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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, I have to agree with you, but disagree.

The attitidue you speak of comes from confidence which comes from the ability to "process information quickly" after the snap. That cannot be measured pre-draft since the NFL game is so much faster that the College game.

That is the unknown re Cam Newton and every other QB prospect. Will they be able to process information and make decisions quickly. That and a highly accurate arm is what separated Montanana from the rest, despite his size. Same for Drew Brees, another "smallesh" QB.

once again, i have to agree with your comments on newton. the nfl game is much faster and newton will be playing against the best every week. i keep going back to the oregon game and thinking of how they dared newton to beat them with his arm. he couldn't do it. they shut him down. if they can do it, nfl teams will do the same. i'll bet a lot of teams around the league will use the oregon game to "scout" newton and use it against him. you're right. he is the best athlete at the qb postion. that's it. the best quarterback is still debatable. gabbert is a good looking qb but whether he is the best qb is still up for grabs.


I really like Smith as well. Are you proposing drafting him and moving Misi inside with Dansby. I like that idea, also because it's get Crowder off the team.

Where do we go to get our running back, dm1dolphan?

When do the cast-offs from the Dallas Cowboys start arriving?


I've been trying to figure out what QB Gabbert reminds me of the most. I've been struggling with this. The only guy I can think of so far is Jeff George. He doesn't have as quick a release as George and I don't think he's the a** that George was but he's the closest physically I can come up with so far. Thoughts?.....

well, therin is where the problem lies. if we are stuck at 15 and smith is there i don't think you have a choice but to take him. ingram will not be the impact player to warrant the #15 pick and there are no OL players that are that good to pick at the #15 spot. so, if it happens we are going to need to get a back in the 3rd. maybe demarco murray, if he is still around.
i'm not saying i like not having another pick until the 3rd rd but i wouldn't argue with them taking smith with the #15 if that was the choice. we have a good defense right now but it still isn't championship caliber. smith would put us closer to that "class" of defense. again, don't get me wrong. i understand the importance of fixing the offensive problems. all i am saying is, "if we are stuck at 15 i don't see an offensive player who is worth that pick." as far as ingram going to new england i think smith is the "ingram neutralizer."
finally, i'm hoping we pick multiple rb's in this year's draft. there's a lot of talent to be had and i hope we get some of it.

Having "it" is a stupid phrase that only can be recognized retroactively, after having success at the pro-level. If it was readily identifiable and a good predictor of success, then Tom Brady would have never dropped that far in the draft. The fact is, "it" is mostly a media creation, and it's continued existence is a result of the agendas of those in power.



Edit: *and is an attribute*

If we cant trade down (which i believe will be our 1st priority),we'll either grab Ingram or Pouncey imho. I just cant imagine Sparano picking a QB at #15,knowing that he still hasn't given up on Henne.

Personally,the only 2 QB's i like in this years draft are Gabbert (no chance we get him) and Locker.

Something else i must add....does anybody else think the Rams could take Ingram at #14 and possibly leave us the option of drafting Julio Jones?

lol @ $0.02

Hey Mando:

Quit exaggerating and check the facts. Ponder does NOT have ENORMOUS hands when it comes to QBs. His hand size (per the NFL Combine measurements) is simply average among QBs -- 9 3/8". This is the same hand size as Greg McElroy. It is actually a smaller hand size that Dalton (9 1/2"), Locker (9 5/8") and Mallett (10 3/4"). Now, Mallet has ENORMOUS hands. NOT PONDER.

Mando ... COME ON MAN!

one more thing about smith. a lot of people uncorrectly label him as a pass rush specialist. he had 11.5 sacks his first season and, despite missing some games, had 6 sacks last year. however, the most impressive stat about this guy is that he had 19 tackles for a loss as a freshman and 10 tackles for a loss as a sophmore. the other thing i like about this guy is HIS YOUTH. he is a young guy with a lot of skills that can end up being an impact player for many years in this league. he would be extremely difficult to pass up if we are stuck at #15.

@Jordan 12:51 Right on. Same applies to the term "franchise QB". One of my pet peeves is someone saying "we need to draft a franchise QB". One can only be a franchise QB after they've had success. Ryan Leaf was drafted to be a "franchise QB".

Nice article, Armando. Agree with a lot. But I'm still not on the Newton bandwagon. He will have to completely transform his game to be effective in the NFL. Is it possible? Sure. Steve McNair and Steve Young did it. They played similar type games in college. But those guys are the exceptions. The NFL is littered with guys who failed despite having freakish athletic gifts. Especially at the QB position.

He's not gonna have the luxury of going the McNair/Young route. Sitting and watching for years. He's gonna get thrown to the wolves right away. Someone is gonna have to have a lot of patience.

