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National Scouting Grades Christian Ponder as the #1 Draft Eligible QB

With ten months to go, we have our first 2011 NFL Draft related post!

H/T to Draft Insider

Although the Jaguars are affiliated with BLESTO, the release of National's grades is something that is worth a look at. According to National, the Top 10 draft eligible seniors are

1) Prince Amukamara/CB/Nebraska/7.3

2) Adrian Clayborn/DE/Iowa/7.3

3) Mark Herzlich/OLB/Boston College/7.2

4) Allen Bailey/DL/Miami-Fl/6.9:

5) Von Miller/OLB/Texas A&M/6.9

6) Greg Romeus/DE/Pittbugh/6.8

7) Marvin Austin/DT/North Carolina/6.7

8 ) Christian Ponder/QB/Florida State/6.7

9) Jake Locker/QB/Washington/6.7

10) Stephen Paea/DT/Oregon State/6.5

The ranking of Ponder as the #1 QB is definitely an eye opener. Even though the service doesn't rank any juniors or sophomores, there by rendering Ryan Mallett and Andrew Luck ineligible, I still would have thought he would've been in the teens at best.

The numbers on the right indicate the grade each player received from national. Anything above a 6.5 would be considered "Very Good" to "Can't Miss". The player who had my jaw drop the most is Boston College LB Mark Herzlich. Herzlich missed all of 2009 due to bone cancer. While he was considered the top LB in college football prior to being diagnosed with the disease, how is he going to fair after all of that time away from the game?

According to Draft Insider, Ponder may have overtaken Locker based on the strength of a very strong preseason Wonderlic score. While it has nothing to do with arm strength, if say, Ponder scored in the high 30's while Locker was in the low teens, it will have scouts wondering on Locker's ability to absorb a NFL playbook.

In addition, this position should put to rest any concerns about Ponder's arm after season ending shoulder surgery. There were concern's that Ponder could end up with being Chad Pennington 2.0, but he wouldn't have that kind of grade if that were the case.

As for the other QB's who might be on the Jaguar's radar next year, the only other one to make the list was Deleware QB Pat Devlin. Devlin came in #30 overall according to National. Conspicuously absent from the list was Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson, though he is going to be a work in progress at the NFL level.

However, a few grains of salt to go along with this. Quentin Groves was the #1 rated defensive player by National leading up to the 2007 college football season. In addition, Greg Hardy was the top ranked defensive player last year and ended up being a 6th round pick.