NFL Draft 2011: Power Ranking the Top 10 Quarterbacks in the Class

Brandon Galvin@bgny3Featured ColumnistApril 20, 2011

NFL Draft 2011: Power Ranking the Top 10 Quarterbacks in the Class

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Cam Newton passes the ball during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The most important position in the NFL is the quarterback. They are generally the leader of the team and can make or break any single game on one decision.

    Every year the quarterbacks of each class are the most scrutinized prospects heading toward the draft.

    It seems this year analysts and scouts have been dissecting the quarterbacks more than ever. We have several teams who need immediate starters, while others are looking for backups to their incumbent superstars.

    This draft could see as many as six quarterbacks taken in the first round alone.

    The class is highlighted by Auburn’s Heisman winner Cam Newton and Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert. Right on their coattails though, are five more potential superstars in Washington’s Jake Locker, Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett, Florida State’s Christian Ponder, TCU’s Andy Dalton and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick.

    Where does each one rank among the top 10 game-breaking signal-callers of the class?

Honorable Mention: Taylor Potts, Texas Tech

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    Height: 6’4”

    Weight: 218 lbs.

    Career Stats: 7,835 yards, 62 touchdowns, 25 interceptions

    Pro Day Results:

    40-yard Dash: 5.01

    Bench Press: N/A

    Vertical Jump: 30.5

    Broad Jump: 9’9”

    3-cone Drill: 6.96

    20-yard Shuttle: 4.4

    60-yard Shuttle: N/A

    Many are cautious when selecting a Texas Tech quarterback because some believe they are mere products of the system, but I believe Taylor Potts has the tools to develop into a fine quarterback.

    He won’t step in and immediately succeed, but in a few years he should be able to fill in and possibly even start.

10. Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03:  Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Virginia Tech Hokies looks on against the Stanford Cardinal during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Stanford won 40-12.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Ima
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Height: 6’1”

    Weight: 217 lbs.

    Career Stats: 7,017 yards, 44 touchdowns, 20 interceptions

    Combine Results:

    40-yard Dash: 4.51

    Bench Press: N/A

    Vertical Jump: 37.5

    Broad Jump: 126.0

    3-cone Drill: 6.78

    20-yard Shuttle: 4.12

    60-yard Shuttle: N/A

    I like Tyrod Taylor and believe he can be a fine spot starter in the NFL. Most analysts do not believe he will become an NFL quarterback and is better suited for the all-purpose role like New York Jets free agent Brad Smith.

    Although I do not think he is as good, he could be a fine backup ala Troy Smith. Taylor would be a fine fit in Philadelphia, but if the Jets do not think Smith will return to the team, Taylor would be a great selection for Rex Ryan.

9. Greg McElroy, Alabama

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    ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 01:  Greg McElroy #12 of the Alabama Crimson Tide smiles after winning the Capitol One Bowl against the Michigan State Spartans at the Florida Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Height: 6’2”

    Weight: 220 lbs.

    Career Stats: 5,691 yards, 39 touchdowns, 10 interceptions

    Combine Results:

    40-yard Dash: 4.91

    Bench Press: N/A

    Vertical Jump: 33.0

    Broad Jump: 107.0

    3-cone Drill: 7.11

    20-yard Shuttle: 4.45

    60-yard Shuttle: N/A

    Greg McElroy could develop into a fine NFL quarterback with the right coaching. A few weeks ago, I made note that he would benefit greatly from Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

    He enters the draft as one of the most intelligent players in history, according to the Wonderlic test, after scoring a whopping 48 out of 50.

    One would then expect that he should develop into a quality signal-caller since he should have fine decision-making skills and a high football IQ.

    He needs to develop better arm strength and accuracy, but if New England is truly looking to groom another young quarterback, they can certainly do worse than McElroy.

8. Ricky Stanzi, Iowa

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    IOWA CITY, IA - NOVEMBER 20:  Quarterback Ricky Stanzi #12 of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes signals a call at the line during second half action against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Kinnick Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Iowa City, Iowa. Ohio State won 2
    David Purdy/Getty Images

    Height: 6’4”

    Weight: 223 lbs.

