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2011 NFL Draft Predictions – Quarterback Rankings

2011 NFL Draft Coverage – QB Preview

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The NFL draft moves to primetime for the second time in 2011. The first round will be in PRIMETIME, and is scheduled to take place Thursday, April 28, 2011; the second and third rounds on Friday, April 29; and the final four rounds on Saturday, April 30, 2011.

The Panthers with the worst record for 2010 have the right to the 1st pick in 2011. Note: A provision in the current NFLPA-CBA ensures that this draft will still take place even with the current labor dispute.

Quarterback Rankings

CAM NEWTON, Auburn
6”6, 246 lbs

The top QB is a tough one to pick in this year’s draft. Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert looks like a better prototypical NFL pivot than Newton, but the Heisman Trophy winner’s athleticism is second to none. While there might be differentiation between whom the best QB on the board is and who gets drafted first, don’t be surprised if a team with a Top 10 pick gets wooed by Newton’s measurables and dominance under center for the Tigers. Clearly, however, with Stanford’s Andrew Luck choosing to stay in school, the best NFL-ready QB is not entering the Draft.

BLAINE GABBERT, Missouri
6”5, 240 lbs

Like Newton, Gabbert has great size and unlike another option like Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett, for instance, Gabbert’s quick release is tantalizing. Gabbert played in a gimmicky spread offense at Mizzou, but it’s hard to find many college pivots these days who haven’t – so that shouldn’t scare away many teams. While you still have the occasional Al Davis-style NFL manager that falls in love with a golden arm, the most important qualities truly are accuracy and a quick release; Gabbert has these in enough quantity to be an attractive West Coast-offense QB (his accuracy on the deep ball is questionable). If Newton isn’t the first QB taken, Gabbert will be.

JAKE LOCKER, Washington
6”3, 230 lbs

Locker possesses top-tier athleticism, but he didn’t do himself any favors by having a poor 2010 campaign for the Huskies. Locker posted less passing yards, a lower QB rating and completion percentage this season than 2009. In fact, Locker has never eclipsed a 60% completion rate in college. He didn’t dispel these concerns with his Senior Bowl performance, either. To be sure, Locker is a do-anything athlete with a strong arm, but he probably would have served himself better had he turned pro last season.

COLIN KAEPERNICK, Nevada
6”5, 225 lbs

The upside is definitely there with the quarterback that helped turn around the Nevada football program. Kaepernick played in the Pistol offense for the Wolf Pack, which means he will almost certainly need to be an understudy, but the big arm, the size and the oodles of athleticism will be hard to ignore. Kaepernick should go after Newton and Gabbert, but could get drafted either side of Jake Locker.

RYAN MALLETT, Arkansas
6”6, 240 lbs

The Michigan transfer had a great season under center for the Razorbacks in 2010. Mallett crept up near 4,000 yards passing, a 65% completion rate and had over 30 passing TDs. Mallett is also big with a cannon arm, and he can put some nice touch on deep and intermediate throws. But it’s not all sunny in Fayetteville. Mallett has a catapult-like, Byron Leftwich-esque release, always a red flag in the NFL. He’s not great at avoiding pressure. Mallett is also… how to put this delicately… a cocky idiot. He won’t score well on the Wonderlic test and there are character concerns with this kid. Will we see a player that reminds us of Jeff George or JaMarcus Russell, or will Mallett pleasantly surprise us?

Honorable Mention: PAT DEVLIN, Delaware The former Penn State signee is playing against inferior competition, but gets good grades for a nice arm, a quick release and admirable toughness (he played two weeks after fracturing his left wrist in a game this season).

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