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Scouting The Class Of 2011: Quarterbacks

I will provide complete analysis on the top five quarterbacks that I have ranked over at For the next 10 quarterbacks, I will give the ranking as well as the player's height, weight and draft grade. Make sure to check me out all this week on Eagles Draft Live! presented by Dietz and Watson as I will join Dave Spadaro to provide complete analysis on what the Eagles do as well as rate the top prospects available.

The Top Five

1. Blaine Gabbert, MissouriHeight: 6-5 Weight: 235 Grade: 1st Round

Pros: Athletic passer who's made progress the past two seasons and offers a good amount of upside. Patient in the pocket, buys time for receivers, and remains poised under pressure. Does not force the ball into covered receivers, takes the safe underneath outlet, and displays the arm strength to make all the throws. Makes proper decisions, will get rid the ball rather than making errant passes, and reacts well under pressure. Possesses a quick release and fires the ball through the tight spots. Places the ball in front of receivers and lets them run to it. Displays good timing on outs. Puts touch  on throws when necessary. Strong enough to withstand the rush and get the pass off with defenders  draped on him. Throws with an over-the-top delivery. Recognizes defenses and finds the open seams in zone coverage.

Cons: Must be more consistent with his throwing technique. Releases the ball off his back foot, which results in passes being high of the mark.  Very inconsistent with his footwork throwing the ball. Tends to stare down the primary target on occasion. Can pick up yardage with his legs but is not great escaping pressure. Occasionally relies on his arm to make plays, which results in dangerous throws. Takes most of his snaps from the shotgun.

Analysis: Gabbert has grown as a quarterback and showed terrific improvement the past two years. He's a leader on the field and possesses all the skills to be a starter in the NFL. Gabbert must improve the consistency of his fundamentals rather than relying on his arm strength alone to make plays if he ever going to be a productive starter at the next level.

2. Cam Newton, AuburnHeight: 6-5 Weight: 248 Grade: 1st

Pros: Tremendous athlete who showed amazing ability behind center last season. Patient in the pocket, buys time for receivers, and looks away from covered targets. Easily gets outside the tackle box, eludes defenders, and shows both vision and instincts carrying the ball. Possesses a strong arm, powers the ball into targets, and gets passes through the very tight windows. Delivers the ball with great speed on the move. Elusive for a big man. Effectively looks off the primary target and sets up screen passes. Big enough and strong enough to get the pass away with defenders draped on him.

Cons: Inconsistent throwing the ball, spraying passes around and missing major opportunities. Must develop a better sense of timing on passes. Does not always react well under pressure. Holds the ball a little too long in the pocket. Does not throw with consistent mechanics, as he does not follow through over his top foot and tends to release the pass off his back foot.

Analysis: Newton was the nation's most prolific offensive player last season, his first year at Auburn, and helped lead the team to a national title. He's a tremendous athlete who flashes the ability to make certain passes that few in the NFL can complete. Newton comes with a great amount of upside, but he needs work on his mechanics and must prove he can consistently throw the ball accurately. He also must transition to a disciplined NFL style of offense before he'll be ready to step under center on an every down basis and lead a franchise.

3. Ryan Mallett, ArkansasHeight: 6-7 Weight: 253 Grade: 1st

Pros: Proto-typical pocket passer with a strong arm and the physical skills necessary to start at the next level. Patient in the pocket, throws with an over-the-top delivery, and has tremendous arm strength. Puts air under deep passes, giving receivers a chance, and can drive the long ball. Easily gets the ball through tight spots and powers passes into receivers when necessary. Has a quick release, gets rid of the ball with a flick of his wrist, and loses nothing throwing and on the move. Buys time for receivers, checks down when necessary, and spreads the ball around the field. Rhythm quarterback who's tough to stop once he gets on a roll.

