NFL Nation: Pat Devlin

Projecting Dolphins' Week 3 inactives

September, 21, 2013
The Miami Dolphins will try to improve to 3-0 Sunday when they host the Atlanta Falcons (1-1).

Here is a list of Dolphins you may not see at Sun Life Stadium:

Defensive tackle Paul Soliai and cornerback Dimitri Patterson: Both defensive starters have been ruled out. Soliai has a knee injury and Patterson has a groin injury.

Quarterback Pat Devlin: Miami’s emergency quarterback is getting healthy again following an ankle injury. He’s listed as questionable. But considering quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore will be active, Devlin can afford to rest another week.

Running back Mike Gillislee: The Dolphins’ third running back was inactive in the first two games, and I don’t see that changing. Miami finally showed signs of running the football with Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas in Week 2 against the Indianapolis Colts.

Linebacker Josh Kaddu: Miami hasn’t been able to find him a spot on game days. Other backup linebackers contribute on special teams.

Guard Dallas Thomas: The rookie third-round pick is still green and hasn’t earned the trust of the coaching staff. With Miami’s offensive line in good health, chances are he sits out another week.

Cornerback Jamar Taylor: Miami’s second-round pick is finally ready to return from a groin injury. But Taylor can use another week of rehab and practice to shake the rust. Taylor hasn’t played since the preseason.
The Miami Dolphins will face the Cleveland Browns in their regular-season opener on Sunday. Here is a preview of players you may not see based on this week’s practices:

QB Pat Devlin, CB Will Davis, CB Jamar Taylor: All three players are ruled out on Miami’s final injury report. They missed every practice this week.

RB Mike Gillislee: Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas will get a majority of the carries. Miami needs a fullback (Tyler Clutts) on the active roster for certain formations as well. Gillislee could be the odd man out.

TE Michael Egnew: He brings no value on special teams and is a backup behind Charles Clay. Egnew’s lack of blocking also puts him behind rookie tight end Dion Sims.

OT Will Yeatman: Miami has nine offensive lineman, and Yeatman could get the short end of the stick on game day.

LB Josh Kaddu: He’s a backup linebacker, and fellow backups Jason Trusnik and Jelani Jenkins play special teams.

DB Don Jones: The Dolphins are thin at defensive back, but Jones is on the back end of the depth chart.

Dolphins-Browns final injury report

September, 6, 2013
The practices are over for the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns, who will face off in Week 1.

Here is the final injury report for both teams:


Out: CB Will Davis (toe), CB Jamar Taylor (groin), QB Pat Devlin (ankle)

Questionable: CB Dimitri Patterson (ankle)

Probable: LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder), DE Dion Jordan (shoulder), DE Vaughn Martin (ankle), TE Dion Sims (groin), S Jimmy Wilson (hamstring)

Injury analysis: As expected, the Dolphins will be without rookie cornerbacks Taylor and Davis. Both missed practice the entire week. This impacts depth in the secondary and special teams. Nolan Carroll will play a huge role as Miami's third cornerback, and Cleveland's offense could try to target him on Sunday. Patterson is questionable, but he's expected to play. The Dolphins definitely need him. Jordan will make his NFL debut Sunday after battling back from a shoulder injury. Look for Jordan to play in pass-rushing downs and on special teams.


Out: LB Barkevious Mingo (lung), G Shawn Lauvao (ankle)

Questionable: DL Ahtyba Rubin (calf), DB Buster Skrine (shoulder)

Probable: WR Davone Bess (knee), DL Desmond Bryant (back), TE Jordan Cameron (groin), LB Eric Martin (foot), DB Chris Owens (foot), LB Jabaal Sheard (illness)

Injury analysis: Unlike the Dolphins, Cleveland will be without its first-round pick. Mingo injured his lung in the preseason and won’t make it back for Week 1. Rubin and Skrine are two recent injuries that could have a heavy impact on Cleveland’s defense. Both are questionable. Otherwise, Cleveland and Miami are healthy entering Week 1.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins are putting the finishing touches on their preparation for the regular-season opener against the Cleveland Browns. Miami had a walkthrough practice in shorts before the team travels to Cleveland this weekend.

