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A look at the QBs through one man's eyes

One of the faithful readers on here yesterday complained that I have a man-crush on Cam Newton and haven't even really mentioned another quarterback the Dolphins could draft on this blog.

That's not correct. I've mentioned other quarterbacks. But admittedly none in the glowing terms I've mentioned Newton. So let me get about the business of explaining the man-crush. And then let me mention why that does not extend to other QBs in the coming draft.

Understand that all of this is my opinion. Please feel free to disagree. But, honestly, do your homework first.

My opinion starts with the idea that Cam Newton is the best quarterback in this draft. It is not Blaine Gabbert. It is not Ryan Mallet. It is not Jake Locker or any of the other names you'll hear thrown around. That doesn't mean Newton will have the most successful NFL career because there are many factors that go into that.

One of the primary factors that go into that mix that cannot be judged by me or you or even the experts out there that include 32 NFL general managers is the attribute that separates a star from an also-ran.

Some players, regardless of their measurable skills, have an attribute that you cannot see that allows him, indeed, propels him to success. Tom Brady has that attribute. Phillip Rivers has that attribute. It is that intangible something that draft gurus don't like to acknowlege because it doesn't come with stats and cannot be pointed out on film. Joe Montana had it and that helped him overcome the fact he wasn't exceedingly big or boasting the strongest of arms.

Jim Everett? Mark Herrmann? Ryan Leaf? Trent Edwards? David Carr?

All of them supremely talented and successful in college. None of them had that attribute. Fact is they seemed to be anchored by an attribute that prohibited them from going forward -- the anti-attribute, if you will.

Cam Newton has the attribute. I don't think Ryan Mallet does.

Beyond that, Newton will be selected in the Top 5 picks (should be No. 1, if you ask me) because, well, what's not to freakin' like? He's a winner. He won in junior college. He won a national championship his one year starting at Auburn.

That attribute? Did you see the game against Alabama? Nick Saban knows a thing or two about defense. Saban had great talent on his defense. And in the most pressure-packed situation of the season against the best defense he faced all year, a defense that represents the biggest rival on the Auburn schedule, a defense that had a lead, Cam Newton put his team on his back and rallied Auburn to beat Alabama.

And the Tigers won every other game on their schedule. The Tigers, I shouldn't have to tell you, play in the Southeastern Conference. And the Southeastern Conference is arguably the best conference in college football.

There are many criticisms of Newton lately. But he led his team while under extreme scrutiny nationally -- both positive as a Heisman hopeful and negative as a possible violator of NCAA rules. Ultimately, Newton won the Heisman and was not proven to have broken rules -- at least not yet.

He's not a genius but he's bright. He's got the physique at 6-5 and 245 pounds to play quarterback as well as Superman. He can make every throw. He's accurate enough that it is not a question mark. His parents have been married 24 years and they are important in his life. He has Warren Moon, a Hall of Famer, advising him. He can move very well so he has ability to escape the rush.

Can someone tell me the negatives?

Oh, he played in a basic single-wing-type attack? True. He didn't throw over 25 times in games? True. He didn't play in the pro-style set? True. He liked to save plays by running? True.

I didn't say he is perfect and spotless. I said he's simply the best player at his position and probably the best in the draft. He will not be there when the Dolphins draft. Fourteen NFL GMs are not that obtuse. But he is my top QB.

My No. 2 quarterback? Christian Ponder of Florida State.

He's athletic. He's bright. He has ENORMOUS hands, which is a great attribute in that he will be able to play in bad weather such as rain or cold because the ball won't be slipping out of his hands. He doesn't have the strongest arm in the draft. He's probably tailor made for a West Coast offense. But that attribute I spoke of? I see it in Ponder.

Blaine Gabbert? He could be good. He's bright. He understands the fundamentals of how to manipulate safeties. He's been coached in a very quarterback friendly system that made Chase Daniel, an ordinary QB talent, into a stud in college.

