NFL Draft 2011: 5 Scenarios That Put Christian Ponder in the First Round
Every year there are a variety of factors that put players who no one would've expected into the first round of the NFL draft. Sometimes teams with a need make that reach for a guy no one had pegged to come off the board until much later.
This practice will no doubt take place this year, perhaps as a response to the lockout, which has left teams unable to reconfigure before the draft. With upwards of 10 teams having a legitimate need for a starting signal caller, or at least an upgrade for their current one, quarterback is the most likely position to get a first-round upgrade.
Former Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder has been gaining a lot of pre-draft buzz as a guy that could and should go in the first round. Here are five scenarios that explain why Ponder could be wearing a team's hat come Thursday night in New York City.
1. Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker Go in the Top 10
While I feel that Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert will fly off the board before Ponder, Jake Locker is a solid indicator of where Ponder will go. If Locker is selected prior to Ponder as expected, plan on Ponder going no more than 10 slots behind him.
In this scenario, Locker would be drafted 10th overall by the Redskins, who would rather trade down to get a quarterback. There are only two teams picking between 11-20 that need a quarterback, Miami and Minnesota, but it is likely that a team that missed out on Newton and Gabbert trades up or trades back into the first round to pick Ponder here before the Seattle Seahawks draft him at 23rd overall.
2. An Unexpected Team Drafts a Quarterback Early
Every year some team surprises everyone and picks a player at a position that is already very solid. This move is usually unanticipated and comes from that team's desire to move a player that is aging or troubled.
The Eagles picked Kevin Kolb a few years back with their first selection (although in the second round) despite having a stable of capable quarterbacks and a starter firmly entrenched. Just last season, despite having two former 1,000-yard rushers, the Buffalo Bills selected C.J. Spiller ninth overall.
While this might seem like lunacy to some, teams have to be aware of ways to fortify themselves at this important position for the present and the future. In the photo above, Andy Reid is probably advising Jason Garrett to do like he does: "Stockpile some quarterbacks."
Teams that may pull a surprise and draft a quarterback in the first round include the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars, and perhaps even the Oakland Raiders will trade into the first round to snag a signal caller.
One of these unexpected teams drafting a quarterback would signal a quarterback rush in the first round, as the shortage would cause teams to get nervous and try to get who they could where they could.
3. A QB Rush Mid-First Round
When the draft starts going and the phones are inevitably ringing, there is no doubt that after a slew of signal callers starts to move off the board, teams will frantically start making picks that secure them a player at a position they don't think they will find later in the draft.
Ponder is the third- or fourth-ranked QB in the draft, and with Newton, Gabbert and Locker expected to go in the first round, it's likely Ponder will be snatched by a team that missed out on that trio.
4. 2011 Draft Challenges 1983 Draft
5. Christian Ponder Is High on Someone's Draft Board
Every team in the NFL has a draft board, and this, being the most obvious of circumstances, is the reason why Christian Ponder will be a first-round pick.
Aside from all the other factors and scenarios, Ponder will go in the first round because some scout has given him a first-round grade, and one of the 10 teams with a quarterback need will get him, as they say, "while the getting is good."
Earliest selection spot: 10th overall to Washington
Latest selection spot: 23rd overall to Seattle