Here are some notes from Friday's practice:
  • The only absence was third-string quarterback Pat Devlin, who has an ankle injury. Devlin hasn’t practiced all week, and it appears the Dolphins are comfortable going into Sunday's game with two quarterbacks. Miami starter Ryan Tannehill and backup Matt Moore got a lot of reps in practice this week without a third player available.
  • Miami also is expected to be without rookie cornerbacks Will Davis (toe) and Jamar Taylor (groin). Both players rehabbed and worked with trainers in the portion of practice open to the media. Neither Davis nor Taylor practiced all week. So it’s safe to assume they won’t be available for Sunday’s game. Miami will release its final injury report with the official status designations Friday evening.
  • It’s interesting to see the amount of starters and key contributors Miami has working on special teams. Starting tight end Charles Clay, cornerback Brent Grimes, No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan and starting safeties Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons are all working on various special teams. We won't know for sure which starters will play in the third phase until Sunday. But it’s clear Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin is taking special teams very serious, even if it's an additional injury risk involved with key players.
  • Dolphins starting cornerback Dimitri Patterson suffered an ankle injury in practice this week, but it’s not serious. Patterson hasn’t missed a practice and participated in team drills in Friday's portion of practice open to the media. The difference was Patterson wore a protective sleeve in Friday’s walkthrough.
DAVIE, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins had an important Wednesday practice in preparation for the Cleveland Browns.

Here are some notes and observations from Miami’s session:
  • Third-string quarterback Pat Devlin remained out of practice with an undisclosed injury. The last we saw of Devlin was in the preseason finale against New Orleans. Devlin made the 53-man roster but hasn't practiced since. The Dolphins must release their first injury report of the season later this evening to clarify Devlin's situation.
  • Also on the injury front, rookie cornerbacks Jamar Taylor and Will Davis did not practice, instead continuing to work with trainers. Both rookies have missed every practice this week, and it seems unlikely either will play Sunday against the Browns. Long-snapper John Denney also returned to practice.
  • No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan fully participated in practice and appears all set to play Sunday. Jordan also is getting work on special teams this week. Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said in a conference call that Cleveland is preparing this week for the rookie to play.
  • Finally, I've been monitoring the progress this week of Miami’s two newcomers: fullback Tyler Clutts and guard Danny Watkins. Both are trying to pick up a new offensive system. One early impression is that Clutts has caught the ball well. Watkins has quick feet and appears to be moving well; he will be the backup behind starting guards John Jerry and Richie Incognito.

The Dolphins have an off day Thursday. The team will return to the practice field on Friday for a walk-through.

Miami Dolphins cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
Most significant move: The Dolphins had several tough decisions to make at the bottom of their roster. Perhaps the biggest call was whether to keep three quarterbacks -- and Miami opted Saturday to keep third-stringer Pat Devlin. Devlin played nearly all of Miami’s fifth preseason game against the New Orleans Saints and threw for 259 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Devlin showed some good and some bad, and it was just enough.

Several other bubble players didn't make the team. Wide receiver Marvin McNutt and defensive linemen Kheeston Randall and A.J. Francis were all in the running for the 53-man roster; all three are strong candidates for Miami’s practice squad. There's also the chance that any of the players cut will be scooped up by other teams. That probably explains why the Dolphins were the last NFL team to release their list of cuts Saturday night -- there had to be some gamesmanship involved.

Close calls: Several Dolphins who made the 53-man roster won't be able to rest easy. Cornerback R.J. Stanford, defensive back Don Jones, tight end Michael Egnew and offensive tackle Will Yeatman are among several bubble players who still have jobs.

For Egnew and Stanford in particular, injuries during the course of training camp and the preseason helped their case. The Dolphins might not be finished adding players this weekend, however.

What’s next: Like most teams, Miami will examine the waiver wires closely. Miami spent $200 million in free agency this offseason but is far from a perfect team. The Dolphins can use additional depth at positions such as offensive line, tight end and now wide receiver. By cutting McNutt and Chad Bumphis, the Dolphins only have four receivers on their roster. That will change soon. Miami runs a lot of three-receiver sets and needs more players at the position.

It’s also time for Miami to set its sights on a Week 1 road game against the Cleveland Browns. The Dolphins have playoff aspirations this season, but they must win their first road game to set the tone in 2013.

Dolphins cuts: G Chris Barker, C Sam Brenner, WR Chad Bumphis, WR Keenan Davis, DT A.J. Francis, RB Jonas Gray, S Keelan Johnson, S Jordan Kovacs, T Andrew McDonald, WR Marvin McNutt, TE Kyle Miller, DE Tristin Okpalaugo, CB Julian Posey, CB De’Andre Presley, DT Kheeston Randall, DT Tracy Robertson, LB Lee Robinson, LB Austin Spitler, WR Brian Tyms, OT Jeff Adams (waived/injured), QB Aaron Corp (waived/injured), LB Antwan Applewhite (terminated contract).

