The concept of pro-readiness can be revealing, pejorative, or completely misleading when it comes to draft prospects. In the 2010 draft, some considered Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen more "pro-ready" than Oklahoma's Sam Bradford, because Clausen took more snaps under center and threw more diverse routes. Of course, we saw how that turned out, because that concept doesn't include factors like Bradford's freakish accuracy at any distance, and the fact that Clausen was throwing a lot of floater jump-balls to receiver Golden Tate.
What it comes to actual readiness for the NFL at the game's most important position, it's crucial to look for other attributes — the complexity of the offense the quarterback ran, percentage of times that quarterback was told to make decisions at the line, and a command of the little things — the subtleties of the game — that allow a quarterback of any particular skill set to advance successfully to the next level. Beyond the baseline skills one must have to play the position in the pros, it's more about the little things than ever before.
Perhaps no quarterback in this draft class has a better command of the game's subtleties than Florida State's Christian Ponder. Thought to be a top-10 prospect before shoulder and elbow injuries derailed his path, Ponder recovered and rebounded in time to excel at the Senior Bowl, look even better at the scouting combine, and put himself back in the discussion as a possible first-round pick.
We were able to talk with Ponder shortly before the draft, and covered a number of subjects — his injury recovery, how it felt to come back and be a postseason, pre-draft star, how the relative complexity of Florida State's offense will help him at the next level, hoe the lockout affected his pro day, and how Wonderlic scores actually transfer to the field.
Thanks to the New York Life Protection Index for facilitating this interview. The Index, which can be found here, is a fascinating way to rate and evaluate offensive line performance, and we'll have more about the Index very soon.
Click the link below to play the podcast (or right-click to save to your hard drive):
- Jimmy Clausen
- Christian Ponder
- Sam Bradford