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Where the QBs should fall based on the grades

This being a Dolphins blog, it's about the quarterback here. Always. About. Quarterbacks.

I would tell you that 2011 could be remembered as the Year of the Quarterback because there are no less than 15 that might be selected in the coming draft. This could also very easily be the Year of the Quarterback Busts.

The reason I say that this year more than any other is that there is not one absolute, sure-fire, can't-miss quarterback that will be ready to go in the 2011 season opener. And there is no certain future starter here, either.

I wouldn't be surprised if we get half-a-dozen starters. I wouldn't be surprised if we get none. Based on the scouts I speak with and taking their grades into account, I have only nine QBs with grades worthy of picking these players as high as the third round -- two in the first round, four in the second round,, and three in the third round.

Beyond that? Doesn't matter. Tom Brady comes along in the sixth round once per generation. And a generation hasn't passed yet so forget that.

This quarterback draft if freaky that way. Maybe it has something to do with the fact most of these guys are coming out of a spread attack that makes them strangers to the Pro set. Colin Kaepernick comes out of the Pistol offense that makes him a total stranger to NFL brand offense.

All these guys have warts. There are no John Elways in this draft, folks.

First rounders:

Blaine Gabbert: The rumor around the league is there are teams considering trading up to No. 2 overall to pluck Gabbert. I can understand it because although he is not the best physical speciman QB in this draft, he is the most start-ready QB in this draft. That means he is more ready to start as a rookie than any other QB. This kid has the best footwork of any quarterback in the draft. I did not say good footwork. The best. That's important. There are questions about his ability to complete long and even intermediate passes. His completion rate on those was quite low in college. I believe that can bee addressed with solid coaching. I do know that Gabbert is very good at understanding how using his eyes can help him move safeties. It says a lot that this kid already has that figured out.

Cam Newton: Great kid. Great attitude. Driven. Contagious enthusiasm, which is one of the most important intangibles a QB can have because it infects the entire huddle. He's headed to Hollywood if he wants. But, unfortunately, there's a little detail about having to be a good quarterback involved in that. And he's just not ready to contend with NFL defenses at this point. Just isn't. He will be confused more often than not when he faces the defenses if he plays as a rookie. Period. Of course, Newton doesn't feel that way. "If I don't believe in myself, who else is going to believe in me?" Newton said. Someone will believe in Newton, perhaps may Carolina at No. 1. But ... He's a project. He's not ready to start right away. He needs to learn to call plays. He must improve his footwork. His technique is not the best, which sometimes affects his accuracy. But his arm is beyond question. He can make every throw. Despite the technical glitches, his accuracy was still pretty good. And he can extend plays like nobody's business. He won't do it as often in the NFL as he did in the SEC. He better not if he wants to stay healthy. But that ability to run is a big, big plus. I worry about the fact Newton has very little experience, having only one season as a starter under his belt. But if a team has two years to work with this kid before starting him, I think he's going to be great starting in 2013.

Second rounders:

Andy Dalton: Brilliant football mind. Killer instinct. Not fast or quick in space, but he has good pocket mobility. He can step up well and evade the rush. He has tons of experience, having played in 50 games with 34-3 record over the last three years including victories over outstanding teams such as Oklahoma and Boise State. His arm is good but not great. He takes coaching very well. He picks it up quickly. His release is very good in that it is quick and off good technique. Nice stroke. This player has all the intangibles.

Christian Ponder: This kid deserves to be a value pick for a West Coast offense, in my opinion. His arm is not strong enough to produce bigtime results outside the West Coast. Ponder also has a history of being injured and fighting shoulder problems. Those are pretty much Ponder's only problems. He is quick, he is mobile, he has 10.2'' hands, which are enormous. Newton, by contrast, has 9.699'' hands and they are considered average. Gabbert has big hands at 10.0''. The prototype is 9.4''. Why am I bringing this up? Big-handed QBs can be more effective in bad weather. They can grip better in the rain. They are almost tailor made for playing in outdoor, Northeast stadiums like Foxboro.