Observation deck: Dolphins-Saints

August, 29, 2013
MIAMI -- Rapid reaction from the Miami Dolphins' 24-21 victory over the New Orleans Saints at Sun Life Stadium in Thursday's preseason finale:

What it means: This game didn’t mean anything for key players. That is why Miami head coach Joe Philbin decided to sit quarterback Ryan Tannehill and a majority of Miami’s starters. It was mostly about preventing injuries, and the Dolphins accomplished that goal. Miami will enter the regular season mostly in good health.

Devlin showcase: Third-string quarterback Pat Devlin entered on the roster bubble, and got the start against New Orleans in what was essentially a showcase game. Devlin showed some good and some bad. He finished 22-of-38 passing for 259 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Dolphins will debate ahead of Saturday's deadline whether to keep Devlin on the 53-man roster.

Bubble performers: It was a good day for several Dolphins on the bubble. Two who particularly helped their standing were defensive lineman Vaughn Martin and safety Kelcie McCray. Martin recorded four tackles and was credited with a half-sack, while McCray had four tackles and stayed around the football. Receiver Marvin McNutt also had four receptions for 99 yards -- which included a 56-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter -- to most likely solidify a roster spot.

Tight-end development: Miami is still in search of a player to replace injured tight end Dustin Keller, who is out for the year with a knee injury. Rookie Dion Sims took a step in the right direction with four receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown. Charles Clay, who rested Thursday, is the most experienced backup tight end and the leader in the clubhouse. But Sims might be the most complete option with his blocking and catching. The rookie may also have the highest ceiling. Sims just needs to work on his consistency.

Cuts are coming: Miami must trim its roster to 53 players by Saturday evening. The Dolphins have 25 players to cut, and there will be several tough decisions to make the end of the roster.

What’s next: Now the real fun begins. The Dolphins will prepare over the next 10 days for their regular-season opener on Sept. 8 at the Cleveland Browns. It was a long preseason for the Dolphins. They were one of two teams to have five exhibition games. Miami hopes the extra work paid off.

What to Watch: Saints-Dolphins

August, 29, 2013
MIAMI – The Miami Dolphins will play their fifth and final preseason game Thursday against the visiting New Orleans Saints.

Here are three things to watch for the Dolphins:

1. Players on the bubble: Miami must make 25 roster cuts by Saturday evening to get down to the 53-man limit. Several key players to watch are defensive tackle A.J. Francis, third-string quarterback Pat Devlin and receivers Marvin McNutt and Chad Bumphis. Look for the bottom portion of the roster to get plenty of playing time. Shameless plug alert: I will do my roster projection Friday after the final preseason game.

2. Progression of tight ends: It was not a strong outing for Miami’s tight ends following the season-ending knee injury to starting tight end Dustin Keller. The Dolphins got just three catches and 34 yards from the position. New starter Charles Clay had just one reception for five yards -- though he was targeted six times by starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. This will be an important game for Miami’s tight ends to get reps in preparation for the regular season, even if Tannehill isn’t on the field. Let's see what more Clay, Michael Egnew, Kyle Miller and Dion Sims can do.

3. No injuries: To be blunt, there isn’t much for teams to gain in this final preseason game. The most important thing for the Dolphins is to exit without significant injuries. The real games start in about 10 days, when the Dolphins travel to face the Cleveland Browns. Miami head coach Joe Philbin has been coy about playing time for his starters. Some may play briefly, while others might not play at all. This is a game for backups and fringe players.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins are a full week into training camp, and I was in attendance for Day 7 to take in all the action.

