I've decided to start my own little section to chart the public perception of various quarterbacks leading up to the draft next month. Of course, drafting a QB (especially early) is risky business and, much like the real stock market, it's impossible to know what's going to happen next. I'll be naming QBs by how well prepared and how well suited I believe each player is for the NFL. I'll also be sending out feelers and reading up on a new QB every day and trying to gauge interest from various teams.
Today's QB is one the Jaguars have shown a lot of interest in: Christian Ponder of Florida State University.
Stock Rating: Bull Market.
Pick Range: mid-1st round to mid-2nd roundPonder, based on his 2009 numbers could easily have been a top ten pick last year. Injuries hurt his 2010 draft stock significantly, and Ponder didn't exactly light up the scoreboard this year either. Recently, his injury problems and concerns with his arm strength had dropped him out of the first round and possibly down to the third or fourth. I say had, because Ponder has put on quite a show since the season ended for FSU. Ponder performed admirably in Senior Bowl practices, and reports went out that his arm was injured during the year, and that had affected his numbers during the 2010 season. He was the MVP of the Senior Bowl game, and went on to throw at the combine. He is a quick study, has taken snaps under center in his college career and, if he's healthy, has a quality arm.
Ponder has a very high ceiling, which is why he could wind up getting picked in the low teens, and not even necessarily by the Jacksonville Jaguars. There are whispers that the Miami Dolphins, who have a stated interest in improving their offense, might give Ponder a look. However, Ponder is a player with a lot of risk. He has had two straight seasons with significant injuries, and while all the 2009 injury did was put him out for the last few games of the season, his elbow injury in 2010 affected his accuracy and arm strength. His injuries and inconsistencies might drop him out of the first round, however, there are potentially 10-12 teams looking for quarterbacks in this draft, so the odds of Ponder making it past the middle of the second round are terribly small.
There's a lot of chatter about Ponder right now, so it's very hard to guess at where he might go in the draft. Personally I have the feeling that the Jaguars will choose not to take Ponder. If that is the case, I don't really see any team in the back half of the first round (Kansas City maybe?) who would really want Ponder. I wouldn't be too surprised to see Ponder go at pick 28 but not to New England. Some team is likely to get trigger happy and try to trade up into the late first round for Ponder. I see Cincinnati and San Fransisco as particularly likely to make a move on Ponder since both are high in the 2nd round and likely won't match value to their need for a QB at picks 4 and 7 respectively.
Jagorama posted a link to a vvery interesting article about Ponder and his draft status on fantasyfootballmetrics.com. It's well worth a read. It's also important to mention that Ponder does not have any notable character concerns.