Mel Kiper and Todd McShay are getting into individual breakdowns with two months to go to the draft and the quarterbacks were first on the table. From Blaine Gabbert to Cam Newton to Jake Locker, McShay and Kiper analyzed which of the top 5 quarterbacks have the biggest upside, hold the biggest risks and may be the sleep of the draft. The answers, while not surprising, give us a baseline to work with.
Surprisingly, Locker was just kind of there, not being mentioned in any of the three categories each spoke of. Locker was second on McShay’s board, and just below that on Kiper’s. Were I nail down Locker as a high-upside, high-risk or sleeper candidate, I’d throw him in the high-risk. At the same time, he does have a high upside, as well.
Newton was the big winner for Kiper as the NFL Draft analyst pegged him as the guy we’d look back on in a few years and call the best quarterback of the class. McShay went the easiest route, choosing Gabbert as the high-upside pick.
If Newton wasn’t the guy McShay thought would be the sure-fire best, it’s easy to see why he placed him in the high-risk category. In doing so, he said Newton had the tools, butsome of those intangibles may or may not be there. The transition to the NFL-style was also a question mark. Kiper, on the other hand, chose Ryan Mallett, the cannon-arm quarterback from Arkansas. It’s clear Mallett has the physical tools, but what goes on between the ears has been called into question, making him a risk pick.
As for the sleeper, both agreed: Andy Dalton is the man for the job. Dalton has seen his stock rise quickly lately, moving all the way up to fifth on both ESPN analysts’ Big Boards, putting him into the second round, most likely. Dalton has those intangibles many value so much, but it’s the physical tools in question. He could, however, be a second round steal.
Though none of it is a surprise, it’s always interesting to hear the differing opinions about these top-5 quarterbacks. As the draft nears, each will be put under the microscope as teams try to figure out whose skills will translate to the NFL.
For more on the draft, check out our 2011 NFL mock draft StoryStream.