Here are some notes and observations:
  • The stars of Sunday’s practice were Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake, who got a sack and blew up a running play behind the line of scrimmage in team drills, and backup quarterback Pat Devlin. Miami made a roster move to cut quarterback Aaron Corp. Therefore, Devlin got more reps and had his best practice of training camp. He threw touchdowns to receivers Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson. However, Devlin did throw a late interception to rookie cornerback Will Davis to end practice. Look for Devlin to play a lot in next week’s Hall of Fame Game.
  • Miami continued to experiment with its offensive line Sunday. Mike Pouncey was played at both center and right guard with the first team. Josh Samuda played center and left guard with the starters. Rookie guard Dallas Thomas got fewer reps with the starters.
  • Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill had his fourth straight day of practice without a turnover. Tannehill also threw a pair of touchdowns to receiver Brian Hartline and running back Marcus Thigpen in the corner of each end zone. After a slow start, Tannehill appears to have hit his stride in training camp.
  • Cornerback Dimitri Patterson worked with the first team for the second day in a row. Patterson has strung together three good practices in a row, and is ahead of Richard Marshall for the time being. Patterson has displayed good quickness and ball skills so far.
  • As we mentioned earlier, the Dolphins had their first fight of training camp. Defensive tackle Jared Odrick and Samuda got into a wrestling match after the whistle during 11-on-11 drills. They eventually patched things later in practice. You can read the full report of what happened here.
  • The Dolphins will play in Sun Life Stadium on Monday night for a team scrimmage. This will be a good opportunity for players to step up and impress the coaching staff.

AFC East quarterback allocation

March, 28, 2013
Quarterback is undoubtedly the most important position in the NFL. Teams are made and lost based on the success of their offensive leaders. We’ve seen that difference over and over again in the AFC East with Tom Brady, who kept the New England Patriots on top of the division for much of the past dozen years.

NFC West blogger Mike Sando provided this unique look at the quarterback position. He ranked all the teams’ quarterback situations based on the allocation of salary-cap money at that position.

Here is how much cap room AFC East teams are spending on the quarterback position in 2013:
A lot stands out with these figures. Obviously, something is very wrong with the Jets having the AFC East's most expensive quarterback situation. The Jets have a lot of quarterbacks. Mark Sanchez, David Garrard, Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy and Matt Simms are all under contract in 2013. All are highly questionable for various reasons, and there’s a good chance another quarterback will be thrown in the mix via the NFL draft. So expect a lot of change between now and September.

The Patriots are in good shape. They have Brady, Ryan Mallett and Mike Kafka tying up $15.2 million of the cap this year, but it's worth it. New England gets elite production out of Brady and Mallett is a good, young backup. Kafka is the third quarterback and might not make the 53-man roster.

The Dolphins are getting a lot of bang for their buck. Ryan Tannehill was a 2012 first-round pick, but the rookie wage scale has kept salaries manageable. Tannehill still has something to prove but showed solid flashes as a rookie. Matt Moore is one of the best backups in the NFL, and Pat Devlin is another young quarterback Miami likes. The Dolphins have a good quarterback corps at an affordable price.

And it's no surprise the Bills are bringing up the rear with $2.7 million spent on quarterbacks. They only have journeyman Tarvaris Jackson and Aaron Corp on the roster (and no, we're not including Brad Smith in the QB accounting). That number will go up when Buffalo invests a high draft pick on a quarterback next month.

Dolphins have tough decisions at QB

August, 24, 2012
The Miami Dolphins' quarterback picture was crystal clear two weeks ago. Veteran David Garrard was clearly winning the quarterback derby, Matt Moore was the incumbent pushing Garrard, and rookie Ryan Tannehill was a late arrival to training camp trying to catch up.

It's amazing how much has changed.

Two weeks later, Tannehill is the Week 1 starter, Garrard is recovering from knee surgery and little-known quarterback Pat Devlin is pushing for a roster spot. The Dolphins now have some big decisions to make at quarterback, and it won't be easy.

David Garrard
Steve Mitchell/US PresswireThe Dolphins might have to cut David Garrard, who was the team's best QB before suffering an injury.
The Dolphins will keep three quarterbacks. But there are plenty of ways they can go with this decision.

Let's examine the possibilities.

Option No. 1: Keep Tannehill, Garrard and Moore

Analysis: Miami could keep Garrard and Moore on the roster to backup Tannehill. These are the three best quarterbacks on the roster, although sometimes that doesn't always matter in the decision. This trio would give the Dolphins a steady group of quarterbacks. If Tannehill gets injured, the drop off to Garrard or Moore wouldn't be much. It might actually improve, due to experience. But money and contracts will weigh on this decision, which makes it possible that Garrard or Moore might not make the cut.

