(Doc’s Note: Hey Razzballers, welcome Ryan to Razzball and give him a follow on Twitter.)

The NFL CBA has the 2011 season held hostage but one thing we know for sure…..There will be a NFL Draft come April 28th -30th.

At least 7 of the top 10 teams drafting this year have a need for a gunslinger.  I am not saying all will go this route in round one, but they will take a look at a QB. A huge argument in the CBA will be the rookie salary cap. Odds are if they do away with this (which most likely will happen if 2011 season has any chance) QBs will never see the $50 million guaranteed that Sam Bradford received last year.  Some teams may take a gamble early on a QB due to reduced cost with high upside instead of the best available player.

So the first step a player needs to take, who hopes to play on Sundays, is to showcase his abilities at the NFL combine which happened this weekend. I know most of you used this opportunity to fall asleep on the coach with something other than golf in the background. Others in Dynasty keeper leagues may have paid a bit more attention.   Here are some of the names fantasy footballers should keep an eye on in the next two months that may help you in the pending 2011 season.

Cam Newton  (Auburn)

So he started the week off with a bang. “I see myself as not only a football player but an entertainer and an Icon”! This was in response to his deal with Under Armour to Peter King from SI.

He’s a young guy fresh off winning a National Championship at Auburn and he left college early.  He was the topic of many articles on how his dad shopped him around from school to school for cash . (Auburn and Cam were cleared. The NCAA ruled in December that they were unaware of the pay-for-play scheme created by Cecil Newton) I can see how the excitement can get to a guy in his shoes. I can also see how some GM would raise the red flag and look deeper into his character.

So now Sunday at the combine he was ready to showcase his iconic stuff. Cam ran 4.59, 40 yd Dash (tied for 3rd out of QBs). For a 6’-5” guy that’s impressive.  Cam was about 50% on his passes. Some say he struggled due to having the QB toss from “under center like conditions”. Many thought he hurt his draft a bit Sunday.

What you have here is a great athlete that will need some work. His pro day at Auburn will be bigger for his draft status in April. Certainly if he lands with the right team he could be a guy to make a difference on your fantasy 2011 season due to his duel run/pass threat, but there are many more questions to be answered here.

Jake Locker (Washington)

I wonder if he wishes he had the “Back to the Future” DeLorean so he could go back to last year, and instead of staying at U–Dub, entered the 2010 draft.. Why? Because he would have been top ten pick then.  Now who knows where the 6’3” 231 lb prospect will land.

Needless to say he had a rough year at Washington in 2010 and this will be tough for him to overcome.  He was inaccurate in his 2010 college money year.

On Sunday he did well to repair last year’s damage with a decent combine. Locker ran a 4.59, 40 YD Dash. He also posted the best broad jump of all QBs.  He showcased his huge arm by hitting deep tosses and the tough 15-yard out routes and 30-yard post corners.  The easy short tosses he had some struggles with.  He should score high on interviews and could be a nice surprise depending on who grabs him in 2011.

I can see him as a possible contributor in 2011 with the right opportunities. I can also see him sitting like Philip Rivers did and become an awesome fantasy threat in a couple years.

Blaine Gabbert (Missouri)

He  didn’t throw at combine. Taking the path less travelled this year the Mizzou spread offense QB will show off his skills at his Pro-day. (Might be the best route, see Cam Newton above)  The kid is built to play in the NFL 6’4” 234 lbs, but needs to work on getting under center.  He did run Sunday, a 4.62, 40 YD Dash.  Some have him as one of the top two QBs. I see him now as 3rd best, but that could change. If he hits the right situation he could be a great fantasy find due to his running ability.

Ryan Mallett (Arkansas)

It seems like every year there is a guy that has drug rumors following him into the Draft. Well this was a rough weekend for Mallett with many rumors swirling about his lack of focus and possible drug use.

This Big armed 6’7” 253 lb prospect finished his college career with 7,141 yards passing and 62 passing touchdowns.  Mallett tossed the ball the best out of all QBs on Sunday.  His quick release was something that really jumped out after you get over his size.  He has an awesome deep ball too! Ryan didn’t do the 40 yd dash and neither would I if I was 6’7”.

So Mallett is still a top 4 guy in my book. We will see if he can halt the rumors and have a great Pro-day.  This guy could be a 300 yard fantasy passer if dealt with slowly and with care.

Colin Kaepernick (Nevada)

This is one guy you will hear the phrase “huge upside” when listening to analysts. He had some great numbers in college and is the only quarterback in D1 history to toss 10,098 career yards and also run for over 4,000 yards.

Of course the Wolf Pack doesn’t play in the SEC or Big Ten. Some believe he is very raw at reading defenses. He was sacked 10 or more times in his four years as well.

Sunday he unleashed his cannon! He has a very strong arm and is accurate.  He ran a 4.53 40 yd dash, broad jumped 9’7”and had a vertical of 32 ½”.  Right now he is fifth on my list and it wouldn’t shock me if he moved past Mallet.  I see him as another work in progress guy that after a few years on the bench could surprise people in the fantasy world.

Here are a few others you might see come draft day:
(Listed in alphabetical order)

Ryan Colburn (Fresno St.), Andrew Dalton (TCU), Patrick Devlin (Delaware),  Nathan Enderle (Idaho), Jarrod Johnson (Texas AM), Gregory McElroy (Alabama), Christain Ponder (Florida St.), Joshua Portis (California of Pa), Ricky Stanzi (Iowa), Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech), Scott Tolzien (Wisconsin), Jeff VanCamp (Florida Atlantic) and Taylor Tayes (North Carolina

  1. Great observations! I think Mallett helped himself with his skills showing but I wish we could have seen how he handled his interviews as that’s really where his draft stock will move up or down. I have been a fan of Kaepernick and think he could surprise in the NFL. But he’ll need some time to develop. Really like the Locker/Phillip Rivers comparison. Sometimes the best thing for a rookie QB is to not be thrown immediately into the fire, but instead sit and learn for a couple of season and get good coaching to work out his issues.

  2. Ryan

    Ryan says:

    @Russ Bliss: Thanks for reading Russ! Yeah I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in Mallett and Newton’s INT.

    I firmly believe there are very few QB that should play in year one. This class more than most years fits this thought.

  3. In my position, I read everything I possibly can, but I reply to only a few that seem to know what they’re talking about. It’s one of the reasons I sometimes reply to posts on Razzball: they’re written by intelligent people who understand the purpose of writing pieces with “substance”; and with a grain of humor. Anyone can write an article on a website. But writing in a style that makes the reader actually read all the way thru it and feel they’ve learned something is quite different though. Kudos to you and the staff.

  4. Ryan

    Ryan says:

    Russ I agree with you! Razzball is certainly one of the more informative and entertaining sites out there. Thanks for reading and giving us your opinion.

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