After the slight break, the Combine Report is officially back. I debated on whether or not to devote an entire post to the quarterback since the Rams obviously aren’t in the market for one of the big boys, but I decided that there is a chance the team could use a late pick or, more likely, give a rookie free agent a chance to win a job after the draft. As far as this class goes, I was more impressed than I thought I was going to be. Here is what I thought of the potential rookie QB’s.
Player I Was Most Impressed With: Ryan Mallett (Arkansas)
I know there are some legitimate question marks surrounding Mallett both on and off the field, but just going by what I saw at the Combine, he was extremely impressive. He looks like a quarterback is supposed to look physically, and he has a rocket launcher where his right arm is supposed to be. I found myself moving to the edge of my seat when he started to throw, and if he can get his stuff straightened out off the field, I think he can be a standout at the NFL level.
Honorable Mention: Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Colin Kaepernick, Josh Portis, Jeff Van Camp
There were plenty of guys who I thought were good, and this list could have been much longer, but I had to draw the line somewhere. Gabbert (Mizzou) should be the first QB off the board come April, and he did nothing at the Combine to make me think differently. He didn’t throw, but his measurables were outstanding and I’ve seen what he can do in game situations. Locker (Wash) is a guy who is still a bit of a project, but I still believe he is going to be a starting NFL QB. Kaepernick (Nevada) is a freak athlete with a rocket arm, but he will be more of a project for whichever team picks him. Portis (CALU) and Van Camp (FAU) are both small-school guys I hadn’t heard much about heading into this thing, but they both made me a believer. Portis was more refined in the throwing game than I expected, and Van Camp was really the breakout guy in this group for me.
Player I Was Most Disappointed In: Tyrod Taylor (Va Tech) and Cam Newton (Auburn)
This one was a tie, but for very different reasons. Let’s start with Newton. His measurables were outstanding, but he looked just awful throwing the ball. I have serious doubts about how good this guy can be at the next level, and the fact that he is shooting up draft boards with all of the question marks surrounding him really surprises me. I might be able to get on board if he really wows at his Pro Day, but I was less than impressed at the Combine. As for Taylor, this was a guy I really liked in college, but he just didn’t look like he came to play in Indy. He had a great 40 time, which I expected, but when it came to the drills, he looked either disinterested or too afraid to make a mistake. At one point I found myself shaking my head while I was watching him, and that’s never a good sign.
Dishonorable Mention: Pat Devlin, Scott Tolzien, Nathan Enderle, Ryan Colburn
None of these guys were truly awful, but they were guys I expected more from. Colburn (Fresno St.) was the least impressive in this group, but I didn’t expect him to be great. Devlin (Del) was a guy I thought might be able to open some eyes, but he just kind of faded into the crowd. Tolzien (Wisc) is solid but unspectacular, and I just don’t know how much upside he has. Enderle (Idaho) was a guy I was excited to see, but like Devlin he did nothing to stand out from the crowd.
As far as the Rams go, I wouldn’t be shocked if they stick with what they had last season at the QB position, but there’s always a chance a guy comes out of nowhere to win the third QB job. As much as I like this class, there’s no Sam Bradford in it, which makes me even happier that we didn’t mess around last year.
Tags: 2011 NFL Combine 2011 NFL Draft Arkansas Blaine Gabbert Cam Newton Colin Kaepernick Jake Locker Jeff Van Camp Josh Portis Nathan Enderle Pat Devlin Quarterback Ryan Colburn Ryan Mallett Sam Bradford Scott Tolzien St. Louis Rams Tyrod Taylor