2011 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Christian Ponder

  • Short- to intermediate-area accuracy and touch
  • Good mechanics and footwork
  • Mobile with scrambling ability
  • Experience under center in pro-style offense
  • Three-year starter
  • Very intelligent (completed MBA)
  • High character leader – team captain

  • Average arm strength
  • Might be limited to West Coast offense
  • Forces throws that NFL players will intercept
  • Questionable decision making
  • Injury history (shoulder, elbow)

    Summary: Christian Ponder watched his draft stock take a dive when his 2009 season was cut short by a separated shoulder. His 2010 campaign was inconsistent, and an elbow injury is now problematic as well. However, the draft process has gone very well for him. He had a good Senior Bowl and threw well at the Combine. Perhaps some teams will feel he has regained some of his arm strength, but with several surgeries on his resume, there is cause for concern.

    Ponder can make all the NFL throws including the deep ball. The question is accuracy down the field, and whether or not he will adjust his mindset at the next level where every defender is a professional capable of intercepting a poorly thrown ball.

    Player Comparison: Chad Pennington. Recently, Pennington’s long, mostly average NFL career likely came to an end on a basketball court when he blew out his knee. Injuries plagued him during his 11 seasons in the league, just like they have bothered Ponder in college. It might be premature to expect Ponder to match Pennington’s accuracy at the NFL level where he completed almost two of every three passes out of 2,471 he tossed, but that is what he will try to emulate. Both players are smart, and Ponder should have a steady, if not spectacular run as Pennington did.


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