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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NY Mets 8 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 FINAL
Minnesota 3
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 105
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Orlando 100
Cleveland 120 FINAL
Toronto 112
Utah 84 FINAL
Boston 85
Charlotte 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Denver 100 FINAL
Minnesota 85
Detroit 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
LA Lakers 94 FINAL
Miami 100
Philadelphia 118 FINAL
Oklahoma City 123
Memphis 102 FINAL
Houston 100
Sacramento 85 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
Golden State 102
Portland 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Ottawa 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 2
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Colorado 3
Montreal 1 FINAL
Anaheim 3
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
Maine 66 FINAL
Albany 83
Duquesne 81 FINAL
Fordham 66
George Washington 67 FINAL
George Mason 51
Tennessee 78 FINAL
LSU 63
Notre Dame 71 FINAL
Louisville 59
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Morehead State 79
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Mount St Marys 58
Hartford 63 FINAL
New Hampshire 67
Wagner 68 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Long Island 70 FINAL
St Francis-NY 79
La Salle 50 FINAL
Saint Josephs 55
Providence 79 FINAL
Seton Hall 66
UCF 45 FINAL
South Florida 74
Binghamton 57 FINAL
Stony Brook 62
UMBC 39 FINAL
Vermont 66
Sacred Heart 85 FINAL
Bryant 91
Richmond 56 FINAL
Massachusetts 53
Wake Forest 51 FINAL
Duke 94
Purdue 66 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Miami-Florida 67 FINAL
Pittsburgh 63
St Bonaventure 64 FINAL
Saint Louis 48
New Mexico St 69 FINAL
TX-Pan American 48
Houston 68 FINAL
Tulane 63
Howard 62 FINAL
NJIT 71
TCU 70 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
Tulsa 47
USC 74 FINAL
UCLA 85
Miss State 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Utah State 53 FINAL
Wyoming 76
St Johns 67 FINAL
Marquette 51
SIU Edwardsville 66 FINAL
Eastern Ill 78
Air Force 66 FINAL
Fresno State 68
Nebraska 57 FINAL
Illinois 69
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Nevada 62
Boise State 68 FINAL
San Jose St 51
San Diego St 60 FINAL
UNLV 58
Oregon 65 FINAL
Oregon State 62
UC Santa Barbara 98 FINAL
Hawaii 90
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Davidson 63 FINAL
La Salle 74
Loyola-Maryland 46 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Boston U 48 FINAL
Colgate 58
Coll of Charleston 58 FINAL
James Madison 107
Delaware 76 FINAL
Elon 77
Drexel 58 FINAL
Northeastern 42
Hofstra 75 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 76
Towson 56 FINAL
William & Mary 68
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Akron 67
Ball State 85 FINAL
Central Michigan 69
Buffalo 55 FINAL
Bowling Green 47
Western Mich 65 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 74
Ohio U 69 FINAL
Kent State 56
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 73
Illinois-Chicago 54 FINAL
Wright State 74
Alabama 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Detroit 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 56
Purdue 58 FINAL
Wisconsin 56
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