Notes on Ponder: A Timeline

I have been aggregating notes from around the internet on the top prospect quarterbacks in the draft since January, in preparation of sharing them all with you after we chose one of them. Here are my notes on Ponder. Hopefully it will give you a snapshot of the progression of how he has been viewed since January. The date of the note is  in the left-hand column.

Keep in mind that you can find an opinion to back any argument. Haters are going to find things that reinforces their vewpoint, and believers will be able to find things that reinforces their vewpoint too. The important thing is to not put too much weight on any one opinion, but to take everything together and form a general view of how good Ponder might turn out to be.



Ponder appears to be a mid-round prospect that is a leader, a guy you want on your team, but never want to have the game in his hands. Ponder had a weak arm before multiple arm surgeries and doesn't look as accurate as his hype.



Christian Ponder has raised a lot of flags the last couple of days despite having some obvious strengths. The biggest issue is his delivery--he throws with his arm and elbow much more than anyone else here. It’s no wonder he has had elbow troubles and if he doesn’t change his fundamental throwing motion he always will. The accuracy is strong and he doesn’t lack zip, however; he probably has the biggest gun here despite the arm-y throwing style. I am also concerned at how quickly he makes decisions. There have been several instances where he took an extra half-second to process what he was seeing and it let the defender make up enough ground to make a play, when if Ponder would have been quicker he would have had a nice completion. On Tuesday he was a count late to see a wide open Preston Dial down the field and gave Ahmad Black enough time to read and recover. There was a play today where he missed seeing Anthony Allen (GT RB) alone in the flat (both the safety and LB sucked to the TE) and forced a ball down the field. I watched him after he threw it and he immediately saw Allen and just nodded. But he made a great throw on a bootleg where the defense took away his TE and he fired a ball on the dead run into a tight spot. He’s got decision-makers firmly divided in opinion as well--one longtime NFL QB standing within earshot was gushing about him and thinks he’s the best QB here, but another NFL alum QB thinks he won’t last 3 years with his throwing style. The health concerns are weighing higher on my mind than before. 



In a Wednesday conference call, ESPN's Mel Kiper described Florida State QB Christian Ponder as "a poor man's Chad Pennington." He's like Pennington right down to the arm surgeries. Kiper described Ponder as "super smart" but with an "average arm" and confirmed his "stock has slipped a bit." Ponder has been informed that he'd fit best in a West Coast system, which often is a nice way of saying a quarterback has a weak arm.



Florida State QB Christian Ponder was named the MVP of Saturday afternoon's Senior Bowl. Leading the South's 24-10 win, Ponder completed 7-of-13 passes for 131 yards and two TDs. He didn't display great touch, but moved very well and certainly looked like he could play at the next level. However, word all week was that he is a West Coast-only quarterback, meaning Ponder lacks the arm strength to succeed in every type of system. He's shaping up as a day-two prospect.



How Senior Bowl MVP Christian Ponder fares on his Combine medical could go a long way toward determining where he goes in the draft. Ponder experienced multiple shoulder and elbow injuries at Florida State, and is going to have to prove he's not a long-term health risk for any team to gamble on him in the second or third round. Even if his arm is not the strongest, Ponder has the tools to succeed in the NFL if he can stay healthy.



After falling out of the limelight following an injury-plagued senior season, Ponder has re-entered the conversation following his solid week at the Senior Bowl. He is a classic drop-back passer, but has good mobility and athleticism within the pocket. He displays good set-up quickness when working off conventional three-, five- and seven-step drops, and routinely delivers the ball on time. As a passer, he demonstrates arm strength and touch on intermediate and deep throws. He also shows good awareness and anticipation when leading receivers into open windows. With the majority of pro offenses employing some form of a West Coast system, Ponder will experience a late surge in his stock when coaches take a closer look at the game tape. If he checks out medically, expect to see Ponder drafted sooner than anticipated.


Florida State QB Christian Ponder has shifted gears and now plans to throw at the NFL Combine. Ponder originally intended to ride his Senior Bowl MVP past the Combine, but with so many quarterbacks now planning to throw in Indy, he's made a commendable choice. The only high-profile QB not throwing is Blaine Gabbert. Cam Newton, Ricky Stanzi, Colin Kaepernick, and Jake Locker are all full-go. 


