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2011 NFL Combine - Quarterback Analysis
Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert & Cam Newton
Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert & Cam Newton
Posted Feb 23, 2011

Unlike last year when most of the top quarterback prospects didn't work out, the stars will be there for all to see (even if Blaine Gabbert isn't planning on throwing). They'll be the talk of the 2011 Combine as CFN breaks down the positives and negatives, from a college perspective, of all the quarterbacks invited to Indianapolis.

2011 NFL Pre-Combine

Quarterback Rankings

2011 Pre-Combine Buzz
- The Tim Tebow Factor
- The Luckless quarterback class
- Cam Newton is expected to do it all
- The star defensive tackles
- All the North Carolina talent and what they'll do
- Where have all the good running backs gone?
- The lousy tight end class
- The 40 star speedster will be ...
- The three players everyone will be talking about
- The offensive tackle pecking order
- The strongest position is ...
- Da'Quan Bowers' knee
- Breaking Down the 2011 NFL Combine

2010 NFL Combine Quick Looks & Post-Combine Rankings

- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | Cs | OTs | OGs 
- DEs | DTs | ILBs | OLBs | Ss | CBs

2010 NFL Combine Results
- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | Cs | OTs | OGs 
- DEs | DTs | ILBs | OLBs | Ss | CBs 

- 2010 NFL Combine - Offensive Winners  
- 2010 NFL Combine - Offensive Losers 
- 2010 NFL Combine - Defensive Winners 
- 2010 NFL Combine - Defensive Losers  

1. Cam Newton, Auburn, 6-6, 250 (Junior)
Positives: Size. Scouts are analysts are just now realizing what a huge guy Newton is. He’s JaMarcus Russell without the weight concerns, and he’s Ben Roethlisberger with more mobility. … While he has to work on his accuracy at a pro level, he was the nation’s most efficient passer. … Phenomenal runner. Great in the open field. … The perfect raw tools with the size, the arm, the speed, and the toughness both mentally and physically. … A leader. The Auburn players followed him and jumped on his cape.
Negatives: He’ll have to learn how to work from under center. This could take a while after being so used to setting up in the shotgun. … He’ll have to get used to throwing more timing patterns. In college, he got by on being able to shake off pass rushers because of his size and he had the time to let plays develop down the field. He’s not going to have that at the next level. … He had the ability to fight through adversity and thrive, but does he have the time logged in to be ready to handle an NFL playbook? He only played one full year of major college football. … Yes, character will come into question with some. He seems a bit too taken with the limelight at the moment and there’s some concern that he might be a huge phony. No one out of the greater Auburn metropolitan area really believes he’s completely clean.

2. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri, 6-5, 235 (Junior)
Positives: He looks the part with great size, good mobility, and the NFL arm to put it anywhere on the field. … A downfield bomber who can make the short to intermediate throws, too, he can be a power pitcher when needed and can use touch when he has to. … He doesn’t need too much work on his mechanics. There’s a little tweaking to be done on his wind up and he could stand to make his motion more compact, but it’s nothing to get in a twist over. … Known for being a hard worker and he’ll be a natural leader immediately. … While he’s not a Cam Newton-like runner, he can move.
Negatives: He was an okay college player, but he wasn’t an elite one. By far, he’s more talented than Chase Daniel was, but Daniel did more at Mizzou. … While he has all the throws, he could stand to be more consistent on his touch. He’s a bomber who played in a mid-range passing attack. … He needs to stand firm in the pocket. While he’s not afraid to take off and run, he doesn’t have NFL mobility to be a runner.

3. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas, 6-6, 240 (Junior)
Positives: Arm, arm, arm, arm, arm, ARM. No NFL receiver will be able to outrun his deep passes, and when he gets time to set up, he can put the ball through the eye of a needle. He has a major league fastball. … Size. He’s a big, strong passer who can see over linemen and reads the field extremely well. … While he’s better in the shotgun, he doesn’t need a whole bunch of work at learning how to get under center. His mechanics are close to NFL ready.
Negatives: He might be big and he might be strong, and he’s not afraid to take a big shot, but get a body on him and his accuracy and his production go bye-bye. There will be times when a decent NFL pass rush shuts him and his offense down cold. … Is compared to Ryan Leaf for a variety of reasons. The talent and tools are there, but he’s going to rub some people the wrong way. He’ll have to prove to the GMs that he’s willing to become a filmroom rat and will be willing to put in the time to be special. … He has gotten by on a thunderbolt of an arm, and he relies on it too much taking too many chances. … While he can move relatively well for his size, he’s far, FAR better when he gets a clean pocket to step up and fire.

