Discussion

Survival odds for second-year QBs

Where Locker, Gabbert, Ponder and Dalton stand now

Originally Published: September 15, 2012
By Mel Kiper | ESPN Insider

The perception among scouts and front office people around the NFL is that quarterbacks are more and more ready to start early in their NFL careers coming out of college. There are a number of systemic issues to credit, from semi-complex offenses that emphasize the pass used all the way down to the middle school level to the intensity of preparation prospective NFL QBs put in during the offseason. The position is flat-out better, and it should eliminate classes like 2007, when JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, Kevin Kolb, John Beck and Drew Stanton were the first five QBs taken, and all before the third round.

Since then, we've seen better returns in most classes, with the 2010 class led by Sam Bradford hanging there with an "Incomplete" grade for now. But even though young QBs are ready to start earlier, you'll have class after class ready to replace them. You get a year or two, and if the returns aren't there, it'll be Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson, Logan Thomas, Ryan Nassib and any number of QBs drafted with the intent to compete for your job.

So for this, I was asked to put the "survival grade" on each of the guys who got rookies with the assumption they'd be able to hold the job. I'm excluding Cam Newton, given he set the NFL rookie record for passing yards in a season and is in no jeopardy of losing his job, even if he struggles mightily for a stretch. So for this we'll focus on Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder and Andy Dalton.

Jake Locker

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