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Draft Position Preview: Quarterback


Few positions evoke as much interest as quarterback when it comes to the NFL Draft.  With the NFL becoming a pass first league, it is no wonder that QBs have become so important.  In fact, perhaps the easiest way to see which teams are still looking for a franchise QB is to look at the teams picking early in the first round.  All told you could make a case that about 1/3 of the NFL is still looking for their QB.

Fortunately for the Chiefs, they have already found their guy.  Matt Cassel is not another Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, but he did come in and steady the QB position.  My guess is that he will be the Chiefs QB for at least 5 more years.  So get used to him.

I freely admit that I went into the 2010 season with grave reservations about Cassel.  The way he started the season didn’t allay those concerns.  However, he had some good games and has earned the starting QB job for the Chiefs.  Now we just need to give him some guys to catch the ball.  But wide receiver is not the topic for this preview, it is quarterback.

The reason for this is twofold.  The first reason is that Chiefs’ backup QB Brodie Croyle looked miserable in the one game he played in 2010.  If he is a bad backup and has stopped progressing then it is time to cut him loose.  This means that the Chiefs will be looking for a new backup QB.  That is why I am previewing the quarterback position.

Ryan Mallett Arkansas             6’7”       253 lbs.                Round Projection:  1-2

There is no question that Mallett has the best arm in the NFL Draft this year.  He’s got a howitzer for an arm and displays pretty good accuracy.  There is no question that if a quarterback was only an arm that Mallet would be the number one pick.  However, a QB is not only his arm.

Mallett’s 40-time was measured with a sun dial.  He can also be rattled by pressure because his footwork gets sloppy when forced to move.  Despite this, these flaws are not the reason I think there is a possibility that the Chiefs could draft Mallett.

Let me start by saying that I think the likelihood of Mallett getting drafted by the Chiefs is slim, but there is a chance because of character issues that seem to being following Mallett around.  Much like QB Jimmy Clausen form the 2010 NFL Draft, Mallett could start sliding and freefall out of the 1st round.  The question then becomes when his fall will end.  Mallett’s arm will probably keep him from falling too far, but you never can tell in the NFL.  In order for the Chiefs to consider Mallett, his character concerns need to be answered.  His role would be as a backup, but with his arm and skills he could challenge Matt Cassel in a year or two.

Colin Kaepernick              Nevada                6’5”       233 lbs.                Round Projection:  3

One thing I’ve heard repeated about Kaepernick is that somebody is going to look at him and say, “I can fix him.”  Kaepernick is an athletic QB with good arm strength and he runs like a gazelle.  That is the good stuff.

Unfortunately he has plenty of bad stuff to go with the good stuff.  He ran out of the ‘pistol formation’ in college which means that his time under center is extremely limited.  His accuracy is inconsistent and he needs to fix his throwing motion.  There are also questions as to his ability to make the reads to coordinate his protection.

I think that it is unlikely for the Chiefs to draft Kaepernick.  He is a high character guy which is something the Chiefs like, but they would most likely have to spend too high a pick for a guy that is such a project.  But he is a guy to keep an eye on because the Draft can be unpredictable.

Ricky Stanzi        Iowa      6’4”       223 lbs.                Round Projection:  3-4

Unlike some QBs coming from college, Stanzi has experience under center.  He’s also a hard worker and a team captain (which immediately puts him on the Chiefs’ radar).  He has only an average arm, but it is good enough so that there is a possibility for him to develop into a starter.

His negatives lie in his footwork and his decision-making skills.  In his junior year he had a problem with throwing into traffic frequently, but he seems to have changed that in his senior year.  He also has a bit of inconsistency in his accuracy.  However, if his footwork can be fixed that may fix his accuracy problems.

I think that it could be highly likely that the Chiefs draft Stanzi.  He may have to slide a bit because I don’t think the Chiefs will spend a 3rd round pick on him, but they will probably pull the trigger on him in the fourth.  As I mentioned, the Chiefs will like his ethic and character.  Also, General Manager Scott Pioli is also a good friend of Iowa’s Head Coach and should be able to get the inside scoop on Stanzi.  Stanzi is good enough to be a valid backup now and has enough potential to take over for Cassel down the road.

These are just some of the QBs in the 2011 NFL Draft.  Others that I have my eye on are Delaware’s Pat Devlin and, as I’ve mentioned before, Alabama’s Greg McElroy.  How about you?  Should the Chiefs draft a QB?  If so, when?  Do you have a favorite QB?  Let me know down in the comments.

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Tags: 2011 NFL Draft Arkansas Brodie Croyle Colin Kaepernick Iowa Kansas City Chiefs Matt Cassel Nevada Quarterback Ricky Stanzi Ryan Mallett Scott Pioli