1. Cameron Newton, QB, Panthers, 1st round. Auburn: Great size and vision as runner. Effortless arm. Very good speed and quickness for the size. Patient in pocket and steps up well. Makes good decisions with ball. Mechanically sound and keeps shoulder squared even outside pocket. Nice velocity — can throw 50 yards on a rope. Shifty feet as runner and also runs with great power. Reputation for ball security — only fumbled twice in college career, though it was in SEC Championship game and BCS Championship. Also held ball in one hand very often while running. Throws off back foot too often. Only one year at major college level. Almost no experience under center or calling plays, and his appearance on Gruden’s QB Camp shows that he has long learning curve for pro offense. Was a Junior. Will likely start immediately, and should contribute right away, but will probably not dominate as a passer for a couple of years.
2. Blaine Gabbert, QB, Jaguars, 1st round. Mo.: Great size. Great zip on throws. Very good arm. Very accurate. Very good speed and quickness for his Roethlisberger-esque size. Good mechanics. Spread QB who looks like he’s athletic and smart enough that he’ll be able to learn pro footwork — has also worked with a QB coach in pro-style offense since high school. Also has near-photographic memory. Experienced runner. Throws well on run, though he threw INT across body in bowl game. Doesn’t react well to pressure or feel rush up middle. A little sloppy with ball on runs and happened again in training camp. Only completed 38% of passes over 15 yards in college — a trend that has continued in camp. Seems too passive to be able to command a huddle. Was a Junior. Should start for Jaguars by the end of 2010, but could use a year of learning behind Garrard. Productivity limited by emphasis on the run.
3. Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers, 2nd round. Nev.: Great size. Very good speed and quickness for the size. Excellent velocity on passes. Strange, but effective, running style with very good speed. Had 20 pass TDs and 20 rush TDs in 2010. Good foot control on sideline. Good vision as runner. Nice touch on intermediate throws over LBs. Accurate throwing on the run. Had good completion percentage, but looked slightly inaccurate in bowl game. Ran pistol offense in college and will need time to develop as under-center QB, but has excellent coach. Late recognition on several routes. Long windup with a baseball-type throw and was drafted by Cubs. Poor ball security technique and needs to learn to protect ball when on the run. Will likely start by 2012 with only Alex Smith likely to be ahead of him on depth chart, and could be solid QB2 by 2013.
4. Jake Locker, QB, Titans, 1st round. Wash.: Good size. Excellent speed and quickness for the size. Very strong runner with RB running style. Good anticipation. Nice velocity, touch and arm strength. Throws very catchable pass. Good play fakes. Keeps shoulders squared to pass on rollouts. Keeps eyes downfield when outside pocket. Solid mechanics on run but needs help on footwork within the pocket. Knows when to throw ball away but needs to protect body better running downfield. Looks tight throwing the ball. Tends to stare down receivers. Some experience in pro style offense but had trouble taking snaps during Senior Bowl practices. Below-average accuracy. Inconsistent decision making — often missing better options on plays. Suspect ball security on run. Needs a year of seasoning behind Hasselbeck. Will probably start by 2012, but likely only to ever be a fantasy QB2 at most.
5. Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals, 2nd round. TCU: Average size and speed. Excellent quickness and shows escapability. Accurate on the run and protects ball. Good deep touch. Average arm strength. Fairly accurate short. A little streaky — started off 2009 bowl game very inaccurate, but got better as game went on. Nice play fakes. Fair arm strength, velocity and anticipation. Doesn’t read defenses well and throws into double coverage too often. Not great vision. Below-average mechanics. 3/4 release motion results in a few batted passes. Should be team’s starter immediately and has great young targets in AJ Green, Simpson, Shipley and Caldwell. High-end fantasy QB3 potential.
