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Posted at 02:18 PM ET, 05/03/2011

What to make of the quarterback class of 2011

Last week I wrote about the quarterbacks available in the NFL draft class of 2011, and I came away unimpressed. While as many as eight teams were thinking about a quarterback, it turned out that only four quarterbacks were drafted in the first round. But two teams were quick to grab two more at the top of the second round, bringing the final total to six quarterbacks drafted in the first 36 picks. While my opinion of these quarterbacks hasn’t changed in the last week, their situations might have improved depending on which team drafted them. I’ll start by looking at the top three quarterbacks who all have question marks on whether they’ll have the accuracy to succeed in the NFL.

It was no surprise that the Carolina Panthers selected Cam Newton first overall. It’s not clear he’ll be the starter because he has to beat out second-year quarterback Jimmy Clausen, but despite being the Panthers’ top pick in 2010, Clausen will have an uphill battle in holding off Newton due in large part to his awful 58.4 quarterback rating last season. But Clausen has already said he won't let Newton have his jersey number, and it symbolically shows he won’t give up his spot without a fight. In a recent interview, Newton came across angry, and I’m not sure that’s what they want with their starting quarterback. But my biggest concern remains his accuracy. He didn’t show me in college that he’ll have the accuracy to succeed in the NFL.

Surprise! The second quarterback selected was Jake Locker, and he was drafted by the Tennessee Titans. Even he was slightly surprised by their selection. The Titans certainly need a quarterback because their owner said that former franchise quarterback Vince Young will not return next season. Locker surprised scouts with his accuracy at the NFL combine and at his pro day, but he didn’t show that same accuracy in college games. Instead of having some time to develop behind an established starter, he’ll probably be forced to start sooner rather than later. He’s a talented player, but this doesn’t seem like the best scenario for him.

Speaking of development time, the Jacksonville Jaguars again surprised most everyone when they traded up to for QB Blaine Gabbert. Accuracy is an issue for him as he struggled to complete even 30 percent of his passes of over 15 yards, and he’ll have to adjust from the spread offense he played in college. A big advantage for him is that they won’t have to rush him along because David Garrard remains on the roster, and appears likely to remain the starter in the short term.

By Brandon Benson  |  02:18 PM ET, 05/03/2011

Tags:  NFL draft, Brandon Benson

 
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