NFL Draft 2011: Is This Year's Quarterback Class Really Elite?

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NFL Draft 2011: Is This Year's Quarterback Class Really Elite?
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Every year quarterback-hungry teams scour the draft searching for that one franchise-worthy QB that will lead their team for the next decade. With as much time and dedication a team puts into the process, the outcome is all but definite. Gems are found in later rounds while at other times busts are abundant in the opening rounds.

This year's quarterback class features a diverse group of individuals possessing an array of skills ranging from the traditional pocket passer to the athletic mobile quarterback. Headlining the 2011 NFL quarterback class is Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, Washington's Jake Locker, Auburn's Cam Newton, Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, Florida State's Christian Ponder, Nevada's Colin Kaepernick, TCU's Andy Dalton, Delaware's Pat Delvin and Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor.

When trying to rate the quarterback class, each quarterback expects to perform at a high level, therefore the standard at which they are held should be no less than exceptional. Last year's No. 1 pick Sam Bradford all but embodies the qualities of an exceptional rookie quarterback. Bradford won the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year award in addition to setting the record for most completions by a rookie in NFL history. 

Note that each of this year's prospects may not have the same skill set as Bradford, but Bradford's skill set is not the only factor that contributed to his success. His poise, leadership, dedication to improving and confidence are attributes that cannot be quantified by statistics.

To be compared to an individual that has already begun setting NFL records should be considered an honor to these prospects that have yet to even step a foot on an NFL field, so we will investigate how these prospects stack up.

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