Christian Ponder: the anti-hype piece

Ponder has had three surgeries in the last 15 months

The Christian Ponder hype machine has gone into overdrive.

This is a prospect who watched his stock sink during the 2010 season. A collection of high profile errors, a meltdown performance in Oklahoma and a series of injury problems saw a potential first or second round pick dropping down the board.

So why, over a month before the draft, is the Florida State quarterback suddenly a hot topic?

Wes Bunting at the NFP ranks Ponder as the #1 quarterback in this class. I cannot agree with that assessment. Even with all the criticisms surrounding Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Mallett and even Jake Locker there is still a clear gulf in quality between that quartet and the rest of this QB class.

Bunting often likes to think outside of the box and he should be applauded for that. However, he had eventual 6th round pick Jonathan Dwyer as his top running back last year and I probably disagree with his grading of Ponder even more than I disagreed with his judgement on the 2010 running back’s.

ESPN’s John Clayton says the Seahawks should draft Ponder before Jake Locker and has been talking up the possibility of the former Seminole going #25 overall.

Evan Silva has Ponder going 16th overall to Jacksonville in his updated mock draft.

Rob Rang at NFL Draft Scout suggests Ponder could be among five quarterbacks selected in round one. He previously had Ponder as high as a top-15 pick in an early mock draft during the 2010 college season, but dropped him out of the first round by the end of the year. Rang says team’s left the combine impressed with the quarterback but stresses the importance of the results of his medical exam.

Ignore every other issue with Ponder (and there are many) and let’s just focus on the injury concerns for a moment. He’s had three surgeries in the last 15 months (two to his elbow and one to his shoulder). This is a guy that never had the strongest throwing arm anyway and now you put multiple surgeries into the mix? That alone should set off alarm bells in war rooms across the NFL.

People may want to use the example of Sam Bradford, who suffered what should’ve been a season-ending shoulder injury during Oklahoma’s 2009 season opener. He tried to return against Texas a few weeks later and didn’t last until half-time. Season over.

He was still drafted first overall and had no injury issues during his rookie season. Even so, Bradford added substantial muscle to his frame during his time out and went from skinny to pro-QB in the space of a few months. There’s no doubt that the extra weight has increased Bradford’s durability so far and he’s shown no side effects on the field. 

Ponder’s frame is maxed out (6-3, 227lbs) and he won’t be able to add bulk to improve his durability. Despite suffering persistent injuries he was still able to make eleven meaningful contributions during the 2010 season. The results? He threw for more than 200 yards just three times, decreased his completion percentage by around 7% and saw his YPA drop from 8.23 to 6.84. He tried to do more with his legs and ended up being sacked 23 times and after a vanilla four-touchdown performance at home to Samford, threw just 16 touchdowns compared to eight picks.

Florida State still made the ACC Championship game, but without Ponder in the line-up E.J. Manuel led the Seminoles to victories over Clemson and South Carolina (Chick-fil-A Bowl) and only a narrow shoot-out defeat to Virginia Tech.

You could say this is all well and good – if he is now fully recovered from injuries is it a false concern?

This brings me to perhaps the most over hyped part of Ponder’s game. Time and time again you’ll hear about Ponder’s intelligence. Listen to any of his interviews and you’ll soon notice that he’s an articulate, clever individual. It’s a common misconception that this actually translates onto the field, because it does not. He makes bad decisions. He’s not accurate.

When you’re grading a quarterback in round one, if they haven’t got extreme physical talent they at least need to be able to keep the chains moving and be at least above average for accuracy. There is no evidence that Ponder’s football IQ compensates for a weak arm and the injuries.

Throw on the tape during Florida State’s car crash 47-17 defeat at Oklahoma (Ponder: 11/28, 113 yards, 0 TD’s, 2 INT’s) and tell me that’s a first round decision maker. Move on to the Boston College game, where Ponder barely warranted a grade at all. How about the North Carolina State encounter, when having put the team in position to win with a late fourth quarter drive – Ponder’s fumble costs FSU the game.