Option No. 2: Keep Tannehill, Moore and Devlin

Analysis: Devlin is much improved and getting better each week. His improvement is opening some options for the Dolphins. One of those options is to cut Garrard or work out an injury settlement if he's not healthy before the regular season. The tough part about this decision is Garrard was clearly the best quarterback in training camp before his knee injury. The Dolphins might be letting go of the best quarterback on the team. But the decision already has been made to start Tannehill in Week 1. Garrard is still rehabbing. So Miami might think it's best to keep a healthy Moore as the backup and Devlin at No. 3 in case he develops into something.

Option No. 3: Keep Tannehill, Garrard and Devlin

Analysis: The final option is to work out a trade for Moore. But several factors have to be involved for this to work. First, the Dolphins must be confident Garrard will be healthy enough to backup Tannehill in Week 1. Second, there has to be a market for Moore, which could require a quarterback injury or two this preseason. Moore has 25 career starts and went 6-3 in his final nine starts for Miami last season. He could have value to a team desperate to replace an injured quarterback on the fly.

The Dolphins have one week (Aug. 31) to make their final roster cuts.

Which option do you like best for Miami?
Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt has promised/threatened to leave his starters on the field til they get things right in the team's exhibition game Friday night.

His top two quarterbacks, Kevin Kolb and John Skelton, could use any extra work that comes their way.

E.J. from Redondo Beach, Calif., hit the NFC West mailbag with a request: "Whiz keeps talking about Kolb and Skelton needing to play better (staying in the pocket/finding the open man), but Kolb and Skelton only average about 5-6 attempts per game. How do their snaps/attempts compare around the NFL?"

The Cardinals have played two exhibition games. Most teams have played only one. An injury shortened Kolb's first start. Those and other factors complicate stat comparisons.

Instead, I've put together a chart showing percentages of team attempts for quarterbacks from the four teams with competitions at the position.

Kolb has indeed accounted for the smallest percentage of attempts (13.6) among quarterbacks competing for starting jobs. Tennessee's Nick Stephens has a lower percentage, but he's not a candidate to start. We should expect Kolb to play extensively against Oakland at University of Phoenix Stadium on Friday night, health permitting.
The Titans, who draft eighth, and the Jaguars, who draft 16th, are among nearly a dozen teams I expect to address the quarterback position in the draft.

Our teams may go in a different direction in the first round and take a second-tier quarterback.

Let’s take a look at some pool reports from members of the Pro Football Writers of America who watched quarterbacks work out on Sunday.

Disclaimer: A combine workout is one of several snapshots in an album teams put together. Let’s not get too excited about a good showing or too distraught about a poor one.

Ryan Mallett, Arkansas

[+] EnlargeRyan Mallett
AP Photo/Darron CummingsRyan Mallett had arguably the best performance throwing on Sunday.
"Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett had the best throwing day in his throwing group, having a slight edge over Jake Locker of Washington.

"What was evident -- as expected -- was his strong arm, an arm that sometimes was almost too strong. Mallett’s first throw on a short route was so strong and hard it caused Mallett to step back and almost hit himself with his hand as if he was mad at himself for throwing a 5-yard route with such velocity. After that, he settled down and had a great day.

"Mallett elected not to run but instead to throw, emphasizing his strengths as a quarterback. On deep seam routes in the middle of the field, Mallett was flawless, arching the ball with perfect touch and hitting receivers in stride. On out routes to the sideline, Mallett delivered his best fastball and was perfectly accurate. The ball exploded into receivers’ hands.

"His slant route throws were perfect although some of the throws are so hard and fast they will challenge the hands of receivers. He was particularly impressive on his post corners on the right, going four-for-four. If there was a weakness, it was his 17-yard turn-ins to his left. His first pass was high. His second one was a little off, but by the third throw he was perfect.

"Mallett has excellent deep touch on his throws. His challenge is making sure he can be accurate on his intermediate throws."

Jake Locker, Washington

"Though Sunday wasn’t a perfect rebound from a sub-par Senior Bowl week, University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker bounced back with his throwing. Running was no problem. It never has been.

"His initial unofficial times of 4.52 and 4.52 would have tied him for Daunte Culpepper, the former Minnesota Vikings quarterback, as the fourth best quarterback 40 time since 1999. Considered the Tim Tebow of the West Coast, Locker has always been known for having great athletic skills for his ability to move.

"It’s been his inconsistent throwing that has been under scrutiny. Sunday was good day overall because he was consistent in most of his throws. He opened by showing great arch and touch on seam routes down the middle of the field.

"Though his throws on slant route were fine, a drop and a miss-step by a receiver led to two of three incompletions, but drops by receivers were familiar to him from his days at Washington.

