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Prospects To Watch: Quarterback

Clausen

I know this is early.  We won’t truly know a prospect’s draft stock until after the season, the post season, the Senior Bowl, the Combine, the Pro Days and so on and so on and so on.  But a little speculation never hurt anybody.

Also, I am basing this off of having watched more film than the average cat, but still not enough to make sound, solid judgments that should be taken as dogma.

So, without further ado, I’d like to take a look at the prospects for the position I currently have down as the Vikings biggest draft need.

I have quarterback as the Vikings highest draft need based on the fact that both Brett Favre and Tarvaris Jackson could be gone after this season.  With John David Booty already gone, this means that Sage Rosenfels could be the only guy on our roster that can play the team’s most important position.

As the icing on the cake, there is little to no help in free agency when it comes to the quarterback position.  Kyle Orton and Jason Campbell are going to headlining the upcoming free agency class, and there is a good possibility that Orton doesn’t even make it to free agency before re-signing with the Broncos.

Lastly, keep in mind that with the exception of my top rated quarterback, I do not believe any of these prospects to be NFL ready, and that they will have to spend some time behind Sage Rosenfels or Tarvvaris Jackson in order to develop properly.

So here we go, my top 10 quarterbacks of this draft class, with small snippets of what I think of them.

  1. Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame – Right now Jimmy Clausen is appearing to be the ultimate package.  His strong arm, crazy accuracy, and ability to take snaps from under center should keep him at the top of this list until the draft.  The Vikings almost undoubtedly will have to trade up to get this kid who could be the NFL’s next Matt Ryan, in terms of success anyways.
  2. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma – Bradford was a top 3 prospect last year and will regret his decision not to enter the draft.  An injury has brought up questions about his toughness, leadership abilities, and drive.  Add that to less-than-ideal arm strength and no experience in a pro offense and Bradford could seriously fall.  The kid is still incredibly talented and will prove to be a great value for somebody, and the Vikings would love to see him slip to them at the bottom of round one.  I still think Bradford is a superior prospect when compared to Stafford or Sanchez.
  3. Tim Tebow, Florida – There will be a lot of talk about how Tebow fits into the NFL and whether or not he can make the transition.  I have to agree with guys like Jon Gruden and Tony Dungy by saying that I think he’ll not only succeed but revolutionize the way the game is played.  Tebow has a unique set of physical skills but most importantly he has incredible character and incredible leadership abilities.  Prospects who work hard to not let themselves fail in life end up having the drive to not let themselves fail on the football field.  Say what you like about Tebow, but the bottom line he wins football games, and with Loadholt protecting the quarterback better than McKinnie, perhaps a lefty at quarterback would be a nice addition to the Vikings.
  4. Jake Locker, Washington – Locker is a solid quarterback prospect who suffers from being on a bad team.  His arm strength leaves a bit to be desired, but he is not as raw as many prospects when it comes to fundamentals, making reads, and footwork.  He also has the athleticism to make plays with his feet… not just scramble for yards, but avoid the rush while continuing to look for options down field.  This would buy Percy Harvin a lot of time to get open.
  5. Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State – Besides Clausen, Robinson may be the most NFL-ready quarterback prospect in this draft.  He’s smart, decisive, plays from under center, and continues to maintain a fairly high completion percentage.  His size what you look for in a quarterback, so if he can prove some doubters wrong about his arm strength then I think we see Robinson start to climb draft boards.  He seems like a perfect fit for the West Coast Offense and will be someone heavily scouted by the Vikings.
  6. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas – With Mallett having a great year there will be lots of fans clamoring to see this guy get more respect in mock drafts (if he declares).  But, let’s face it, he’ll get the respect once he starts showing better mechanics and ability to make reads.  Until then, Mallett should be a guy who rides a bench for a couple of years as the team’s “project.”  He is raw, and Vikings fans will not have the patience for another project.
  7. Tony Pike, Cincinnati – Here we have another candidate for fitting very well into a west coast offense.  Pike is incredibly accurate and has a serious knack for recognizing defensive schemes.  Pike is more polished than many of the candidates listed above, but he will fall into the second or third round because of poor arm strength.  While he may turn out to be a career backup, the Vikings could use a dependable decision maker in the future.
  8. Jevan Snead, Ole Miss – It really saddens me to see how far my opinion of Snead has fallen over the course of 9 months.  Snead has been practically dreadful this year, with poor decision making and accuracy plaguing his attempt to be drafted in the first round.  Snead reminds me a bit of Jamarcus Russell with his cannon arm, and Snead will probably be a better NFL quarterback than Russell but that isn’t saying much.  It would be disappointing if the Vikings drafted Snead in the first round.
  9. Colt McCoy, Texas – Here we have a quarterback that is known for making plays with his feet.  Unfortunately, most of those plays are long runs that highlight both great athleticism and poor decision making.  McCoy needed to learn how to buy time with his feet while looking downfield for a receiver, instead he lowers his head and takes off.  This doesn’t work on the NFL level unless you’re a supreme athlete like Michael Vick which McCoy is not.   Also, his inability to learn how to use his feet properly as a quarterback suggests he’s not too coachable, and I think there is no way Childress bites on a quarterback that should be used strictly out of the shotgun.
  10. Max Hall, BYU – Hall is the smallest quarterback in my top 10, standing at only 6’ 1”.  He’s also a confusing case as he seems to be a very accurate passer, but at the same time he throws too many picks.  Perhaps he is just too confident in his ability to squeeze the ball into tight spaces.  His size and tendency to throw a pick will guarantee that Hall falls into the second day of the draft, as his upside is limited.  If the Vikings are serious about finding a franchise quarterback of the future, they need to be looking not at Max Hall, but in the top 5 of this list.

