Quarterback stock watch

Andrew Luck (Staford)

Current projection: 1st overall likely, a certain top-five pick

He’s pulled away as the top quarterback prospect and looks destined to be the #1 pick next April. Only the likelihood of a lockout in 2011 will stop him declaring as a redshirt sophomore. He’s eliminated some of the erratic throws he made at the start of the year and developed into the focal point of a dominating offense. He’s benefited from the best offensive line/running game combo in college football (only nine sacks in two seasons), but he’s also flashed incredible poise, mobility and mechanics. Sometimes throws off balance and still learning due to inexperience – but his development at 21-years of age is unique. If he lands in Carolina, he’ll lift that team in year one.

Cam Newton (Auburn)

Current projection: Top 10

People are starting to grade Newton with 2010 in mind, but he’s been a top-ten pick in my mock drafts for a few weeks already. His lack of experience and two-read system at Auburn offer some concern – as do a laundry list of other issues that will need to be answered at the combine and in team meetings. However – his form in the face of adversity has been nothing short of spectacular. He’s a better passer than most give him credit for – with some footwork improvements necessary but a nice release, arm strength and decent accuracy. He has made some NFL caliber throws this year. Running ability speaks for itself – he’s not Michael Vick, but he’ll make plays with his legs and tough to bring down.






Ryan Mallett (Arkansas)

Current projection: Top 20 if he can ease character concerns, but might fall if teams put off by personality and work ethic

There’s no doubt in my mind that Mallett deserves a lot more credit for major improvements made this year. He’s a more rounded, accurate passer in 2010 and that shows with improved numbers. He’s completed 63% of his passes this year, compared to 56% in 2009. He’s answered the critics both statistically and with big wins on the road (vs Georgia & South Carolina). Improved accuracy adds to supreme arm strength and ability to read the field, diagnosing plays quickly. On the field, the sky’s the limit for his stock. Character concerns are prevalent though and need to be answered. Locker’s disappointing year could keep him in round one with many teams needing a quarterback.

Jake Locker (Washington)

Current projection: Falling – can’t place him in round one at the moment

This year hasn’t gone according to plan for Locker. He’ll rescue back some of that disappointment if Washington win their last two games and become bowl eligible. His draft stock has collapsed though and he’s sinking down the board. Accuracy is a major concern, as is decision making and the regularity with which he throws blind. Upside through character and athleticism may repair some of the damage at the Senior Bowl and combine, but a completely unconvincing year with no improvements on 2009 is of most concern. He started the year as a contender to go first overall – he’s struggling to stay in round one now.


  1. Patrick

    Unlike the past two years, I would be THRILLED with any of these prospects landing in Seattle. I’m not as high on Luck (Plus I guarentee he won’t even be an option) but I love Mallett, Newton, and Locker. I know his stock is slipping and it’s entirely possible he slips into the 2nd round, but I really just have a hard time seeing Seattle pass on Locker if he slips that far. Personally, I think if he shows up hard at the combine he could be a top 10 pick. After all, Bradford practically sat out last season, and yet his workouts and attitude were enough to make him a franchise savior in St. Louis. I like Mallett but I still don’t believe Seattle would take him (Since I think Seattle cares more about mobility). And Newton is definitely the most intriguing to me. I love his potential and REALLY want to see what he could do for us.

    Let’s say we win the division and are sitting in the early 20s. Chances are at least one of these four should be available…right?…(gulp)

    • Rob

      At this stage, I think it’s likely at least one of the quarterbacks will be available at pick 20-32. The main issue with Locker is his accuracy. Bradford missed all of last season, but his accuracy was never in question. The fact he added a lot of ‘good’ weight prior to work outs helped convince teams he could be more durable going forward. Locker won’t be convincing people he’s healthy (although durability has been an issue) he’ll need to wow teams with some good tight throws. Even then, a lot of teams will go into the SB and combine with games like last night fresh in their minds. Athleticism, intangibles… they are all well and good. If you’re not an accurate passer, you’ll struggle. Tim Tebow went 25th overall in April – that is the peak for Locker in my opinion at the moment… going in the 20’s. Even so – Tebow had a reputation and superstar status that he carried into the draft. Locker has amazing intangibles – but Tebow was one of a kind. Without the reputation, the publicity – I doubt Tebow would’ve gone in round one.

  2. matt

    Luck’s development is just staggering. It’s almost like he was raised by an NFL QB his entire football life…oh wait.

    • matt

      All joking aside, the more I watch him, the flat out better he gets. I’ve been critical of him because of his O-line and run game, but this kid is legit. Part of me is hoping we trade this year’s first and next year’s first to get him. I’d honestly have no problem with that.

      Rob, would you ever think that JS and PC would be willing to part with 2 first rounders for Luck? I know that’s steep for an unproven player, but I have to say he just gets better and better. His physical tools are nothing special, but they are good enough that his intelligence allows for them to play a notch up.

      • Rob

        Perhaps they would Matt, it depends if a team would be willing to make that deal. Trading up to the #1 or #2 pick will be very difficult, even for two first rounders.

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