Here’s what I wrote after the victory over BC:

“Physically he’s left wanting and his decision making isn’t great either. Against BC he consistently failed to put velocity on any of his throws – short, medium or long range. A lofted deep ball down the right against single coverage? Floats it up for grabs. He hasn’t got a big arm so that’s understandable to an extent, if not what you necessarily want to see. But if you haven’t got the physical tools to be a difference maker then you have to be accurate and make good decisions. You simply cannot – like Ponder did today – toss little floaty slants over and over again that are just begging to be intercepted. It was bad enough after Ponder’s second interception – a careless short slant with the CB well placed to make the pick. He never learnt from that mistake and just kept throwing it out there with a definite ‘come and get me’ plea to any watching defensive back. A second pick was inevitable – it happened eventually, this time for a touchdown.

“There are fundemental errors when Ponder throws his short slant. One – he doesn’t get it out of his hands with anywhere near enough juice. It needs to be a quick snap to the receiver, not a loose floated delivery two yards in front of the LOS because it will nearly always lead to the play being broken up or at worst – an interception return. Secondly – he needs to make a better judgement of the coverage and try to understand when to call off that throw and look for another target. A number of times he’d take a three step drop and without even looking elsewhere fire to his hot read. The result? His second interception and numerous other busted plays.

“The ball not only doesn’t come out with enough velocity, it’s often a loose spiral too. The case in point – an easy throw down the right to one of his receivers who had done a good job settling in between two defensive backs. The throw comes out wobbling all over the place and forces the WR to bobble the ball as he catches it. His initial step is in the field of play, but because it’s such a difficult pass to grab he ends up juggling it and a solid first down in the red zone is a third down back near the 40. He also forces a lot of throws -as emphasised by the third pick, always sticking to one receiver and trying to fit into an ultra tight window despite the massive frame of Mark Herzlich blocking the way. It wasn’t an isolated incident, too often his throws were really forced.”

If you need a second opinion, let’s refer to a seperate report from Scouts Inc. I’ve picked out several key notes from the piece:

“Has a lot of room to improve as an overall decision maker. He telegraphs too many throws, especially on vertical routes. Struggles at times when his primary target is covered. He takes too many chances. Needs to learn when to call it quits and play for another down. Tries to force too many throws. Also has lapses in game management. Short accuracy is better than long accuracy. Deep ball will sail on occasion. Touch is only decent. Will miss within the strike zone on occasion and can do a better job of leading his receivers on certain routes near/outside the numbers (quick outs, flare routes, etc).”

I appreciate that Ponder performed well enough at the combine to impress several observers. I understand why an intelligent guy from a good school will get built up above his station. We also see quarterbacks get rated way above their stock – indeed last year was a perfect example. Jimmy Clausen? Top ten pick. Colt McCoy? Late first rounder. Dan LeFevour? Round two or three.

Clausen went in round two, McCoy in round three and LeFevour in round six.

Although McCoy and Ponder are very different prospects, I see some similarities between the two. Both were recovering from an injury that meant they had to leave their teams’ respective bowl games. Both received a certain degree of hype in March. Both suddenly re-appeared in first round mock drafts.

And like McCoy last year, I suspect a few people will be surprised when Christian Ponder is still available in round three and possibly later.


  1. Matt

    Great read Rob. I’m glad you addressed this as a lot of us can’t help but hear Seattle media spew away about Ponder being a great fit in round 1 or 2.

    At this point, I’m getting the feeling that the big 4 QBs will be off the board. And in that case, I would honestly make Whitehurst the starter and see what you got for an entire season. He either steps up and performs, or he does poorly in which case we have an outside shot at Landry Jones or Andrew Luck. And yes, I hate playing the “wait til next year” card, but in this case we may have no choice.

    That said, if Whitehurst performs terribly, you are at the point where you will have to mortgage picks to address that position. I’m tired of hearing the Seattle media saying “don’t reach for a QB, if another player is graded higher.” Well, the problem is, Matthew Stafford will win the Lions a Super Bowl before Ndamukong Suh will, and Suh could quite possibly become one of the most dominant DTs of the last 25 years. This idea of winning despite your QB is a myth.

  2. Matt

    Kiper and McShay talking about Andy Dalton being “big time.” Ummm, what? Just curious if anybody that frequents this site would have any confidence in Andy Dalton. I honestly have zero confidence in his ability.

  3. Frank

    Unless Locker is there I belive CB Smith or DT Taylor would be my personal choice if either made it that far. I think Ponder can manage games, but he’s no Bradford from an accuracy point. More risk, less reward.
    I don’t hate Whitehurst I’d just take Mallet or Locker if they where on the board because of Whitehursts age. I think most prolific passing attack are born of the ability to target at least three recieving weapons that the defence has to account for every play. MW is a stud who wins a ton of jump balls but no one gets open ever on this team. Hopefully we reach a CBA soon because we can’t afford to not have free agency with this many holes. A new QB won’t help without open targets and a pocket anyway. Like PC said we need to win on the line next year.