Cons: Has an inconsistent release point, which leads to inaccurate passes. Throws the ball behind receivers and misses opportunities deep. Has receivers stopping in the route and waiting for the pass, which leads to loss of yardage after the reception. Not an elusive quarterback who can escape the rush or pick up yardage with his legs. Does not always find the safety and throws inopportune interceptions. Does not put touch on throws when necessary. Has had his maturity questioned by numerous scouts.  Red flagged on a number of character and personality issues.

Analysis: From a physical standpoint Mallet projects as a top-10 pick in April's draft . However, his propensity to throw untimely interceptions or miss opportune moments in a game will push him further into the  first round. The concerns about Mallett the person could knock him into round two.  Mallett needs a  lot of work on his game but if he puts it all together he'll be an effective starter at the next level.

4. Jake Locker, WashingtonHeight: 6-3 Weight: 231 Grade: 1st-2nd

Pros: Athletic passer that's had an up-and-down career in college. Patient in the pocket, stands strong against the rush and remains poised. Nimble, quick-footed and easily gets outside the tackle box to make the throw on the move. Loses nothing throwing on the run and will pull the ball down then run with it rather than toss passes into coverage. Accurate throwing on the move. Sells ball fakes, buys time for receivers, and effective running with the ball. Possesses a big arm, zips the short-to-intermediate routes and can drive the deep ball. Gets passes through tight spots and puts velocity on his throws. Flashes the ability to nicely place throws where only his receivers can make the reception. Plays with toughness.

Cons: Has a high release point, does not consistently throw the ball with proper footwork and erratic at times. Will stare down the primary target. Occasionally makes dangerous passes throwing across his body. Has a history of durability issues.

Analysis: Locker was a highly rated prospect after his junior season but decided to bypass the NFL for one more year on the college field. He enters the 2011 draft with a slightly lower grade and is still considered more of an athlete than quarterback by most. After struggling at the Senior Bowl, Locker started to put the pieces together during his combine workout and looks like he's headed in the right direction. Locker will still need a lot of work before he's ready to step under center on every-down basis but his athleticism and ability to throw on the move will help Locker get on the field during red zone situations early in his career.

5. Colin Kaepernick, NevadaHeight: 6-5 Weight: 233 Grade: 2nd

Pros: Tall, athletic quarterback prospect who possesses a tremendous amount of upside. Patient in the pocket and displays terrific awareness as well as field presence. Buys time for receivers and displays a sense of timing and terrific pass placement. Accurate and consistently puts throws where only his receiver can make the reception. Throws a catchable ball, possesses a strong arm, and his passes immediately get to the intended target. Drives the short and intermediate throws, gets the ball through tight spots, and hits deep receivers in stride. Makes solid decisions in the pocket, tossing the  ball away rather than forcing passes to covered receivers.  Stands strong against the rush to get the pass off but also has the ability to scramble away from defenders and avoid the sack. Solid carrying the ball, displaying elusiveness, speed, and some strength.

Cons: Throws with a three-quarters/side-arm delivery, which seems to sap him of downfield arm strength. Does not consistently make proper reads. Throws the ball off his back foot, which results in errant passes. Holds the ball little too long in the pocket.

Analysis: Kaepernick has been a productive college quarterback who's game has consistently progressed. Besides his physical skills, he offers terrific intangibles and does more then rely on his strong arm or nimble feet to make plays. He has starting potential at the next level but will need more time to develop his game.

The Next 106. Christian Ponder, Florida State (6-2, 229, 2nd Round)
7. Andy Dalton, Texas Christian (6-2, 215, 3rd-4th)
8. Nate Enderle, Idaho (6-4, 240, 5th)
9. Ricky Stanzi, Iowa (6-5, 223, 6th)
10. Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech (6-1, 217, 6th)
11. Greg McElroy, Alabama (6-2, 220, 6th-7th)
12. Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M (6-5, 251, 7th)
13. T.J. Yates, North Carolina (6-4, 219, 7th-Free Agent)
14. Ben Chappell, Indiana (6-2, 240, 7th-Free Agent)
15. Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin (6-2, 214, 7th-Free Agent)

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