2011 NFL Combine: Power Ranking Every QB in Indianapolis
The 2011 NFL Scouting Combine is about to start and all eyes will be on the quarterbacks when they take the field.
There are 18 quarterbacks invited to this year's combine, but not all of them are throwing. Blaine Gabbert has said he will not throw at the event, preferring to throw to his own receivers at a private workout.
While the breakdown of who will and who will not throw and why is a good one, every quarterback will be going through the same set of non-throwing tests.
Some of these prospects will raise their draft stocks this weekend while others will fall off. A few may remain right where they are.
The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, so here's a look at how the quarterbacks rank going into the combine.
18. Josh Portis
Josh Portis is the only Division II quarterback to be invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. He'll get some attention just for that distinction, but he's a seventh-round draft pick at best at this point.
A great combine performance could move him up a round or two, but that would be it.
17. Jeff Van Camp
Jeff Van Camp goes into the combine as a prototypical prospect, but his sidearm delivery knocks him off the top of every draft board.
Bernie Kosar was successful in the NFL with a sidearm delivery, but he's the exception that proves the rule.
Van Camp will be a late-round draft pick.
16. Ryan Colburn
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Ryan Colburn is a guy who can really raise his draft stock at the combine. A good performance could raise him from a low-round draft pick to a mid-round draft pick.
15. Jerrod Johnson
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Jerrod Johnson got a lot of exposure throwing for Texas A&M, so there is a lot of good tape on Johnson.
Johnson has shown he doesn't make good decisions and lets bad plays get to him. Johnson may end up being drafted, but not as a quarterback.
As a quarterback, Johnson gets knocked for his lack of leadership and willingness to put the ball at risk in order to make the "big play."
14. Scott Tolzien
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Scott Tolzien is a sleeper quarterback who could really raise his draft stock at the combine. He completed 74.3 percent of his passes in 2010 and he is a winner of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.
Why he is ranked so low is a function of his mechanics, which aren't very good. He stares down receivers and he is a checkdown machine.
If he can show improvement in those areas, he could make the transition to the pros. Right now he's a low-round pick.
13. T.J. Yates
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T.J. Yates could benefit from being behind a good line and having good coaches. Yates has shown incredible grace under pressure, but he also has thrown a lot of interceptions.
However, he's eaten a lot of turf at North Carolina and he still had a 67.6-percent completion rate in 2010.
Yates is under the radar but could develop into a great quarterback in a few years.
12. Greg McElroy
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Greg McElroy would project as a first-round pick except for his size. He is considered undersized for a pro quarterback at 6' 1", 222 lbs.
Scouts aren't sure he has the bulk to take the hits a starting quarterback in the NFL takes today. His arm strength also is being brought into question.
That being said, he is considered extremely intelligent and he has good accuracy.
McElroy still will go sometime in the mid-rounds.
11. Tyrod Taylor
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Tyrod Taylor falls into the same camp as McElroy when it comes to height and bulk concerns. While his arm strength is better than McElroy's, Taylor has issues with his decision making.
Between Taylor and McElroy, it is a toss up.
Taylor has better arm strength while making bad throws, while McElroy will make good decisions but may not be able to launch the ball 60 yards down the field with pinpoint accuracy.
Taylor's intangibles scout higher and he gets the edge in the rankings.
10. Nathan Enderle
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Nathan Enderle is showing good skills at reading defenses and he has responded well to adversity. His leadership skills are good and he will go downfield.
Enderle loses position in the draft because of accuracy and arm-strength concerns.
9. Pat Devlin
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Pat Devlin has all the skills and intangibles to be a top-round draft pick, but all those skills and intangibles grade out as average.
He'll make good decisions one game and start eating sacks the next game. His footwork needs attention and some of the basic skills also need to be developed.
Devlin is a project quarterback who could go in the third round.
8. Colin Kaepernick
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Colin Kaepernick plays in a "pistol" system and will have to completely start from scratch in the pros, learning how to take a ball from under center and how to stay cool under pressure from pro defenses.
Kaepernick is as big of a "project" quarterback as there is in the draft, but he's smart and athletic, which will serve him well in the NFL.
7. Ricky Stanzi
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Ricky Stanzi has great leadership skills, but his mechanics are terrible. He has a wind-up throwing motion and his footwork is sloppy.
He has the arm strength to succeed in the NFL, so he'll have to sit back and learn for a few years in the NFL, but he would be a solid third-round pick for a team.
6. Christian Ponder
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Christian Ponder has had some injuries to his throwing arm, which will keep him from going in the first round. However, he is one of the smartest quarterbacks in the draft and that will get him consideration in Round 2.
Ponder can get caught telegraphing his throws, but this is something that can be coached up. Ponder definitely could raise his draft stock this weekend and he could go as high as the second round.
5. Andy Dalton
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Andy Dalton was considered an under-the-radar quarterback until the last few weeks of the season.
Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both are high on the TCU quarterback, noting his leadership skills and his decision-making ability.
Dalton played in a spread offense, which always brings negative marks come draft time because spread offenses historically don't work well in the pros and many quarterbacks have a hard time making the transition to a pro-style offense.
Dalton should raise his draft stock at the combine this weekend and be a surprise second-round pick.
4. Ryan Mallett
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Ryan Mallett has all the physical attributes to be a No. 1 pick, but he also has been dogged by rumors of maturity issues with his coaches as well as drug use.
The combine will be a huge test for Mallett as every front office executive he faces will grill him on the allegations of drug use that allegedly kept him from entering the 2010 NFL Draft, according to an article on CBSSports.com
Mallett has great on-field skills, but in today's NFL, maturity and drug use issues lead to Ryan Leaf comparisons. Once those comparisons start, it is very hard to get drafted in the first round.
Mallett has a chance to go in the second round, but depending on how the background checks go, he could be in for a long fall on draft weekend.
3. Jake Locker
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Jake Locker went from guaranteed first-round pick to marginal first-round pick at best in one season.
Locker's 2010 season didn't live up to his 2009 numbers and he had to fight through some injuries.
This is where the combine could save him. If Locker can prove his 2010 season was just one of those blips on the radar of life, he could start convincing some front offices he is worth a first-round pick.
Locker is a very gifted athlete who hasn't been dogged by maturity issues like Mallet has. Even if Locker slips out of the first round, he should be a high second-round pick.
2. Cam Newton
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Cam Newton's strengths and weaknesses already have been talked to death elsewhere. In summation, he has everything a front office wants physically out of a first-round quarterback prospect.
However, he does need development and some of his off-field decisions over the last few years have been questionable. He has one good year at Auburn to his resume and an army of NCAA investigators looking into everything he and his father did for the last few years.
Newton has been cleared, but turning pro was his only real option as the NCAA would not have left him alone for another year.
Newton handled the pressure well and turned in one great performance after another, which will be looked on favorably by NFL executives.
Newton is a top 10 pick.
1. Blaine Gabbert
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When asked what separated Blaine Gabbert from the rest of the quarterback prospects in a recent interview, Christian Ponder said "speed."
Ponder, who has been working out with Gabbert in Arizona in preparation for this year's draft, noted just how much faster Gabbert is than most other quarterbacks he'd seen or played against in the college ranks.
Gabbert shot up the draft boards the last few months as his accuracy and leadership skills began catching scouts attention. With Andrew Luck staying in college, Gabbert began to get more notice, and that only raised his draft stock.
Gabbert doesn't want to throw at the combine, but every other drill he participates in will be scrutinized heavily.
Gabbert also is a top 10 pick, but whether he is a top five pick remains to be seen.