  4. Ben

    All the draftniks on twitter are poo-pooing Mallett’s horrible measurables today (5.37 40, 26″ vert, 8’8″ broad jump). The guy may have stone feet in the pocket, but I don’t care if my QB is the fastest guy on the field. Does anyone care how fast Manning or Brady (5.23) are?

    • ChavaC

      Heh. Vertical and broad jump on a QB are about as important as they are on a nose tackle and kicker.

  5. Jim Q.


    1. McElroy, 70.9%
    2. Devlin, 67.3%
    3. Dalton, 66.1%
    4. Kaepernick, 64.9%
    5. Newton, 64.7%
    6. Mallett, 64.7%
    7. Stanzi, 64.1%
    8. Gabbert, 63.4%
    9. Ponder, 61.5%
    10. Locker, 55.4%

    • Matt

      College completion percentage, nowadays, doesn’t do a whole lot for me. There are so many goofy systems that inflate stats and create very easy completions.

      Now, I’m not writing it off as useless, but force the likes of Dalton, McElroy into NFL type passing and you would see that % plummet. Yes, McElroy played in a “Pro” system, but was hardly ever required to make “Pro” passes due to his severe limitations. Same can be said for Newton.

      It’s hard to ignore Locker’s completion %, but I will defend the fact that he wasn’t afforded many “easy” completions as well as not having a TE or FB is a huge killer in a “pro” style offense. I love Andrew Luck, but take away his FBs and TEs and you wouldn’t see 70% completion. Don’t get me wrong, Locker does have real issues with accuracy and I’m certainly not trying to downplay Luck (who I’d trade the entire draft for). Just highlighting why it shouldn’t be the end of the world and that you must treat “accuracy” in a case by case way because it really is apples to oranges in the college game.

      • ChavaC

        True that. His receivers were pretty bad too, not to mention his OL. It’s pretty amazing to think that at 332 pass attempts, it only took 16 drops to drop him 5% in completions.

      • Kip

        Good post.

  6. joe

    This 2011 draft has bust written all-over it when it comes down to drafting a QB in the first rd. Trying to convince yourself is just foolish and may cost a GM their job. Hypothetically, lets say that Jimmy Clasuen was in this years draft which I would venture to say that he would be consider the top QB in this class. Keep in mind I was not a huge supporter of Jimmy Clasuen last year the intangibles were not there. Clasuen was too imature to lead men into a battlefield and my gut feeling was that Clasuen would drop come draft day. And, Rob I totally disagreed with your assement that the Hawks would draft Jimmy Clasuen 4th overall that year. Knowing that would I still consider drafting him in this years draft in the 1st rd? No I wouldn’t! My opinion come draft day Clasuen like all the QBs in this draft would still slid in the 1st rd. like he did from the previous year. With that said reaching for a QB in the 1st. rd in the 2011 draft will put a franchise back aleast for the next 3 yrs. No GM wants that on their resume’ and thats why its going to be a difficult task on drafting a QB in the 1st rd….just sayin.

    • Matt

      I wouldn’t be so quick to write them off. Josh Freeman, Joe Flacco, and Ben Roethlisberger were not “shoe ins” to be good NFL QBs. There are so many factors and there is no set equation for success. The whole point is finding a guy you buy into, and building around his strengths.

      Now, I agree you don’t reach for a QB, but no matter when you draft a QB, it will always be somewhat of a reach because of positional value. At 25, if you are staring at a QB with a high second round grade compared to a Right Tackle with a late 1st round grade, it’s no debate, you take the QB (if you don’t have one). So, in that sense, a GM will always be reaching for a QB because of the nature/value of the position.

      And I firmly disagree that Clausen would be in consideration for the top QB this year. Senior QBs always go under more scrutiny than JRs and I guarantee his physical short comings and poor temperment would have been even more exploited after his senior year. Not to mention, his lack of difficult passes attempted would have been highlighted. It happens all the time with senior QBs and probably would have been even harsher in Clausen’s case due to his lack of likeability.

    • Alex

      It’s easy to forget that past drafts also yielded QBs with multiple flaws. Not one QB is perfect.

