn.
Despite the talent that this draft holds, some quarterbacks could benefit best from learning on the bench like Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers did for three to four years. While it may not be that long for every quarterback, not starting day one helps to alleviate the pressure and allow your rookie quarterback to adjust to the NFL.
An often left out name out of the top five quarterback prospects in this draft is Andy Dalton out of TCU.
Dalton has proven himself capable of winning, guiding TCU to two straight BCS bowl games and winning the Rose Bowl in his last season at TCU. He appears to have the football IQ you want in a quarterback, and is athletic and mobile in the pocket.
What takes some shine off of Dalton is his size. At 6'3", 220 pounds, he is undersized and needs to become a little bit bigger. He's not going to wow you with elite arm strength or spectacular demeanor or numbers, but he has most of the intangibles you look for in a quarterback. He has the arm, good mobility and is a smart, well prepared quarterback.
Dalton looks to be around a second-round pick, is steadily climbing draft boards and can capitalize on his status with a good showing at the combine.
Sitting Dalton on the bench for about a year or two will give him time to adjust to a pro-style offense and give him the time he needs to become a more accurate passer and improve his decision making and presence in the pocket.
One highly rated quarterback who can benefit the most from learning from the bench is Jake Locker from Washington.
Once thought to be a No. 1 overall pick had he left early for the draft, Locker's performance suffered, as well as his draft stock.
Locker has the ability to play at the next level. He is a great athletic quarterback with great mobility. He has the arm to match. However, he was frequently injured due to the way he played at Washington, frequently scrambling everywhere on the field. While his arm is big, he has been shown to be a little inaccurate in his throws. He has the size at 6'3", 230 pounds.
The knock on Locker still going in the first round is the potential and intangibles he possesses. Some time on the bench, even if he is drafted in the first round, is what is best for him and his development in the NFL. Teams like Seattle are considering him, and being drafted by a team like Seattle would give him one of the best shots to learn on the bench behind Charlie Whitehurst and Matt Hasselbeck.
A guy who has the most value in the second round and would benefit the most on the bench is most certainly quarterback Christian Ponder out of Florida State.
Measured at 6'2" and coming in at 229 pounds, Ponder has the athleticism to play in the NFL. He's a mobile quarterback who's able to make plays out of the pocket and make plays on the move, and he's been known for his toughness as a college quarterback.
But, Ponder's biggest red flags are his durability as well as his inability to throw the deep ball. He often floats the ball too much, struggles to find all of his reads and often locks on to his targets. In terms of durability, he has had serious injuries his past two seasons at Florida State. These injuries were on his shoulders, and he has had to miss big games as a result of these injuries.
Because of Ponder's untrustworthy health, it's a safer bet for teams to wait until the second or third rounds to nab him as a developmental project for the next couple of seasons for him to improve on his throwing ability as well as keeping his health in check.
A dark horse.
After the fabulous four of Gabbert, Newton, Mallett and Locker, we get into the likes of quarterbacks like Stanzi, who, like Dalton, have the capability to compete for a starting position after a season of development in the NFL.
Coming out of Iowa, Ricky Stanzi, like Andy Dalton, is a highly competitive guy who has proven himself a tough leader, winning the Orange Bowl in 2010 against Georgia Tech, and posting impressive victories over some of the top ranked teams on the collegiate level.
As a player, Stanzi has the intangibles you look for. At 6'4", coming in at 223 pounds, he certainly has the size and the on-field presence you look for in a quarterback. He is a very mobile quarterback, able to make plays with his feet and extend plays for better opportunities. He has a good enough arm to make most of the throws he would be asked to throw. Because of a deep quarterback class, Stanzi will be a great addition around the late second to middle third round of the NFL Draft.
Where Stanzi must improve his game is the passing game. At times, while he excelled in the short passing game, he struggled at times with the intermediate and deep passes, and showed inconsistent footwork in the pocket. His decision-making was not with the best of them, and some time on the bench could give Stanzi time to develop his skills in the passing game as well as become more solid in the pocket.
This is a good quarterback class, and long term value can be found in the mid to late rounds of the NFL Draft.