2011 NFL Mock Draft: Will Christian Ponder Be the Buffalo Bills' Franchise QB?
The Buffalo Bills haven't had the greatest success at the quarterback position ever since Jim Kelly retired. Fans have watched in misery as Trent Edwards, Rob Johnson and J.P Losman struggled to manage the Buffalo offense.
All signs point to the Bills addressing the defensive side of the ball with their No. 3 overall pick in Thursday, April 28's draft, but they might look at their franchise quarterback with the No. 34 overall pick in the second round.
Former Buffalo Bills outstanding wide receiver Andre Reed will be making the selection, and may have tipped off the Bills' front office's view by tweeting Florida State University's quarterback Christian Ponder, stating, "“@cponder7 Lookin forward to calling your name Draft Day!!!!!!!!! Bills brash like ur style.”
The tweet has since been deleted, but Ponder seems to be a good value pick in the second round, if he were to drop that far.
Ponder, like the other draft picks in Buddy Nix's regime, played four seasons at Florida State, passing for 6,872 yards, 49 touchdowns, and 30 interceptions. He has solid awareness in the pocket, and has some of the best mechanics of any quarterback in the draft.
Scouts see Ponder as one of the only quarterbacks in the draft who could start from day one, but sitting a year under Fitzpatrick would be beneficial. Ponder completed 57.4 percent of his passes in his career, despite having an underachieving receiving corps, and he can make all of the throws.
He is a pure pocket passer, but he is definitely capable of keeping plays alive with his feet. His footwork is solid in the pocket and he moves around with confidence. Ponder puts a ton of zip on the ball, and can put it in tight spaces at high speeds. He won't be throwing 80-yard bombs, but he has the touch and enough strength to make the big play.
Florida State ran a pro style offense, so Ponder can make reads, and confuse defenses by looking off receivers.
On the flip side, Ponder makes some bad decisions at crucial times in games, and threw some costly interceptions that resulted in losses for the Seminoles. He will really need to work on learning when to throw the ball away or simply passing to his check down receiver.
Overall, Ponder seems like a developmental quarterback at this stage, but other than his mechanics, he has a lot to work on. If the Bills do opt to take him, he will need to sit on the bench for at least a year to get coached up enough to the point where he can start.
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