      Stafford? Great arm, but a bit of a gunslinger. Accuracy could improve.
      Sanchez? 1 year production.
      Freeman? Accuracy, “losing” team.
      Bradford? Major concerns about durability (something he negated through bulking up).

      And no, I would rate all 4 top QBs over Jimmy Clausen. I’ve made my distaste for Clausen (in particular lack of arm strength or a “hard thrower” as Phil Simms calls it and his greatly inflated completion %) well known last year.

      And btw, Rob didn’t say that the Seahawks SHOULD take Jimmy Clausen. He said that if the Seahawks evaluate and think Clausen can be “their guy”, they should take him. That is pretty much the mentality you should be taking with QBs (as with all 4 top QBs this year). As a matter of fact, Rob was rather unimpressed with Clausen if you remember.


    • Rob

      Joe – I actually had Clausen down as a second rounder. I used some mocks to review the Seahawks selecting Clausen in a ‘we need to draft a QB’ type view, but I was never high on the guy and certainly come April I was not projecting Clausen to Seattle. Here’s what I wrote 14 months ago:

  7. Kelly

    Anybody else looking at next season as a 2 way road…either win 8+ games and challenge for a playoff spot. (I think STL and SF will be better next year) or finish ABSOLUTELY terrible as a 2 win team and draft Andrew Luck. I am a huge Hawks fan and I will never wish the Hawks to lose, but in the end I feel Luck as a Seahawk would be the best thing to ever happen to this franchise.

    Bottom line, Luck did not want to go to Carolina and I don’t care what any other person says out there, you don’t skip the NFL draft if your the concensus #1 with a projected 10-15 year “Manning like” career. His coach even left for the NFL. What other reason would there be for him to stay. win a national title? Complete his Construction management major? I’m not buying that…

    I realize that many will say that the Hawks will have no chance at Luck because of their weak division, but lets take a look at some things.

    1. The current QB situation is not settled, and if we don’t resign Hass, I think we are deeply in trouble. People are arguing that the Hawks should look at Kolb as a future replacement, but I don’t understand why Philly would want to get rid of Kolb when Vick plays so physical and with every play, could end his season. Their asking price might be a little too high as well and I’m not willing to give up the 1st and a player for Kolb. He’s proven himself enough in my eye.

    2. The Seahawks 2011 opp. From what I have read, the Hawks face the NFC East, AFC North, Atlanta, Chicago and its NFC west foes. So out those opponents I project the following winnable games: Arizona(twice) SF(once at home) Cinncinati and Cleveland. (Depending on where the games are played). I currently can’t see us beating Steelers, Ravens, Cowboys, Giants, Redskins, Eagles and possibly the Rams. So anything is possible there.

    3. The uncertainty of the CBA. I believe we will have football in 2011 but because its not a 100% certainty at the moment, this has to be considered. If theres no football in 2011, it has been said that a random “lottery” would have to be considered for the 2012 draft order. Meaning 1 lucky team will get a shot at Andrew Luck. (1:32 shot). Not great odds considering half the league is looking for a franchise QB. I can’t imagine how crappy most NFL fans would feel if Luck just happened to fall into the lap of the Indy colts or the NE Patriots for the next 10 years after Manning and Brady eventually retire.


    I understand that many people believe that the Seahawks will probably be able

    • Alex

      never, never, ever gamble on an uncertainty. Sure, there is something called controlled risk, but this is just way too uncertain.
      The biggest issue is this. You need to get last place. Well guess what if you get 2nd to last? You probably won’t get Andrew Luck and you’re still nowhere at the QB position after a year. Trading up? Not going to happen. Ask the Chargers when they tried to trade up to Peyton Manning and instead had to settle at #2.

      If you feel like there is a QB you can build around, take him. Period. If we somehow suck as badly as you think (i.e. 1st pick), there is nothing preventing us from taking Luck.


      • Kelly

        I’m not suggesting that we are going to suck that bad, only making a point that there is a chance that the Hawks could be a 2 win team or a 8 win team next year. I don’t see a whole lot of talent on this team and that needs to be fixed in order for them to be taken seriously again.

        I was just thinking that it would be a dream scenerio for the Hawks to be able to grab a QB like Luck because they have nocurrent or future plan and he would be the perfect building block for the future

        • Matt

          That’s the funny thing about 2011. I wouldn’t be shocked by a 2 or 8 win season. I would honestly just let Whitehurst play it out and either you got something, or you got a chance at Luck or Landry Jones.

