Ron Jaworski may be out of the MNF booth (more Gruden!) but he’s still a highly-respected football analyst especially when it comes to the quarterback position. Recently Jaws’ QB expertise has been getting a showcase on SportsCenter, with his on-going series ranking the top 30 signal-callers in the NFL. As it turns out, it didn’t take Jaws long to get to Vikings QB Christian Ponder. The second-year man ranked 28th on the list, just ahead of Tim Tebow and Blaine Gabbert.
While that low ranking may sound like somewhat of a diss, the truth is that Jaws is obviously quite impressed with Ponder’s tools. Some of Jaworski’s praise borders on the effusive:
Ponder has many of the attributes I look for when I evaluate quarterbacks. I saw pocket movement, the ability to move within the pocket, maintain downfield focus and deliver the football with accuracy. I also saw the added dimension of getting outside the pocket in response to pressure with the speed to create an explosive gain. And how about this for a rookie quarterback: Ponder’s rating was 114, the NFL’s best inside the 20. His movement was also a big factor, as was his willingness to make stick throws into those small windows, a necessity in the tight red zone area.
But naturally Jaws has his reservations about Ponder, otherwise he wouldn’t be ranked 28th out of 30. “As he begins his second season, Ponder needs work as a progression reader,” Jaworski says. “He had a tendency to predetermine some throws, and, in addition, there were too many times he did not recognize the coverage.”
The good news is, everything Jaws thinks is wrong with Ponder can be corrected with hard work. Of course there’s still that other little sticking point with Ponder, his lack of physical stature and how this may negatively impact his ability to take hits over time. With Matt Kalil in the mix and the offensive line revamped overall, hopefully Ponder punishment won’t be as big an issue in 2012 as it was in 2011 when he really got jacked up a few times.
And it certainly won’t hurt to have the next Cris Carter lining up outside at receiver.