Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Senior Bowl Quarterback Notes

Christian Ponder: NFL brain. Training bra arm. The deep ball he threw to Hankerson was caught, yes, but still exposed his arm as weak. His deep outs were equally weak. There is no questioning his intelligence, but the 18 yard deep out is an NFL staple, and he simply doesn't have it in his bag. His brains make him intriguing, but his arm says backup.

Jake Locker is still an athlete playing quarterback. He has moments, like his rollout left, where he squares his hips and makes a PERFECT pass, and you know only a few NFL quarterbacks can do that. But his seam routes on the hash are WR death throws. High and wide exposes a lot of ribs. I thought Mayock did a great job of exposing his baseball stride in the pocket. More hips, less legs, Jake. Can that be taught? Absolutely. The fumbling issue is a concern, part of his unsettled pocket presence could be due to poor ball protection. His time in Washington certainly didn't teach him that the pocket is a place to feel secure. I still think he goes in the top ten.

Greg McElroy, I just don't know about. He looks OK at everything, and great at nothing. His arm is not much better than Ponder's, though.

Andy Dalton didn't show much. Practice showed a better arm than Ponder and McElroy; his smarts are beyond question. After he got just absolutely SMOKED on what should have been an offsides penalty at minimum, I don't think it would be fair to evaluate what you saw anyway. And therein lies the rub with Dalton. Can he thicken up a bit so he can take an NFL pounding for 16 (or 18) games?

Colin Kaepernick. Maybe even more than Locker, he is an athlete playing at quarterback. The arm motion can only be described as Tebow lite. He does telegraph throws with his windup. He doesn't have Locker's deep stride issue in the pocket, however. I question his ability to make a 2nd or 3rd read, and his instinct to tuck and run is strong. He LIKES being a running quarterback.

His sideline interview during the game was enlightening. Media savvy players know that the Senior Bowl is an interview for a job, but don't emphasize that aspect, rather talking about "team". Kaepernick made no bones about measuring himself against the other 5 quarterbacks on the field that he thought were getting talked about more than him. Not sure how I feel about that.

Has straight line speed. He will wow them at the combine, he might even make Locker and Newton look slow. He will be selected later than Newton, but I'm not so sure Newton isn't the bigger project. Both are projects, however.

Ricky Stanzi has tools that fit the NFL, but almost appears afraid to make a mistake. He reeks of checkdown Charlie. Good pocket presence, makes two reads, throws all the passes with adequate zip, but somehow always leaves you wanting more. I think he reads short to deep, not deep to short. He looks like a clipboard will fit his hands for quite a few years into the future.

Caveat on these notes: North quarterbacks suffered from a poor pocket all day. South quarterbacks enjoyed a pristine pocket on most plays. Which is why using stats to break down this game is damn near useless.

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