The Dolphins should select Dalton the QB out of TCU as their guy. The kid has "it" and is a winner. Colin Kaepernick should be next. Ponder doesn't have "it." I watch a ton of college football, I'm a junkie, and I know who will work out well.

I warned Armando that Saban was leaving for Alabama while he was with the Dolphins and Armando said he didn't notice anything, until Saban left. I warned everyone here on this blog that there was going to be a work stoppage this year in the NFL, and probably most of this season would be wiped out and we are on our way there. Armando never wrote about the labor problem all last year, because it scared the crap out of him like all of the media that covers the NFL because it means their jobs are on the line if it came through, so you never heard about it from Armando until the season was over.

Armando will ignore this advice too. Hopefully the Dolphins will not. I don't care what the physical stats are, all the Dolphins have to do is trade or sign for a free agent veteran QB, draft Dalton out of TCU, or if he is gone, draft Colin K. out of Nevada and their QB problems will be solved.


Just because Newton didn't play under center, does that mean he can't learn that in a reasonable amount of time? I believe a great athlete like him will. Ditto for reading coverages, that takes time for any rookie. It will all come together for Newton in time. After a few years in the pros with the right training, coaching, I believe he will excell at those things. I won't expect to see Newton in the Pro Bowl for the first couple of years, but I do believe he will be a serious offensive force and a dangerous QB 3-4 years down the line. To those of you saying you hope Buffalo picks him, you may be regretting that several Sundays from now.

There is Noooooooo Waaaaaayyyyy Newton wants to go to Buffalo. I know 3rd pick money is huge but he wants to play in the "bright lights, big city". I bet he tanked his pro day there.

i cannot believe what im reading, QB trumps all needs, if Mallet is there at 15 and we trade down i will lose all faith in ireland and sporano... year after year we drafted in the first round by need and it was never a QB ( jason allen - odrick- ronnie - etc) nad it never worked as it was supposed to

if we draf a QB and henne turns around its the bress - rivers debate san diego had, there is no losing.

i will rather take my chances on a QB and lose than take my chances on a RB or CB and lose

sorry if my english is bad... dolphins fan from Argentina


I'm not as sure about Newton as you are. I still need to know what this guy does to overcome obstacles before I'm prepared to say he'll be a good pro. He's never had to overcome adversity before and he'll have to in the pros. He's not going to start from day one and we'll have to see how good a student of the game he is and how his 'ego' handles not being the starter for a while. These are the great unknowns.

dm1dolphan, like I said, I really like Smith also. I still have to figure out how we're going to improvethe run game before I would commit to taking him. If only we KNEW we could re-sign Brown and someone like D'Angelo Williams, then we'd I'd be fine with taking Smith. How about we draft Smith and figure out a way to get back into the second round to get Williams or Leshoure. It may mean giving up our third and something else or maybe next year's second but I would be OK with that. I think somehow we need to come out of this draft with a good back.

"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?"

Really Armando?? So I guess with that argument, you wouldn't want Peyton Manning either?

i agree with Ryan, everybody in the media nad most of the fans think you need a mobile QB as Rodgers or Ben, well i believe that the pocker passer is still the best to lead your team, brady and peyton are the best examples.

i will rather have a QB that stands tall in the pocket and waits for ots option than one that goes to the sideline as soon as presure arrives.

and pocket passers tend to learn where the blitz come faster as a defense mechanism

Craig M, none of us can really be sure about anything. I see in Newton a guy that is primed to be developed into a serious force. But...how can you say he hasn't handled adversity and obstacles??? He handled them pretty wel during the entire season. With all the constant negative national attention about him and his fathers doings, he still played well enough to bring his team from behind to beat Alabama and win as well win a Heismann.

picking a QB just by watching them in college is imposible, Newton may turn up to be the best of this draft in a few years or the biggest bust, you go with your guts.

everything i read about mallet, from his coaches and teammates, the arm that he has, and the potencial makes me think he is a steal at 15; if it wasnt for all the of the field rumors this kid would be a top 10 pick


I suppose you're right. But he got by strictly on his pyhsical merits. It's not going to be as easy at the next level and he's going to face even more adversity than he's ever faced before. There's an element of the public that just doesn't like this guy.


