The top QBs in the NFL draft

  • Article by: JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 24, 2011 - 12:57 AM

Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton and Jake Locker are among those to lead the way.

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Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert threw against Iowa in the Insight Bowl.

Photo: Matt York, Associated Press

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1 BLAINE GABBERT, MISSOURI

Height/weight: 6-4/234

Upside: Extremely athletic, possesses a rapid release and can throw from a variety of angles. Has the ability to escape the rush and throw on the move. Intelligent and competitive; should be able to pick up things quickly at the next level.

Downside: Used exclusively out of the shotgun with predetermined reads in college; tended to panic when primary read was covered. He can be rattled by pressure; footwork can be faulty. A sidearm or three-quarters delivery troubles some scouts.

Statistically: Had 6,822 yards passing with 40 touchdowns, 18 interceptions and a 60.9 completion percentage in 31 games (26 starts) over three seasons.

Getting to know you: Vikings brass dined with Gabbert after his pro day in March in Columbia. The Vikings would love to have him, but unless they trade up to get him, Gabbert will be long gone by the time the 12th pick arrives. Projections have him going to Arizona with the fifth pick.

2 CAM NEWTON, AUBURN

Height/weight: 6-5/248

Upside: Has a big-time arm and can make throws while off balance. Also a threat to run; gives defenders fits because of his size.

Downside: Played in a very basic scheme at Auburn; can he run a much more complex NFL offense? Throwing mechanics could be another issue.

Statistically: Completed 185 of 280 passes for 2,854 yards with 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 14 starts last season in his one year at Auburn after guiding Blinn (Texas) to the 2009 national junior college championship.

Getting to know you: Vikings sent a small contingent to his pro day then worked him out privately in late March in Auburn. Plenty of questions remain about how good Newton will be in the NFL, but it appears the Panthers might be willing to find out by taking him first overall.

3 JAKE LOCKER, WASHINGTON

Height/weight: 6-2/231

Upside: Outstanding athlete, excellent arm strength, best at making throws while on the move. Demonstrates poise that an NFL team wants from its quarterback.

Downside: Needs to improve passing percentage from the pocket and make better decisions. He completed only 55.4 percent of his passes last season.

Statistically: Threw for a career-high 2,800 yards and 21 touchdowns in 12 games as a junior and 2,265 yards with 17 TDs and nine picks in 12 games last season.

Getting to know you: Another case where the Vikings sent only one scout to his pro day, but had previously worked him out in a private session. The Vikings are interested, but would they be willing to use the 12th pick on Locker? Common sense says they might attempt to trade down in the opening round in order to get Locker at a more reasonable place and also recoup the third-round pick lost to New England in the Randy Moss trade. The Redskins could foil this plan if they grab Locker with the 10th pick.

4 CHRISTIAN PONDER, FLORIDA STATE

Height/weight: 6-2/229

Upside: Another intelligent player -- he earned his undergraduate degree in 2 1/2 years -- with good intangibles. Showed his toughness last season by playing despite a bruised triceps, a ruptured right bursa sac and a concussion.

Downside: Suffered a Grade-3 separation of his throwing (right) shoulder and underwent season-ending surgery nine games into the 2009 season. Also has a tendency to make curious decisions at times.

Statistically: Completed 184 of 299 passes (61.5 percent) for 2,044 yards with 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 12 games as a senior.

Getting to know you: A day before working out Newton, the Vikings brass made a stop in Tallahassee to put Ponder through a private session. He is considered a very good fit for a West Coast offense, but it is still not known how much of that system new Vikings coordinator Bill Musgrave will retain.

5 ANDY DALTON, TEXAS CHRISTIAN

Height/weight: 6-2/215

Upside: A two-time selection as the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Year, he went 42-7 as a starter and led the Horned Frogs to a 21-19 victory over Wisconsin last season in the Rose Bowl for a perfect 13-0 record. A vocal leader who can hold up under pressure and has a quick release.