Ryan Mallet: Perhaps the best arm in the entire draft. That's important considering the position is built around the player's throwing arm. Mallett can throw the deep ball. He can throw the in-cut and deep out and seam pass that are must-haves for a quarterback to succeed in today's NFL. But playing quarterback is not always about the arm. Ryan Leaf had the arm. Jim Drunkenmiller had the arm. And they sucked. Here is the worry on Mallett: He is a target in the pocket and one that doesn't move all that well. He didn't recognize blitzes very well in college. That tells me the first year he's playing, he's going to be blitzed and hit and teams are going to try to make a coward of him. We shall see at that point what he is really made of. He seems to move slow in my opinion. That means he doesn't get out from under center and in a throwing position quick enough. I also question his conditioning. One scout told me he seems to tire in games and he seems to tire after long practices.

Jake Locker: Hard worker. Loyal, which I love. Great arm. Has speed to burn, having run a 4.52 at the Indianapolis Combine. Are you kidding me? Questionable accuracy. He played behind a less-than-stellar offensive line last year. He played hurt. But he apparently has issues getting comfortable in the pocket. His instincts tell him to scramble, to move out of the pocket, to get away from the hit. I guess that happens when your offensive line isn't great and you can run like the dickens. He has to get away from that stuff.

Third rounders:

Ricky Stanzi: He was coached by an NFL caliber staff so that matters. He's ready for what he is likely to face in the NFL meeting rooms and when he opens a playbook. He has a nice delivery in that it is quicker than average. But the arm is adequate. It doesn't take your breath away. He knows how to read defenses. He knows how to go through his progession. Again, he's been coached great. There are worries that Stanzi lacks the killer instinct that is so obvious in a guy such as Dalton. I worry about that because the NFL is dog eat dog.

Patrick Devlin: He's got prototype size (height, weight). He's been durable but he is kind of lean and did suffer a concussion last season, which is important these days. He has a compact release, he comes over the top and therefore doesn't get many passes batted. Dolphins fans recognize Chad Henne gets a ton of passes batted at the line of scrimmage. He's neither exceedingly fast or quick but he's not Mallettlike immobile. Intangibles? I worry about this kid's stick-to-it nature. He commited to the University of Miami out of high school and backed out. That torqued me off right away. He then went to Penn State but eventually left there as well when he couldn't win the starting job. That kinda, sorta bugs me because what? Is he going to ask for a trade if things don't go well in the pros? He's by all accounts a bright individual, an honor student in fact. That has shown in that Devlin is excellent at recognizing defenses, particularly blitzes. Obviously, you have to wonder about his level of competition. It didn't hurt Joe Flacco.

Colin Kaepernick: Arguably the second-strongest arm in the draft, tied with Newton and just behind Mallett. Smallish hands, and has only recently bulked up from 216 to 233 pounds. Kaepernick can make all the throws. He stood at that Senior Bowl practices and was good enough during the game. He can run. He's a winner. He is big enough for the big stage despite playing at small Nevada. But coming out of the Pistol offense worries me. It's going to take him a while. He's never seen the kind of defensive trickery he's likely to see in the NFL. He doesn't have the building blocks in reading defenses and going through progressions that Stanzi has. He's a project. But he is a value pick in the third round and can be a factor in two or three years.

That's it. There are no other quarterbacks worthy of going in the first three rounds according to the scouts and personnel people I speak with.

So if you want the Dolphins to draft a quarterback, you can forget about them reaching for a QB in the first round. They don't have a second round pick. If it is going to happen, barring a trade down, it will have to happen in the third round.

Disagree?

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IS ARMANDO GOING TO WRITE SOME THING ABOUT JIM MANDICH TO HONOR HIS LIFE AND HIS GREAT WORK FOR THE DOLPHINS WHILE WE R WAITING FOR MR IRELAND TO SHOW US WHAT INJURED PLAYERS HE WILL PICK .

F*UCK HAARP! LOL.............

Poizen,

People believing in all of this HAARP crap are just a bunch over or under medicated jackasses. Possibly those not knowing they are in need of serious medications too. LOL.......

