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  • Contributors


    Cris Collinsworth

    Former Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals and Emmy-winning analyst from Sunday Night Football and Inside the NFL.
    Dave Lapham
    Has called game for the Bengals radio network for 25 years. Analyst for Big 12 games on Fox Sports Net. Played 10 years in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals.
    Turk Schonert
    NFL quarterback for 10 years with the Bengals and Falcons. Has served as quarterback coach for the Buccaneers, Bills, Panthers, Giants and Saints and Offensive Coordinator for the Bills.
    Phil McConkey
    Played 6 years in the NFL as a WR, punt returner and kick returner for the Giants, Packers, Cardinals and Chargers. Played college football at the Naval Academy and served in the U.S. Navy before joining the NFL. Best remembered for his oustanding game in Super Bowl XXI.
    Josina Anderson
    Josina "JoJo" Anderson is contributing reporter on Showtime's Inside the NFL and is a weekend co-anchor/reporter/producer for FOX 31 Sports in Denver, Colorado. Josina produces the nightly sportscasts and covers the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and the Colorado Rockies.
    Jerry Jones
    NFL Draft Expert, has published the acclaimed Drugstore List since 1978.
    Russell S Baxter
    Researcher, writer and editor covering the NFL for over 30 years.
    Andy Freeland
    Statistician and researcher for NBC's Sunday Night Football.
  • You are the GM and you need a quarterback

    With all the emphasis on quarterback need in this year’s draft, it’s interesting to consider the heat on the real guys making the very costly choice that will probably have a major effect on their teams’ futures.

    Pretend that you are the general manager of an NFL team and you need a quarterback. You want to get one in this year’s draft. The leading prospects for this year are Newton, Gabbert, Locker, Mallett, Ponder, Dalton and Kaepernick.

    Looking at the candidates, they can be evaluated like a prospect just as any other position on qualities like these:
    Durability
    Desire, effort
    Character
    Consistency, production
    Football intelligence
    Football instincts
    Would you sacrifice some of these requirements to pick a specific prospect?

    The combine and workout numbers offer a pretty good picture of their physical skills so the next consideration could involve specific position skills for a quarterback such as:
    Ability to read defenses
    Good decision-making
    Accuracy
    Setup and release
    Arm strength
    Mobility
    Poise, leadership
    Could some of these favorable characteristics be deemphasized or ignored?

    Since you are seeking someone who will have the overall ability to master and manage an NFL offensive system you will have to consider the time factor.
    Will he be ready as a rookie? Next year? When? How soon do you need him?

    Pick any team or teams you are speaking for. Trade up or trade down if you wish.
    Which quarterback would you select?
    When? In the top ten? In round one? In round 2 or 3? Later?

    BONUS QUESTION – On Saturday when round 4 begins, who will be the best quarterback still on the board?

    Comments 20 Comments
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      I would look at it this way-

      Regardless of location, the following position skills cannot be de-emphasized:

      Ability to read defenses
      Decision-making
      Accuracy

      If he doesn't have all of those, he's playing receiver, tight end, or safety.

      That leaves out Locker on accuracy, Mallett on decision-making, and Newton even if I was crazy enough to let some of the other general failures slip by. Leaves me with Ponder, Dalton, Kapaernick, the last of whom is bordeline on accuracy in my book.

      Next are

      Poise
      Mobility within the pocket (not Vick-ian stuff, but Marino/Brady shiftiness within the couple of steps you have in the pocket)

      I don't want to de-emphasize these. On a team with a fabulous offensive line I can get by (Sanchez.)

      In Buffalo, I want both of these, and the three guys left have them.

      Next comes arm strength.

      In order of arm strength, I have them Kapaernick, Ponder, Dalton. In reality, all of them appear to have arms good enough to throw at the Ralph in December and January.

      I would also think about taking any of these guys with my second round pick and ultimately be OK with it if I did. Kapaernick is the only of them who might go to round three, and I would definitely grab him there. Given the other problems I have, though, I am not seriously considering it unless any of them fall to the third round. I have too many holes, and I am fine with my QB for the next three to five years. No trades.

      In which case I absolutely take whichever is available, in the following order: Dalton, Kapaernick, Ponder.

