Washington's Jake Locker and Florida State's Christian Ponder are tied for the top rating among senior quarterbacks, but they present very different packages to the NFL. Locker stands out for his physical skills, a strong arm and running ability. Ponder has been called more NFL ready despite not possessing prototypical size.
Locker showed under coach Steve Sarkisian that he can be more of a passer and that he doesn't have to take off as often. The NFL has shown little interest in running quarterbacks at the top of the first round, so Locker will have to keep developing in the pocket to be a top-10 pick. Even though his numbers improved last season (21 TDs, 11 INTs, 58.0 completion percentage), he's not there yet.
Meanwhile, Ponder scored a 34 on a preseason Wonderlic test and has already earned his MBA. He completed 68 percent of his passes last year and seems like he could adjust quickly at the next level. One of the potential negatives for Ponder is that his coach, Jimbo Fisher, made JaMarcus Russell look a lot better than he was at LSU. Ponder clearly doesn't have Russell's work ethic, so it's not fair to compare the two quarterbacks.
Why do I have the feeling we'll be revisiting this debate next April? Don't be surprised if the lower-profile Ponder is the one who ends up hearing his name called first.
Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/andrew_perloff/07/06/2011.draft/index.html#ixzz0svDRWwVm