49ers Blog and Q&A

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January 27, 2011
How the Senior Bowl QBs stack up

The Senior Bowl quarterbacks are who we thought they were. In talking to scouts and draft gurus this week in Mobile, Ala., the six quarterbacks mostly have lived up to expectations. There's only one, Washington's Jake Locker (6-2, 228, hand: 9 7/8), who is likely to go in the first round. Locker moves well, has a strong arm, has excellent leadership skills and played in a pro-style offense with the Huskies. But the inconsistency and lack of accuracy that were issues during his senior season have continued this week. And that's why Locker still is viewed as a late first-round pick and not someone who would be taken, say, seventh overall.

The next two quarterbacks are TCU's Andy Dalton (6-2, 213, 9 5/8) and Florida State's Christian Ponder (6-2, 222, 10 1/8). Who's ahead of whom? It depends on who you ask. Where each is ultimately selected will depend on a team's specific preferences. Ponder may have helped himself in that he was not limited by an injury to his elbow that contributed to a ho hum senior season at Florida State. "There were a lot of knocks on me that I wasn't good at the deep ball," Ponder said Wednesday, "and a lot of that had to do with the injury."

Both Ponder and Dalton have good but certainly not elite arms. Dalton did not seem to be hurt by the fact that he played in a spread system at TCU and was taking snaps from center at the Senior Bowl. He also carried himself well and appeared to have the most swagger of the players on hand. That's an attribute the 49ers' outgoing quarterback, Alex Smith, lacked, and you have to wonder if GM Trent Baalke will value it more highly because of his previous experience.

The player who definitely helped himself the most is Nevada's Colin Kaepernick (6-5, 225, 9 5/8). One scout told me he might have made the most money of any Senior Bowl player this week. Many of the scouts who watched Kaepernick on television thought he was a running quarterback who had a powerful arm but no touch. Kaepernick not only has been at ease in a pro offense this week, his throws showed better accuracy and - when it called for it - delicacy than expected.

Kaepernick wasn't 6-6 as he was listed at Nevada, but at 6-4 and 5/8 inches he was the tallest quarterback on hand and more solidly built than expected. The fact that there are two quarterbacks, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers, in the Super Bowl who are good at buying time and making plays with their feet only helps someone like Kaepernick.

The last two quarterbacks are Iowa's Ricky Stanzi (6-4, 221, 10 ¼) and Alabama's Greg McElroy (6-2, 222, 10 1/8). Neither looked terrible, but they didn't jump out, either. As was the case at Iowa, Stanzi seems more content to check down to running backs and tight ends instead of pushing the ball down field. Scouts question McElroy's arm strength.

* For those of you wondering - and I know you were - Alex Smith's hand size is 9 3/8 inches.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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