      Best guy left in Round 4 is the backup from Boise St, because Pat Devlin will be gone at the end of three after Buffalo starts a ridiculous run on these guys by trading up with New Orleans to take Ponder at 24.
    1. Dave Lapham's Avatar
      The Bengals will impact the QB position on draft day. If I was GM for the day it would be difficult to pass on Blaine Gabbert with the 4th pick based on need, but I would select AJ Green if he is there. My problem is I have Ponder and Dalton rated as a second round prospects. My biggest concern is Ponder's durability. (I resisted allowing durability to influence my decision back in 1980 when I decided to take Munoz with the third pick of the draft and it worked out well). Dalton's lack of a big arm concerns me, but everything else about him convinces me he can play at a solid level in the NFL. (May have a slight prejudice having met him in preparation for broadcating his games vs. Big 12 teams I covered). I have no problem trading up to get one of them if the run on QBs starts in the late first round. Trading up from early second round to late first to address a big need is no problem. I get my QB that I feel is able to run my west coast offense Jay Gruden is installing and either one is intelligent enough to digest it and play right away. Plus I have provided him with his #1 receiver for a decade I hope. If the run on QBs is fast and furious Rick Stanzi may be off the board before the 4th round. Pat Devlin and Tyrod Taylor would be left I guess.
    1. KabaModernFan's Avatar
      Buffalo - Wait. Grab a QB somewhere in the 3rd round, like Stanzi or McElroy. Bigger needs to fill.
      Arizona - Blaine Gabbert at #5, I just don't feel like they can afford not to take him. But don't trade up for him.
      San Francisco - They have other needs that can be filled at #7, so either wait until Round 2 or trade back into the 1st and take Locker.
      Tennessee - Again, other needs that can be filled, but there's a chance that the prospects left available don't match up. Fill a need if you can, but if it's not a fit, trade down into Locker territory.
      Minnesota - Probably also a team that needs to wait until the 2nd round. It won't matter who the QB is if he's getting thrown behind a bad line anyway.
      Miami - Do nothing. Stick with Chad Henne.
      Seattle - May be able to sit where they are and still have Locker fall to them at #25. If not, then I wouldn't take a QB until Day 3. You traded for Whitehurst for a reason.

      As far as who will be the best QB available when Day 3 starts, I say Nathan Enderle out of Idaho.
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      There's no QB in this year's draft that IMO is worth the Bengals trading UP for. That's not to say I don't like any of the QB's. And certainly I'd be interested in trading down for some of them, and gaining picks in the process.

      Here's how I'd rank my QB preferences right now:

      1. Mallett (if you can trade down to #10 or lower)

      2. Dalton (#35)

      3. Gabbert (I wouldn't hate him at #4, but he wouldn't be my first choice)

      4. Kaepernick (#35, but make sure he sits for a year behind a vet)

      5. Locker (sit for a year to work on accuracy)

      6. Ponder (#35, but not loving him as much these days)

      7. Stanzi (early 3rd)

      8. Pat Devlin (5th round on)

      9. TJ Yates (5th round on)

      10. Tyrod Taylor (5th round on)
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      Jerry, what do you think of Pat Devlin as a QB? I hear he had a bad Pro Day, but when you watch him on tape he's impressive, albeit against lesser talent.
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      I just realized I forgot Gabbert. I don't like his haircut.
    1. msclemons's Avatar
      49ers are drafting at #7 barring a trade and there is not a QB in the draft worth the #7 pick. I honestly don't think there is a QB worth a top 20 pick this year. Cam Newton is a big risk and Blaine Gabbert looks like Alex Smith II to me. At #7 the 49ers need to go defense with the best available lineman or a cornerback.

      The problem is by #45 all of the 2nd tier QBs are likely to be gone. If the #45 pick and a third rounder are enough to move back into the 30's then my order of preference would be Dalton, Locker, Ponder, Kaopernick. If the run on QBs gets nuts and a trade up into the 20's is required then I would skip the QB position and continue bolstering the defense. Grab a Stanzi or McElroy in the 3rd as an insurance guy.
    1. Jerry Jones's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Bengals1181 View Post
      Jerry, what do you think of Pat Devlin as a QB? I hear he had a bad Pro Day, but when you watch him on tape he's impressive, albeit against lesser talent.
      Saw Devlin a few times and he seemed to get better as the year went on. Two major concerns, one, as you mentioned, the competition level; the other is lack of speed, he hung in pretty well against the lower competition but that's nothing like facing NFL quality pass rushers.
    1. KabaModernFan's Avatar
      Would you mind sharing your thoughts on Enderle as well?
    1. Jerry Jones's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by KabaModernFan View Post
      Would you mind sharing your thoughts on Enderle as well?
      Big guy with a powerful arm- can gun it deep- slowest of all the prominent QB candidates but is saved by a very quick release- questions on accuracy and a tendency to force- has the physical tools but could add more patience- will need good protection.
    1. Turk Schonert's Avatar
      Jerry, what can you tell me about 1) Josh Portis from California, PA 2) Jeff Van Camp from Florida Atlantic 3) Taylor Potts from Texas Tech 4) Scott Tolzien from Wisconsin

