In Peter King's recent foray into the mad science of mock drafting, the veteran journalist has the Titans actually trading up to New England's #28 spot and taking a chance on Ponder. According to King, the Titans won't have the luxury of waiting for a quality signal-caller to fall into their laps at pick #39, so instead, they'll be proactive and trade up to grab Ponder.
Let's take a look at whether or not drafting the former Seminole QB is something the Tennessee Titans should "Ponder" next week.
Why the Titans should draft him
Ponder certainly has some traits that make him an appealing option for the Titans in their search for a quarterback to groom as a future starter.
He has decent size (6'3", 230 lbs) and is above average in several key QB categories. He's pretty accurate, has solid zip on underneath passes and throws an effective deep ball. Ponder is also very mobile and is considered as a highly-intelligent QB who is willing to do what it takes in terms of film study and preparation.
Ponder, who also has the experience of playing in a pro-style offense at Florida State, has been a fast riser on draft boards thanks to an impressive pre-draft performance, highlighted by him earning MVP during the Senior Bowl.
Why the Titans should pass
Some recent arm injuries initially had a huge effect on Ponder's draft stock but he checked out well during the Combine and his Pro Day, so the concerns regarding the strength of his cannon have been alleviated a bit. However, whether fair or unfair, Ponder may have a tough time shaking the "injury prone" label.
Gazing upon his scouting reports, Ponder's also been criticized for his inability to effectively read defenses. Like many other young QBs, on too many occasions, he stares down his primary target without looking off his defender. Of course, with proper coaching, this is a trait that can be fixed but at this point, it's certainly a one of the few red flags associated with Ponder's future as a pro.
Ponder has an interesting skill-set that will make him an appealing commodity for the many QB starved teams searcing for a signal-caller in this year's draft.
However, thanks to greater upside (IMO) I'd rather see the Titans (if possible) take a chance on Kaepernick or perhaps Mallett instead of drafting Ponder.
Ponder is a bit of a strange case. He came out of the Senior Bowl and the Combine on fire, but his stock seems to have fallen over the past month (at least in the eyes of the media). It will be interesting to see where he goes in this draft. I suspect he will still be available when the Titans pick at 39, and the Titans will have a choice to make. I am still having trouble by the suggestion that as as any as 6 QBs will go in round 1. This isn't like other draft years - where a team needs to use the draft to fill all of the holes that it still has on its roster after free agency. There will be a ton of signal callers available when free aency finally comes, so anyone who doesn't get a developmental QB (and that is what all 7 of the top QBs are) in the draft will have an opportunity to get one or more QBs in free agency. I don't understand all the talk recently about how desperate teams will be to draft a QB. Palmer, McNabb, Hasselback, Orton, Kolb, Bulger, Smith, Jackson, Dixon, Volek, VY and a slew of others could be available once the lock out ends. Anyone of those guys would probably be called upon to start ahead of most of the QBs in this draft. And all of the QBs in this draft are developmental prospects that have a potential to be busts in the NFL.
As for Ponder, I agree with you Drex that Ponder's potential upside doesn't match that of Mallett or Kaepernick, but if the Chris Palmer offence is going to be more of a west coast offence, then maybe he would be the better fit for the Titans if he is still available at 39.