4. Christian Ponder, Florida State, 6-4, 225
Positives: There’s a general feeling that it’s all there, but he has yet to show everything he can do. He might just be scratching the surface and could be the type of player who blossoms in a pro environment. … He has good enough size, excellent mobility, and has unquestioned leadership skills. The tools are there, the attitude is right, and want-to is there to become a special player and the face of a franchise. … Accurate and consistent, he can get into a groove and doesn’t get shaken out of it easily. … While he’s not at the Cam Newton level, he moves well and is one of the better running quarterbacks in the draft. … Very, very smart.
Negatives: Health. He was constantly battered and beaten up with a slew of injuries. On the plus side, he’s willing to take a shot. On the negative, he’s willing to take a shot and he got hammered way too much for his body to take. … While he looks the part, he didn’t always play like it. Everyone was waiting for him to take his game and his offense to another level, and it didn’t happen. … The arm is adequate and he can make all the throws, but it’s hardly an elite arm. He can’t rely on his arm to make every throw in every situation like other top quarterbacks in this draft class can. … For good and bad, think of him as Matt Schaub. He can work out and he can be good, but he has to be in the right system and his health will always have coaches holding their breath.

5. Colin Kaepernick, Nevada, 6-5, 225
Positives: Great size. Tall, long, and looks the part of a possible NFL quarterback stature-wise. … Mobility. He’s one of the best running quarterbacks in the draft and one of the best in college football history. He’s a weapon out of the pocket. … Major-league fastball, literally. A pitcher, he had the option to give baseball a shot. … All the positives of Vince Young coming out of college, but with a far better head on his shoulders.
Negatives: Not from a passing program. Spent the last four years running the Pistol offense and needs work as a pro-style passer. … Takes ten years to get the ball out of his hands. He needs a far, far more compact throwing motion. … The potential is there, but he needs a ton of polish.

6. Jake Locker, Washington, 6-3, 230
Positives: It’s all there from a physical standpoint. He’s big, strong, has the NFL arm, has the NFL size, and has the mobility to take off from time to time. … Great character. A baller who’ll do whatever it takes to lead the team and try to get the win. … One of the fastest quarterbacks in the draft.
Negatives: Can’t throw with any semblance of consistency. He’s not nearly accurate enough on a regular basis and needs tuning. Lots and lots of tuning to put the ball where it needs to be on timing routes. … He has all the throws in the book, but he doesn’t anticipate well enough. Relies on his arm strength to make up for slow reads. … Takes too many big shots. For good and bad, he’s willing to sacrifice himself for the play.

7. Andy Dalton, TCU, 6-2, 220
Positives: A nice passer who doesn’t make a slew of mistakes and doesn’t take unnecessary chances. … Great touch. He’s accurate and puts the ball in places where the receiver can do something with it. … Very smart with decent mobility. He’s able to take off when needed, and he’s great at making the right reeds and right plays.
Negatives: Not the biggest of arms. Not a bad arm, but hardly a rifle. … A good runner at the collegiate level, but his running skills don’t necessarily translate to the NFL. … A spread quarterback who needs to learn how to be a pro-style passer. … A ceiling. He might be a great backup and a stopgap starter, but he doesn’t have the skills to be a star.

8. T.J. Yates, North Carolina, 6-4, 225
Positives: Overshadowed and underappreciated, he was a productive player who never quite got his due. Great at carrying the offense last year when needed. … Nice size and nice touch on the ball, and great when he gets into a groove. … A strong leader, he acts the part of a starter and has earned his stripes in a few big battles.
Negatives: The arm isn’t elite. He needs to fit in the right system with the right receivers to be a productive starter. … Not a power pitcher. He doesn’t have the deep gun to stretch the field. … Could be pigeon-holed as a strong backup prospect, but a project of a starter. However, there might be a big payoff with a little developmental time.

9. Ricky Stanzi, Iowa, 6-4, 225
Positives: Nice size and stature. Good height with the ability to throw over linemen and not around them. He looks the part of an NFL pocket passer. … Great ability to come through in the clutch. Didn’t do it as much in 2010, but he was phenomenal late throughout 2009. … He throws a nicer deep ball than he gets credit for. If given time, he can deliver.
Negatives: Inconsistent. He often had to come up with big comebacks because he didn’t do enough on a regular basis over the first 50 minutes. … Inconsistent. Will fit the ball through the eye of the needle on one throw, and put it into the fourth row on the next pass. … A flake. While he’s a good leader, he’s got a bit of a goofy streak that won’t work if he’s not great.

