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2011 NFL Rookie Profiles: Quarterbacks

A look at the 2011 Rookie Signal Callers from a Dynasty Perspective

It's a great year to be a Quarterback prospect. With so many teams desperate to land a franchise QB, signal callers will be flying off the board this April - most prematurely. Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert lead this class, that may not be filled with Beasts, but has some depth to it. Dynasty leaguers will want to pay attention to where these prospects end up, but also what kind of upside each of them possess. This year, BeastOrBust.com will have some new features in our profiles to measure a prospects long term potential and Dynasty value. Below is our Potential Scale:

Beast Potential 
- A cornerstone only reserved for the truly elite prospects. Example from 2010 - Sam Bradford
Starter Potential - Will never be elite but a long term, reliable starter is a high. Example - Colt McCoy
Raw Product - This player has tremendous upside, but also comes with a huge amount of risk. If things break right, though, a Beast or definite starter could be had. Example - John Skelton
Developmental Product - Different from a raw product in that the developmental players upside is more limited and will take leaps of growth to achieve even flex consideration. This definition is unique to QB position because of their extremely high learning curve and limited opportunities. Example - Joe Webb

Cam Newton

College:
 Auburn (4th Year Junior)
Height-Weight: 6'5" 248 lbs.
Upside: Beast Potential
Player Comparison: Josh Freeman
Comments: When talking about upside in this Draft Class, you start with Cam Newton. Huge arm, ideal build and bulk and a big time rushing threat. Coming into this season, he had only attempted 12 passes, but he took full advantage of his opportunity to shine. Sure, the 30 passing TD's, 66% completition percentage, better than 2,800 yards and only 7 INT's are nice, but not elite by any means for a QB at a top college program. But when you combine the passing numbers with 1,400+ yards rushing and 20 TD's, that is when things get really impressive. 50 TD's in his first year as a starter, plus a National Championship. Oh, and did we mention the iciing on the cake (or is it the kiss of death)...the Heisman Trophy? Newton could not have had a better year on the field, but teams will continue to question is character and dedication. All the tools are there, if he puts the work in and adjusts to the speed of the pro game, he'll be a Top 10 Fantasy QB. If not, he might be out of football in less than 5 seasons. Comparisons for Newton are across the board, from Mike Vick to Donovan McNabb to Ben Roethlisberger. Any way you slice it, though, he's got a chance to be elite.
Tools/SkillsetFranchise Newton has serious upside, but also serious downside. He can make plays with his legs and a cannon arm, but can he put it all together like Josh Freeman has done or will he go the way of JaMarcus Russell?
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 1st Round - Top 8 Selection

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Blaine Gabbert

College:
 Missouri (3rd Year Junior)
Height-Weight: 6'5" 235 lbs.
Upside: Beast Potential
Player Comparison: Eli Manning
Comments: If Cam Newton is the upside pick, Gabbert is the safe selection, as if there is such a thing when dealing with QB prospects. Sure, he has the arm, build and throwing mechanics to be a Beast, but his accuracy on deep balls is suspect and his college production was underwhelming in a shotgun style offense. Gabbert has enough mobility to get himself out of trouble, but his footwork needs improvement. He should struggle initially, but if the game slows down for him, he could be a QB2 by his 3rd season. 
Tools/SkillsetFranchise Gabbert has the height, arm and intangibles to excel in the NFL, but he'll need to improve his game and prove he can continue to grow as a student of the game. Gabbert has spent most of his junior level, high school and collegiate football years being groomed to be an NFL Franchise QB.  While his is built to play the part, he will likely experience a big slice of humble pie first.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 1st Round - Top 10 Selection

