The NFL Draft preparation is in full swing and now it is time to rate each position. The NFL Draft prospects at quarterback are thin when it comes to NFL talent at the most important position. Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton is a great athletic talent but over the years that has not translated into a great NFL quarterback. Where does Cam Newton rank? Let the debate begin as the NFL Combine quickly approaches.
No. 10. Pat Devlin: Delaware Blue Hens
Pat Devlin is not a typical Division I NCAA quarterback. He transferred to Delaware after leaving Penn State for a lack of playing time. Devlin has good mechanics that can carry over to the next level along with the ability to avoid the rush under pressure. Playing with Delaware has been a positive experience for Devlin and there is no substitute for winning. Look for Devlin to go to a good team late in the fourth or fifth round of the NFL Draft.
No.9. Case Keenum: Houston Cougars
Case Keenum was the most prolific college quarterback in his first three seasons but an injury this season has dropped him in many NFL Draft rankings. One NFL team will benefit from the drop of Keenum by picking him up with a late fourth or fifth round NFL Draft pick. Keenum threw for 5,671 yards in 2009 and also threw 44 touchdown passes in consecutive seasons before his injury in 2010. Keenum’s ACL injury will force many NFL teams to lower him on their board also.
No.8. Jerrod Johnson: Texas A&M Aggies
The 6′ 4″ Jerrod Johnson measures up to NFL standards for a quarterback and he has the potential to make a roster based on his talent. Johnson is durable and he is a solid quarterback worthy of a fourth or fifth round NFL Draft pick. Johnson has a good chance to find himself as a number three NFL quarterback in September.
No.7. Cam Newton: Auburn Tigers
In a perfect world Cam Newton would go back to Auburn and play one more season before coming out in the NFL Draft this spring. Unfortunately for Newton he may face suspension if he returns to Auburn and this will force him to jump to the NFL one year before he is ready.
Newton is the most talented athlete among the top ten quarterbacks but he still is in need of seasoning. Newton did lead the ten best quarterbacks in passer rating with a 182 passer rating. He had 30 passing touchdowns and 2,854 yards passing. If Newton can swing it he is better off playing one more year with Auburn.
No.6. Ricky Stanzi: Iowa Hawkeyes
Ricky Stanzi matured this season with the Iowa Hawkeyes. His accuracy increased and he had a much better touchdowns to interceptions ratio. Stanzi threw 25 touchdowns and 6 interceptions this season. Stanzi struggled in the win department this season dropping his last three games as a starting quarterback in the regular season. He won his last college bowl game over another great college quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Stanzi will start his career as a number three quarterback when he is is taken in the NFL Draft by a top ten NFL team.
No.5. Ryan Mallett: Arkansas Razorbacks
Ryan Mallet has the size of a great NFL quarterback and the arm but his mobility in the pocket may be his downfall at the NFL Combine. Among the top ten NFL quarterback draft prospects Mallett has thrown for the most yards in 2010 and has shown he is worthy of being eligible for the draft.
Mallett will have to overcome some obvious deficiencies once he is flushed out of the pocket. The book on Mallett is to dial up the pressure and let him force the ball. Mallett threw 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season. Look for Mallett to move on NFL Draft day and he may end up going as soon as the second round if an NFL team is enamored with him at the NFL Combine.
No.4. Jake Locker: Washington Huskies
Jake Locker has intangibles that may never be realized in the NFL but he is a talent that cannot be ignored. Locker’s numbers pale in comparison to the top five quarterbacks in the NFL Draft but he knows how to run a pro style offense and he is an agile and mobile quarterback that is not afraid to run.
Jake Locker has the lowest passer rating among the top ten NFL Draft prospects at 124 and his passing yardage of 2,265 yards is second lowest among the prospects. Locker threw only 17 touchdowns in 2010 and 9 interceptions which does not make him jump out as a top five quarterback and the NFL team that drafts him will be crossing their fingers hoping their scouts are right.
No.3. Colin Kaepernick: Nevada Wolfpack
Colin Keapernick is on par with Cam Newton and he will be more willing to assume the Brad Smith role with a team that takes him early in the NFL Draft. This makes him much more valuable than Newton who will resist a Brad Smith type role. Ranking Kaepernick third will bring the critics out of the woodwork.
The smart NFL team that lands the dangerous and athletic Kaepernick will have a multi-purpose player that will hit the field in his first season and produce. Kaepernick passed for 3,022 yards and 21 touchdowns while rushing for 21 more touchdowns. He is the total package.
No.2. Andy Dalton: TCU Horned Frogs
Andy Dalton is a winner and in his last two seasons with TCU he lost one game to the Boise State Broncos. Dalton is a smart quarterback that can manage a game and is a perfect fit for a team with a veteran quarterback and strong running game.
Dalton has two issues that will be tough to overcome with NFL Draft analysts. The first is his height. At 6’1″ Dalton’s size will make it tough to see the entire field. The second issue for Dalton will be graduating to the speed of the NFL and learning to go through his check downs under pressure.
No.1. Blaine Gabbert: Missouri Tigers
Mel Kiper is high on Blaine Gabbert of the Missouri Tigers now that Andrew Luck has decided to stay at Stanford. Everyone loves what they have watched last and Blaine Gabberts amazing 434 yard passing performance in a losing cause caught the eye of all the NFL Draft analysts.
Gabbert is another NFL prospect that has a major publicity machine behind him and Mel Kiper is tooting his horn full steam. Gabbert is a quarterback in a pro style offense but he has not set the world on fire as a proficient passer.
The NFL scouts are banking on Gabbert’s arm strength, mobility in the pocket and his pocket awareness under pressure. Intangibles that he does possess. Gabbert will be a first round NFL Draft choice but he may drop on boards after the NFL Combine. Gabbert will be a back up or third string quarterback in his rookie season.
More from Yahoo Contributor Network:
NFL Draft 2011: Ten Best NFL Wide Receiver Draft Prospects
NFL Draft 2011: Ten Best NFL Running Back Draft Prospects
Tiger Woods & Andrew Luck: Decision to Stay at Stanford Crossroads for Both
NFL Divisonal Playoffs: Las Vegas Line & Picks Against the Spread All 4 Games
Odds to Win the 2011 NFL Super Bowl