6. Christian Ponder, QB, Vikings, 1st round. Fla. St.: Average size. Very good speed and excellent quickness. Shows escapability and is willing to run with it. Makes quick decisions under pressure. Good mechanics. Has experience with pro-style concepts, and looks destined for a West Coast-type offense. Very smart off field. Knows when to throw ball away. Has long injury history, missing 2009 bowl game, 2010 ACC Championship and several other games. Definite concerns about arm strength and velocity — short-hopped a 5-yard pass in bowl game and struggled to throw it past 30 yards in Senior Bowl game, though that may be because he was coming off of injury again. But he still looks short in preseason action. Should be team’s starter by 2012. Has great potential if he stays healthy, but that’s a definite question mark. Short-term potential limited by lack of targets. But, if he stays healthy, could become high-end fantasy QB2.
7. Ryan Mallett, QB, Patriots, 3rd round. Ark.: Great size and very tall. Spread QB with some under-center experience. Has great background in understanding complex offenses. Very effortless deep ball. Nice velocity and touch. Steps up in pocket and sidesteps rush. OK footwork. Inconsistent accuracy — a few overthrows mixed with a few underthrows. Even with size, gets passes batted. Sluggish moving around in pocket and was sacked several times during training camp. Below-average explosiveness on run. There are rumors that he has some off-field drug trouble. Reportedly had inconsistent Combine interviews. Could be Drew Bledsoe, could be Jimmy Clausen. Junior who has declared for the 2011 draft. Prospects severely limited by presence of Tom Brady on roster, but could star as an injury fill-in and eventual trade bait.
8. Greg McElroy, QB, Jets, 7th round. Ala.: Slightly below-average height, but good bulk. Looks like a perfect fit for a West Coast offense. Athletic. Accurate and poised with good mechanics, even on run. Moves around well in pocket. Academic All-American and scored 43 on Wonderlic. Nice touch. Good timing. Very competitive — threw great block on end-around to spring WR for TD. Finds uncovered receivers right away. Tough and a good runner, but only average speed and quickness. Comes from spread offense, but has experience under center. Reputation as a game manager. Holds ball too long, and will take some unnecessary hits. Hurt hand at Senior Bowl and wasn’t able to throw at Combine but was healed by April pro day. Likely to only be Jets’ QB2 for years, with Sanchez ahead of him, but has excellent potential if given a starting chance.
9. Tyrod Taylor, QB, Ravens, 6th round. Va. Tech: Slightly below-average size and has had a lot of passed batted in training camp. Excellent speed, quickness, and explosiveness for the position. Very strong arm — threw 75 yards in the air in 2009 bowl game. Great touch deep. Steps up in pocket well to find lane. Stays unfazed under pressure. Good mechanics, and sets up well on run. Fair accuracy. Looks off receivers and doesn’t stay locked on. Makes good decisions, even outside the pocket. Can throw it with touch or zip where needed. Seems even-keeled even when successful on field. Confident. Suspect ball security — carries ball in hand even through traffic. Compared often to Vick, though a more polished passer and less of a runner. Also taller than Vick. Will battle Cantwell for QB2 spot, but won’t start on team except as injury fill-in for Flacco. Has long-term potential once he gets comfortable in pro offense. May also get some work as Wildcat QB.
10. Ricky Stanzi , QB, Chiefs, 5th round. Iowa: Very good size, though looks a little thin. Stands tall in pocket. Great touch and good accuracy short and medium. Runs pro-style offense. Moves well in pocket and is accurate on the run. Knows when to step up in pocket and is able to avoid rush. Knows when to throw the ball away. Keeps eyes downfield while moving. Tough — had ankle surgery late in 2009, but still started 2009 bowl game. Below-average speed and quickness. Inconsistent decision-making. Arm strength is an issue. A little slow to recognize open receivers. Stares down receivers a little too much when pressing. Likely to be immediate backup to Cassel and likely to see snaps during season as injury fill-in. Team’s heavy run emphasis limits his upside even as a starter. If he starts, has eventual fantasy QB3 potential.