Top 10 Prospects: Quarterbacks

Over the next couple of weeks and leading up to the draft, I will be taking a look at each position, if the Dolphins have a need to upgrade that position in the draft, and who are the top 10 prospects going in. Remember, this is only one man’s opinion. Today we will look at the quarterback position.

It’s no secret that the Miami Dolphins are searching for a quarterback. Chad Henne may or may not be the future of this team, but either way, he needs some competition. If the CBA does not get done in the next 2 months, the Dolphins will have no choice but to find their quarterback through the draft. Taking the combine into consideration, here are my current top 10 quarterback prospects:

1. Cam Newton, Auburn 6’5, 248 lbs

Personally, I thought Newton did not perform well at the combine at all, but it’s hard to ignore his 2010 season at Auburn. His size and speed combination is something never before seen at the NFL level. In a short period of time, he went from a nobody to the most talked about prospect. He has a strong arm, he can run and he is a born leader. Question marks about Cam come back to a few things though. He came from a one-read offense. If the inital option was not there, he took off and ran. It’s going to be tough for an NFL team to break him of that habit. Besides that, he has serious character concerns. Whether he knew about what his father was doing, we don’t know. But he has other concerns as well. He played only one full season of college football. He almost always ran out of the shotgun. Let’s not forget, at the combine he went a paltry 11 for 21, missing most often, high, on the 10 yard out.

I think if Blaine Gabbert goes before Cam and he is there at pick number 15, the Dolphins have to take a long look at him. Honestly though, I don’t think he’ll drop that far. There are just too many teams drafting before the Phins that need a quarterback, and his skill set and potential is just too much for all of them to pass.

2. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri 6’4, 234 lbs

Gabbert has been the main beneficiary of Stanford’s Andrew Luck returning to school. He is now a consensus top 10 pick, and some even have him going #1 to the Panthers. Do I think that is going to happen? Absolutely not. Gabbert has the ideal size you would want in an NFL quarterback. He has a strong arm and can make all the throws. He is smart, mobile, and has a quick release. So why has his stock been falling? Well first off, he is a product of the spread offense. He does not go through his progressions like you would want from a top 10 pick. He struggled his junior season, culminating in an INT that cost his team the Insight Bowl. Does he have a ton of potential? Sure. But unless the potential goes through the roof (like it does for Newton), you don’t want to draft a project quarterback so early in the draft. If there is one quarterback who I can see taking an Aaron Rodgers sized plummet in the 1st round, it’s Gabbert. (However, as we’ve established, so many teams have a need for a quarterback that I’m sure someone will pull the trigger early.)

3. Colin Kaepernick, Nevada 6’6, 233 lbs

For those of you who have taken the time to read my first couple of articles, you know how I feel about Kaepernick. Even more then Gabbert, Kaepernick’s body really is NFL ready. At 6’6, 233 lbs, you would not expect him to be fast. Except he ran the second fastest time of any QB at the combine, a 4.53. (Jake Locker ran a 4.52) He might have the best arm of any QB in the 2011 class, and he likes to use it. I like the fact that he is mobile enough to take off if necessary, but he can also sling it, and has no problem doing so. I also love that he is a student of the game. He has confidence, but certainly doesn’t overdue it. Whichever team ends up with him (hopefully the Dolphins) will have a player that constantly willing to make himself and everyone around him better. He is raw though, and will need work. He has a long release, which will need to be fixed. He also isn’t very accurate, and as a gunslinger, you’d expect that. He did not come from a NFL-style system. However, I think out of all the QB’s in this years class, he could end up being the best.

4. Jake Locker, Washington 6’3, 231 lbs

Locker very well might be the most frustrating prospect in the 2011 class to place. I’ve seen mocks having him placed in the mid-first round (Miami actually), and some mocks having him as low as a late-2nd, early 3rd rounder. What I’ve heard most is that Seattle with the 25th pick will be a match made in heaven for the Washington quarterback.

After falling and falling for weeks, Locker finally improved his draft stock with an excellent performance at the combine. If he does as well at his pro day, who knows where Locker might end up. There is no denying he has the skills. The funny thing is, Locker really doesn’t do anything great. However, he does do almost everything good. He has good accuracy, good arm strength, good speed, good timing and good height. Therefore, that makes him boring to talk about and tends to make him fly under the radar a bit. I think Locker could surprise everyone and end up being the best of the bunch. If he works hard at the next level, and commits to getting better, whatever team ends up with him will be very lucky. That could be the Dolphins, as I expect Locker to be there when the Phins pick.