    • McDavis

      Andrew Luck is one of the few people who comes from a family situation where passing up the draft to complete a degree actually looks like a tried and true, smart idea. Luck’s dad was a former star QB at West Virginia who was drafted to the NFL in the 2nd round and never panned out. However, his dad used his degree to go on to Law school manage teams in NFL Europe, work as an executive in the NFL and eventually become the AD at his alma mater West Virginia.

      Basically his family his big time financial stability and his dad (and former head coach at Stanford for that matter) are living proof that you’re gonna need a degree for life after football. If it were anybody else I might be on your side that perhaps he didn’t want to play for Carolina . . . in this case I think those advising him told him to get his degree.

      • Kip

        I think its prudent for a prospect to declare when his stock has peaked. College exists to prepare us for a professional life. Bill Gates and Paul Allen didn’t finish college. They didn’t need to, because they were already prepared to start up what would eventually become Microsoft.

        For many NFL prospects, College football itself is the real degree they are seeking. And when the NFL tells young men “you are ready to play in the NFL,” its often best just to make the leap. In terms of your real reasons for attending college, you’ve already graduated.

        Now, in this specific case, I agree with you, because QBs don’t stick around nearly enough. Luck is only a RS sophomore, and I’m a big fan of QBs waiting until after their senior years to declare. Senior QB prospects are much more likely to pan out than Juniors or Sophomores.

    • caleb

      hmmm, this is kind of disappointing to hear from a seahawks fan. Regardless of our situation in the draft, we should always play hard. Its like PC’s motto, ‘ i’m in.’ i don’t think that the seahawks will be a two win team next year, but even if they are, our current situation is the one we have to think for, improving our team today. To bank our whole ideal on this image that a single ‘sure-fire’ player will fix all our problems sounds earily like the Oakland situation with Jamarcus Russell, who was probably the most ‘sure fire’ prospect of the past decade. We don’t know where we will be tomorrow, let alone 12 months from now, so to put our mindset into something like banking our season to pursue one player is exactly what pete fought against when everyone was wondering whether it wold be better to loose to the rams and then saints for better draft positions. Sure we would have gotten the 8th pick, but we now have a young team of thomas, tate, okung, unger, lynch and co. who have fire in their bellies to make the next step. I wold argue any day that that experience is more valuable than being 18 picks ahead. Banking on the draft is not what seahawks are about. of course, if we do suffer the tragedy of being the worst or second worst(some say Barkley from USC is a better prospect than Luck), then i have no issue with taking the pick then, but lets do the seahawk thing and support our team through thick and thin. SEAHAWKS!!!

  8. Rob

    Hi Rob,

    Do you think that Whitehurst has the ability to mentor a rookie QB that we could possibly draft this year? He has sat behind two very good QB’s so far in his career. I’m just looking at this if we do not resign Hasselbeck. Also do you think we will have 2 or 3 QB’s on the upcoming roster?


    • Rob

      Hi Rob,

      I’m not a great believer in ‘mentors’. Generally I think that’s the duty of the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach (and to some degree the head coach). Some of the best young QB’s in the NFL didn’t have a mentor (Bradford, Freeman, Ryan, Sanchez etc). I think really the problem is if you draft a quarterback, finding the right time to put them on the field. Atlanta created a perfect environment for even a rookie to start and that for me has to be the blueprint – they drafted a left tackle the same year as Ryan, added a big time running back and then a year later traded for a future HOF tight end. Tampa Bay have similarly created a perfect storm for Freeman it just took a year.

      If Seattle did draft a QB in round one, then they would need to make a decision – start the guy or sit him until the time is right. In that scenario you’re really looking for a go-between. I don’t think you necessarily need to invest in a big name veteran to get you there because its a transition period. You’re not likely to contend in that time it takes to make the switch. At the same time, you don’t want the new guy to walk into a totally demoralised losing team.

      I think the Seahawks will do something at quarterback and at least have two guys on board by the end of April. That may be Hasselbeck and a draft pick, it may be another veteran and a draft pick… they may just sign a veteran/Hasselbeck and keep Whitehurst and Losman, although I cannot imagine the team maintaining the exact same setup as 2010, there needs to be a more proactive plan at QB than just investing faith in the Hasselbeck/Whitehurst combo. Keep an eye on all the Carson Palmer speculation.