      The UFL draft is Monday, May 2. We look at rookies who don't get drafted, but we don't have access to game tape. Any info you could provide I would appreciate very much, thanks.
    1. msclemons's Avatar
      Turk, grab Adam Froman from Louisville if he doesn't get drafted.

      http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2...er=rss&emc=rss

      I may be biased because he played JC ball in my home town.
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by KabaModernFan View Post
      Buffalo - Wait. Grab a QB somewhere in the 3rd round, like Stanzi or McElroy. Bigger needs to fill.
      I don't have anything on Stanzi, but McElroy's arm would never survive in winter in Buffalo. Round 7 backup at best for this team. Thinking on it further, they already have a young backup in Brown who is better than half the guys coming out this year (playing the odds.) No reason to draft McElroy at all unless it's as Offensive Quality Control Coach.
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      I like Tolzien. I think he'd be a pretty good NFL backup/spot starter in time.
    1. dandrea's Avatar
      i think this is an unimpressive QB draft class in terms of top end talent, but there are a lot of guys that can have serious value if they are put in a situation where they can sit for a year or two and grow. i dont know how many guys in this class, if any, can come in and start right away. its easy to get impatient bc a lot of these teams are good QB play away from contending...but most of these guys are 2 seasons from now talents.

      my 49ers preferences would be Dalton, Ponder or Mallet (even though hes def not a Harbough kind of guy). obviously they would need to trade back into late first/early 2nd to get one of the three, but i also wouldnt mind if they found a partner to trade back from #7 to mid teens/early 20s. maybe the bears at #29 would be interested in Julio Jones? maybe the pats get aggressive to move up for Quinn? either way you look at it, the 49ers are either going to have to get crafty or they are going to come away without a QB.


      if i was the GM: #1 - best def avail. #2 - trade up using #3, get best Qb available. then when the dust settles, push that Carson Palmer trade for a 2012 #2 or 3. then come into next season with Palmer, A Smith and A Dalton competing. nothing breeds success like competition and Harbaugh has certainly shown he likes competition. meanwhile, Dalton can sit and grow.
    1. GoBigOrGoHome's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Turk Schonert View Post
      Jerry, what can you tell me about 1) Josh Portis from California, PA 2) Jeff Van Camp from Florida Atlantic 3) Taylor Potts from Texas Tech 4) Scott Tolzien from Wisconsin

      The UFL draft is Monday, May 2. We look at rookies who don't get drafted, but we don't have access to game tape. Any info you could provide I would appreciate very much, thanks.
      Turk, I know I am not JJ. But, as a Michigan fan who watches a ton of Big Ten games, I have seen a lot of Scott Tolzien. He doesn't have the huge arm, but he is wicked accurate (completed 74% of his passes in 2010). He's very steady especially if you blitz him (81% completion rate on passes while being blitzed in 2010). I would not be the least bit angry if the Lions took him in a late round and dumped Drew Stanton.
    1. Jerry Jones's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Turk Schonert View Post
      Jerry, what can you tell me about 1) Josh Portis from California, PA 2) Jeff Van Camp from Florida Atlantic 3) Taylor Potts from Texas Tech 4) Scott Tolzien from Wisconsin

      The UFL draft is Monday, May 2. We look at rookies who don't get drafted, but we don't have access to game tape. Any info you could provide I would appreciate very much, thanks.
      Turk-
      Quick read – Tolzien is the best bet of the group. Could be a long-term backup in certain systems. Portis is the athlete of the bunch but has some major questions. Van Camp has the size and arm but needs a lot of polish. Potts was an excellent QB in the Texas Tech system and would need a similar system.

