Gil’s Greatness Grades 2011: Quarterbacks

Written by Gil Alcaraz IV on March 23, 2011

Well it’s pretty obvious, at least in my opinion, that there is no clear-cut head of this quarterback class. There are, however, several prospects who have the potential to be quality starters in the NFL. Each prospect seems to have a glaring hole or two that, if improved upon, could be the difference between a franchise quarterback and career backup.


Blaine Gabbert1. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri: Despite several question marks, Gabbert definitely has the skills to get the job done effectively and efficiently at the next level. Sure, he doesn’t have a rocket for an arm and he spent the last couple of years working out of a spread offense, but all of the physical and mental tools are present. Add in some outstanding athleticism, and you’ve got a pretty well-rounded quarterback who could definitely be a difference-maker for an offense that is looking for a young gunslinger to lead their offense. (Gil’s Greatness Grade: 92)


2. Cam Newton, Auburn: Here is the 2011 version of Tim Tebow: So much talent but so many questions about whether he can really be an NFL-caliber quarterback. There is a phenomenal amount of athleticism that just radiates off of this kid, but if he hopes to ever live up to the potential and hype, he needs to buckle down and act more like a player who’s a soon-to-be millionaire and not a freshman in college. If he can work on his accuracy, learn to be a better pocket passer, as well as learn to utilize his athleticism properly, I see no reason why he can’t be great. (GGG: 90)Jake Locker


3. Jake Locker, Washington: Last year he was a lock for the number one overall pick in the draft. Now some people are saying that he might fall out of the first round? Do people not understand that that talent still exists inside of him? This is a guy that was handed a very poor team and made it a somewhat decent team basically on his own. He’s got more physical tools than Gabbert, and if he can prove that his accuracy isn’t an issue, he could end up being the best quarterback to come out of the 2011 NFL Draft. (GGG: 89)


4. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas: This is my way of summing up Mallett: A first round talent with a seventh round attitude. There is so much potential that lays underneath Mallett’s Eminem-like exterior (or so he thinks). He possesses a rocket for an arm as well as some accuracy to go with it. Clearly, he isn’t a scrambling type, but he knows Colin Kaepernickhow to move in the pocket to keep plays alive. If he can get drafted to a team with a no-nonsense head coach who sits him down and tells him to straighten up or get out, I think he’ll have a long, lucrative career in the NFL. (GGG: 83 with 94 potential)


5. Colin Kaepernick, Nevada: Some will say that he came from a pistol offense which won’t allow him to be able to properly handle an NFL offense. Others will say that the strength of his opposition in college is a concern. However, how can you overlook a player that produced stellar stats and made his team way better than what it was before he got there? He’s a terrific athlete who displays fluidity and vision when he runs, but also has a great arm that allows him to make many of the NFL-caliber throws. He may be raw and will definitely need a lot of attention before he can grow, but his potential is through the roof. (GGG: 81)


The Best of the Rest…


6. Andy Dalton, TCU: Dalton is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the draft who could really shine if he finds the proper scheme to fit in to. (GGG: 79)


7. Christian Ponder, Florida State: Here’s another top prospect that fell down boards due to injuries. He is well-rounded, but needs to prove he can stay healthy if hePat Devlin wants to make it. (GGG: 78)


8. Pat Devlin, Delaware: Well he definitely isn’t the next Joe Flacco, but there is still some hope that Devlin can make a promising transition from Delaware to the NFL. (GGG: 73)


9. Greg McElroy, Alabama: Although he doesn’t do anything extremely well, he is a proven winner and knows how to command an offense. McElroy may just surprise when him and the NFL meet. (GGG: 72)


10. Ricky Stanzi, Iowa: Stanzi is a great talent who just never really lived up to his potential. There is still time, but hope is fleeting that he’ll be anything more than a career backup. (GGG: 70)
Tyrod Taylor


11. T.J. Yates, North Carolina: It doesn’t help when half of your team gets suspended and you get hurt. That’s the football story of Yates, but don’t think for a second that it’s anywhere near over. (GGG: 67)


12. Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech: Taylor is an über-athletic player who is raw as a passer, but could end up being one of those Antwan Randle-El type players who does a bit of everything for their team. (GGG: 65)


13. Nathan Enderle, Idaho: With a great arm, solid mechanics and a crappy team that didn’t allow him to showcase himself, where else would you expect this Vandal to be on this list? (GGG: 61)


14. Adam Weber, Minnesota: A great talent who was stuck on a team that couldn’t tell a football field from a ballet studio. It may be too late for him. (GGG: 58)


15. Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin: Despite some great performances with an extremely talent team, he never really stood out as anything more than a good college quarterback. (GGG: 56)

Gil Alcaraz IV

Gil is the owner of the Minnesota Vikings blog, The Viking Den, and an editorial writer for Lakers Nation. Having followed the NFL Draft for years, Gil has had a knack for naming some of the big surprise players to make it in the NFL. Gil is also a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

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