Don't draft a Q.B. this year. Sign a veteran and let Henne compete. Better Q.B's next year and we'll probably get a higher pick. Find a way to draft big receiver and pick up a RB in FA.

you asume we will have a higher pick next year, nevear asume anything, i belive we will be in the exact same spot, so if a good QB is there at 15 pick it

Craig, you know what I think? I think you don't need to be a genius to be a good QB. I think some learn the tempo of the game faster than others, some learn to read the defenses faster than others. Sure you do have to be a student of the game, and anyone drafting him will have to have gotten a feel on that through the personal workouts, interviews. Having superior athletic ability is a huge upside to have from the get go. All that stuff about adversity and next level, I think its overhyped, its the same for every qb coming into the pros. To my eyes he has already handled some major national adversity pretty well, he's been pre-tested. I think 3-4 years from now, if not sooner, he will be the most dangerious QB of this draft.


I am willing to assume that there will be a better QB available next year @ pick 28 than there is @ pick 1 this year.

Please do not define assume, we all know it.

0x80, i believe in what you say about every QB being in the same situation once they get into the NFL, but just how you think the athetic ability Newton has, i think tha throwing ability of Mallet, and his size, hes 6´7 and can see the whole field without the OL and DL innterferience is a great starting point as well

Newton has the arm and has the mobility. The mobility is more important than ever before due to how fast, athletic and aggressive the defenses are now.

Newton worked in a progressively more complex system and excelled last year. Besides Vince Young has demonstrated success in the league and supposedly he is dumb and lacks character.

Personnel people see what Newton can be and as a result he will be long gone by the time the Dolphins draft.

The problem for the Dolphins is that even if Cam was on the board when they draft, the bifecta chooses 4yr starters and team captains over guys with bigger upside and a degree of risk.


We don't agree....but that's OK. I think there's a huge jump from the College game to the pros. Some guys can handle it and others can't. If we look at recent history, we can look at two examples of guys who had great athletic talent and who failed....Jamarcus Russell and Vince Young. Neither one a workout warrior or a student of the game. Both frequently late to meetings, not guys who were heavily involved in voluntary workouts and realy not leaders of their teams. They quickly found they couldn't get by on their physical talents alone. Everyone talks about Manning's physical skills, and while that's true, it's his preparation that set him apart from others. I remember when he was first drafted, he couldn't wait to get the teams playbook so he could get to work. Is Newton that same guy? We don't know yet.

FYI , Cam newton scored lower on wonderlic than Henne. We don't need someone less intelligent than him. Q.B. is the brains of the offense. If you Google sample Wonderlic Test you'll see the types of questions. Remember low score (5) = Vince Young running naked in the streets with a gun, could'nt handle the pressure.
Guille I do assume we will have a higher pick . More losses = higher pick. The way it looks we will have a shorter season and we have to play the Jets and Pats and they're gonna be tougher this year. We have to many offensive problems.Sparano could not do a thing with the O line and he played and coached on the line. Yes I am assuming but I think I have the odds.

...If you are a Mallet supporter. That is fine. I'm not going to tell you you are wrong. What do I know. But even small comparisons to Marino, Brady, and Manning are streching your arguments. The only thing these players have in common is their foot speed, and arm strength.

But the above quarterbacks are much more technically sound. Mallet has yet to take a snap. So any comparisons are 1 not fair to Mallet. 2 an insult to the 3 Hall of Famers. I know that nobody is implying that Mallet is going to be of the same petigree of these 3. But people are still using the comparisons. (the lack of mobility being the biggest)

Before Mallet is even ready to compete at the next level. He will have to learn how to identify where the pressure is coming from, and how to adapt to the rush. NFL teams are going to bring the heat until Mallet can prove his footwork, and technique can hold up under diress. If he can avoid "happy feet" which leads to inaccuracy, and turnovers. Unlike the rest of the prospects. Mallet is a statue. His size may be a hinderance. How many quarterbacks with his height have been succesful long term quarterbacks? Not many. Sure his height will allow him to see over the line. But if he can't get away from the rush. It will not matter.

I don't know how Mallets career turns out. Just as I have no idea how any of the other guys will fare. My gut just says no way to Mallet. Especially on this team with a running game that is in limbo, and an offensive line that needs improvement. If your argument is, he is a project for the future, and these factors do not matter for this year. Let me remind you that we cannot aford to take a first round pick that will not be projected as a starter. And even if we do. Mallet would only be an injury away from being the guy. A nightmere scenario if I may say so.


With all due respect, both Ryan Leaf and Jamarcus Russell were big quarterbacks. Their size meant nothing to their game. A more important component is if they can move in the pocket. Neither one of those guys were able to do it. Dan McGwire, Mark McGwire's brother, was 6' 10" and never could get his footwork done. Total bust!! There's never been a 6' 7" in the NFL who's had success.


I have said this a few times and I am feeling VERY confident.

If our O-line is 50% better than it was last year, there is not way we have less wins this year than last.

There is honestly to much talent. This team is riding on a O-line that is consistant, and if some miracle the coaching actually improves.

