I see quite a few teams that need help under center and not enough players to go around this year. Carolina, Buffalo, Minnesota, Arizona, San Francisco, and Miami at the very least should be thinking about drafting a quarterback. And there are several other teams that may be ready to move in a different direction. Problem is, there is only one guy in this class that I sit back and say, he can be a franchise quarterback.
Andrew Luck, Stanford- Listed at 6’4″, 235 lbs. I was very impressed in meeting him a few weeks ago at the college football awards show here in Orlando. There is a lot to like about the guy. He has a solid arm, and moves very well within the pocket and shows an ability to scramble and run out of trouble. His mechanics are very sound and playing in a NFL-style offense should only help his transition to the league. He does only have 2 years of starting experience, but has demonstrated the ability to lead and win in his limited time. He elevated his team to unprecedented heights. He reminds me a lot of Joe Flacco as far as size, throwing style, and arm strength.
After Luck, I just see too many if’s, and’s, and but’s that I would not want my team to risk a first round pick on any of these guys.
Cam Newton, Auburn- Listed at 6’5″, 245 lbs. I don’t want to overthink this and say he is too much system success. Coming off one of the most impressive college seasons ever and carrying a team to a national title game Newton demonstrated leadership, talent, and he played well under pressure. His running set up a lot of his passing, but he has above average size for a quarterback and shows both a big arm and nice touch. I think he has the skill-set necessary, but will be challenged by the change to a pro offense. Physically he resembles Ben Roethlisberger, although he is faster.
Blaine Gabbert, Missouri- Listed at 6’5″, 240 lbs. He is a big kid, and a well-behaved, smart kid. He runs a spread passing attack, but doesn’t jump off the page and wow me. Chase Daniel commanded Mizzou when he was there, but is small and is not a backup to Drew Brees. Gabbert was highly acclaimed out of high school, and is rising up draft boards, but I am not convinced he’ll be a franchise guy. He’s a little bigger, but sorta reminds me of Matt Hasselbeck.
Jake Locker, Washington- Listed at 6’3″, 225 lbs. Athletically, he’s terrific. He can run and throw bullets. Problem I see is he isn’t, and never has been very accurate. He also runs a college spread so there would have to be an adjustment to the pro game. He is kind of a cross between Jay Cutler and Derek Anderson…which I am not sure if that is a compliment or insult, but I know it’s not a guy I’d say I’d want to spend a top ten pick on.
Ryan Mallett, Arkansas- Listed at 6’6″, 240 lbs. Big kid with a big arm. I question his decision-making more than anything. Tries to overthrow the ball. He does have decent pocket presence and a feel for the game. Reminds me of Drew Bledsoe and Byron Leftwich his his size and immobility and arm.
Other guys to keep an eye on as the draft unfolds include:
Christian Ponder, FSU
Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
Ricky Stanzi, Iowa
Andy Daulton, TCU
Case Keenum, Houston
Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech
Pat Devlin, Delaware