I am told Gabbert had very little success throwing downfield. Teams are looking at statistics about his completion percentage on passes of 5 yards or less compared to those of 5 yards or more. Obviously the shorter pass gave Gabbert a better percentage. It's that way for all QBs. But Gabbert's completion percentage on passes over 5 yards dropped so dramatically -- moreso than most other QBs -- that it is making scouts question his ability to succeed on intermediate throws.

Gabbert completed only 61 of his 301 completions for more than 15 yards. Compare that with say, Landry Jones of Oklahoma, who completed 101 of his 405 completions for more than 15 yards and you start to see Gabbert didn't stretch the field nearly often enough. Gabbert was eighth in yards per attempt in his conference.

Does he look the part? At 6-5 and 235 pounds, he absolutely does. Did he show that attribute I talk about earlier very often? Check the game against Iowa and get back to me.

Ryan Mallet? If you read the previous post you already know what I told you a very respected NFL man told me about Mallet's leadership skills -- or lack thereof.

Here's another concern: Can this kid get out of anyone's way?

NFL defenses today are fast, they're aggressive, they attack the quarterback and they generally arrive at the quarterback in a foul mood. How is Mallet, who is slower and less mobile than just about any quarterback in the NFL today, going to get out of the way?

I know of at least two teams that have this concern.

Colin Kaepernick? I like him. He can run like the dickens. He's athletic. He's kind of scrawny looking to me. And he's a project. He's not going to solve Miami's quarterback issues for 2011. Maybe in 2013. But not 2011.

Jake Locker? He should have come out in 2009. He would have made a ton of money. I don't like his accuracy. He reminds me of Brady Quinn in that regard. He looks the part, but so did Quinn. How'd that work out? We've learned stuff since then. (I hope).

My favorite darkhorses?

T.J. Yates of North Carolina late (6-7th) rounds of the draft and Ricky Stanzi of Iowa in the middle (3-4) rounds of the draft. Both started at least three years in college. Both won in college. Both completed around 60 percent of their passes in college. Both were coached by NFL caliber coaches. Works for me.

Are they going to be starters? Look, even half the guys picked in the first round are going to be busts. So to suggest to you that I know Yates or Stanzi will be eventual starters is simply ridiculous. I'm not in the mood for ridiculous today.


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Armando....Very very good arcticle. Since taking out the trash yesterday. You have been on point my man.

I was not on the Cam Newton Bandwagon early. But I'm all in on the guy now. Especially after doing some homework on the other quarterback prospects. I am not at all sold on Mallet, Locker, or Kaepernick. Ponder, seems like a ready to play prospect. He is technically as sound as any of the qb's coming out this year. And could give a realistic go at Hennes reign of terror as our starter.

Since Newton will no doubt be long gone by 15. Does it raise the question. Do we move up? Probably not. We have a lot of other holes to fill, and I don't see this regime selecting a qb in the first round. I posted earlier why I think it may be irresponsible for the Dolphins to try and find our franchise guy this year. Go back and look at all of the first round quarterbacks selected in the last 5 years. With the exception of Tebow. No potential lame duck regimes have selected a quarterback in round 1. A lot of teams with first year staffs have gone this route. But teams on the hot seat do not. The reasoning, like I stated before. You do not want to marry yourself to a guy that a possible new staff may not see fit to be the man. You find yourself in the same old prediciment looking for "their guy" if the old prospect doesn't fit their mold.

If we do select a quarterback this year. Odds are at some point that players is going to get tossed into the mix at some point next season.

Chad Henne has a lot to prove as far as making his claim as our long term answer. If he cannot I would think that the rookie will get some playing time toward the end of the season. Maybe even before then. Look at some of the quarterbacks drafted last year that weren't expected to play. Colt McCoy, John Skelton, Joe Webb, Tim Tebow. All saw some playing time last year. McCoy even led the Browns to a win over the Pats.

All of the above led their teams to a win. All of the above will most likely be backups again this year so they can continue to learn their craft. So a mid round selection may get the same amount of playing time as a first rounder, or second rounder. As I said in my above post. I think Ponder maybe the only quarterback in this draft that is ready to challenge Henne this season. Even Newton(we will just say we draft him for arguments sake, I know it isn't realistic)Even Newton is far from ready to play week 1. Especially if the lockout lingers into the offseason workouts.