Downside: Like so many college quarterbacks, his experience came working out of the shotgun. Made some questionable decisions in his throws and doesn't have great foot speed to escape.

Statistically: The four-year starter threw for a career-high 2,857 yards with 27 touchdowns and only six interceptions in 13 games last season, with a .661 completion percentage.

Getting to know you: Was among those to visit Winter Park, but no private workout was known to be conducted by the Vikings. Because he's another QB who could be utilized by a West Coast team, Dalton's stock appears to be on the rise as the draft nears.

6 RYAN MALLETT, ARKANSAS

Height/weight: 6-7/247

Upside: Posted a career record of 21-8 and might possess the best arm of any quarterback in this draft.

Downside: The most scrutinized of any quarterback in this class. Former NFL executive Tony Softli, who works for a St. Louis radio station, reported there were rumors of drug use by Mallett that kept him from coming out for the 2010 draft. Mallett has been knocked for being immature and didn't help his cause at the NFL combine when he seemed to bristle when the media pressed him on the drug rumors.

Statistically: Coming off an impressive season in which he completed 266 of 411 passes (64.7 percent) for 3,869 yards with 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 13 games.

Getting to know you: Met with Vikings officials in Minnesota, but no known private workout was conducted on his campus. The Vikings did plenty of homework on Mallett, but it's hard to believe a team coming off the Randy Moss trade fiasco will take a risk on Mallett.

7 RICKY STANZI, IOWA

Height/weight: 6-4/223

Upside: Spent time in a pro-style offense and, unlike many college quarterbacks, is comfortable working from under center. Arm strength has increased in recent seasons. Pro Football Weekly: "Eerily similar semblance to a young Tom Brady."

Downside: Can be forced into making bad throws; needs to improve his ability in reading the entire field.

Statistically: Threw for a career-best 3,004 yards and 25 touchdowns with six interceptions in 13 starts in 2010. His .641 completion percentage (221 of 345) also was the best he posted. Started 35 of 37 games over his final three seasons.

Getting to know you: Vikings made the trek to put Stanzi through a workout last month. He probably belongs in the third or fourth round and, right now, the Vikings don't have a third-round pick. Could move up if there's a run on quarterbacks.

8 COLIN KAEPERNICK, NEVADA

Height/weight: 6-4/233

Upside: Only player in NCAA history to have 10,000 yards passing and 4,000 yards rushing in a career. Considered a very hard worker and intelligent. Handles pressure well and has outstanding velocity on his passes.

Downside: Spent time working in a short-shotgun pistol offense that does not necessarily translate to an NFL style. Actually, he will need to learn to take some velocity off certain passes. Has a tendency to get a bit careless.

Statistically: Threw for 3,022 yards with 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 14 starts last season, completing 233 of 359 passes (64.9 percent).

Getting to know you: Vikings saw him at Senior Bowl and NFL scouting combine but did not invite him to Winter Park for a visit and did not go to see him work out. Was their potential lack of interest a smoke screen, or was he crossed off the list early?

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San Diego - LP: J. Lane 0 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: E. Santana 2
Washington - J. Zimmermann 6:10 PM
Miami - N. Eovaldi
Philadelphia - A. Burnett 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Milwaukee - K. Lohse 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Toronto - R. Dickey 6:10 PM
Boston - C. Buchholz
Arizona - C. Anderson 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - H. Bailey
Colorado - Y. Flande 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada
NY Yankees - D. Phelps 7:05 PM
Texas - Y. Darvish
Oakland - J. Chavez 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Oberholtzer
Pittsburgh - V. Worley 9:15 PM
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner
NY Giants 8/3/14 7:00 PM
Buffalo
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Seattle
Calgary 26 FINAL
Edmonton 22
Winnipeg 23 FINAL
Brt Columbia 6
Ottawa 23 FINAL
Hamilton 33
Toronto 9 FINAL
Saskatchewan 37
Indiana 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
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