Christian Ponder

10 Bold Predictions for the NFL Draft

10. Al Davis will shake things up
Normally this wouldn’t be a bold prediction, but without a 1st-round pick Davis will have to get creative.  Perhaps he’ll trade into the 1st round in an effort to land Jason Campbell’s eventual replacement. Ryan Mallet certainly fits the mold of an Al Davis quarterback…

9. Two or fewer trades occur in 1st round
After this weekend, no one knows when the next time will be that teams will have opportunity to fill holes. This could be their only chance to address some needs before the free agency period – which may not be as active as we’re used to. Draft picks are more valuable than ever this year and most teams will be reluctant to part with them.

8. Patrick Peterson comes off the board within the first six picks
Most mock drafts have Peterson falling to the 49ers, but he won’t last that long (sorry Niners fans). Denver supposedly likes him. Buffalo is unpredictable, so who knows what they’ll do. Arizona could settle for him. Dallas could trade up. And if all else fails, the Browns will snatch him up at No. 6.

7.  Mark Herzlich has a looooong wait in Radio City Music Hall
Herzlich is one of the 25 players attending the draft, and while the cancer survivor will get a great ovation when he is finally selected, he’s going to be waiting awhile. He clearly lost a step after returning to the field this past year, and he is unlikely to come off the board with in the first three rounds. 

6. Three receivers go in the 1st round
A.J. Green and Julio Jones will go in the top 10, but someone else will join them later in the 1st round.  The Rams could trade back and select some such as Titus Young or Jon Baldwin. The Falcons and Jets are two others possibly interested in a receiver in the late 1st.

5. Mark Ingram falls to the late 1st… and possibly further
Running backs have such a short lifespan in the NFL and are so readily available in the middle rounds of the draft that teams are becoming increasingly less interested in spending high picks on them. Ingram is the consensus top available player at the position, but there are very few teams desperate to fill a hole at that position. If the Dolphins don’t take him at No. 15, he’ll fall into the 20s and possibly into the 2nd round.

4. The Jaguars shock us with their 1st round pick
It will be tough to top the Tyson Alualu selection, but GM Gene Smith will surprise us once again.  Maybe they decide to go for a quarterback? Mallett? Locker? Ponder? Or maybe they reach for a receiver? Titus Young? Torrey Smith?

3. Rumors of Da’Quan Bowers’ fall prove to be greatly overstated
Those screaming the loudest that Bowers knee is probably are probably the ones hoping he falls to them. I wouldn’t be shocked if he lands in Cleveland at No. 6 and I have a hard time seeing him fall further than No. 12 to the Vikings. Sorry Bucs fans, he’s not going be there at No. 20.

2. Jake Locker falls further than expected
Rumors have swirled that the Redskins may want him at No. 10. If I had to bet I’d say they do like him, but would prefer to wait until the 41st selection. Nothing he did on the field this year resembled a 1st-round pick, let alone a top-10 pick. Most teams love his talent – and it only takes one to make him a 1st-round pick – but he still has a 2nd or 3rd round grade on most draft boards. 

1. Only three quarterbacks will go in the 1st round
Despite rumors that as many as five signal callers could go in the top 32 picks, only three will actually come off the board – Newton, Gabbert and third (possibly to the Dolphins). Everyone else will wisely wait until the 2nd and 3rd round where less money will be on the line.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off

NFL Combine prop bets?

For the past few years Bodog.com has sent me a list of NFL Draft prop bets. I always just hit the delete button because I have better things to do in late April than waste my time trying to figure out if the Big East or ACC will have more top-50 picks or whatever other nonsense they come up with.

But this year they’re stepping up their game, and I’m intrigued.

I recently received an email with NFL Combine prop bets. This is possibly the most ridiculous thing you could bet on, because we’re talking about a difference of hundredths of a second, or quarters of an inch on some of these, but hey, it’s not like anything else interesting is going on in the sports world in late February.

So I’ll take the time to weigh in on a few…

Who will have the fastest 40 Yard Dash Time
Christian Ponder (QB FSU)                                 -120
Jake Locker (QB Washington)                           -120

This is a gimme. Locker should be faster than Ponder by a full 10th of a second (and that fact that .10 is considered a large margin is exactly why you’re a fool if you bet on any of these).

Who will have the fastest 40 Yard Dash Time
Mark Ingram (RB Alabama)                                 -120
Ryan Williams (RB Virginia Tech)                     -120

Supposedly Ingram is going to run in the 4.4s, but I’ll believe it when I see it. My money’s on Williams.

Who will have the fastest 40 Yard Dash Time
Julio Jones (WR Alabama)                                  Even
Jon Baldwin (WR Pittsburgh)                               -130

Baldwin’s camp has been hyping him up and he reportedly has been clocked in the 4.3 range. Not sure I believe that, but it won’t be difficult for him to post a better time than Jones. I’ll be mildly surprised if Jones cracks 4.5.

Who will the most bench press repetitions?
Nate Solder (OT Colorado)                                  -130
Gabe Carimi (OT Wisconsin)                               Even

Carimi is the easy choice here. Not only does he just appear more muscular than Solder, but Solder is 6’8″ – the taller you are, the harder it is to get large number of reps on the bench.