The Fins have had 15 quarterbacks since Dan Marino. This year they have the number 15 pick in the draft. Therefore they should draft a guy who wore the number 15. Ryan Mallett come on down.

With the cba mess, I just can't see the logic in spending a pick on a QB this season, especially with so many other needs. I'm with everyone that we need to draft a top QB, which we can't do this year, and a mid round QB is just not likely to help us in the least in 2011. Pick up a FA QB and go with him, Henne and Thigpen and deal with drafting a QB next year when it makes so much more sense, and we are likely to have more flexibility to trade up if need be. Add to that quite possibly a significant change in the coaching staff after 2011 and it makes that much less sense drafting a mid round QB this year.

I still say Mallet


I have always loved your work (especially your fantastic piece about your mother), but reading this article I was really impressed with your football knowledge - it is clearly even deeper than I realized. You are one of the few writers who understands the 'it' factor regarding these QB picks. And you are the first to correctly realize Auburn ran a single-wing (although with a hurry-up/no huddle tempo) and not the 'spread' that every other writer and announcer said.

Thanks for doing your homework before you put pen to paper - I wish other writers did the same. Keep up the great work.

Mallett's hand sized measured in at 10 7/10 at the combine- bigger than Ponder.

Ponder has a slight build and gets injured plenty.

What exactly did Cam Newton do on Saturdays that he'll be asked to do on Sunday? Realistically?

Are we running spread options in the NFL? Gus Mahlzan developed his system in Arkansas high schools. He used flash cards for Newton and hand signals, Newton never read defenses. Newton threw the ball 280 times and ran the ball 252 times in that offense.

An offense designed to create mismatches through 'zone reads' often created by play action with 8 men in coverage-- it takes very little football intelligence to run that offense.

If Newton runs the ball 200 times for 3 seasons at the NFL level at 6'4 250 pounds.. It's called injured reserve..

Force = mass x acceleration.

Newton played 13 games at the NCAA level. How many one year wonders have found success at the NFL level when playing only 13 games, especially at the QB position?

Cam Newton is Kim Kardashian ... Looks fantastic ... But probably not the best woman to marry.

Watch film on Mallett. Read the testimonies from his teammates that I posted in your last entry. He was voted team captain twice, his teammates vouch for him. Coaches vouch for him publicly. The only people who question his leadership are people who've either never been around him, haven't done their research, or depend on hearsay to form a critique, .

Look at his 'passing numbers', how quickly Mallett gets rid of the football.

Here's a long and thorough character and on field evaluation of Ryan Mallett- even has about 100 snaps for you to watch (good and bad).

It would be nice to be drafting in the top 8. We aren't. We are discussing 15. We can talk all day about Newton. Unless we move up into the higher draft picks Newton ain't ours. Now if he does drop to us, the pick is a no-brainer.
We should be going after the best available player as our draft pick and we don't even remotely know who our FA's are going to be yet.
Henne needs to be pushed and we need a backup. Later rounds will probably be where we want to get a project qb.

What's your take on Andy Dalton? He is my #3 favorite now after Newton then Locker

A.P. Pinon...Very good post.

My argument against Mallet is this. I will say that I have not watched a whole lot of him. 2 games is hardly enough to form a real firm opinion. But what I did notice was this.

His best work by far was from the shotgun. He was everything as advertised. I cannot argue that. What was concerning. Was that he was average at best from under center. and when pressured like a lot of quarterbacks. Was inacurate, and slow. This was against top competition. What strikes me. Is that he is going to taking a lot more under center snaps. He is a long strider which should help him get into his drops faster. But when the pressure comes is his footwork good enough to escape the rush? His size could limit his quickness in the pocket. It was a problem in the games I watched. Not so much with sacks. But accuracy, and forcing throws.

