2011 NFL Combine: Draftees That Have A Lot To Gain And Lose

Drew's Note: Each day, I will present a new position leading us all the way up to the combine. Today's focus will be on the 2011 class of quarterbacks.

Yesterday, Fooch posted the official invite list for the players who will be attending the 2011 NFL Combine.

It's possible that some of the players entering the combine will elevate their stock status and that some will go the other direction in that equation. The focus now should be, what players have a lot to gain, and which ones have a lot to lose?

The NFL Combine is set to take place on February 23rd and will go on through March 1st at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. After the combine, there will be a two month hiatus before we see any more action. 

The 2011 NFL Draft will take place on April 28th and go on for 3 days until the 30th. Round 1 will be held on the 28th, Rounds 2 and 3 happen on the 29th, and finally Rounds 4 through 7 are on the 30th. 

Year in and year out, players pile in to the building with high hopes of impressing pro scouts and coaches alike. There's no way to predict how far a guy will rise if he does well; and there is no way to predict how far he will fall if he flops like a fish out of water - or out of his element, so to speak.

It seems that in recent years, a lot of the top prospects at the quarterback position have opted not to throw in the events. Particularly the top prospects. I think that the approach that they take on, is that they will let the film and their play while in college speak for itself. The NFL is a business though, and all of these players do go through at least an interview process. So whether they do or do not throw may not have much, if any at all, impact on where they will be selected. 18 quarterbacks were invited to partake in the events, all of which are healthy. We may see the trend change in quarterbacks electing to not throw as there is much more to gain for all of them. This years quarterback class is not as deep as it has been in a long while. Last year, 14 quarterbacks were invited and 14 quarterbacks were drafted out that class.

The players that have the most to lose typically are the ones that a rated the highest heading in. Players that are rated lower and are slotted to go in the later rounds can only go up. After the jump, the players on either side of the spectrum will be taken a look at.

QUARTERBACKS

Most to gain:

Colin Kaepernick (Nevada) 6'5", 225 LBS: Kaepernick has been living in the gray area for much of the transitional period from college to pro's. His quirky throwing motion has been the focus for most of the critics. However, he has a cannon for an arm and is accurate to match. He has been slotted anywhere from the 2nd Round all the way to the back of the 5th Round. That is quite a wide margin. Should he do well at the combine, it could help his case some. And if he is working behind the curtain with the proverbial "mad scientist" on his throwing motion (much like Tim Tebow did last year), then the sky is the limit for Kaepernick.

Andy Dalton (TCU), 6'2", 213 LBS: Dalton didn't have the best outing at the Senior Bowl, but had a stellar season running a form of the spread offense at Texas Christian. Dalton must have a solid outing at the combine. There is game film out there on him for the scouts and coaches to evaluate, but he will only be shooting himself in the foot if he doesn't take part in every single event available to him. The combine will be his last chance to showcase his abilities.

Pat Devlin (Delaware), 6'4", 222 LBS: Even though he is coming from a small school, Devlin has been swimming in the same gray waters that Colin Kaepernick has. The ranges of the rounds that he has been mocked at have been all over the map. The majority has had him somewhere in the 4th and 5th Rounds. Devlin didn't have the best game in the East - West Shrine Game, but it wasn't horrible either. He could afford to do well at the Combine to launch his draft stock in to the mid rounds.

 

Most to lose:

Ryan Mallett (Arkansas), 6'6", 240 LBS: The Razorback Quarterback had a very good junior year. He made the decision to leave school early which may or may not have been a bad decision. There is no doubt that Mallett will be under the microscope at the combine. His mobility and agility has been a concern. Iif he does not do well in the agility test, the interviews, and the throwing portions, he could see himself slide down a round or so. The arm is there, no question. But in his sophomore season, his accuracy was a big question mark. Since he is considered to be one of the top prospects at his position, and in the draft, he has everything to lose and not much to gain. It will be interesting to see just how much he participates.

Blaine Gabbert (Missouri), 6'5", 235 LBS: Before Todd McShay and Scouts, Inc pimped Gabbert's stock, he was looking like a mid to late round pick. He is now considered to be a 1st Round prospect. And potentially the very first quarterback off the board. This draft, at this position, is stacking up more and more like the 2005 Draft potentially. Only there is no Aaron Rodgers type of players and several Alex Smith type of players. Since Gabbert is ranked so highly now, he may be the most at risk to lose some ground. Once Gabbert and company pulled off the upset against the then #1 ranked Oklahoma Sooners this past season, the hype train took off full steam ahead. It is up to Gabbert to show scouts and coaches whether it is all hype, or everything that has been said about him is the real deal.

Cam Newton (Auburn), 6'6", 250 LBS: Much like the other two quarterbacks above, Newton declared to enter the NFL Draft before finishing school. There is no question that Newton is an athletic freak. He runs the ball very well and avoids pressure with the best of 'em. However, his passing is a little rough around the edges. A majority of the scouts in attendance will most likely want to see Newton throwing. The other concern will be in the interviews. Questions may surface in regards to the allegations Newton faced mid-season this year. If Newton can become more of a pure passer, he has a chance to become a Dante Culpepper type of player in the league. On the other side of that, if he decides not to throw, and doesn't do well in interviews, he could slip in to the 2nd Round range.

 

Summary: To an extent, every single player in this draft has everything to gain. And they all should be looking at the opportunity as such. But the facts are, that some won't. Some will head in to this important evaluation with a big head. Thinking in their own minds that they are already a legend and will undoubtedly be selected in the first round. The humble players with hard work ethic will receive more respect by coaches and scouts. In some sense, the interview process may be the most important out of all the events. From a financial stand point, it makes more sense to put your money on a guy who isn't going to make his way in to the negative spotlight. These players are an investment. 

 

Here is the full list of the quarterbacks that were invited:

COLBURN, RYAN

 

FRESNO ST

4

QB1

QB

MCELROY, GREGORY

GREG

ALABAMA

5

QB10

QB

NEWTON, CAMERON

CAM

AUBURN

5

QB11

QB

PONDER, CHRISTIAN

 

FLORIDA ST

5

QB12

QB

PORTIS, JOSHUA

JOSH

CAL U-PENN

5

QB13

QB

STANZI, RICHARD

RICKY

IOWA

5

QB14

QB

TAYLOR, TYROD

 

VIRGINIA TECH

5

QB15

QB

TOLZIEN, SCOTT

 

WISCONSIN

5

QB16

QB

VAN CAMP, JEFF

 

FLORIDA ATLANTIC

5

QB17

QB

YATES, TAYLOR

T J

NORTH CAROLINA

5

QB18

QB

DALTON, ANDREW

ANDY

TEXAS CHRISTIAN

4

QB2

QB

DEVLIN, PATRICK

PAT

DELAWARE

4

QB3

QB

ENDERLE, NATHAN

 

IDAHO

4

QB4

QB

GABBERT, BLAINE

 

MISSOURI

4

QB5

QB

JOHNSON, JERROD

 

TEXAS A&M

4

QB6

QB

KAEPERNICK, COLIN

 

NEVADA

4

QB7

QB

LOCKER, JACOB

JAKE

WASHINGTON

4

QB8

QB

MALLETT, RYAN

 

ARKANSAS

4

QB9

QB

 

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