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Jake Locker

College: Washington (4th Year Senior)
Height-Weight: 6'3" 228 lbs.
Upside: Raw Product
Player Comparison: Mark Brunell
Comments: Last year, Locker could have been battling Sam Bradford for the No. 1 overall pick. Now that seems laughable, given the success of Bradford and the decline of Locker.  There is a likelihood that Locker is currently secretly and highly coveted by a few NFL Franchise's.  He is also likely not even on many teams draft boards.  This makes Locker an intruiging prospect heading into this years Draft.  Much of his success will come from landing in the perfect situation (ie Rodgers behind Favre or Young behind Montana) where he has the opportunity to marinate for a few years and learn the nuances of the game to pair with his ridiculous atheleticisim.  Played in a pro style offense behind a terrible O-Line in his last two seasons.  He took a decent beating making plays in the process, but we like his tough attitude.
Tools/SkillsetStarter Locker has the physical tools with a big time arm and above average athletic ability. His upside is sky high, but he's also very unlikely to reach his full potential unless he lands in the perfect situation.  He is extremely competitive and understands his position as well as any other of this year's QB prospects. 
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 2nd Round - Top 20 Selection

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Colin Kaepernick

College:
 Nevada (Senior)
Height-Weight: 6'4" 233 lbs.
Upside: Starter Potential
Player Comparison: Vince Young
Comments: After four solid seasons running the show in Nevada, Colin Kaepernick will enter the NFL Draft with a chance to be one of the top QB's off the board. In addition to passing for over 10,000 yards and 82 TD's, he also totaled more than 4,000 yards and another 59 TD's on the ground. He also saw his completion percentage rise every single season, something he'll need to continue to improve. Kaepernick has also improved his stock this offseason with solid Senior Bowl and Pro Day performances. He has the arm, he has above average mobility and he has the intangibles to lead an offense on Sundays. His slim build and running instincts could lead to nagging injuries at the next level, so continued development of his pocket passing skills is a must. His unorthodox throwing motion is fixable according to most scouts and experience in a pistol style offense means he might not be ready for prime time in 2011. As a raw prospect though, Kaepernick could develop into a reliable solution to a team's QB problems. 
Tools/SkillsetStarter Kaepernick has the arm and work ethic to be a starting QB in the NFL. His athletic prowess gives him dual threat ability to be a fantasy Beast in the right situation. 
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 3rd Round

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Christian Ponder

College: Florida State (Senior)
Height-Weight: 6'3" 227 lbs.
Upside: Starter Potential
Player Comparison: Alex Smith
Comments: Christian Ponder is a very good prospect, when healthy. The problem has been staying healthy enough to show it consistently. He battled numerous injuries at Florida State and turned in a solid, but unspectacular collegiate career because of it. He has solid accuracy, average arm strength and experience in a pro-style offense. He lacks ideal size and bulk, which could lead to future injury issues against faster and harder hitting NFL defenses. 
Tools/SkillsetStarter Ponder has the makings of a very intriguing QB option that could excel if given the opportunity to start. He does have many desirable traits and skills of a franchise QB, but his upside is somewhat limited because of a lack of arm strength.  His intelligence will carry him far, but he could likley end up being a stopgap journeyman QB over his career. 
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 4th Round

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Ryan Mallet

College: Arkansas (Junior)
Height-Weight: 6'6" 238 lbs.
Upside: Raw Product
Player Comparison: Derek Anderson
Comments: Ryan Mallett has had a tough offseason to say the least. His value as a prospect is all over the map and where he goes in the draft is anywhere from the late 1st round to the 3rd. He has seen his stock plummet with alleged drug problems surfacing, along with other character questions. Looking past all of that, Mallett has a huge arm, but accuracy is a question mark.  He can however make every throw, so there will definitely be a QB coach out there intruiged by his potential.  He is a statue in the pocket and his footwork is awkward at best. Still, his upside is going to be too much to ignore in a QB starved NFL. 
Tools/SkillsetStarter Perhaps there is no QB more of a boom or bust prospect than Mallett. His throwing arm and upside makes scouts drool, but the rest of the package has the potential to frustrate fantasy owners for years to come. He needs to land with a QB friendly coach of a franchise that can afford to be patient with him.  He does understand protections and can make calls at the line of scrimmage.   Easily the most impressive arm of any QB in this class.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 3rd Round