"Locker wasn’t as sharp in two of his three 'nine' routes to his left, being a little high with a couple of throws. Locker bounced back with a strong performance of throws to his right. He completed two of three throws on short out routes. His 12-yard curls to his right were natural. He was 3-for-3 on post corner throws.

"Overall, Locker seemed to be in tone with his throws and made it easy for receivers to catch them. He’s made progress since the Senior Bowl."

Colin Kaepernick, Nevada

[+] EnlargeColin Kaepernick
AP Photo/Darron CummingsColin Kaepernick threw nice intermediate routes at the combine, but his long throws needed work.
"Kaepernick, considered a promising project coming out of the Nevada pistol offense, immediately displayed what he needed to work on the most -- his deep throws. He opened the throwing sessions with three long overthrows on seam routes.

"He was also high on two of three passes on out passes to the right. If anything, he seems to have inconsistencies with his footwork on his deep throws. His long passes tended to sail. Only once did he have a deep underthrow.

"But let’s move to the positive. He was flawless on his 12-yard curls, going 3-for-3. His most consistent throws were the 17-yard turn-ins. In each of those three throws, the ball had the right velocity and was places in a good spot for receivers to catch them.

"Though his first post corner route to his right was a little high, Kaepernick made two of the best post-corner throws of his group."

Christian Ponder, Florida State

"Ponder had the best day of the second group of the quarterbacks. He was accurate on the short and intermediate routes but struggled a little bit on the long passes. He doesn’t have the strongest arm. Extremely accurate and good placement on throws. Definitely had the most command of anyone out there."

Andy Dalton, TCU

"Dalton looked very comfortable in his drops and delivery throughout the morning. For the most part his passes were in catchable areas for the wide receivers, including the deep passes. They did not always connect, but with the exception of two or three passes, there was always a chance to make the catch."

Ricky Stanzi, Iowa

"Another tough day for him as his throws were all over the place. Only thing he did well was a quick release. Passes were short and low. He threw a deep ball better than he did at the Senior Bowl but it was short most of the time. Did not improve his chances."

Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech

"Suprisingly accurate and had good touch on his passes. He didn’t try to zip most of his shorter throws, which helped him complete them. But he looked comfortable in his set-up."

Pat Devlin, Delaware

"Devlin was inconsistent in his delivery and at times he did not give his receivers a fighting chance to catch the ball. However, during the workout he probably had the best accuracy percentage, somewhere in the neighborhood of 65-70 percent."

Nathan Enderle, Idaho

"Enderle seemed the least comfortable in his drops and delivery and several times seemed to be pushing the ball down the field rather than throwing. On 30-yard pass down the left numbers, he hooked up for a nice completion with Ricardo Lockette out of Ft. Valley State. It was Enderle’s best throw of the morning."

Attention Bills fans: 2011 QB draft report

October, 1, 2010
Is it ever too early to talk about the next NFL draft?

Not when your team has no chance to make the playoffs, legitimately could secure the No. 1 overall draft choice and needs a quarterback.

The Buffalo Bills fit those criteria. Bills fans have been dissecting college quarterbacks since the season started, and with this week's decision to flat-out dump opening-day starter Trent Edwards, those Saturday games take on even greater significance.

ESPN draft experts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay recently shared their thoughts on how the top quarterbacks in the 2011 draft class look.

Both agreed Stanford sophomore Andrew Luck is at the top of their draft boards regardless of position.

"Andrew Luck has to be the choice right now," McShay said. "He continues to develop. He's been coached extremely well. He has the size and the pocket mobility. I'm not talking about taking off and running. Moving around the pocket, buying extra time, throwing down the field ... I would like to see a little bit more consistency out of him in terms of his accuracy. That would continue to happen with more game experience."

Kiper cautioned it's way early to chisel anything in stone, but Luck has outplayed Washington's Jake Locker and Arkansas' Ryan Mallett. Kiper said other quarterbacks to look out for in the early rounds are Delaware's Pat Devlin and Florida State's Christian Ponder.

Still, Kiper projected Luck as the best player in the draft.

"You look at his skill set," Kiper said, "what he brings to the table, not just the size and the arm strength and the mind, the mental aspects of the game you want in your quarterback, but mobility. When you have a breakdown and you have opportunity to run the football, he can pick up that first down, keep the chains moving. He's very underrated in that regard. You think you've defensed the pass and he can't beat you with his legs."