10. Greg McElroy, Alabama, 6-2, 225
Positives: Extremely smart. A Rhodes Scholar finalist. … A gutty baller. While he didn’t play all that well in the 2011 BCS Championship, he was playing through a rib problem. … A good, accurate arm that can be functional in the pros. He’ll put the ball where it needs to be.
Negatives: The big-time arm isn’t there. He’s not going to put the ball all over the field and needs to be in a short-to-midrange passing attack. … Needs major, MAJOR work on his throwing motion. It’s not nearly compact enough and it’s a bit unorthodox. … A game-manager, and not necessarily in a positive way. He won’t carry an NFL team, but he could be the Baltimore Ravens’ version of Trent Dilfer at some point down the road.

11. Pat Devlin, Delaware, 6-4, 230
Positives: He’s ready for a high-tech passing offense. He’s used to winging the ball all over the field and has the touch to put his receivers in good situations. … He looks like an NFL passer. He doesn’t need much work on his motion or his feet. … Nice reading ability. Great at anticipating the routes and throwing it where it needs to be. … Extremely accurate.
Negatives: Not Joe Flacco. Repeat, NOT JOE FLACCO. Just because he’s tall and went to Delaware, that doesn’t mean he’s the same prospect. … Good arm, but not a great one. He can’t make up for misreads with a fastball. … A very, very good FCS quarterback, but he has to prove he can handle the better competition. Again, he’s not Flacco and doesn’t have the same type of gun to overcome negatives.

12. Nathan Enderle, Idaho, 6-4, 240
Positives: Very big, very strong. Throws it all over the field and is used to winging it around. … Great throwing motion. He looks like an pro-style thrower with a tight motion and a quick release. … A smart, tough veteran. Extremely seasoned after seeing four years of college work. … Productive. He threw for over 10,000 career yards and 74 touchdowns.
Negatives: He threw 60 picks. While he had to keep throwing the ball to make up for a bad defense, he forced too many plays that weren’t there. … The arm doesn’t quite match his size. He’s not going to bomb it deep. … Needs footwork help. Gets a bit too jumpy under pressure.

13. Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M, 6-5, 250
Positives: A decent flier in the late rounds or as a free agent because of his size and his arm. He has the raw tools that might not have been developed enough at Texas A&M. … Has the gun to push it deep and the touch to connect consistently on the short to midrange throws. … Moves extremely well for his size. Can be a bit of a runner if needed. … Strong character. Took his demotion last year with as much class as could be asked for.
Negatives: The yards didn’t translate into wins. He lacked the ability to take his team to another level on a consistent basis. … Needs technical work. The potential is there, but he needs a few years of coaching to get the mechanics right. … Long, loping delivery that takes four days to fire.

14. Taylor Potts, Texas Tech, 6-4, 220  NOT INVITED TO THE COMBINE
Positives: Has the size and the passing skills from a pure passing attack. Has the best NFL skills of the new wave of Texas Tech quarterbacks. … When he gets time, he throws extremely well. … Does the subtle things well. Is great at looking off the safety and is terrific at quickly going through his progressions.
Negatives: He doesn’t have a great deep arm and needs to be in the right system. Like all Texas Tech quarterbacks, he needs to learn how to work under center. … Not the prettiest of passers. He has the basic skills, but it’s not like his throws have a tight zip on a regular basis. … Not mobile and takes shots. Suffered a big-time concussion and will get popped without a terrific line in front of him.

15. Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin, 6-2, 215
Positives: Great leader. Excellent character and a solid personality without being too demonstrative. … Accurate, especially on third downs. Was one of the nation’s most efficient passers. … Fearless. Great at standing tough in the face of a pass rush and delivering. The feet don’t move no matter who’s bearing down on him.
Negatives: Decent arm, but not an elite one. Great at delivering the tough throw, but not the deep one. … Benefitted by working behind a brick wall. The Wisconsin O line gave him ten days. … Not NFL big. Needs to throw around his linemen.

16. Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech, 6-1, 215
Positives: Very mobile. Not just a runner, but he can make pass plays by extending things with his feet. … A veteran who went through the wars and grew into a better passer after starting out his career as purely a runner who happened to throw. … A nice, accurate arm that can deliver the ball crisply.
Negatives: Not big enough. He’s not a good enough NFL thrower to make up for his lack of size. … Not a dangerous enough runner to make up for the shortcomings. … Purely a backup at the moment, but he has decent upside to potentially become a decent starter.