5. Christian Ponder, Florida State 6’2, 229 lbs

Ponder had the best Senior Bowl week of any quarterback, and also had an excellent combine. He is extremely accurate and may be the most complete QB of any this year. The big knock on Ponder is his arm strength. After having shoulder surgery, he lost most of his arm strength. During the Senior Bowl, his TD throw to Leonard Hankerson was severely underthrown. Ponder looks a lot like Chad Pennington, which is not what the Dolphins are looking for. Ponder can make all the short throws, and will be an excellent fit for an NFL team that needs a QB like that. I expect Ponder to go sometime in the early to mid second round.

6. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas 6’7, 233 lbs

Honestly, by the end of the season, I was absolutely in love with Ryan Mallett. I said to myself on numerous occasions, “that is who the Dolphins need to have in 2011″. However, my mind has changed since then. Mallett has a huge arm (probably the best of any of the QB’s) and he isn’t afraid to use it. That works great when he is in the pocket, but unfortunately, Mallett has no ability outside of the pocket. He cannot lead his receivers on the run and cannot make the throws he needs to outside of the pocket. That might work against college level talent, but it won’t fly in the NFL. Mallett also has serious character issues, evidenced by the frustration he showed during his combine media session, and just by word-of-mouth that have people saying he rates his ability too high. Mallett has as much upside as any of these guys, but I also think he has the best chance of being a bust.

7. Ricky Stanzi, Iowa 6’4, 221 lbs

I wish I could figure out why Stanzi has been rating so low going into the draft. He came from a pro-style offense, played under center, can run and throw, and has excellent size for an NFL quarterback. Some knocks on Stanzi have been that he forces throws where they don’t belong, and his footwork leads something to be desired. He does need some work, but I think he could surprise people in a couple years when he gets an opportunity. He probably won’t be drafted until the 4th or 5th round, but if the Dolphins pass on QB’s in the earlier rounds, Stanzi could be the man for them.

8. Pat Devlin, Delaware 6’3, 225 lbs

Devlin spent sometime learning under JoePa at Penn State before transferring to Delaware for two years. He passed for over 4,000 years during his time at Delaware. He has a nice arm and good accuracy. He also won the Walter Peyton Award (Best player in FCS). The knock on Devlin is that he tends to hold on the ball a little too long, and of course, his competition. He could be a nice little project for a team in the middle of the draft though and does have a lot of upside. He could follow in the footsteps of fellow Delaware Blue Hen, Joe Flacco.

9. Andy Dalton, TCU 6’2, 215 lbs

Dalton certainly has the track record to be an NFL quarterback. He was a four-year starter at TCU, and led the Horned Frogs to a 44-8 record during that time, including a 3-1 bowl record (including a victory in the 2010 Rose Bowl) He has good arm strength and a wealth of starting experience. He doesn’t have much experience making deep throws, but has a lot of experience throwing screen and timing patterns. He would be an excellent fit for a team like the 49ers who run a West Coast offense. I expect to see Dalton off the board in the 4th or 5th round.

10. Greg McElroy, Alabama 6’2, 220 lbs

McElroy may be the only person in the draft with better results than Dalton. He won the National Championship with the Crimson Tide in 2009, and followed that up with a trip to the Capital One Bowl in 2010. McElroy is an excellent game manager. He doesn’t have the stats to blow you away, but he is natural born leader. He had good arm strength, but what really stands out is his accuracy. His career completion percentage is 66.3 (impressive) and has an excellent 39-10 TD to INT ratio. However, his delivery certainly leaves something to be desired, and people have questioned whether it has been him, or his supporting cast that is responsible for his above-average numbers. McElroy will be a good backup in the NFL, but probably nothing more.

Out of the list, obviously I’d like to see the Phins go with Kaepernick. If they pass on him though, Locker or Devlin would be their next best options.

Agree? Disagree? Think that I’m a lunatic? Let me know what you would change. I expect to hear good reasoning behind it though.

Twitter – @notquiterosey

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Tags: Andy Dalton Blaine Gabbert Cam Newton Christian Ponder Colin Kaepernick Greg McElroy Jake Locker Miami Dolphins NFL Draft Pat Devlin Quarterbacks Ranking Ricky Stanzi Ryan Mallett Top 10 Prospects

  • MJ

    Uh…ehem! Hey man uh wheres Christian Ponder? Do you have a video of Ryan Mallets media session? Because the one I saw he did just fine. He didn’t put on his happy face and feed you BS like the other players do. I don’t think there is a phony bone in his body and I love it. I wont be complaining if we draft Mallet.

