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NFL Draft: Rating the Quarterback Prospects

A week ago, I made a post about a metric I believed determined the NFL readiness of a NCAA prospect. In the comment section, OBrienSchofieldismyHero asked if I could rate some of the other potential NFL prospects. In addition to rating his lovechild Scott Tolzien, I decided to rate many of the potential draftees in the 2011 NFL Draft. Most of the players are seniors because of how few juniors have declared for the NFL Draft, but I decided to include the top Juniors. Also, even though Andrew Luck stated that he would return to Stanford, I decided to rate him as well. A lot of the scores are different from the original piece because I've standardized the scoring in order to keep every player on a similar scale. It has to be said that the scoring favors those players with multiple years of starting experience because that's one of the factors of these scores- the more NCAA experience, the better chance of NFL success.

The scores do not mean that a player is a better player. It just is an indicator of how NFL ready they are. The greater the number, the less of a chance for a bust. Here's the scoring table:

95+: Immediate NFL Star

90+: Immediate NFL Starter

85+: High Level Competitor for NFL Starter

80+: Low Level Competitor for NFL Starter

75+: Immediate NFL Back-Up

70+: High Level Competitor for NFL Back-Up

65+: Low Level Competitor for NFL Back-Up

60+: 3rd Quarterback and Roster Bubble Player

60-: Training Camp Body

Now when you look at the scores, keep in mind that the score represents where the player is at this current point in time. Andrew Luck, if drafted, would have been an NFL Starter, but I believe he would have produced at the level of an NFL Back-Up. That is not because Andrew Luck is not an NFL Starter, but because he hasn't developed enough as a quarterback to immediately step into the NFL and produce at a high level.

Read the scores after the jump!

Rank Name Year Total
1 Christian Ponder SNR 87
2 T.J. Yates SNR 78.5
2 Andrew Luck SPH 78.5
4 Ricky Stanzi SNR 78
5 Andy Dalton SNR 77
5 Greg McElroy SNR 77
7 Kellen Moore JNR 76
8 Ryan Mallett JNR 69.5
9 Pat Devlin SNR 68
10 Taylor Potts SNR 66
11 Jake Locker SNR 64.5
12 Colin Kaepernick SNR 64
13 Tyrod Taylor SNR 62
14 Nick Foles JNR 61
15 Scott Tolzien SNR 59
15 Cam Newton JNR 59
17 Nathan Enderle SNR 49
18 Jerrod Johnson SNR 48
19 Blaine Gabbert JNR 42.5


After reviewing the scores, here are some notes:

Christian Ponder stands out as the highest rated and most NFL-ready quarterback prospect in the draft. He didn't post mind blowing numbers, but he was extremely productive and excelled.

T.J. Yates and Andrew Luck have the same score purely based on Yates' experience. If Luck had more experience, he would easily surpass Yates, which means that he greater potential. Most of the "knocks" on Luck are due to his lack of experience and if he has another great season, then he would easily be an 85+ player. However, as of now, if Luck (and Yates) left college, he wouldn't be ready to step in and produce at a high level as an NFL Starter and would have to learn the NFL game for a year or two before excelling.

Ryan Mallett rates below 70 and will likely be regarded as a bust if anyone expects him to step into the NFL and compete. His lack of experience and his inability to produce against high competition means that he'll be set up to fail. He needs some more time if he wants to be an NFL Starter.

Jake Locker rates like Mallett, except with a terrible completion rate and even worse production against top competition.

Cam Newton has a terrible score purely based on lack of experience. He's been a starter for one season, which is an enormous red flag. There are no Elite quarterbacks in the NFL who started for one season in college (Matt Cassel isn't "Elite" by my metric. Yet.).

Blaine Gabbert has a terrible score. He doesn't play well against top competition. His production disappeared when his #1 receiver left and he's producing at the same level of the previous quarterback (who is a back-up quarterback in the NFL). He didn't have top production this past season. His size and his accuracy are two good signs, but that's all he has going for him, and his improved accuracy is a result of him having to check down more often since he doesn't have a big target receiver (which is why his YPA drops over a point).

Here are the top 5 Big Game producers:

1. Cam Newton

2. Ricky Stanzi

3 (tie). Andrew Luck + Kellen Moore

5. Pat Devlin

Here are the bottom 5 Big Game producers:

1. Nathan Enderle

2. Scott Tolzien

3. Tyrod Taylor

4. Blaine Gabbert

5. Colin Kaepernick


Looking at these rankings, if an underheralded quarterback like T.J. Yates, Greg McElroy or Andrew Dalton drops to the end of the draft, then the Patriots could look at another project quarterback to push Brian Hoyer for a roster spot. Of course, the Patriots seem to be more than content with Hoyer and that Tom Brady guy, but that doesn't prevent them from drafting quarterbacks.

If there are other quarterbacks that you want rated, just post them below and I'll get their score.