17. Ryan Colburn, Fresno State, 6-3, 220
Positives: Good size and a solid arm. Throws a nice deep ball. … Accurate enough to get by. He has just enough touch and just enough skills to potentially start. … A veteran who has seen plenty of time and isn’t going to be surprised by much. … A strong leader.
Negatives: An average college player. Not nearly consistent enough in the big games and didn’t exactly dominate the WAC. … Not much of a runner. He moved well in college and gained positive yards, but he’s not going to scare anyone with his feet. Now consistent and had a few disasters. Completed 6-of-23 passes for 76 yards and two picks against Boise State in 2010. …

18. Jeff Van Camp, Florida Atlantic, 6-5, 210
Positives: Great height and has room on his frame to get bigger and stronger. … Ready to go right away under center. He’s used to operating in a pro-set. … A nice downfield arm. The raw tools are worth developing, but he’ll take a few years.
Negatives: The mechanics need a ton of work. He doesn’t take advantage of his size hurt by a sidearm delivery. … A sitting duck. He doesn’t move at all. … A marginal player at a low level. He could blossom in an NFL setting, but it’s going to take someone to see something worth making an investment of time.

19. Josh Portis, California (PA), 6-3, 205
Positives: There’s no questioning the talent or the potential. He’s tall, athletic, and has the speed to get a shot at receiver if he doesn’t work out as a quarterback … Great arm. He’ll wow the scouts with the way the ball pops out of his hands. … Looks the part. He doesn’t need a whole bunch of work to be a pro-style passer.
Negatives: Character. He started out at Florida, went to Maryland, and didn’t work out at either spot. … Smarts. He’s not exactly known as a bookworm and there’s no way he can deal with a pro playbook. … Inexperienced. These type of high-risk, high-reward quarterback prospects with little on the résumé never work out.

20. Ben Chappell, Indiana 6-2, 240 NOT INVITED TO THE COMBINE
Positives: A good pure passer. He had help from a strong receiving corps, but he gave IU a fighting chance in games it had no business being in. …. Great at getting the ball out of his hands in a hurry. IU was among the nation leaders in sacks allowed, and it wasn’t because of the O line. … Tough as nails. He’ll take a beating to get the ball out of his hands.
Negatives: No athleticism whatsoever. He’s a pure pocket passer who doesn’t do anything on the move. … A sitting duck. He’ll get beaten up. … Didn’t come up with enough wins. The Hoosiers were bad, but they didn’t actually come up with a slew of big wins. Chappell, got them close, but didn’t get them over the hump.

21. Adam Weber, Minnesota, 6-1, 215 NOT INVITED TO THE COMBINE
Positives: A four-year starter who started out as a great runner and turned into a solid passer. … A great leader. Was the school’s first ever three-time captain. … Tough. Took a beating on some bad, bad teams and kept on going.
Negatives: Limited arm. He’s a finesse pitcher who isn’t going to push the ball deep. … Small. He’s built more like a smallish fullback than a quarterback. … Didn’t progress. Minnesota was bad, but he didn’t make the offense any better as an upperclassman.

22. K.J. Black, Prairie View A&M, 6-3, 220 NOT INVITED TO THE COMBINE
Positives: Good size and a nice arm. He has the raw tools worth looking at in a camp. … Mobile. He’s a legitimate running threat and not just when he’s under pressure. … Accurate when he gets hot. Streaky, but has the ability to put up nice numbers.
Negatives: Needs time. A LOT of time. He’s the epitome of a project. … Couldn’t keep the starting job at Western Kentucky. That’s Western Kentucky. … Inconsistent and relied on his athleticism more than his arm.

23. Trevor Vittatoe, UTEP, 6-2, 220 NOT INVITED TO THE COMBINE
Positives: A four-year starter who has plenty of experience and good stats. … A nice arm. He throws a good deep ball and has nice touch on his passes. … Athletic enough to get by. A good enough runner to not be a statue.
Negatives: Still needs to learn how to find a No. 2 target. The UTEP attack wasn’t exactly full of a lot of bells and whistles. … Struggled when he got hurt. Was a different quarterback after suffering an ankle injury. … Not tall. Doesn’t have NFL size.

24. Christopher Dieker, Southern Illinois, 6-5, 230 NOT INVITED TO THE COMBINE
Positives: Great size. Tall and with room to get bigger and stronger. … Mobile. He’s not necessarily a runner, but he’s good on the move and he’ll make things happen when things break down. … Nice arm. Not an elite one, but good enough to get by in an NFL camp.
Negatives: Way too inconsistent. Will throw the ball through a hoop on one play and will chuck a wormburner the next. … Isn’t exactly Brett Favre. He’ll take hits and isn’t known for his toughness. … Doesn’t have a feel for finding the No. 2 target on a regular basis.

25. Mike Hartline, Kentucky, 6-5, 210 NOT INVITED TO THE COMBINE
Positives: A productive pro-style passer who could develop into a solid backup who hangs around the lead. … Great arm. He doesn’t have an elite one, but he can make all the throws. … Accurate when he gets time.
Negatives: Needs technical work. It doesn’t seem like he throws the same pass the same way twice. … Little mobility. Get him out of the pocket and it’s over. … Takes a few too many big shots and doesn’t find his No. 2 target quickly enough.