Poizen,

Dont let this crap get under your skin. Home and Dodsworth having been spewing this crap on the board here for several years now. LOL...........

TO BE OR NOT TO BE .

ALoco?...........

I know, i have seen it for years. Today, i had to speak... :)

Poizen,

Nothing wrong with excorsing the demons buddy! LOL......

excorsizing

People believing in all of this conspiracy theory junk are the same ones keeping the Fox and Msnbc "entertainment" news ratings high.

They treat it as Holy Bible, when its really National Enquire. LOL......

Or tv tabloid news if you will. LOL...........

I would not be opposed to seeing Andy Dalton or Christian Ponder here.

I hae to say it, but I really like a trade back, then o-line pick, or Lashoure.

Please someone tell me the diffrence between Andy Daulton and John Beck? Please

It's actually pretty simple in my opinion....it's either Dalton or Locker late first or Stanzi or Kaepernick later. Anything else is a wasted pick and that includes taking Gabbert and Newton where we would have to take them. I've done my homework on these guys and that's the strong conviction that I have. If I'm wrong, I'll be happy to admit it 2-3 years down the road. Hold me to it guys...

not one qb in this draft will be better than henne is right now for at least two years. pass.

I agree with Craig, and Leon here 100% As you all may know. Craig they can hold me to it also.

I think to add one of those four guys will improve our QB strength. None of them will play for a year or two and will learn behind Henne and a vet. To me this will be a much better situation than a green Henne, a damaged Pennington and a so-so Thigpen, which is what we had last year. I'm thinking someone like Alex Smith would be a nice add to the mix but I'm not certain he won't be back in SF next year.

Anyone wanting Dalton, buyer beware. TCU is an independant(dont belong to any conference). They usually never play serious competition until getting to a bowl game.

My deal is how many bowl games does Dalton get TCU to if they were in the SEC?

Poizen,

You got it bud...we'll go down on the sinking ship together....LOL.

leon,

If there was a qb in this draft better than Henne "right now" after 3 years in the nfl. We would probably be 0-16 with the 1st overall pick right now.

Henne has actual experience in the nfl over all of them right now. Thats his major advantage.

NEW BLOG UP:

HASON HUNTER OF THE DENVER BRANCOS WAS STABBED BY HIS GIRL FRIEND .......MARSHALL NOT THE ONLY ONE .

MAJOR TROLL ALERT

THIS GUY POST DAY AFTER DAY.

NOT ONE GOOD WORD.

NEVER A GOOD WORD NO MATTER HOW

MONTH AFTER MONTH READ HIS POSTS IT GIVES HIM AWAY MUST BE CLOSET JET FAN LIVES IN NY

YOU ARE EXPOSED

CUBAN MENACE

LOL @ Utah, Your right..< How did this guy become a Gillzillinoare??????I mean he's totally clueless in the NFL....

Guys, This is a wash year........Next year is the reuilding year(4 and 12) but the year after?????????? 8 and 8, but it'll get better after ther the "FIST" is gone, this is a 4 year plan IMHO.........

"Hollywood" Should have pulled the trigger after the Beatdown in Foxboro in week 17......

Mags, Dont forget the #1 pick in 08 was Jake Long........LOL..A big TD Machine there huh??

Anyone on earth(Or in the Galactic world) Thinks "FISTY" could bring a Super Bowl team to the mighty air-breathers????????

Yes Aloco, they(Hollywood Ross) Is just putting off what should have been done after losing to the Browns,Lions, and Bills at home in the last 5 weeks of the season, Lets face it, who here believes Fisty can bring a Super bowl to the Fins????Anyone???let me hear you........

Gary, You forgot a most important fact that I'll call #5, Because of 1 through 4 Miami will end up as 3 and 13, The Fist pumper will be gone by week 11 and Ireland let go after the end of the season.....IMHO..

As a member of G.O.D(Gang of defeat)(or as lil Aloco would say :GANG OF DEFEET) I hope the mighty air breathers pick Ingram, He is a winner of the most prestigous award but from what I'm hearing up here New England will be picking him for there second 1st round pick...(How does this happend,I mean New England has so many picks in the 1st 3 rounds(And this after being a rebuilding year for them(2 and 14)this is not right........

