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2011 NFL Draft: How NFL Combine Will Affect Draft Stock of Top 9 QBs

Christopher HowlandCorrespondent IIIFebruary 25, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: How NFL Combine Will Affect Draft Stock of Top 9 QBs

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    Scott Boehm/Getty Images

    The 2011 NFL combine is well under way in Indianapolis, Indiana, and many athletes are now given the opportunity to improve their draft stock, most notably the quarterbacks of the 2011 class.

    While some QBs also have equal opportunity to hurt their draft stock, mostly these nine participants will do a great job in showcasing their elite talent to the NFL scouts that are present.

    Here is a list of the top nine college QBs that are participating in the NFL combine and how taking part in the combine will affect their draft stock.

Cam Newton

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    Kent Horner/Getty Images

    Cam Newton will be at the NFL combine in Indianapolis today headlining the group of quarterbacks expected to throw for NFL scouts.

    After comments like “I see myself as an entertainer-slash-icon,” “God has given me this platform” and “I want to be transparent,” Newton better bring his A-game in Indy.

    The quarterback, who won the 2010 Heisman Trophy and 2011 BCS National Championship Game, has seen his draft stock rise as high as projected third overall in recent weeks.

    After accepting the Davey O’Brien Award for the nation’s best QB this past Monday, Newton can do a lot to improve his already escalating draft status.

    The pressure of passing to receivers the QBs aren’t familiar with is a challenge in itself, but it's his running that scouts should be most interested to watch.

    If Newton can get all aspects of his game on point the next couple days, there is no telling how high his stock could rise.

Colin Kaepernick

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    “He is absolutely going to do everything at the combine,” Colin Kaepernick’s agent Scott Smith told ProFootballTalk.com. “He wouldn’t do it any other way.”

    Kaepernick is suffering from what the other QBs in this year’s draft don’t have to worry about: coming from a small school.

    The former Nevada four-year starter is entering the combine to prove to scouts that his 6’5”, 225-pound frame can handle the rigors of the NFL.

    His impressive athleticism and 4.4 forty speed have Kaepernick’s stock on the rise, but it’s his arm strength and accuracy that scouts want to see.

    As Kaepernick comes off a good showing at the Senior Bowl, the combine is his next step to prove he is an elite athlete ready to make the transition to the league.

Jake Locker

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    There are many dual-threat QBs in the college game that would be developmental projects for an NFL team if they were to select them, but Jake Locker is a different type of dual threat, one that can make game-changing plays with both his arm and feet.

    “I plan on doing everything at the combine,” Locker told the National Football Post—and that’s a good idea on his part.

    The 6’3”, 230-pound passer should have a strong showing at the combine that will help elevate his draft stock.

    His big, strong frame, plus his high football IQ and coolness in the pocket, will be intangibles any team in search of a franchise quarterback should covet.

    With plenty of improvements needed on the horizon for Locker, a strong combine performance is just the first step on his road to success.

Ryan Mallett

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Junior Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett has plenty of hype surrounding him, including many draft experts naming him a potential first-round selection.

    A strong performance at the combine could help Mallett’s draft stock, as many scouts who broke down his film came away disappointed and felt he got worse as the 2010 season prolonged.

    It may have been due to a nagging left meniscus injury, but the combine is Mallett’s time to shine and show scouts that his injury issues are a thing of the past.

    His excellent height and size (6’6”, 238 pounds) bode well for his future career, and when he can hone his exceptional arm strength and downfield accuracy, Mallett will have a promising NFL career ahead of him.

Andy Dalton

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    After Andy Dalton and the TCU Horned Frogs beat Wisconsin in the 2011 Rose Bowl, he has seen his draft stock skyrocket.

    Dalton, 6’2”, 215 pounds, has incredible attributes that any NFL team looks for in a budding star.

    He is a smart passer that doesn’t like to squeeze the ball into a receiver's hands if he doesn’t have to, and he is a born leader with out-of-this-world work ethic.

    His goal to be an NFL passer was taken to the next step when he committed to throw at the combine and prove to scouts that he can overcome inconsistencies that plagued him during his career at TCU.

    If Dalton can surprise beyond belief in Indy, expect him to climb draft boards and go to a team in need of a developmental QB for the future.

Ricky Stanzi

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Ricky Stanzi is yet another QB thrown into the draft that could raise his draft stock with a great performance at the NFL combine this week.

    Stanzi completed a great career at Iowa, where he was a natural-born leader and showed he had the arm strength to transition to the NFL.

    Each season at Iowa, Stanzi showed improvements that eventually led to a great senior year.

    He has a knack for picking up the offense quickly and reading the defense well, while throwing a very catchable pass that his receivers had no complaints about.

    Stanzi has good size, standing at 6’4”, 230 pounds, but he’s going to have to work on his footwork and how to manage his body under pressure.

    The combine is Stanzi’s first step to his NFL career, and if he puts on a good showing, he too could be jumping up the charts.

Christian Ponder

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Christian Ponder is a very interesting quarterback option to keep your eye on during the 2011 combine.

    Originally, Ponder chose not to throw at the combine but then later changed his mind, hoping to impress scouts more than his Senior Bowl MVP award already has.

    Ponder is pretty much the prototypical QB many teams are in search of.

    He’s got the football IQ to lead the team down the field, the feet to get him out of tricky situations and the arm to air it out.

    Ponder has been plagued with injury issues during his three years starting at Florida State, but he’s at the combine hoping to prove to NFL teams that his elbow and shoulder issues are well behind him.

    As Ponder continues to make a name for himself, look for him to improve on his third or fourth-round prediction to make his way up to the second-round area.

Blaine Gabbert

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Expected by many to be the first quarterback taken in the 2011 NFL draft, former Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert has decided to take a seat when the other QBs do the combine passing drills.

    While Gabbert’s sound mechanics were showcased all year at Mizzou, he will need some time to transition from the spread offense to a more NFL style of play.

    Despite having to improve on his pocket awareness, Gabbert is still the No. 1 QB on the big board, and don’t expect his stock to drop just because he chose not to throw at this year’s combine.

Greg McElroy

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    It’s unfortunate for him, but it is the right decision.

    Alabama QB Greg McElroy does not expect to throw at the NFL combine and may not throw at his pro day due to an injury to his throwing hand that he is still recovering from.

    McElroy injured his throwing hand during the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama when hit the helmet of Derek Sherrod during his follow-through.

    He currently has a cast on his hand and is hopeful to begin throwing again, saying, “I think [throwing is] probably going to be soon, simply because, even if I get my cast off next Monday it still doesn’t allow that much time in order to prepare. I haven’t thrown since January 29.”

    McElroy’s injury is a huge hit to his draft stock, but if scouts see that he is committed to making a huge comeback, some teams out there may be willing to take a chance on him.

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