Without Luck, 2011 QB Class Loses Lustre

January 7, 2011

In no other year has there been more needs at the QB position in the NFL. Unfortunately, for QB hungry teams, the prize of the class won’t be there. Underclassman Andrew Luck decided to return to Stanford for his senior season and a shot at the heisman. Luck also cited his desire to complete his degree, an admirable choice. Luck was virtually guaranteed to go #1 overall, so this is a huge decision.

What does it mean for the flow on? Well, it means good news for Jimmy Clausen. He gets another shot in all likeliness. For the other First Round hopefuls, it potentially boosts their stock, but there aren’t any can’t miss picks.

The nearest to the sure thing (of course there is no such thing) is IMHO Blaine Gabbert of Missouri. Gabbert has the tools, the mental edge, the intangibles and the production. He should be the first off the board, but so much is put into the pre-draft workouts that the sheer skill, athleticism and potential of some of the other contenders could edge them closer.

Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, although yet to declare, will be one who follows up his stellar season with some wonderous workouts. His physique and natural skills will possibly be overshadowed by the lack of volume of his work and queries about how his game will translate to the pro game. The Vince Young failures of recent times may alarm some, although the return to form of Michael Vick could work in his favour.

Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett has the prototypical NFL build and rocket arm for a pocket passer. He has been somewhat inconsistent and is prone to the odd brain explosion. But the question is, is Mallett more Joe Flacco or more Ryan Leaf?

Jake Locker. Nobody can get a fix on him. A year ago he would have been in the discussion to go #1 overall. He returned to Washington hoping to have a strong senior year and polish his pro credibilities under Steve Sarkisian. But hasn’t been. Locker has been down this year and has seen his stock slide. He passes the eye test and the character test, but he will still need some nurturing.

Another high choice candidate who underperformed this year was Christian Ponder. The FSU signal-caller had injuries disrupt his year, but still showed some of what makes scouts get excited. He also showed the inconsistency that maddens.

There are needs everywhere, but the risk/reward balance will be one that GMs and HCs really have to work out.

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