TALLAHASSEE FL - NOVEMBER 27: Christian Ponder #7 of the Florida State Seminoles throws for a first down during a game against the Florida Gators at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 27 2010 in Tallahassee Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
From looking around these vast interwebs this morning/early afternoon, many "experts" seem to have the Minnesota Vikings' selection of Christian Ponder classified as a "surprise" or a "reach" or some other similar term.
To such judgments, I say "nonsense." Why don't you let the guy get onto the field first?
Seriously, I can't stand the "experts" attempting to "grade" a draft pick less than 24 hours after it has taken place. Is it possible that Christian Ponder will be a flop in the National Football League? Of course it's possible. It's possible that "can't miss" prospects like Patrick Peterson, Marcell Dareus, and Von Miller will be flops in the National Football League, too. . .but you won't hear anybody say that.
You know what all these same people that are deriding the Vikings' pick now would be saying had the Vikings passed on Ponder at #12? They'd be saying, "Hey, why didn't the Vikings take a quarterback at #12?" Haters simply have to hate, I guess.
Don't get me wrong. . .I made my preference for a quarterback known yesterday when I talked about Andy Dalton. But, really, I don't see a damn thing wrong with the selection of Christian Ponder at this point in time. The guy played in a pro-style system at Florida State, he's obviously highly intelligent, so the volume of an NFL playbook won't be too much for him. This analysis of him from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel pretty well sums him up (well, it's a long summary, but I'm just going to go to the last couple of paragraphs). They're looking at him from a Dolphins writer/fans perspective, as they were scouting him for the Dolphins' #15 pick. . .hence the Dolphins references.
Is he a good fit for the Dolphins, and is he worth the 15th pick in the draft? The answer to both questions in my mind is yes. Personally, I could see this regime viewing Ponder as being somewhere between Chad Henne and Chad Pennington. Ponder displays good anticipation and touch for the most part, is a respected leader and has an underrated arm, capable of squeezing the ball into tight spaces. The former Seminole is athletic, proving to be a legitimate threat to gain yardage with his legs, which if we are to believe reports of Sparano’s "Big Play" fact finding mission is a prime ingredient in such plays.
He’s a player that will tick many of the boxes Jeff Ireland and company reportedly look for in quarterbacks. Ponder is a hardworking, intelligent player (he received his Bachelor’s Degree after 2.5 years) who has won 24 games during his tenure and shown improvement every year of his tenure in Tallahassee.
The Miami Dolphins have to improve at several positions, quarterback being one of them. If the selection were left up to me, Ponder’s name would already be rolling off of Roger Goodell’s tongue. I doubt Miami could trade down into the mid-twenties of the first round and still expect to see him on the board. There are simply too many teams looking for quarterbacks this offseason, especially those who do not carry some of the question marks attached to other highly rated prospects at the position.
All of three of us are in agreement that he’s a very solid prospect, with good upside, great character and the ability to start quickly for an NFL franchise. Whether that franchise is the Miami Dolphins remains to be seen.
To take a quote that I've used on more than one occasion from American nuclear energy mogul C. Montgomery Burns. . .I know what I hate.
And I don't hate this.
But before we start declaring him to be a reach. . .how about we let him, you know, play a game or two first, huh?