2011 Prospects: Five Early Round Quarterbacks the Fins Could Actually Reel in
In the coming draft, the Miami Dolphins will take a quarterback.
I am willing to just come out say that the Miami Dolphins WILL take a quarterback. There is no doubt in my mind. Can one say that a team does extensive research and meetings with quarterbacks just to present a draft-day smokescreen? I think not.
With the present lockout freezing free agency and Miami's lack of depth at the position, a rookie seems almost certain to be brought in to fight with incumbent starter Chad Henne. In this article I will present five quarterbacks I could see the Miami Dolphins realistically taking a hard look at in the first, second, and third rounds of the 2011 draft in April.
Let me know your thoughts after reading the article! I want to know who others would like to see Miami take come April.
5. Jake Locker, Washington
Jake Locker is a guy who could have been a top-five pick in 2010, but pulled a Peyton Manning and returned to school thinking his draft stock would remain the same for 2011. That simply isn't the case. A shaky senior season and questions about accuracy have haunted his draft stock.
Locker is a more than capable athlete, and he proved that at the 2011 Scouting Combine. He has a cannon arm, muscular build, good height, and can make plays with his feet. Unfortunately, that cannon arm is very, very erratic (sound familiar, Fins Fans?). He misses the open receiver too often, and makes some questionable throws. His game film has shown he can be reckless at times, which could mean more injuries at the next level, as well.
His competitive nature, solid leadership skills, and athleticism could appeal to teams like the Fins, but if accuracy is as much of a concern to teams as it seems, they may not want to take a chance on him. Despite concerns, Locker could still remain a top 10 pick come draft day due to multiple teams needing a good, young quarterback.
He still appears to be a first round prospect.
4. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
Ryan Mallett is a big guy. This 6'7" 253 pound quarterback has the build of an NFL quarterback. His arm strength and pure passing ability is phenomenal. Like Locker, however, Mallett's decision making is in question.
Of the Arkansas games I've watched first-hand, his accuracy doesn't look terrible. He knows how to work out of a pro offense, and seems fluid in the majority of his drop-backs and throws. But the passes he chooses to make seem to be more of an issue. Like Mike Mayock said in one of his reports on nfl.com, Mallett will make an absolute beauty of a throw one play and then nothing short of a head-scratcher the next.
Aside from his passing, which is no doubt a gift from God, Mallett comes with two knocks: athleticism and character concerns. He has enough mobility to dodge certain hits in the pocket, but you could never expect him to make huge plays with his feet like some of the other prospects.
The potential character concerns confuse me. He is a commander of the huddle and has the respect and attention of his teammates on the field and in the locker room. But where the "character concerns" come from are rumors of off-the-field issues, which reports seem to include marijuana.
I may be mistaken, but there doesn't seem to be any actual proof of this supposed drug use. Aside from the rumors of drug use, there could be the possibility of maturity issues as well.
I personally like what Mallett has to offer. A quarterback doesn't have to be mobile to be successful in the NFL, and he definitely has the arm to make it. If the maturity concerns turn out to be minute, he could be a star.
Mallett will probably go in the first round, but the concerns may have him slip into the second.
3. Andy Dalton, TCU
I'm going to come right out and say I don't know all there is to know about Andy Dalton. In fact, I really don't know all that much about him at all. I haven't watched a ton of TCU games, but I did watch the Rose Bowl and how well he played against a pretty good Wisconsin team.
From the little film I have watched, I have been impressed. I see a player who can make most of plays with his arm but is also not afraid to tuck it and run. He ran an official 4.87 40 at the combine, and also did well in the 20 yard shuttle, so he can make plays with his legs if needed.
One thing I noticed is his ability to throw on the run, which impressed me a lot. He seems to be able to make most of the throws in the pros. However, he comes from a spread offense if I've ever seen one, so he may not be a good option for Miami to plug in right away.
His biggest plus is his likable personality and level head, which will impress teams that meet with him. If I were to make a guess about what type of player he could pan out to be, I would have to say a game manager. I don't know if he'll be a Peyton Manning, who puts up gaudy numbers, but he'll get the job done and keep his team in the game.
Previously, he was a projected middle round guy, but there has been some talk about him being a second rounder as of late. If he's the best option in the second or third round, assuming we haven't acquired a second rounder, he may be worth picking up.
2. Christian Ponder, Florida State
When I look at Christian Ponder and what he can do, I think of a more athletic version of our 2008 hero for the Fins: Chad Pennington. He's a quality short to intermediate passer who is sound in his drop-backs and play-action passes.
Ponder is like Pennington in a few ways: He doesn't have a rocket arm, he plays fairly efficient in the shorter game and is good with the play-action, and unfortunately has a history with injuries.
We've seen Pennington make plays with his feet. Ponder brings that element to the table as well, but is faster and more athletic than Pennington is/was. Both players show their drive and determination for getting more yards when extending plays with their feet and, unfortunately, that has lead to many of their injuries.
If Ponder can stay healthy, he has proven he can be a good quarterback. He has tremendous drive to win and will rally his teammates around him in a game. He has mostly second round appeal at this point.
If Miami wants another guy like Pennington who can manage the game while bringing a spark to the huddle (and they sure seem to love Penny), they may take a chance on inner-state quarterback Christian Ponder.
1. Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
Kaepernick seems to be Miami's favorite prospect. Remember when Miami drafted Pat White in 2009? Of course you do; that was a rhetorical question. Well, Kaepernick is a bigger, stronger, overall better version of Pat White. What's more is Miami is actually doing their homework on Kaepernick, whereas White was a shocking draft pick.
Miami has supposedly met with Kaepernick three times already this off season. The drafting of a duel-threat QB seems to be a goal of Miami's. Its a perfect fit, right?
Kaepernick looks like a beanpole running around out there. He's a lean QB, but at the same time has nice size. He's 6'5" 233 pounds. If he can put on some more muscle without it affecting his being a running threat, he'll be an even more ideal QB.
He's a great leader and seems to have a level head. The only questions he presents concern his deep throw accuracy, as well as his funky throwing motion. He has the arm strength to make all the throws, he just needs to work on mechanics. He is still a bit raw.
Kaepernick also came from the "Pistol" Offense, so he will need to learn to take snaps from center and work on his drops from that position. In a pro-style offense, Kaepernick will also need more patience when throwing; he seemed too eager to tuck-and-run at times in college. Don't get me wrong, he's more than capable running the football (ran a 4.53 40), he just needs to realize he'll need to be a throw-first QB at the next level.
Starting four years for the Wolf Pack shows his ability to play the game and learn, as well as his leadership ability. Should the FIns be able to pick him up, they may have a diamond in the rough.
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