The 2011 NFL Draft is just nine days away, so we're running out of time to closely inspect and criticize every single draft prospect.
In an effort to keep the critique bus rolling, here's a list of the top 10 2011 NFL Draft quarterback prospects and their top NFL player comparison.
Always found it strange that certain players get compared, even when they play nothing alike? From the extremely inaccurate to the spot-on, here's your 2011 NFL Draft Quarterback Player Comparisons:
Nathan Enderle is a very solid quarterback currently flying way beneath the radar. He has an adequate arm, has the ability to make every throw, and works well within the pocket.
However, his mental and reactive game isn't on par, as he is prone to making poor decisions and isn't always where you want him to be with his accuracy.
Player Comparison: Matt Ryan (less polished)
Like Ryan, Enderle has good size and a solid arm and is a very cerebral quarterback. He's not as decisive or accurate as Ryan, but he has the tools and potential that Ryan does.
Pat Devlin is a small school prospect who has a very solid cerebral game, backed by elite accuracy. Devlin is really spot-on with all the short to intermediate throws, and he generally makes good decisions.
His arm is adequate, but he still is unable to consistently make all the deep throws. Not facing elite competition hurts his stock, as well.
Player Comparison: Chad Pennington (bigger arm)
Pennington has always been a very cerebral quarterback, relying on his accuracy and good decision-making to keep his team in games. That's exactly what Devlin has built his reputation as a quarterback on. He does have a stronger arm than Pennington, but their strengths and weaknesses match up nearly the same.
Ricky Stanzi is another smart quarterback who relies heavily on his instincts and accuracy to lead his team to victory.
While he doesn't possess the biggest arm in the world, Stanzi has still displayed the ability to make all the throws. His preparation and mental advantage on the field give him an edge on many quarterbacks, despite not having all the tools you usually look for.
Player Comparison: Matt Cassel
Stanzi doesn't have as strong of an arm as Cassel, but they have similar size and features, and they both rely on smart decision-making. Stanzi is really an intelligent quarterback who can deliver accurate, catchable passes anywhere on the field.
Colin Kaepernick is one of the most interesting quarterback prospects in this draft. He played against weaker competition, but his physical abilities and performances are impressive.
The main problem with Kaepernick is his offense in college may have him less prepared for the next level than you'd like. He has great athleticism and versatility in any offense, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll transition into the league as a great quarterback.
Player Comparison: Josh Freeman
Both Kaepernick and Freeman have tremendous size, good arm strength and above-average mobility. Freeman is bulkier and stronger than Keapernick, but Kaepernick easily has the edge in versatility and overall athleticism.
Andy Dalton is another one of those guys that simply knows how to guide a team and win football games. His athleticism is solid but won't blow you away, and his arm strength is only adequate. However, his pocket presence and accuracy make him a dangerous passer, as he is very patient and takes what the defense gives him.
With solid mobility and great accuracy, Dalton has the skills and potential to be a full-time starter at the next level.
Player Comparison: Colt McCoy (more polished)
Like McCoy, Dalton is a tremendous leader and a winner on and off the field. Dalton doesn't have the greatest arm in the world, but he can make all the throws with precision and accuracy. His added mobility gives him another dimension in and outside of the pocket, minimizing the affect of his lack of elite arm strength.
Christian Ponder continues to be held back by suspect arm strength and decision-making, although without those knocks, he'd easily be a first-round grade.
Ponder has some short-comings, but his overall game is really polished. He has solid accuracy and the ability to make most of the necessary throws, while his coolness under pressure and solid mobility allow him to complete throws in traffic and keep plays alive.
Ponder reminds me of the guy that isn't a freak athlete, but is a freak performer. In the right system, Ponder's competitiveness and solid all-around tools could see him thrive.
Player Comparison: Chad Pennington (more athletic)
I hate to draw up another Chad Pennington comparison, but I can't help it. Both Pennington and Ponder rely on accuracy, leadership and clutch ability to win games, rather than elite athleticism or cannon arms.
Ponder isn't nearly as accurate as Pennington, but his game is similar, while he clearly is the more mobile quarterback. He's that guy that earns the cliche statement, "just gets it done".