Florida State QB Christian Ponder revealed that he spent three hours under an MRI machine as part of his Combine medical check. Ponder's numerous throwing arm surgeries are the biggest concern for his stock. He's stayed healthy since the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but is among the greatest injury risks in the draft. Ponder projects as a second-day prospect. 


Florida State QB Christian Ponder was the "consensus top performer" in Sunday's Combine drills. It's a good thing Ponder changed his mind about throwing at the Combine. Though Ponder's motion does require effort, he showed the best combination of accuracy and arm strength among Sunday's throwers. Ponder remains an injury risk, but he's now aced both the Senior Bowl and the Combine as a potential second-round pick. 


Christian Ponder of Florida State hurt himself in my opinion after watching him throw on Sunday. He’s already had numerous arm troubles, and as I mentioned at the Senior Bowl it’s quite easy to see why. But when you watch Ponder throw with all the other QBs in succession, it gets magnified even further--he throws completely flat-footed, which means the entire throwing motion goes through his shoulder and elbow. It’s fine when he can set up squarely with his target, but if he has to throw on the move or loses his primary read without time to reset his stance, he’s putting a tremendous amount of stress and unnatural tension on his arm. It’s a shame because I really like Ponder’s West Coast-style accuracy and his intangibles, but if I’m a GM I cannot justify a high pick on a guy with such a glaring injury risk.


The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy writes that Florida State QB Christian Ponder "appears at this time to be the most ready to step in and succeed in (Bengals OC Jay) Gruden’s system." Ponder put on a show in Combine drills Sunday, showing off tremendous accuracy and solid arm strength. Though Ryan Mallett has better physical tools, Reedy thinks he would have been a better fit had Bob Bratkowski's downfield passing game stayed intact. Ponder is a better fit in the West Coast offense. The Bengals are likely to target a quarterback at the beginning of the second round. 


According to CBS Sports' Rob Rang, Florida State QB Christian Ponder is "generating ... first-round buzz" after an impressive Combine. Multiple accounts claimed that Ponder was the best, most accurate passer in Indy, and Rang passes along growing belief that five quarterbacks could be drafted in the top-32 picks. Along with Ponder, they would be Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Mallett, and Jake Locker. Per Rang, Ponder is now "viewed by some as the top true West Coast Offense quarterback in the draft." 


NFL Network's Mike Mayock believes that Florida State QB Christian Ponder could "sneak into the first round" after an impressive offseason. Ponder was the MVP of the Senior Bowl, then was widely considered the best passer in Scouting Combine drills. We have Ponder mocked to the Jaguars at No. 16 overall, so we don't find it surprising that he might ultimately be a mid to late first-round pick. Worth noting: Wes Bunting of the National Football Post has Ponder ranked as the No. 1 overall quarterback in the draft. 


Florida State QB Christian Ponder will be a real possibility for the Seahawks at No. 25 in the draft. Ponder is now going higher than that in some mock drafts, so there's a chance he'll already be off the board when Seattle is choosing. He doesn't have a cannon for an arm, but does have supreme accuracy, and would likely be a great fit in new OC Darrell Bevell's traditional West Coast offense. 


Florida State QB Christian Ponder "continues to ascend" after showing off "above average arm strength" and "excellent footwork" at the Seminoles' Pro Day, according to NFL Network's Mike Mayock. Mayock's colleague, Michael Lombardi, indicated that many teams now prefer Ponder to Jake Locker. We assume those are West Coast teams, as Ponder's pass placement and athleticism are considered tailor made for the system. Ponder proved his arm was back to full strength, nailing his selection of deep throws Wednesday. Despite an underwhelming college career, Ponder is now seen as the most NFL ready QB in the draft. 


According to Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki, NFL talent evaluators are "increasingly" comparing Christian Ponder to Trent Edwards for his lack of elite ability and proneness to injury. Edwards has been injured in some way (except 2010, as a backup) every year dating back to high school, while Ponder had three throwing-arm surgeries in his final two years at FSU. Nawrocki calls both QBs "inconsistent decision makers" as well. We don't love Ponder as a prospect, but still think he'll go high in the draft. He's a likely mid to late first-round pick. 

4/7 According to Profootballtalk, Florida State QB Christian Ponder has not been asked to return to Indianapolis for a medical re-check this week. Ponder is listed on's list of players who were expected to be re-examined, but doctors are apparently comfortable with his health. Ponder has been throwing well on the workout circuit after three throwing-arm surgeries in his final two years at Florida State. 

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.

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