    Career Stats: 7,377 yards, 56 touchdowns, 31 interceptions

    Combine Results:

    40-yard Dash: 4.93

    Bench Press: N/A

    Vertical Jump: 32.5

    Broad Jump: 110.0

    3-cone Drill: 6.95

    20-yard Shuttle: 4.43

    60-yard Shuttle: N/A

    Ricky Stanzi, like Ryan Mallett, has been up and down draft boards this offseason. At one point, some analysts believed he could be a third or even second-round selection.

    Since that noise, his stock has come back down to Earth, and he will most likely be a fourth or fifth-rounder.

    Stanzi has fine arm strength and intangibles. He showed good leadership at Iowa and should develop into a solid backup quarterback in the league with the potential for a fine starting career if the opportunity arises.

    Should the 49ers or Titans choose to wait on a quarterback, we could see him land in San Francisco or Tennessee.

7. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Quarterback Ryan Mallett #15 of the Arkansas Razorbacks looks to pass against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Matthew
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Height: 6’7”

    Weight: 253 lbs.

    Career Stats: 8,388 yards, 69 touchdowns, 24 interceptions

    Combine Results:

    40-yard Dash: N/A

    Bench Press: N/A

    Vertical Jump: 24.0

    Broad Jump: 103.0

    3-cone Drill: N/A

    20-yard Shuttle: N/A

    60-yard Shuttle: N/A

    Ryan Mallett’s stock has been all over the place this offseason.

    When the draft season began, he was a potential top-five overall selection. He then tumbled down draft boards into the second round.

    Lately he is back at the tail-end of the first round, as analysts predict he could be selected by the Seattle Seahawks or even New England Patriots, which I believe would be extremely bizarre.

    Now conflicting reports have surfaced that he recently missed a meeting with the Panthers because he was sick from partying the night before. Regardless if this is true or not, it once again hurts his draft stock as he has already been labeled a potential junkie.

    I’ve never been a fan of Mallett’s and believe he will be one of the most unsuccessful quarterbacks in the class. I don’t think he will help a team win, and I believe he will set one franchise back just like JaMarcus Russell did with the Oakland Raiders.

    Speaking of Russell, Mallett appears to resemble him in too many ways. I would not touch him.

6. Jake Locker, Washington

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    TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Washington Huskies drops back to pass during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Huskies 4
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Height: 6’3”

    Weight: 231 lbs.

    Career Stats: 7,693 yards, 53 touchdowns, 45 interceptions

    Combine Results:

    40-yard Dash: 4.59

    Bench Press: N/A

    Vertical Jump: 35.0

    Broad Jump: 120.0

    3-cone Drill: 6.77

    20-yard Shuttle: 4.12

    60-yard Shuttle: N/A

    I’m not nearly as high on Jake Locker as others are. He cost himself a lot of money by staying at Washington for his senior year, as he could have rivaled Sam Bradford for the No. 1 overall selection in last year’s draft.

    Not much has changed from Locker—he still has great athleticism and instincts, but he needs to work on his accuracy. His draft stock has fallen through no fault of his own, but more because the other quarterbacks are as talented and have risen on draft boards.

    I expect to see Locker as a member of the Redskins, Vikings or Seahawks following the first round.

5. Andy Dalton, TCU

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    PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the TCU Horned Frogs looks to pass against the Wisconsin Badgers in the 97th Rose Bowl game on January 1, 2011 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Height: 6’2”

    Weight: 215 lbs.

    Career Stats: 10,314 yards, 71 touchdowns, 30 interceptions

    Combine Results:

    40-yard Dash: 4.87

    Bench Press: N/A

    Vertical Jump: 29.5

    Broad Jump: 106.0

    3-cone Drill: 6.93

    20-yard Shuttle: 4.27

    60-yard Shuttle: N/A

    I may like Andy Dalton more than most analysts. He did a remarkable job at TCU, winning every single game the past two seasons. I believe he is one of the most NFL-ready quarterbacks in the class.

    He will be a solid game manager with his good decision-making and instincts. He does not have great arm strength, but he has the accuracy to compete at a high level.

    We could see Dalton taken at the end of the first round; rumors have surfaced that the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks like him. He will definitely be taken early in the second round with Buffalo, Denver, Cincinnati, Tennessee and San Francisco selecting early.

4. Colin Kaepernick, Nevada

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    LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 02:  Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #10 of the Nevada Reno Wolf Pack looks to pass against the  UNLV Rebels in the third quarter of their game at Sam Boyd Stadium October 2, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Nevada Reno won 44-26.  (Photo by Et
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Height: 6’5”

    Weight: 233 lbs.