0x80, The fist pumper is setting us back every day he's head coach..........

Mr.Dodsworth, Let me respond to this Question, Odin, You of allpeople should be against NAFTA, Imean you go from village to village, Hamlet to Hamlet taking what you want right???, think NAFTA shoulds be abolished and we should take the Viking approach... IMHO that is... Vote "Dodsworth/Menace" in 2012..........

Tony(Fist pump)Sporono has had a "Off day)" for 3 years now, When will the fins get a HC??????????????

Good news/Bad News about a possible break through in the NFL Lock-out, The Good news is the NFL will play this season.., The Bad news is so will the Dolphins........

Henne has a cannon for a arm,How's that worked out so far??????????

BAN THIS TROLL ARMANDO DO THE RIGHT THING

This year is also marked by a substantial increase in the amount of information out there in the press, as well as the number of sources. (Gruden's TV series with those 5-6 QBs at the top end, is a good example.) With more press, comes more hype.

Plus that "this is the 'year of the quarterback'" meme floating around, people are thinking about QBs more often. By the way, why exactly is this year in particular, the year of the quarterback?

ILB with our FIRST PICK holy freaking smokes........

these fans NEVER LEARN......

Armando

Based on what you say how these QB's are graded, If the Dolphins add a second rounder and Jake Locker is available I believe the Dolphins should nap this guy!

I have a feeling about jake locker from Washington...
You said there are no John Elway's in this draft, but when I see Jake Locker play he reminds me more of John Elway than any other QB that come to mind.
Locker is not Elway but, Locker's toughness and running ability and the fact that he throws better on the run than in the pocket, and he has a very strong arm,(i've seen games where Lockers throws are off his back foot strikes) much the way Elway played.

To a certain degree his toughness and willingness to take contact was his down fall this past year, one in which he played hurt the whole season. Don' help to have a bad O'line.

But that is a teachable aspect that Locker can learn: when to get out of bounds or slide for a first.

But what I would like to know is why the Dolphins have yet to send one coach or someone from the Dolphins to have a look at Locker and work him out or anything. Are they playing possum or the old rope a dope? I mean they have gone out of their way to entertain Ryan Mallett and have had him over the Dolphins training complex half a dozen time at least and have visited him in Arkansas three times.

Ryan Mallett has just about everything you want in a QB's save for speed and pocket mobility, which is essential in todays NFL!

Because the defensive side of NFL football is where all the great athletes and freaks are, you need a QB with the ability to make something happen when the play breaks down! Mallett is not gonna make anything happen when a given play break down save for something positive for the other team.

Mallett can make all the throws and is probably the most NFL ready player if that team that chooses him has the great wall of china for a O'line! How many teams have that?

I dont like any of these QB's in the first round, not one. But if I can pick one after the first round to sit one year maybe two and be NFL ready it would be Jake Lokcer. 4.52/40! RUKM!

Dolphins4life!

The coach is clearly coaching for his job, can't see him bringing in a 1st round development project QB. I think at 15 its Ingram or Pouncey, if they can trade down and pick up a 2nd you almost have to, we have so many needs. Locker will be the 3rd QB off the board. I don't buy all the early QB talk, you can't take 3rd round QB's in the 1st and 2nd just because thats all there is, you are wasting the pick. Henne is just as good as most of these unproven kids, build around him for now.

Actually a first round QB probably buys this crew some time...no expectation in the first year and looked at as "their guy". I still don't think they have it in them for financial reasons...too risky. This is a team that has such risk aversion...we can hardly pull off an on sides kick without everyone busting a gut at how lame it was. Risk is not in present Dolphins DNA. I would love to see Ingram first round...maybe a lower pick in a trade down scenario and Stanzi in the lower second. I have a feeling we will regret not taking him. This puts tremendous pressure on Henne with a new running back at least, and if it doesn't work we have plan B in place and still have Ingram. If we bust on 1st round QB...we have neither QB or RB.

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