2011 NFL Mock Draft: Will Christian Ponder Sneak into the First Round?

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Will Christian Ponder Sneak into the First Round?
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Colin Kaepernick has received an invitation to the 2011 NFL Draft next Thursday at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

One of reported 24 players, it is very interesting to hear that Kaepernick has gained so much momentum as of late.

According to CBS Sports' Eye on Football Blog from Andy Benoit, "The league would not extend that invitation if they thought Kaepernick might drop below the second round. In fact, it's possible the league believes he'll even sneak into the first round."

Kaepernick is one of three or four other quarterbacks hoping to find a home in the latter portion of the first round.

Washington's Jake Locker has done enough to be a mid-first-round pick in my mind, and I do not believe he will get out of the first 17 picks.

Thus, Kaepernick, Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, Florida State's Christian Ponder and TCU's Andy Dalton are all in the mix for as many as 12 quarterback-needy teams.

Not all these players warrant first-round grades, but we can expect to see the quarterback position overdrafted this year.

Mallett has a top-10 arm but has maturity concerns.

Dalton has moved up draft boards steadily since season's end and Kaepernick's physical tools are very intriguing to a number of teams.

As for Ponder, he was inconsistent all season long, battled injuries, but has the ability to be a very good quarterback in the right system and has received a good boost in draft stock since his Senior Bowl performance.

We know anything can happen in the first round of the NFL draft and there is a good chance we could see three, four or even five quarterbacks sneak into the first round.

1. Carolina: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
2. Denver: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
3. Buffalo: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
4. Cincinnati: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
17. New England (via Oak): J.J. Watt, DE, Wisc
18. San Diego: Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temp
19. New York Giants: Anthony Castonzo, OT, BC
20. Tampa Bay: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
5. Arizona: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Mizzou
6. Cleveland: Robert Quinn, DE, UNC
7. San Fran: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
8. Tennessee: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
21. Kansas City: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
22. Indianapolis: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
23. Philadelphia: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
24. Tennessee: Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada **
9. Dallas: Tyron Smith, OT, USC
10. Washington: Jake Locker, QB, Wash.
11. Houston: Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal.
12. Minnesota: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purd.
25. Seattle: Christian Ponder, QB, FSU
26. Baltimore: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio St.
27. Atlanta: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
28. Minnesota: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas **
13. Detroit: Prince Amukamara, CB, Neb.
14. St. Louis: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
15. Miami: Mike Pouncey, OG/C, Florida
16. Jacksonville: Aldon Smith, DE, Mizz.
29. Chicago: Derek Sherrod, OT, Miss. State
30. New York Jets: Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
31. Pittsburgh: Aaron Williams, CB/S, Texas
64. Green Bay: Marvin Austin, DT, UNC

(**)Indicates trade

MUST READ: Matt Miller's Full Two-Round Mock Draft With Team Needs Analysis

For a look at all things related to the NFL Draft, check out our NFL Draft Hub.

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