2011 NFL Draft Preview: Top 10 Quarterbacks in the NFL Draft

Last Updated: April 14th, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Over the next two weeks, Bankroll Sports will provide you an in-depth look on the NFL Draft, examining the top prospects at each position. Today, we look at the top ten quarterbacks for the 2011 NFL Draft.

1. Cameron Newton (Auburn) – This year’s Heisman Trophy winner tops the list as the best quarterback in the draft despite the questions about his accuracy and his mentality heading into the pros. No one doubts that Newton is the most athletically gifted quarterback in this draft, but questions surround his ability to pick up new schemes and whether or not he will ever mature into a team leader. Many mock drafts have Newton going in the Top 5 and there is a lot of speculation that he could go No. 1 overall to Carolina. Newton threw for 30 touchdowns and ran for 20 touchdowns during the 2010 college football season and accounted for over 4,000 yards of offense for the Tigers.

2. Blaine Gabbert (Missouri) – Gabbert is seen by many as the best pure passer in this class and is projected to be a Top 10 pick by many mock draft experts. Gabbert completed over 60% of his passes for 3,186 yards with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions and also ran for 232 yards and five touchdowns for the Tigers. His dual-threat versatility along with his rocket arm has helped him move up the draft board despite college stats that fail to overwhelm you. Arizona seems like a likely possible destination for Gabbert with its need for a pro-style quarterback.

3. Christian Ponder (Florida State) – Despite Mel Kiper’s insistence that Ponder is nothing more than a poor man’s Chad Pennington, no quarterback has moved up the draft boards as much as Ponder over the last few months. The former Seminole was injured during the regular season and there have been questions about his durability in the professional ranks. Ponder has the mind to run an NFL offense, having already earned his Master’s Degree, and he greatly benefited from the tutelage of Jimbo Fisher. He is expected to be a late first to early second round draft pick and can be a solid starter if he stays healthy.

4. Jake Locker (Washington) – If Locker came out during the 2010 NFL Draft, he would’ve been a definite Top 10 pick. However, his decision to return to school for his senior year hurt his draft stock after a subpar 2010 NCAA football season. Locker completed less than 60% of his passes for only 2,265 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Locker look absolutely flustered at times during the season, and while there’s no doubt that he has immense raw talent, there is a question of whether or not he’ll be able to put it all together. Locker is expected to be a late first to early second round pick.

5. Ryan Mallett (Arkansas) – Mallett’s stock has fallen off considerably after a questionable media interview at the NFL Combine. Mallett has been compared to gunslingers like Jeff George, quarterbacks with a cannon arm but shaky leadership skills, and this has been the main reason behind his fall down the draft board. However, no quarterback has a stronger arm than Mallett in the draft and the Razorback has shredded some of the best defenses in the country over the last two seasons. Mallett is projected as a second round pick.

6. Andy Dalton (TCU) – Dalton is another quarterback who has seen his stock rise as we have crept closer to the draft. Dalton is one of the few four-year starters in the draft and this has contributed to his rise up the draft board. Despite not having the pure talent that some of the other prospects on the board have, Dalton has the ability to be a solid game manager at the pro level. The Horned Frog QB is seen as a second to third round pick.

7. Ricky Stanzi (Iowa) – Not many quarterbacks put together records than Stanzi did during his time at Iowa. Stanzi went 18-4 during his time as a Hawkeye despite not having fantastic statistics until last season. Last year, Stanzi completed 66% of his passes for 3004 yards with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions. Much like Dalton, Stanzi is seen as being a solid game manager and has the best shot of all the quarterbacks not taken in the first two rounds to become a solid pro. Stanzi is projected as a middle round pick.

8. Colin Kaepernick (Nevada) – Every year a project quarterback pick impresses scouts with his athletic ability and wows his way into an earlier round than he would normally go. We’ve seen it with Pat White, Tim Tebow, Brad Smith, and others with mixed success. This year’s prospect that falls into this category is Kaepernick. Kaepernick showed blazing speed running the Wolfpack’s offense and over his career developed into an adequate, but raw, passer. Kaepernick will probably see some time in wildcat type formations but whichever team drafts him and may switch positions down the line. He is projected as a middle round pick.

9. Pat Devlin (Delaware) – Devlin originally played for two years at Penn State before transferring to FCS Delaware to become a starter. Devlin shined in the lower level of competition, completing 67% of his passes for 3032 yards with 22 touchdowns against just three interceptions last year, but the question will be whether or not he can make the quantum leap to the NFL. Devlin has the build of a quarterback and draws many comparison to former Blue Hen QB Joe Flacco, both for his build and path to the pros. He is considered a mid to late round pick.

10. Nathan Enderle (Idaho) – Enderle didn’t put up particularly great numbers and played in a weak conference, but led the Vandals to respectability after years of being in the dungeon. Enderle threw for 3314 yards and 22 touchdowns against 16 interceptions in 2010 with the Vandals and at 6’4″ 240 lbs has the prototypical build of an NFL quarterback. He is projected as a late round pick but is one of the biggest sleepers in the draft.

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Posted in NFL Football - Last Updated on Thursday, April 14th, 2011 @ 7:21 pm (EST)
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