When his mechanics break down, especially under pressure. He looks pedestrian at best. His balls sail, and he makes poor choices. I do not see with his limited quickness how he will get better at the next level. The question with Mallet is if he dosen't have good protection, how will he fare? Now this is a question that all quarterbacks have to answer. The top guys make subtle movements in the pocket to give themselves enough space, or time. While keeping their eyes down field that they make up for some protection issues.

Mallet, IMO is going to be a sitting duck. How this effects all the little things that have to go right to have success is a question he will soon answer. If he can adapt to the speed of the game, and learn to move a little better. He could be a good quarterback. But these skills are difficult. Ask Chad Henne.

I still like Stanzi he got brains

I would love to see Newton or Locker picked with the 15th pick... Gabbert I've always thought had the biggest bust potential even more so than Mallet. I'd trade back to 31 and consider Dalton & Ponder. Mallet and Gabbert I'd take a shot at in the 2nd rd if they were still there.
Locker could end up being the best QB in the draft. As far as dual threats go I think he is even more dangerous on his feet then Newton can be.

Well this is one of the 1st Armando posts I have agreed with in a while.

I mentioned on this blog some time ago that Newton is really the only QB who would be a significant upgrade for the Dolphins.

The rest are projects and not sure fire.

Even the Missouri QB is kind of small but could easily be good.

Cam will be long gone before Miami picks and a trade up is clearly too expensive given the numerous position needs the team has.

Henne will be the QB next year. The fans will have to deal with it. The big problem is the HC anyways....

Newton is not gonna be there at 15!Why is this an issue?I'm into reality.Please let's get back to reality.Talk or write about real maybe's.

well done for putting your opinion on the block armando and nicely put

he definitely has the biggest upside of the QB's this year IF he adjusts to the nfl, we all would like to see a more mobile qb in our collapsing pocket

I hope for our sakes he aint that great coz we might have to face him twice a season if the bills pick him!

good article

Newton will be an epic disaster. He's got JaMarcus Russell Redux written all over him. Mallett can make the throws, works hard, looks a lot closer to starting in the NFL than Newton. Is he mobile - no, not at this point. Could he improve that with coaching? Sure. There's more chance of improving his mobility than making Cam Newton anything other than a Flash Harry. Why spend a first rounder on Newton when you can get JaMarcus for free? Anyway, some sucker will take Cam Newton before we have to worry about him, so the debate is pretty pointless, thankfully.

Yeah nickzi, the coaches can teach Mallet to suddenly, magicly become mobile. Speed and quickness is definitely something you can coach into a 6-6 QB. It's done all the time.

Wonder why Don Shula or Jimmy Johnson didn't think of that with Dan Marino?


We need a TE that can catch and block when need be.If we can not trade back then take ingram if he is there at 15.

Bravo Mando! Bravo! I enjoyed your article, just don't follow it with one with someone dressing like a nalga, lol. It would make sense if newton were the best qb and long term solution but no one can be sure of that, true, the same can be said to every qb in this draft, the issue is he won't slip to 15 and the only sure way of drafting him is to trade up to number 1 at a very high price imo, so a bit of a moot point, I say draft a qb later rounds and see what can be had at free agency, solve other positions in this draft and we will get a no excuses performance from henne, by the way could you please write an article on how the various workouts have gone? Any chance of getting an opinion from Marino? He's THE QB, I'd like to know his thoughts on henne and the draft qbs, cheers

Armando -- more columns like that please! Many of us don't need a 'scoop-a-day' instead we want insight from a veteran reporter with good sources.


Don't know if you will read this, but thought I would throw this out. I think I remember you loving the Pat White pick a couple of years ago and hating the Vontae Davis pick. You mentioned that Davis was a diva and White was a winner. I only bring this up because of the Newton/Mallet discussion. I think Newton would be a horrible fit for this team. We need someone that can make all the throws and I don't think Newton can do it. I also question whether he can make the appropriate reads and adjustments at the pro level. I know you don't like Mallet, but check out this article. These guys have done a ton of research and make a strong case:

That attribute you are talking about, Armando, has been defined and it's called competitiveness. It is ancestral and has nothing to do with Football. It is the personal, "I want to win", "I refuse to lose", and traditionally, it has led to great Men who have done great things for Humanity. It is a Will.

