First off I have to tell you all that I am a huge Titan/Oilers fan. Have been since Warren Moon joined the team.
When Jake Locker was chosen by the Titans this year it came as a shock to many of the so-called experts covering the draft. After all, he was not supposed to go so high. They told us he is way too inaccurate to be a good NFL QB. The so-called experts also told us the Titans could have traded down to get him. After all, the mock drafts had Locker going in the late first round.
The so-called experts got it wrong. First off, the Titans could not have traded down to get him. The Vikings would have taken him with the 12th pick. Second, if Locker turns out to be good then he was worth the 8th pick. If Locker turns out not to be good then he would not be worth a late first round pick.
Now, when they tell you Locker is inaccurate they are not exactly right either. Jake Locker had a low completion percentage in college. Which is not the same as accuracy. Had the so-called experts bothered to watch Locker play, instead of just look at his stats, they would see the two main contributors to his low completion percentage were receivers who could not get open and poor protection. You could be the second coming of Dan Marino or Peyton Manning and you would not have a good completion percentage without protection and receivers who get open.
What Locker does have is the talent, skills, athletic ability and most importantly the leadership ability to be a franchise QB. I see Locker as another Steve McNair or Mark Brunelle. Someone who will never be the number one fantasy QB but a guy who will find ways to win you games, one way or another. That being said, .let us take a look at some other rookie QBs.
Cam Newton -- Almost everything about Cam Newton says "Vince Young" to me. Actually, I think he will be worse than Young. Newton has a better throwing motion than Young but that is really the only area he is better. Young was far more polished coming out college. He played in an offense that was closer to the NFL. An offense where he had to make multiple reads. Newton played in an offense where he was asked to make one read then run. Newton is coming off as a bit of a diva who wants to be a celebrity. At the very least he probably will not be another JaMarcus Russell.
Blaine Gabbert -- Played in a real easy offense that made him look good. Still though, I think he will be okay. At the very least he should be able to rise to the level of Alex Smith. He possibly could be another Philip Rivers with a lot of work. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts to making NFL throws. For those of you who do not follow college ball, Gabbert played in an offense that almost always was run out of the shotgun and asked him to make short throws while playing in sets with multiple wide receivers.
Christian Ponder -- I really like Ponder. He is probably the safest of all the rookie QBs. He has experience, played in a pro-style offense, is very accurate, good character and is a good leader. For all these reasons he moved to the mid-first round when he was thought to be a second round talent. So why was he the fourth QB taken. Two answers: limited upside and injury history. While his has an accurate arm it is not a strong arm. His athletic ability is nothing special either. The injury history speaks for itself. He missed a lot of time in college. Expect Ponder to be another Chad Pennington. A solid QB who is accurate with below average arm strength and misses time.
We are moving into the mid-round QBs. To avoid repeating myself I encourage you all to read my post on first round QBs vs. mid round QBs.
Andy Dalton: Boy were some NFL writers in love with this guy. That big goofy smile, always says the right thing, good leader, decent accuracy. Trouble is he is another one of those spread QB wonders, has a weak arm and lead feet. Andy Dalton has the makings of a solid career backup.
Colin Kapernick: Oh wow, did someone really take him this high? Another RB/WR who played QB. Do yourself a favor kid and switch positions.
Ryan Mallett: If he was in a draft 15 to 20 years ago he would be the first guy taken. So tall, so strong, great arm, played in a pro-style offense in the ultra-competitive SEC. Still though, he reminds me a lot of that sharp looking sports car, with low mileage and a big engine you see at an unbelievably low price sitting on some small corner used car lot. Your heart wants it so bad but your head tells you it will probably be nothing but trouble. Mallett's character issues are what drove him to the third round. That and the fact he is about as slow and nimble as a house boat. He is a wigger (look it up if you do not know what a wigger is) which will not help him gain respect in an NFL locker room. Still, if he can get his head on strait, smarten up and apply himself then he could become another Drew Bledsoe or Kerry Collins.