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2011 NFL Scouting Combine: Quarterbacks

A weekend summary of the 2011 Signal Callers at the NFL Scouting Combine

In a league that is all about the pass, the scrutinty Quarterbacks are under is greater than ever before.  This year's class has some legit talent, although some serious questions persist regarding whether if any of these QB's will ever develop into NFL QB talent.  To further complicate the situation, nearly 10 NFL teams are looking for a franchise signal caller, which could cause inflated perceived value on Draft day.  The Scouting Combine provides the first legit look at this year's group of QB's.  Read along as we highlight some of our first impressions.

Blaine Gabbert
6'4" - 234 lbs
Missouri (Big 12)
According to most, Gabbert is considered the top QB prospect in this Draft class.  A prototypical sized player that can make every throw, but  unfortunately didn't throw at the Combine.  Gabbert played from a pass based offense at Missouri, but it was the spread and therefore has little to no experience throwing from the 5 and 7 step drop.  That could turn a few teams off, but his skills and intangibles should put those fears to rest. At this point Gabbert's skill set reminds us of Drew Bledsoe, he's got an exceptional arm and throws with a high spin rate.  
Top Performer: Broad Jump
Top Performer: 3 Cone Drill

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Cam Newton
6'5" - 248 lbs
Auburn (SEC)
This year's Heisman trophy winner as been the most hyped player the 2011 Draft Season.  While he is not neccessarily the top rated QB this year, his video game skill set and stature is a cut above the rest.  Maybe the most physically gifted player since Jamarcus Russell, Newton has the potential to be the standout Russell never was.  However, some of the concerns are the same, most noteably his commitment to football.  Newton projects as a developmental project with huge upside, as he tends to have sloppy mechanics and was not required to make NFL style reads at the collegiate level.  Everyone knew Newton was going to excel in workout drills, so his 11 for 21 passing stat line didn't do anything to help his stock.  
Top Peformer: 40 Yard Dash
Top Perfromer: Broad Jump
Top Performer: Vertical Jump

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Jake Locker
6'3" - 231 lbs
Washington (PAC10)
Following a poor Senior Bowl performance (and 2010 Senior season for that matter), Locker came to the Combine with the intention of raising his Draft stock back to 2009 status where he was considered one of the top QB's in the nation.  Locker is a super athletic player with a monster arm but his issues with accuracy are a major concern.  Locker suffers from some of the same questionmarks that Aaron Rodgers dealt with a few short years ago, which justifies to us that he's got the tools necessary to eventually succeed.  We would like to see him sit behind an established Franchise QB for three seasons in the mold of Rodgers.  Let's not forget that Locker played behind a poor line at Washington and took a legit beating his Jr. and Sr. Seasons.  
Top Performer: 40 Yard Dash
Top Performer: Vertical Jump
Top Performer: Broad Jump
Top Performer: 3 Cone Drill

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Ryan Mallett
6'7" - 253 lbs
Arkansas (SEC)
Too bad throwing wasn't one of the workout drills, because it would have at least gotten Mallett's name on a Top Performer list.  Mallett is considered the most "pro ready" QB of the group, despite questionable accuracy.  Prototypical franchise QB stature, Mallet has a huge arm and experience playing from a pro style offense while he was at Arkansas.  The knocks against Mallet are currently maturity and character issues, but his ability to close out games and throw a costly interception in a big spot is a trait that could situate him as a perennial backup at the next level.  Mallett showed the biggest arm at the combine and could be considered the biggest riser of the signal callers.

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Christian Ponder
6'2" - 229 lbs
Florida State (ACC)
Ponder was another big riser on Combine weekend.  While he proved he doesn't have the biggest arm of the group, he surely showed nice mechanics and accuracy.  Ponder is a solid athlete but will likely be limited to a west coast system because of lack of arm strength.  He will also need to develop read progressions he wasn't forced to do at the collegiate level.  Lots of hype following the Combine have some questioning whether Ponder could move toward the back end of Round 1.  Temper the excitement some.
Top Performer: Vertical Jump
Top Performer: 20 Yard Shuttle

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Colin Kaepernick
6'5" - 233 lbs
Nevada (WAC)
Kaepernick rose his stock big time coming out of the Senior Bowl, then didn't do much to boost his stock Combine weekend.  Kaepernick is already known for his athleticisim, however some have begun to question whether he will ever learn to become a pocket passer.  He has a tendency to throw fast balls on every pass, and did little to show any touch on the short to intermediate patterns.  For such a tall player his release point is low (near his ears) which will cause lots of batted balls at the next level.  
Top Performer: 40 Yard Dash

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Upcoming BeastOrBust.com NFL Draft Content:
Over the next couple months, we will be bringing you important NFL Draft Content.  Check back as we will unveil our Top Dynasty Prospects at each skill position.  In our yearly Needs not WantsDraft Column, we will take an in-depth look at each NFL teams needs to highlight suitable landing spots for these future Beasts of the NFL.  Draft Previews and Draft Instant Reaction Articles will wrap up this years coverage.