    Career Passing Stats: 10,098 yards, 82 touchdowns, 24 interceptions

    Career Rushing Stats: 4,112 yards, 59 touchdowns

    Combine Results:

    40-yard Dash: 4.53

    Bench Press: N/A

    Vertical Jump: 32.5

    Broad Jump: 115.0

    3-cone Drill: 6.85

    20-yard Shuttle: 4.18

    60-yard Shuttle: N/A

    Colin Kaepernick was often underrated in college, but was consistent throughout his tenure at Nevada. He is a dual-threat, with as much athleticism as Cam Newton.

    He could very well creep into the early second round or even late first round, as several teams are rumored to have him atop their QB Big Board.

    My only concern with Kaepernick would be durability since he is much smaller than most dual-threat quarterbacks, but then again, injuries are freak occurrences. Statistically, he is up there with the very best of the class.

    More importantly, he has the talent and instincts to be a successful NFL quarterback.

3. Christian Ponder, Florida State

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    TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 27:  Christian Ponder #7 of the Florida State Seminoles throws for a first down during a game against the Florida Gators at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Height: 6’2”

    Weight: 229 lbs.

    Career Stats: 6,872 yards, 49 touchdowns, 30 interceptions

    Combine Results:

    40-yard Dash: 4.65

    Bench Press: N/A

    Vertical Jump: 34.0

    Broad Jump: 116.0

    3-cone Drill: 6.85

    20-yard Shuttle: 4.09

    60-yard Shuttle: N/A

    Christian Ponder is one of the most NFL-ready quarterbacks entering the draft.

    People are concerned with potential durability issues, but as already stated, you can never truly account for an injury. Yes, people are generally more injury-prone than others, but I still like his makeup.

    I think with his poise, leadership qualities and game-managing skills, he could step in and play immediately as a rookie.

    Expect him to be selected late first round or early second round. Potential teams could be the Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars and Cincinnati Bengals.

2. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri

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    TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 28:  Quarterback Blaine Gabbert #11 of the Missouri Tigers celebrates after scoring a 7 yard rushing touchdown against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the third quarter of the Insight Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28, 2010 in Tempe,
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Height: 6’4”

    Weight: 234 lbs.

    Career Stats: 6,822 yards, 40 touchdowns, 18 interceptions

    Combine Results:

    40-yard Dash: 4.62

    Bench Press: N/A

    Vertical Jump: 33.5

    Broad Jump: 120.0

    3-cone Drill: 6.84

    20-yard Shuttle: 4.26

    60-yard Shuttle: N/A

    Blaine Gabbert has the intangibles to be a successful NFL quarterback, but I’m still not sold on this signal-caller. His makeup is why I have him No. 2 overall, but I’m not convinced he will be a rookie sensation like Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco or Mark Sanchez.

    He will develop into a fine starter, and for a team like Arizona, he will already be the best quarterback on the roster. Arizona may be the best fit for him now because he would have a future Hall-of-Fame receiver in Larry Fitzgerald to throw to.

    Still, we can expect Gabbert to be selected in the top five and have a chance to go to any one of the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals or Arizona Cardinals.

1. Cam Newton, Auburn

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Quarterback Cameron Newton #2 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates the Tigers 22-19 victory against the Oregon Ducks in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Ar
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Height: 6’5”

    Weight: 248 lbs.

    Career Passing Stats: 2,908 yards, 30 touchdowns, 7 interceptions

    Career Rushing Stats: 1,586 yards, 24 touchdowns

    Combine Results:

    40-yard Dash: 4.59

    Bench Press: N/A

    Vertical Jump: 34.0

    Broad Jump: 126.0

    3-cone Drill: 6.92

    20-yard Shuttle: 4.18

    60-yard Shuttle: N/A

    Cam Newton dominated college football unlike most who paved the path for him. He is a physical freak with supreme star power heading into the draft.

    He has great strength and speed at the position, equipped with good accuracy and arm strength. Many are concerned with potential character issues, but they do not concern me one bit. I think he will do just fine on and off the field.

    He is simply too gifted to keep down. Whenever a player of his caliber is on the field, teammates believe they have an opportunity to win.

    Expect Newton to be drafted early, perhaps No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers. He is a good fit for the Panthers, who have a great receiver in Steve Smith and pride themselves on smash-mouth football.