      Tolzien- 6-2 212 4.93 COMBINE INVITATION
      2459 yds 72.9% 16 TDs/6 picks 9.2 yd/att minus 30 rush yds
      Generally rated on the bubble at late round 7- very smart (38)- dedicated leader- intense- tough- very accurate- good reads- productive- consistent.
      Average arm- adequate throwing deep- lacks escape speed- got some advantage by playing in a run-first offense.

      Portis – 6-2 7/8 211 4.59 COMBINE INVITATION
      2650 yds 61.2% 33 TDs/7 picks 7.9 yd/att 74 rush yds
      Very athletic- fastest of the group- has a good arm- good speed.
      Lower competition level- well-traveled (3 different programs)- questionable decisions on and off field- low Wunderlic grade.

      Van Camp – 6-5 ¼ 218 4.84 COMBINE INVITATION
      2450 yds 57.3% 17 TDs/13picks 7.3 yd/att minus 189 rush yds
      Fine size- enough arm to throw deep- has leader skills.
      Fair accuracy- too many picks- needs work on delivery- decent speed but can’t escape well.

      Potts- 6-3 5/8 216 5.00 NOT INVITED TO COMBINE
      3726 yds 67.0% 35 TDs/10 picks 6.8 yd/att 4 rush yds
      Poised- good accuracy- nice touch- good reads- quick release.
      Average arm- fair speed and mobility- low yd/att- typical Texas Tech system QB.
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      The value of this QB class is not at the top. I don't see that no-brainer, like we've had in past years. If I'm a team at the top of the draft in need of a QB, I'm hoping for a Sam Bradford, Matt Stafford, Matt Ryan, or even a Manning/Rivers/Roethlisberger like on 04. That QB is Andrew Luck, and if he were in this draft, he'd be a sell the farm pick.

      Of the high picks, Newton has too much risk to make it worth taking a chance on his potential reward. I think Gabbert could be very good in the right system. He makes sense for Arizona at 5, and the only other team with a QB need that I think could utilize him properly is Minnesota. My favorite of the high picks is actually Jake Locker. If I were a team in need of a HR at QB, I wouldn't be comfortable enough to take him as my lone #1, however, if I were able to trade back into the teens, and pick up an additional #2 and #4, then the risk isn't nearly as high, and I'd take him in the middle of round 1.


      But ultimately for me, for this year, if I need a QB, I like Cris's 2nd draft story about how he fell to the 2nd round, and how that slight ultimately motivated him for the remainder of his career. To me, if I'm Arizona, I'm passing on Gabbert, grabbing the best available player, and praying that Andy Dalton is there in round 2. He may be a guy that needs ideal surroundings, but he may be great in ideal surroundings, much like Drew Brees. If I'm Cincy, I'd go impact with AJ Green, then hope Ryan Mallet is around for pick #2. I really like Christian Ponder, who I think is a winner, and if Dalton was gone, I may take a chance on him in round 2, but that injury history is way too concerning. Colin Kaepernick is also really intriguing. I think there's a ton of value in the QBs that will be taken between picks 33 and 45, and would be willing to take a chance on any of them.

      And if I'm Indy or NE, I am looking QB, but I'm waiting until round 3 or 4, and I really like the potential of Pat Devlin. I'm not typically enthralled with a guy who quits on a team, like he did with PSU, but he was also only 20, so I can get over that. While Flacco showed better measurables at Delaware, the people within that program believe that Devlin has capable ability, complete with some intangibles that Flacco didn't quite show while at UD.

      Beyond Indy or NE, if Minnesota is confident in its ability to land McNabb, then that could also be a perfect landing spot for someone like Devlin.

      I'm not sure I'm sold on Tolzien being much better than Jim Sorgi, but the under-the-radar Big Ten QB I like in that same area as Devlin is Ricky Stanzi.
    1. BuckeyeRidley's Avatar
      No character issue or football integrity question can be sacrificed or ignored. I say the Cardinals are going to be the first to take a QB and it'll be Blaine Gabbert.

      I have a feeling that Ricky Stanzi will be available early fourth on Saturday. Good guy but that's how teams will feel about his skill.
    1. Turk Schonert's Avatar
      Hey Jerry,
      Can you tell me anything about Jerrod Johnson - QB Texas A&M
      I know that he lost his job last season but he was pretty good in '09. I heard that he had a shoulder issue, know anything about that?`