  9. Brandon Adams

    Hey Rob, how do you feel about being called the “draft proletariat”? Pretty sure that was directed at you, and possibly me. 😉!/FO_DougFarrar/status/45198545942351872

    • Kip

      Proletariat is synonymous with “working class” or common man. So I think what Doug means here is that the “typical Seahawks fan” believes that Ryan Mallett is the answer at QB. I don’t see this at all as a reference to Rob or SDB.

      I respect Doug a ton, but its ok to disagree on prospects. Two equally informed minds can come to different conclusions.

      • Rob

        I really enjoy Doug’s work even if I don’t always agree with him, but I suppose that’s part of the draft analysis – lot’s of big opinions out there and many differing views. Certainly I hope that this blog hasn’t caused any issues for Doug and that is something I absolutely would strive to avoid.

  10. Kelly

    McDavis. I totally understand your point of view. Maybe Andrew and his family wants him to get his college degree…

    But…I disagree with his need to have a degree after football. Financially, Luck will be a rich man when he enters the league. If he came out, he was going to be the #1 pick, not a 2nd rounder like his father who didnt pan out. With the inflation of the money given to the #1 pick, Luck was going to get 40+ million dollars guarenteed in his pocket on draft day.

    Now that he decided to stay in school, he might have actually hurt himself financially because 1.) He is missing a year of eligibility in the NFL. 2.) He is risking the chance of a career ending injury. 3.) He will most likely enter the 2012 draft with a rookie wage scale.

    When I look at all that, it screams to me that he had to have had another reason for not entering the draft. If he didn’t wanna become a panther, he may just become one anyway…because right now the panthers are going nowhere fast.

    • McDavis

      I understand the train of thought but I think the issue is you’re looking at this entirely financially and 1) Luck comes from a wealthy family already; and 2) I highly doubt guys like Harbaugh and Luck’s dad are going to advise him to “take the 40 million and so you can sit on your butt for the rest of your life if football doesn’t work out.” He may not “need” a degree after football to survive financially but he very well may “want” one so he can succeed in his field of choosing after football.

      A smart idea?? Who knows . . . but considering the background and the fact that Luck will have no control next year as to which team picks him anyway (it very well could be the Panthers again), I just don’t see the specific team picking first being the reason for staying.

  11. Kip

    I enjoyed reading this article quite a bit. You make a good point about past QB’s who’s hype peaked in March but ended up going much later than their hype suggested. Lets hope this is the case with Ponder.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Mike Holmgren took a flyer on Ponder should he reach the mid-rounds. As we saw with Hasselbeck and Favre, Holmgren is capable of managing QB’s with decision making issues, and I think Ponder’s mobility and short accuracy is a good fit for his system. The biggest problem is trying to break Ponder of his tendency to telegraph throws. And as a GM, I don’t know if Holmgren would even take the hands on approach needed with Ponder. But if he did, in a best case scenario I could see Ponder working out as a Holmgren QB.

    • Rob

      I agree completely, Kip. The best fit for Ponder is a place like Cleveland where he can be coached up in a system that suits his style. I’ve heard and read a lot of suggestions that Seattle will go back to a Holmgren style offense, but I see no evidence for that. Bevell worked briefly for Holmgren but has worked predominently with Andy Reid and Brad Childress – two coaches who have used a system that leans closer to the Bates/Shanahan module for me than the timing based offense of Holmgren. Reid has had McNabb, Kolb and Vick… Childress drafted the likes of Jackson and Webb. These are mobile QB’s who can get the ball down field, not Ponder types. I suspect Seattle’s offensive ideology will be dictated more by Carroll than the offensive coordinator – he will be tasked with running PC’s vision which I would imagine won’t change dramatically from year one, with perhaps just a greater empahsis on the run. After all, Jeremy Bates didn’t trade for Whitehurst – Carroll and Schneider made that move. If they want a guy who can drive the ball downfield, Ponder isn’t that quarterback.

  12. joe

    Rob, I usename “Duworkson” must of been lost in translation last year about Jimmy Clasuen b/c we had some heated debate about the golden-domer. You had him going in your mock draft to the Hawks and I projected Trent Williams or Russell Okung as our 6th pick. But thats beside the point. What I was trying to convey last year as well as this year is it’s important to surround a rookie or any qb for that matter with a dominating OL. Build the wall then and your weapons later…just sayin

    Matt, I agree with your approach about the draft you said;”At 25, if you are staring at a QB with a high second round grade compared to a Right Tackle with a late 1st round grade, it’s no debate, you take the QB”. However, only if your team has a strong OL b/c that high ceiling will come crashing down when a QB doesn’t have time to throw the ball or even worst the team cant run the ball…just sayin.