Who will have the highest vertical leap?
A.J. Green (WR Georgia)                                    -130
Patrick Peterson (CB LSU)                                 Even

This could be a close call, but my money’s on Peterson. It’s very rare for someone with Green’s height to compete with a guy like Peterson in the vertical.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft 1 Comment

Christian Ponder Scouting Report

Christian Ponder QB Florida State

Ht: 6’2

Wt: 221

Strengths:
Adequate height. Very good build for a quarterback. Athleticism is above average; can make plays on the run. A tough player who can take a hit. Appears to be an excellent leader on the field. Fundamentals are solid; has a very quick release. Maintains fundamental and accuracy on the run. Has nice touch on his passes.
Weaknesses:
An injury risk – missed time in 2009 with a injury to his right shoulder, missed time in 2010 with an elbow injury. Arm strength is moderate. Very streaky; looks great for a game or two, and then inexplicably will come out and throw two or three picks against an inferior opponent. Never quite lived up to expectations. Struggles to go through his progressions when his first option isn’t open; often locks on to one receiver for too long.
Comments:
Ponder has the tools necessary to be a starter in the NFL, but he’s never been able to maintain a consistent performance while at Florida State. His issues seem to stem from an inability to read defenses and go through his progressions. The encouraging thing is this can be fixable, but the discouraging thing is that he should be better after three years as the Seminoles starters. He didn’t face many complex defensive schemes in the ACC, which raises legitimate concerns about his ability to handle reading an NFL defense.
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2011 1 Comment

Christian Ponder’s elbow still bothering him

Christian Ponder injured his elbow in early October and the injury seems has taken a turn for the worse. After experiencing swelling in the elbow, Ponder reportedly visited a doctor on Monday afternoon.

This is devastating news for Ponder, who is a fringe 1st-round prospect.

RALEIGH, NC - OCTOBER 28: Christian Ponder  of the Florida State Seminoles reacts to a play against the North Carolina State Wolfpack during their game at Carter-Finley Stadium on October 28, 2010 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

It's been a frustrating season for Christian Ponder

This year’s quarterback class could be deeper than usual. Andrew Luck is a 1st-round lock if he chooses to enter the draft. Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett are also potential 1st-round picks. And even Cam Newton is now in the mix. That’s at least four quarterbacks that Ponder could be competing with for a spot in the 1st round.

Coupled with his disappointing season, this lingering injury could give teams enough reason to drop him on their draft boards. The last thing a team wants to do is draft a quarterback in the 1st round with injury concerns, especially when there are other healthy options on the board.

It’s too early to speculate as to how much this could hurt his stock – in part because we don’t know the severity of the injury; and partly because we don’t know who will enter the draft – but is certain to be a hot topic at the combine. Injuries that seem to linger on with no resolution often cause more concern than a one-time set back such as a broken bone or torn ligament.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off

Players to watch on Saturday

CHESTNUT HILL, MA - NOVEMBER 29:  Mark Herzlich #94 of the Boston College Eagles tries to get the crowd going in the third quarter against the Maryland Terrapins on November 29, 2008 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Boston College defeated Maryland 28-21.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Mark Herzlich has a tough task, facing N.C. State's Russell Wilson today

The most intriguing player to watch this weekend is Boston College’s Mark Herzlich. One of the biggest questions I have about Herzlich is his athleticism. He’s facing N.C. State’s Russell Wilson today, possibly the most athletic quarterback in the ACC. It will be interesting to see how he fares.

I’m also excited to see Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell against Ohio State. Chappell is having an impressive season despite not having much talent around him, but Ohio State will be his toughest test of the season. He’ll be under pressure consistently, and how he holds up will go a long way towards determining his draft stock.

Christian Ponder is another quarterback to watch today. He won’t get tested often in the ACC this year, and facing Miami on the road will be one of his toughest tests. Miami has a talented secondary which could give Ponder trouble.

Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins is another defense player to keep an eye on. Jenkins is Florida’s top cornerback, but LSU’s top receiver Terrence Toliver is five inches taller and far more physical than Jenkins. It will be interesting to see if the Gators assign Jenkins to Toliver. If they don’t, it will be a telling sign about how the coaching staff feels about his ability to face true No. 1 receivers. Jenkins lack of physical play is the biggest knock against him.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off

NFL Draft Stock Watch

Nate Solder – OT – Colorado
Solder’s stock is in free fall after getting beat like a drum against Cal this past weekend. Solder, who is 6’8″, simply lacked the athleticism to keep pace with Cal’s speed rushers. His footwork was slow and he had trouble staying low enough to get his hands into their bodies. He entered the season as my top-rated offensive tackle – mainly because it’s a pretty weak group – but it’s unlikely he’ll remain in that top spot when I update the list.

Terrence Toliver – WR – LSU
Toliver entered the year as the top senior receiver (not that that title means much considering the mass exodus last year) but he hasn’t been a factor so far this season. He has just six receptions for 47 yards and doesn’t appear to be a big part of LSU’s game plan on offense.

Christian Ponder – QB – Florida State
Potential 1st-round picks rarely have a performance like Ponder’s against Oklahoma. He completed just 39.3 percent of his passes while throwing two interceptions. Oklahoma may have the best defense he’ll face all season, so this game will definitely stick in the mind of scouts.

Daniel Thomas – RB – Kansas State
Thomas is in the mix to be the first running back off the board in this year’s draft, and he’s already making his case. He’s racked up nearly 400 yards on the ground this season, including 234 against a respectable UCLA defense. On 49 attempts against UCLA and Missouri State he’s averaging 7.6 yards per carry.

Kendall Hunter – RB – Oklahoma State
Hunter leads all running backs in rushing yards this season (but trails Denard Robinson overall). He rushed for over 250 yards against Washington State and followed it up with 157 against Troy. Safe to say he’ll face some tougher defenses in the Big 12, but it’s still a nice start for Hunter.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off