Similar to Ryan Mallett and Colin Kaepernick, Florida State’s Christian Ponder is another quarterback who was once projected as a second-round pick but as we approach next week’s draft, could hear his name called at the end of the first round.
In Peter King’s recent foray into the mad science of mock drafting, the veteran journalist has the Titans actually trading up to New England’s #28 spot and taking a chance on Ponder. According to King, the Titans won’t have the luxury of waiting for a quality signal-caller to fall into their laps at pick #39, so instead, they’ll be proactive and trade up to grab Ponder.
Let’s take a look at whether or not drafting the former Seminole QB is something the Tennessee Titans should “Ponder” next week.
Why the Titans should draft him
Ponder certainly has some traits that make him an appealing option for the Titans in their search for a quarterback to groom as a future starter.
He has decent size (6’3″, 230 lbs) and is above average in several key QB categories. He’s pretty accurate, has solid zip on underneath passes and throws an effective deep ball. Ponder is also very mobile and is considered as a highly-intelligent QB who is willing to do what it takes in terms of film study and preparation.
Ponder, who also has the experience of playing in a pro-style offense at Florida State, has been a fast riser on draft boards thanks to an impressive pre-draft performance, highlighted by him earning MVP during the Senior Bowl.
Why the Titans should pass
Some recent arm injuries initially had a huge effect on Ponder’s draft stock but he checked out well during the Combine and his Pro Day, so the concerns regarding the strength of his cannon have been alleviated a bit. However, whether fair or unfair, Ponder may have a tough time shaking the “injury prone” label.
Gazing upon his scouting reports, Ponder’s also been criticized for his inability to effectively read defenses. Like many other young QBs, on too many occasions, he stares down his primary target without looking off his defender. Of course, with proper coaching, this is a trait that can be fixed but at this point, it’s certainly a one of the few red flags associated with Ponder’s future as a pro.
Ponder has an interesting skill-set that will make him an appealing commodity for the many QB starved teams searcing for a signal-caller in this year’s draft.
However, thanks to greater upside (IMO) I’d rather see the Titans (if possible) take a chance on Kaepernick or perhaps Mallett instead of drafting Ponder.