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Andy Dalton

College: TCU (Senior)
Height-Weight: 6'3" 220 lbs.
Upside: Developmental Prospect
Player Comparison: Colt McCoy
Comments: Dalton had a very solid 4 year career with the Horned Frogs, showing growth and improvement each season. He amassed over 10,000 yards passing with 71 TD's and a completion percentage over 60 for his career. He lacks prototypical size and arm strength, but has excellent accuracy and solid mobility. While not quite the athlete Colt McCoy is, Dalton has a similar prospect profile. Not a franchise type by any means, he could thrive in the right offense and eventually outplay his draft status. 
Tools/SkillsetBack-up Dalton is a winner, but will his desire and work ethic land him a starting job? They very well could, but for now Dalton profiles as a back-up QB with upside to be a starter in the right offensive system. 
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 4th Round

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Ricky Stanzi 

College: Iowa (Senior)
Height-Weight: 6'4" 230 lbs.
Upside: Developmental Prospect
Player Comparison: Kyle Orton
Comments: Ricky Stanzi made a big leap from his Junior to Senior season, showing better decision making and improving his stats across the board. He's still inconsistent, as evidenced by his offseason performances, but he is a student of the game and is a true leader. What he lacks in physical gifts he makes up for with intangibles and work ethic. 
Tools/SkillsetBack-up If things break right and Stanzi continues to develop, could he become a starter? Absolutely, but he lacks the upside of some other prospects and does not have the physical tools that will impress NFL teams into giving him a real shot unless he forces their hand. He could be a very solid 2nd QB.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 4th Round

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The Best of the Rest:

Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech) - Taylor is an athlete first, QB second, but he has tremendous upside. He has the arm strength, above average mobility and playmaking ability to make a difference. Height and deep accuracy are issues, but a little patience could pay off for this Day 3 prospect. Extremely competitve prospect who says he is a better player than Cam Newton.
Player Comparison: Troy Smith
Upside: Developmental Project

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Greg McElroy (Alabama) - McElroy has not been able to improve on his draft stock this offseason because of an injury, but he remains a solid back-up prospect. He lacks ideal arm strength and size, but has a high football IQ (a former Rhodes Scholarship finalist) and the intangibles to succeed if pressed into duty..
Player Comparison: Chad Pennington
Upside: Developmental Project

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Pat Devlin (Delaware) - Joe Flacco he is not. Devlin lacks the former Blue Hens arm strength and build. He has watched his Draft stock sink rapidly this offseason with poor performances across the board. He still has the tools to develop into a solid player, but he's a roll of the dice late round prospect right now. 
Player Comparison: Kevin Kolb
Upside: Developmental Project

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Adam Weber (Minnesota)
 - Weber succeeded in a pro style offense at Minnesota and  was one of only four players to throw for over 10,000 yards in the history of the Big 10.  Add this to nearly 700 collegiate rushing yards and Adam Weber is officially a prospect to keep an eye on where he lands.  The only 3 time captain in Minnesota history, he is a legit decision maker, leader and athletic freak whose arm is above average.  While he remains a big time project, his success at the collegiate level could not be entirely overlooked.  Pay attention to where he lands, especially if it is in a west-coast system, as if you are a patient Dynasty owner, he may grow to eventually be a starter in the NFL and a decent Dynasty asset.
Player Comparison: Chase Daniel
Upside: Developmental Project
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Nathan Enderle (Idaho)
 - Enderle is a solidly build prospect that took a step back as a senior, hurting his draft stock. While he does not have elite arm strength, he can make every throw with at least average accuracy. He needs to improve his decision making and footwork, but stands in the pocket well. He's not getting much attention at all right now, but keep your eye on where he ends up either in Day 3 of the draft or as an unrestricted free agent. 
Player Comparison: Matt Hasselbeck
Upside: Developmental Project
  
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Jerrod Johnson (Texas A&M) - JJ has ideal size and athleticism, but is a developmental prospect in every sense of the word. He really didn't play QB at Texas A&M until then-starter Stephen McGee went down with an injury in 2008. He is a dual-threat player that could develop into a solid back-up in time, but needs to improve all facets of his game, especially accuracy. He does have the ability to end up as a project receiver as well, but will likely be given a shot at QB first given the current NFL climate. 
Player Comparison: Vince Young
Upside: Developmental Project