Andy Dalton. That's the guy I want.

Sometimes I am amused when Dan Marino, in that pre-geme show in which he participates, gets angry as hell when he feels he is right and someone from the panel contradicts him. From none of the other panelists do you perceive this competitiveness. They just read the stuff that is put in front of them and go home. There is a difference.

Mark Herrmann thanks you. I bet he never thought he would be referenced with the NFL again...

I'll admit I don't know squat about evaluating QB's but I also like the way Andy Dalton plays & practices.

I love marino

i love the dolphins

we haven't won a superbowl since 74

it's not just about marino and what he had

yeah we want a franchise qb

but we have to assess and draft talent and then coach it up across the board, they all need to have it WE NEED A TEAM that competes for years to come

i know i'm always on about my appetite but
the "it" or the competitiveness needed in sports is often described as being hungry

thats what we are and thats what we want our team/players to be - hungry for success

we need a TEAM

I still think we should consider trading our 1st rounder this year for someones 1st rounder next year and their 2nd rounder this year.

Use both of our first rounders to trade up next year and try to take the #1 QB available next year.

I know the big problem with that is it means this FO and coaching staff may have to suffer through another sub par season that they can't afford, but its something for them to consider.

Judging QB talent is the hardest thing to judge ever. I thought colt breenen was going to be huge. That didn't happen.
But I did know rivers had "it ".
I personally love Newton. I agree with everything Mondo said about him. He has that swagger for winning and it's not just his football skills. His attitude, you just know he is going to be a super star!!!
My second choice would be Locker. Yeah he had a bad year. Everyone has ups an downs.
This kid was good enough last year he will be good enough again.
Everyones top two QB's in the draft who are they?????????????????



I agree that Newton is the best college QB. You seem to forget that Joe Montana, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady were all considered to be lacking in what it took to be an NFL QB. Show us your glowing pre-draft columns on those three.

Yea armando, pretty lame that you make no mention of Andy Dalton. I think his arm is stronger than what most people think. And not to mention... the guy is a WINNER!


PS......STANZI IS 6.4 TALL ,223 ib ....SAME AS TOM BRADY .

Armando, if I accuse you of having a "man crush" on Stubby Kaye, will you do an article on Sam Goldwyn's lavish 1955 production of "Guys and Dolls"?

The worst trait on Newton is his accuracy and that's what showed in his tryouts. He'll be a bust.


Armondo, great article and you should be a draft guru. One problem, I bleed aqua and orange and you call this Dolphins in Depth. Is there any scenario you can think of where the Dolphins could draft Newton> Will he fall to fifteen or can the Dolphins possible get in the top five picks> I think not unless they pull a Mike Ditka and think that Newton is the saviour of the franchise. Lets get real and talk reality not dreams


Nice Article, Can't say I agree with the opinion, I feel the oposite, but well written and nice to read. Nice work on your opinions Mando.

I still think next years QB draft will be far more NFL friendly than this one.

I would go Mallet. Sure he is not fast, but watch the film, he makes people miss.

He played in pro style offense.

He does have the quiet confidence needed. Henne does not have that.


Dolphins have to trade down, get the 2nd round pick, take any of the Ponder, Mallet, Stanzi, etc...Ponder is my choice. He's got great poise, his line sucked and the WRs dropped a lot of balls. For him to have those stats is *Nuts*.

The best quarterback in the draft is still no better the Jamarcus Russell.

Newton is too risky, until the third round.

I don't think he will go in the first round.

Just to be nit picky here. Newton is 100x the athlete than that of Jamarcus Russell. So the comparison is a bit off.

That being said, could Newton be as big as a bust, possibly... But Russell was TERRIBLE.

Newton sure has a lot of things to work on. But he is an athletic freak. Not worth the chance of a 1st round pick in my opinion. But someone will take a chance.


Once this CBA mess clears up, do what needs to be done to get Palmer here, and do what needs to be done to draft Kaepernick this year. Henne will be a Free Agent next year, so draft another QB in the 3-7 rounds in next year's draft. Ask Green Bay how drafting a QB every year has worked out for them.