    • Rob

      My point on Clausen really was… if the team believed he could be a franchise QB, they would have to consider him at #6 or #14.. and if he’s good enough for #14 you kind of have to take him at #6 because why risk the QB you want not being there? However, my own personal view on Clausen was very different, as emphasised by the article I linked to where I said I wouldn’t draft him in round one at all.

      I don’t think you necessarily need a dominating O-line for a quarterback to succeed. A lot of the most productive offenses in the NFL don’t have elite OL’s, they just have consistency and a good scheme. They nearly all have very good left tackles and Seattle has made that investment. The interior line is a major need for improvement, but I don’t think this team can afford to ignore the big investment needed at QB in order to focus on drafting guards first. If there’s a QB you like, take him and make that move – then do what you need to do to make his life easy. Build together and make it seemless.

    • Alex


      Dude, read what I wrote earlier today,
      “And btw, Rob didn’t say that the Seahawks SHOULD take Jimmy Clausen. He said that if the Seahawks evaluate and think Clausen can be “their guy”, they should take him. That is pretty much the mentality you should be taking with QBs (as with all 4 top QBs this year). As a matter of fact, Rob was rather unimpressed with Clausen if you remember.” He made that point very clear last year and he has reaffirmed this TWICE today.

      At no point did Rob say that he rated Clausen as a top 10 pick and therefore goes to the Seahawks at #6. Rather, he is simply arguing that if the organization thinks Clausen can be a potential franchise QB, they should take him. Evidently, they didn’t since they passed on him twice.

      This is the same mentality you should take with all 4 top QBs this year as well. If Locker or Mallet falls to 25, you ask yourself if he can be someone you build around and fits your scheme. If the answer is yes, you take him. If it’s no, pass.

      As for getting the surrounding parts. It certainly helps yes, but a QB is the heart of the team. If you draft a DT or LT, the team’s growth is still stagnating (unless it’s like Suh where you can build a whole defense around him, but he is like a once in a decade prospect). Ask how the Dolphins feel about passing on Matt Ryan. Sure, they have a great pass blocker and LT, but the team’s situation is going nowhere without a QB.

      The whole point is that teams will have deficiencies, but a QB can mitigate a lot of it. Peyton Manning’s OL has been average. Tony Romo’s OL has been average. Big Ben’s OL is average (in pass pro). Aaron Rodgers’ OL is above average this year, but below average last year. The common point with all those team is that the QB could cover up a lot of the weaknesses and there is at least a sense of how to build the team around the QB.


      • Matt

        Extremely well said Alex. Echoes my thoughts exactly.

  13. joe

    That same left tackle that you graded not worthy as a 1st rd. draft pick Russell Okung…please son! Thats probably why you dont allow bloggers to comment on your draft-board. Have you every played ball! Maybe as a wide-receiver prima-donna just throw me the ball aka Terrell Owens…just sayin

    • Alex

      Dude, it’s one thing to argue things like you did before, but this is just flaming.

      And you clearly didn’t read very clearly. Like the Clausen case before, Rob didn’t say that Okung is not worthy of a 1st round. The more specific grade was somewhere in the middle of the 1st round rather than a top 3 pick like the general public thinks. It’s kind of like this year’s Prince Akumurmura. Is he 1st round worthy? Sure. Is he overrated? Yes (at least that’s what was evaluated).

      Now, looking back in hindsight, Okung’s performance when he was healthy does warrant a top 10 pick and Rob has mentioned that if Okung can consistently perform, he will eat it.


    • Jay

      Just because you can’t comment on the draft board doesn’t mean you can’t comment on the post he makes when he says he updated his draft. That’s where everyone goes to discuss the draft board, on the post he makes when he updates the draftboard. Also he’s not an NFL scout, so he doesn’t have the tape that scouts got. Those guys are wrong sometimes too so why can’t he be. And next time attack the post not the poster, it makes you look less like a child…just sayin

    • Steen

      “Have you ever played ball” is the sports argument equivalent of bringing up Nazism in a typical internet argument. You lose by default. Nice one….son.

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