  • MJ

    My about Ponder I should of read the whole thing. Lol I pick out the things I want to read like Mallett or the order of the list.

    • Michael Rosenbloom

      Happens to the best of us.

      My concern about Mallett’s attitude is (yes even though he is real) it slightly reminds me of a Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell-esqe attitude. I like the fact that he doesn’t tell us what we want to hear, I just don’t want that attitude to bleed over into his workouts and his on the field performance.

      Don’t get me wrong, he has tremendous upside and could be a monster steal. If the Phins took him, I wouldn’t be upset. I just think they have better/safer options.

  • Chris Leeuw

    I’ve gotta respectfully disagree with you on Kaepernick. I’ve watched him quite a bit. Sure he’s big and mobile, but don’t drink the kool-aid. He has poor mechanics, a funky release and is not a pure passer. He’s a run first QB who tucks it if his first read isn’t open, and he mostly operated a pistol – college friendly offense. I’m afraid of Pat White 2.0, and don’t think he’ll translate well in the pros.

    I for one won’t be happy if we go that route – and honestly would much rather develop Locker, Mallett, Ponder or even Stanzi than CK or Cam Newton.

    Also you may have left out Nathan Enderle – Omar Kelly tweeted the Phins have been checking him out, but I don’t know much about him.

  • Rob

    Jake Locker being universally underrated is a godsend for the kid. He’ll be drafted by a better team instead of thrown into a shaky system like Carolina (although the Redskins are still very much on the board for the poor kid – Shanahan has a man crush on him). But I can talk for days about Jake Locker’s intangibles, his work ethic, his locker-room character and all the rest of it. I disagree with the project QB stuff. The only flag on Locker’s record is his sub 60 career passing percentage at college. But for all the media hoop-la, there have been a great number of great NFL QBs with sub-60 percentages in college (Warren Moon was sub 50!). I don’t think Jake Locker cared about his numbers too much, he fought for the win any way he could and I thought the bowl victory he orchestrated by consistently tucking and running was admirable – his receivers weren’t getting anywhere against that Nebraska pass defence. We’ll remember Jake as the best QB of this draft class, and I think, conversely to wider opinion, he’s the most ready to start of any of these QBs (save maybe Ponder who will be a massive steal in the 2nd round). I see him going somewhere between 7 and 16, and the first 4 of those teams that may draft him (SF, WAS, MIN, MIA) will have him starting before the year is out.

    Dolphins, I’m not even kidding, this guy may be your next Dan Marino at last — his release is just as good, and he has better arm strength and athletic ability.


    well i have been a dolphin fan since i was 46 now{not dead yet].im tired of losing.i see all these other teams scoring and like wow.the dolphin defense NO PROBLEM.look bottom line is henne needs to go,because weather hes a back up or not,he will lose the game for them.draft rb or qb LOCKER OR KAPERNICK AND GET ONE FROM AGENCY.Get running back help.because ronnie and/OR ricky maybe be gone.go dolphins again.

  • Robert Jason

    Have to disagree about Kaepernick, at least as regards your reasoning.
    Of all the traits necessary for an NFL QB, it HAS to be accuracy. What good is a huge arm if it’s attached to Jamarcus Russell, who could hit his own linemen in the butt.
    Chad Pennington to the jets to the AFC championship via the accuracy route. Yes it would be nice to have a gun, But i have 2 words for you…CHAD HENNE.

    If a HEALTHY Ponder can have be as good as Chad Pennington, he’ll be in the league for 10 years. Actually, I don’t see it.
    All these guys have warts, but so did Joe Montana, out of Notre dame…weak arm.
    I go with the guy with the BEST combination of NFL qualities…um, that would be Carson Palmer.

  • Robert Jason

    whoops, meant to say ‘couldn’t hit his own linemen in the butt.”
    Also, Chad Pennington, who took the Jets….etc

  • Buchter Froget

    i missed a lot of the combine but from what i saw the qb’s that impressed me the most were (in no particular order): ryan mallett, colin k. & jerrod johnson

    i was big on cam before the combine but his stock dropped a bit for me afterwards

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  • Ian

    Dalton 4th or 5th round? There has been talk he might go late 1st round! I hope the Phins jump on the Dalton bandwagon. If they trade down their first to get a 2nd rounder and Dalton’s still around in the 2nd-3rd round – he’s worth the shot.