Going back to Kaepernick-if given time to learn behind a good vet like Palmer, Kaepernick has the potential to be a franchise QB for the next 10-15 years. He reminds me of Aaron Rogers, who in my opinion, is the definition of what a QB should be.

Just my thoughts. I don't know how feasible it is, but if I were Jeff Ireland, I wouldn't sleep until I made this happen. You could always send our 1st to Cincy for their 2nd and Palmer.

I think you have blinders on when speak of Newton. He is a talent but only started at a major college one year. He is a one-year wonder no matter how you slice it. As for Mallet not having a winning attitude....Didn't Arkansas go 10-2 last year? And, as for not getting out of the way of anybody...that is not what I saw. He is not athlete who will outrun folks but he is certainly no statue in the pocket. More like Manning or Brady. And, you completely lost me with your favorite darkhouse of T.J. Yates. Living in NC I have seen enough of Yates to know he is a very erratic QB and would never be a starter in the NFL...he will never be better than 3rd string and probably out of the league within 3 yrs if he even makes a roster.

I am not saying Newton wont succeed but the most of the things that you wrote about Newton you would have said about Vince Young when he came out of Texas. How has his career gone?

I don't like taking any of these QB's in the first round. Maybe Mallet or Ponder in the 2nd round.

I would rather see them draft T.J. Yates in the 6th or 7th round. Then resign Tony McDaniel and trade Merling and the rights to Thigpen to Cincy for Carson Palmer. That would give us Palmer, Henne, Yates, and Brandstater to work with. I would like that scenario much better than having Henne, Thigpen (if he would resign), Bradndstater, and a rookie QB.

Not to pick on MikeS -- but I always get puzzled when people posit elaborate trading scenarios without a moment contemplation about whether the other team likes being ripped off.

Mando, have to disagree, this guy has jamarcus russel written all over him.

I've been a lifelong fan of the Dolphins ever since their dynasty days in the early 70's. I also live in the great state of Alabama and got to see Mr. Newton play. Cam is a phenomenal talent but Nawrocki from PFW is exactly right - Cam also has very serious character issues. Miami needs to pass on this one and take Ingram or trade down.

So here's what we should do.

We should package Tyler Thigpen, Quentin Moses, Pat McQuistan, Tyrone Culver and our 3rd and 5th round pick

and trade them to the Green Bay Packers for Aaron Rogers, Clay Matthews, and the Packers 4th, 6th and 7th rounders.



I wouldn't pick a quarterback until at least the third round. This years crop is slim to none, and we have other needs.

It takes time to build a winner, don't sell the farm, for a one hit wonder.

The last ten years are proof of that.


I whole heartedly disagree. I see a cross between Vince Young and Jamarcus Russel.
Leinart won in college and so did Vince Young.
Your template shoudle be Aaron Rodgers/Brees( both not top 15 picks) and go looking for him. Can move just enough to escape and deadly accurate and pinpoint. Love the game not themselves.


Gary, what can I say, I'm a stingy bstrd! lol I just think since Palmer has stated he'd rather retire then play another game for Cincy that he could come cheaper than what he is actually worth. I believe Cincy will trade him for the best deal put on the table, which, unfortunately probably won't be the phins.

And, you forgot the fact that having Cam on your roster will put fans in the seats! But, seriously, I doubt that he'll be there at #15.
Miami will do for quarterbacks the same as for runningbacks: draft one and bring in a free agent to go along with what we have on the roster and let them all slug it out for a job!
We're still a young team trying to figure this NFL thing out. No one knows exactly where we stand at any position. Who's gonna take the off-season seriously. Who's finally had an epiphany. And had the lightbulb come on in their head! Who finally "gets it" this year? We don't know yet!
More than likely, Miami trades down to pick up a second round pick. If we can! If someone will let us. They really want that pick back.
A speedster to pair with Marshall and a guard/center would go a long way on offence!
It's gonna be a crazy year (if it happens at all). And, we always do well in a crazy year!

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