This is a response to our 2011 dynasty rookie quarterback rankings, where I was the odd man out when it came to Christian Ponder opinions.
We all have our own opinions. Mine: Ponder will be the bust of the 2011 NFL Draft. I wouldn’t pick Ponder for your fantasy team even if he bribed me with a six-pack of tasty Dogfish Head IPA.
Let me tell you why.
He played for Florida State University. It’s not very deep or insightful, but that is one school that has a terrible track record for developing quarterbacks that can perform in the NFL.
Check out these names, several you might recognize:
- Bill Cappleman
- Gary Huff
- Danny McManus
- Peter Tom Willis
- Brad Johnson
- Casey Weldon
- Danny Kanell
- Chris Weinke
- Adrian McPherson
That’s a list of every FSU quarterback selected in the draft since 1960. Remember the success Weinke, Kanell and Weldon had in college? Those were the FSU dynasty years. Remember what they did in the pros?
You could argue that McPherson was never really a top-level prospect. But don’t forget Weinke won the Heisman, the Johnny Unitas and the Davey O’Brien. He was a legit pro prospect who still owns most of the school’s passing records. He started in the NFL as a rookie. The Seminoles’ other Heisman-winning quarterback, Charlie Ward, didn’t even attempt to play in the NFL, opting for the NBA instead.
Weldon was a Heisman runner-up to Desmond Howard. Kanell still owns the school record in career TD passes. (NOTE: I couldn’t find any career statistical leaders for FSU. This is patchwork info from Wikipedia, the Chicago Tribune and other resources.)
Willis was drafted at least 39 picks higher than Weinke, Weldon or Kanell.
The only FSU-to-NFL quarterback worth talking about in the last 51 years is Johnson. Nobody’s going to be talking about him a decade from now, but he was a complete surprise, picked 227th overall in the ninth round. There isn’t even a ninth round anymore.
Ponder is the only first-round pick of the bunch. But if you’re going to bring that argument I’ve got a few hundred Tim Couch, Akili Smith and Ryan Leaf rookie cards I’ll sell you at a huge discount.
I don’t watch much Florida State or ACC football. I don’t know if the problem is their scheme. I don’t know if it’s the defenses they face. I don’t know if it’s the program itself. I do know the Seminoles have a track record for developing QB prospects that are NFL backups at best.
Bobby Bowden left after the 2009 season, but Ponder is still a product of the Bobby Bowden-led program. It will take a few years before we see non-Bowden players.
I hope Ponder ends the streak of poor FSU contributions to the NFL QB gene pool, but “hope” is not enough for me on fantasy football draft day.
I’d rather roll the dice on an extremely talented (Cam Newton) or cerebral (Blaine Gabbert) player if I’m picking early. Ponder is a Chad Pennington-armed, turnover-prone signal-caller from a school with a poor reputation for developing NFL quarterbacks.
A lot of people call Ponder the most NFL-ready quarterback in the draft. That’s what everyone said about Jimmy Clausen in 2010.
Disagree? We have comments for that
What did I get right? What is wrong? Would the Vikings have drafted Ponder if they knew he was going to break up with his girlfriend? You’re not going to convince me to pick him — only Ponder’s play on the field will do that — but all opinions are valid and welcome.