So, there’s my list of quarterbacks.  And please, please, please understand that these lists are fun but essentially worthless at this point.  Draft stock is very fluid, with players climbing and falling great distances right up to the day prior to the draft, so take this as just a mid-season evaluation.

Up next in this segment, I am going to preview what I have down as the Vikings second biggest offseason need… safety.


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11 Responses to “Prospects To Watch: Quarterback”

  1. bigjohnny84 says:

    Hey Adam, sorry Ive been away. Where do you think these guys will be drafted? Do your own mock draft. Its so awsome to see Freds posting again, keep it coming old Fragile.

  2. c.carterhof says:

    Hey bigj! Was wonderin what happend to ya.
    Good list Adam, of the top 5 who do ya think will be there for us?
    say from #’s 29-32. Robinson? Bradford? Maybe Tebow?

  3. c.carterhof says:

    Unless we trade up. Dont see that happinin.

  4. c.carterhof says:

    Or happenin. It said my comment was a bit to short.

    Should be ok now.
    If I were racing for a milestone post on your blog Adam, I would be in trouble.

  5. Adam Warwas says:

    Hey guys, good to see you both. Johnny, a mock draft will be coming eventually, but for now the amount of speculation it would take is ridiculous.

    I would say, however, that the top 4 guys on my list will be first rounders, with the next for having a shot at the first round, but likely falling into round two.

    With so many good QBs expected to enter this year’s draft, teams may be willing to pass on a QB in round one to see what type of value they can snag one of these guys for in round 2.

    Carter, I think Robinson is the most reasonable prospect to expect to fall to the Vikes late in round one. Though that could easily change.

  6. bigjohnny84 says:

    Hey C.C. my cousin from OK was just home and said we should take Bradford in the draft. You seem to think otherwise. What gives?

  7. bigjohnny84 says:

    Adam mock drafts are cool and interesting. So take a shot, we wont hold it against you.

  8. Adam Warwas says:

    Alright Johnny, I’ll give it a shot… but first I have to develop some sort of power rankings to determine order, eh? Give me a week or two, and I’ll post one just for you.

  9. bigjohnny84 says:

    Thanks Adam. You watch more film than anybody I know. I’ll bet you are alot closer than any of the so called experts.

  10. c.carterhof says:

    Bigj, I dont know. Just somthin about him that I think he wont make it in the NFL.

    But I’m usually wrong about QB’s out of college. Better listen to Adam.

  11. Adam Warwas says:

    johnny, I have to admit that the film watching is yet to come for the most part. My above musings are largely based off of the opinions of others with my own twist.

    Bradford doesn’t come without question marks, though a college prospect rarely does. Bradford needs to be able to transition to a pro offense, and that may be a struggle for him. We’ll see.

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