NFL: Analysis of Rookie Quarterbacks Drafted

By Vidur Malik

Cam Newton – Getting picked at No. 1 overall by the Carolina Panthers wasn’t much of a surprise, and now Newton will have to learn how to capitalize on his athleticism without relying on it. He doesn’t have many weapons to throw to, making his task much more difficult, so it will be interesting to see how his career unfolds. Newton has the potential to be successful if he can become a Ben Roethlisberger-type quarterback who can pass in the pocket and also have the ability to move in the pocket and run if necessary.

Jake Locker – While Newton’s early selection in the draft didn’t shock anyone, the Tennessee Titans taking Locker and eighth overall is one of the most surprising picks of the draft. Though he went much earlier than anyone thought, Locker does have a chance to be a solid quarterback. The Titans have an elite running back in Chris Johnson and a great defense, giving Locker the luxury of not having to lead the team if he becomes the starter. Like Newton, Locker will need to quiet his many doubters and prove that he can play quarterback in the NFL.

Blaine Gabbert – The Jacksonville Jaguars are a team in need of some excitement, and Gabbert could give it to them. Gabbert seems to have more NFL readiness than Newton or Locker, so there aren’t as many questions surrounding his selection. With a versatile running back in Maurice Jones-Drew and an emerging star in tight ends Marcedes Lewis, Gabbert does have some targets to go to. Based on current projections, it seems like Gabbert will be the most prepared to have a successful pro career.

Christian Ponder – The Minnesota Vikings selecting Ponder at No. 12 was easily the most surprising pick of the first round and probably of the entire draft. The Vikings could definitely use some competition at quarterback, and Ponder should probably have a chance to compete for the starting job. There is no shortage of talent on Minnesota’s offense, with running back Adrian Peterson in the backfield and Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe giving Ponder several downfield threats to throw to.

Andy Dalton – With their quarterback situation in limbo, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Dalton early in the second round to take a shot at leading their offense. Dalton’s collegiate success at TCU should translate well to the NFL. He may not be as athletic as other rookies at his position, but he should be able to make the mental adjustment. With rookie receiver A.J. Green also coming to Cincinnati and joining Chad Ochocinco and running back Cedric Benson, Dalton should have a good nucleus of weapons to lead.

Colin Kaepernick – Another surprise quarterback pick, Kaepernick will go from leading Nevada’s pistol offense to trying to make it as a leader of a pro-style offense. At 6-foot-5 and 233 lbs., Kaepernick has the physical tools to make the transition, but having to learn a professional offense will be a daunting task for him. As part of a team that hasn’t had a consistent starting quarterback for almost a decade, Kaepernick might get the chance to prove himself soon.

Ryan Mallett – The New England Patriots made an intriguing selection by picking Mallet in the third round. The Patriots won’t be having a quarterback controversy anytime soon, but Mallett gives the team a chance to prepare for life after Tom Brady is no longer under center. Physically, he’s got everything he needs to be a good NFL quarterback, and there is enough young talent on the Patriots’ offense to help him find success whenever he gets his chance.


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