Jake Locker has been a candidate to be a top pick in the first round since he stepped foot in Washington. Locker is an elite athlete for the position, possessing the ability to keep plays alive with his feet and take off running and do damage in the open field if a play breaks down.
His extreme confidence and passion for the game make him a fiery leader and competitor, while his ideal size and arm strength allow him to potentially do everything that could be asked for him at the next level.
While the talent and potential is most definitely there, the accuracy and polished mechanics have never been. Locker may be the kind of quarterback that survives on athleticism and that pure gamer mentality, but he'll never be a great one until he disciplines himself with his mechanics and decision-making.
Player Comparison: Steve Young
I'll listen to arguments for comparing Locker to Brett Favre too, because it's close. However, at the moment, Locker is an inaccurate, unpolished Steve Young. Their ability to keeps plays alive and make things happen with their feet at an elite level is matched by very few players in the history of the league.
Locker has a ways to go in terms of mechanics and refining his tools, but if he can ever get his accuracy on the same page as his body, he could end up being better than Young.
Ryan Mallett is an intriguing prospect, because he appears to have all the "measureables" scouts look for in a quarterback, but he has some major character flaws that are holding his stock down.
On the outer surface, Mallett is the biggest, strongest pocket passer in this draft—and arguably has the strongest arm, as well.
Like many quarterbacks entering the league, Mallett's major weaknesses are his accuracy and decision-making, while his lack of mobility should also be noted . Throw in his troubling past issues with drugs and locker room antics, and Mallett's unbeatable talent is suddenly a major risk.
Player Comparison: Drew Bledsoe
Being compared to Bledsoe isn't necessarily a good thing. At one point in his career, Bledsoe had one of the liveliest arms in the league and could make all the throws, while putting up great numbers and winning games. In the second half of his career, however, his lack of mobility and poor decision-making exposed him as a fairly one-dimensional player.
Mallett might be facing a similar future, but for now he can safely be compared to the good version of Drew Bledsoe.
What Cam Newton lacks in experience, he's completely made up for in sheer talent and physical ability. Newton has outstanding size with a big arm, and he has the kind of elite athleticism that has become a rarity in quarterbacks.
Newton's off-field shenanigans and lack of experience put a damper on his draft stock, but nobody in the draft has his combination of skills and potential.
Player Comparison: Ben Roethlisberger (more athletic)
The guy won the NCAA title game in his only full season. That makes it pretty hard to refute the "winner" label. Like Roethlisberger, Newton also has tremendous size, a big arm and has displayed the ability several times to deliver in the clutch.
Roethlisberger was by far the more polished passer coming out of college and has always had better mechanics than Newton, but Newton arguably have more overall talent and potential.
A lot of draft mockers like to say Newton reminds them of JaMarcus Russell, but the only things those two guys have in common are way too stereotypical to take seriously.
1. They're both black.
2. They're both tall with big arms.
3. They both might be No. 1 overall picks.
Sure, you could allow the comparison, given three descriptions they both match, but they really don't play the same game. Russell wasn't nearly as athletic as Newton, and he's always been lethargic and lacked discipline. Newton is as charismatic and determined as they come.
Blaine Gabbert won't be the top pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, but it won't be because he lacks talent or some hidden, missing element scouts are looking for.
In fact, he's just as athletic and talented as the guy who is clearly winning the popularity vote, Cam Newton, and is actually the more polished, NFL-ready passer.
However, Gabbert can force the issue at times, while many feel he may just be a system quarterback.
Player Comparison: Tony Romo
I've seen Gabbert compared to Chase Daniel, Phillip Rivers and Kerry Collins. Personally, I think those are three extreme comparisons that are nothing alike, while none of them really tell you what kind of quarterback Gabbert really is.
Romo is more unorthodox in his release and just his overall style play hinges more to his moxie and willingness to go after tight spaces, rather than play it safe. Gabbert has the nice arm with the solid accuracy, along with that special flair that makes you think you're watching an NFL star.
He's not yet refined, but Gabbert has tons of potential heading into the league.
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