The playoffs are in full swing and one of the common denominators among the final four teams is a good or great quarterback. The Redskins will head into the 2011 NFL draft with many needs. One need that they could possibly address with the tenth pick is quarterback. Realistically, Washington will have four quarterbacks to chose from within the top ten picks.
Blaine Gabbert – Missouri
Projected to be the first quarterback selected in the draft by ESPN.com [6th overall prospect], Blaine Gabbert is 6’5″ tall and weighs in at 235 pounds. He has the prototypical NFL size much like Cam Newton. Gabbert compiled 6,779 yards and 40 touchdowns with just 18 interceptions over two full years as a starter in Missouri. He has an 82.1 quarterback rating on 3rd and 4th down with 9+ yards to go, which means he can still improve on 3rd but his 82.1 is better than anything in DC right now. With teams like Carolina, Denver, Arizona, San Francisco and Tennessee picking ahead of the Redskins I don’t imagine Gabbert will still be around when the Redskins get their turn.
Jake Locker - Washington
Had Jake Locker come out of Washington last year he could have been the first overall pick and probably made a lot of money. He decided to go back to school and that year will probably cost him about 13 to 14 million dollars in guaranteed money. Locker has the prototypical size and strength like the others. He also has the mobility necessary to play quarterback behind the usually-shaky Redskins o-line. Locker hasn’t put up huge numbers during his college career but many pro scouts believe he has the tools necessary to be an NFL quarterback. I think he could go before the Redskins at ten but they have a possible opportunity to trade up a spot or two and get him. It really depends on the direction that teams drafting before Washington decide to go.
Cam Newton – Auburn
Cam Newton can do it all and I believe he’s a solid option for Washington at the ten spot. If Newton has a weakness it may be his ability to read coverage, as noted by CSN’s Rich Tandler during his live chat a few weeks ago. I think he has the arm and legs to be a quarterback at the next level. My logic is that the Redskins offensive line may be shaky, or may get better. By Washington picking a mobile quarterback they can be assured that a lackluster line won’t diminish all of the ability of the man standing behind them. Newton does many things well that not all quarterbacks have done in DC. This season he completed 66% of his passes, that number is close to Donovan McNabb’s overall quarterback rating last year. He also had 30 touchdowns through the air compared to just seven interceptions. Not to mention, he put up 20 rushing touchdowns. He is a Heisman winner and at 6’6″, 250 pounds, the Redskins would be crazy not to draft the kid.
Ryan Mallett – Arkansas
Mallett has the NFL size. He also can lead a high powered offense as he did at Arkansas. My problem with Mallett is that I just simply don’t believe he has “it”. When watching a college quarterback face adversity you can learn a little something about their character and willingness to work at their craft. As I write this I’m just picturing Doug Flutie at Boston College after his game versus Miami. He could have just gone out as one of the great college quarterbacks of all-time, but he didn’t. He had the burning desire to get better and it led to a somewhat successful and lengthy USFL/CFL/NFL career. Anyway, back to Mr. Mallett. I see him getting picked up in the second round. His big time games against Alabama, Auburn and Ohio State he came up short. I just have a gut feeling about this guy. Hopefully I’m wrong. If all three options above are gone at this point the Redskins could possibly draft Mallett and groom him behind McNabb or *gag* Sexy Rexy.
The Redskins could do many things with this pick and it’s only mid-January so everything is speculation to this point. Stay tuned for future updates on the Skins and the 2011 NFL Draft. You can also follow me here, for more information and news on the Redskins.