That being said, I think we may be screwed with coaching. However our o-line issues came from injuries and lack of good depth. If that gets corrected, this team will be pretty good.

ok, first, im not comparing mallet to payton or brady or marino as we know them now, i say theres some similatiries when they were prospet too.
second, i know about russel, leaf, etc. but its also true that for every prospect you can find one or two examples of succes and failure, its the same for newton, gabbert, etc
third, at 15 if you can find a prospect that can potentialy turn out to be great, i will take my chance sin a great QB than Great safety
and last, i dont know the oods about next season record, but henne will be the same or a little bit better, and this young defense will be a year more wise and better, so i believe that if we do have a better pick it wont be a top10 next year either

Craig M @2:19...looks like we are on the same page.lol


Pennington tore his ACL. Poor guy can't catch a break, unless it's in a limb!


What has Vince Yound demonstrated in the league? He's NEVER played a full season and never had more than TWELVE TD passes in a season. He's thrown temper tantrums, quit on his team a couple of times, been late for meetings, not participated in voluntary workouts and basically been a distraction. With all that being said, he does still have upside but let's not given him too much credit.

Hell with it, draft a QB at 15. If he flops, you'll probably be in position to draft a good qb prospect in the 1st round next year anyway. LOL It could be a win win for everyone.


I read your previous post and thought the exact same thing. So if we can't tradedown, where are we going at 15, Darryl?



25 TD'S

At #15 you take the man with these stats:

3869 yds
64.7% completion
9.41 per att
89 long
32 TD's
12 int's


I could disagree more....but then I wouldn't expect us to be any different....LOL.


Vince does the most important thing of all, he wins games. And he wins games at a pretty high percentage.

Sure VY has many of the flaws you mention.

He is young though and has a chance to mature.

Dont worry the Bifecta will not take a chance on VY.

Which IMO is unfortunate.

Craig M...Good question. I still have no clue. Ingram would be the easy choice. And although I personally disagree with the choice. I understand it.

A lineman? I don't see Carey going anywhere. Are we going to give J.Jerry another year to develop? That would be fair. Jake Long is all world. So that leaves left guard, and center. Is 15 to high to select a center? Normally yes. But IMO, center is the most important positon on the line if you want consistancy from the unit. Will incognito be that guy, or will he play LG? This brings Pouncey into the argument. I like that pick more then Ingram.

And then there is the possibility that we go defense. If the best player on the board is a defender. I say take him. Aldon Smith would be a good choice. He can play 3-4 wolb. But again we have Misi, who like Jerry deserves a chance to improve in year 2.

So I haven't answered your question, because right now I don't know. I would guess if the draft was tommorow. It would come down to Pouncey, or Ingram. If we do not trade down. Also who knows how the draft plays out. There are always suprises in the first round.

VY has done some good things, but he has also quit on his team and went awol, then he quit on his coach when he disagreed.

I don't care how good he might be, I do not want a clown like that coming to the Phins. If that is how he is with fisher, how is sparano going to help the situation?

Sounds like a complete disaster.


Henne has won games too. Jay Fiedler won games for us also. None of that is enough for these fans. Do you really think VY is going to offer the fans of Miami enough to stay out of the doghouse?

I don't hate this idea, btw, Oregon, I'm just trying to reason it with you.

Craig, is it true that opposites attract?

I don't like our chances together Joe....LOL.


I think we're on the same page again. The part where we disagree is I want a tradedown. I think we could walk away with a Ryan Williams and a OL or a Leshoure and a guy like Dalton or Mallett. To me that would be better than Ingram. Probably my second choice would be Ingram, although I'd be awfully tempted to grab Smith if we could at 15. If there was a way for us to get Smith at 15 and get back into the second round to get a guy like Williams, that would make me the happiest. Maybe our third this year and something else. I'd even be prepared to give up our second next year. We've got to come away with a RB in this draft and Williams or Leshoure would fit the bill for me.

I agree. Realism & eternal optimism will always clash.

Or pessimism and realism...

The ULTIMATE scenario is to drop to the bottom of the 1st, if there are any takers, and pick up a 2nd this year & a 1 next year. We could even throw in a 4 or 5 next year to sweeten the deal.

Imagine having 2 #1's next year & the freedom it would allow us in the draft. Either in a trade up or use 1 of them in a trade down to acquire more?

That's what the Pats do & it's really hard to argue with their results. I don't know why no one talks about it. That's what we should be hoping for. If they are gonna trade down every year, tade all the way back to set yourself up the following season! Enough of acquiring 5-7th rounders who get cut 3 weeks into camp.

Craig, speaking the truth doesn't make one a pessimist. It makes them a realist. There is your free lesson for the day LOL

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