Full scouting report: QB Christian Ponder

Christian Ponder (Kevin Carden/Scout.com)

There are a lot of intangibles to like about Christian Ponder's game, but there are also several glaring negatives that could concern fans. Get the point-by-point, nearly-2,500-word scouting report on the Vikings' first-round draft choice.

QB Christian Ponder
6:02 0, 229


20-yd Shuttle: 4 09
Three-cone: 6 85
Vertical Jump: 34"
Broad Jump: 9'8"
Bench Press: 225x17
Arms: 32-1/8"
Hands: 10 1/4":
Wing Span: 77
2010 Best Games: Samford, Brigham Young, North Carolina, Florida
2010 Worst Games: Oklahoma, Boston College, North Carolina State
2009 Best Games: Miami, Brigham Young, Georgia Tech, North Carolina
2009 Worst Games: Boston College, North Carolina State, Clemson

Body Structure: Ponder has a well-built frame, but does not possess the ideal height you look for in a quarterback, compensating by solid downfield vision He shows good upper- and lower-body bone structure, with solid chest, shoulder and arm thickness He has a strong bubble and thighs, with well-defined calves and a frame that could develop to 240 pounds with no loss in quickness

Athletic Ability: Ponder has good mobility and quickness, but does not rely on his speed to be much of a threat running with the ball He is quick to change direction, showing the range of motion to escape pocket pressure While he looks strong in his lower frame, he needs to work on improving his strength to absorb punishment standing in against the rush When forced to move out of the pocket, he does not show the balance and agility to gain valid yardage with his feet, thus the reason he is not really used much as a running threat He has adequate arm strength, but is capable of making all the throws, when not forced out of the pocket

Football Sense: Ponder is a blue-chip talent with a blue collar-work ethic, as his football IQ matches that of his academic skills He knows the offense as good as the coaching staff and spends the extra hours studying tapes He is quick to grasp even the most complicated of offensive systems and will have no problems digesting the playbook He is quick to grasp defensive formations and needs only normal reps to retain He just needs to show better ability to make progression reads and make better judgment when forced to leave the pocket He picks up changes in the defense almost immediately when operating under center and has the total confidence of his coach to devise game plans and execute it on the field He is also a very good student, having garnered academic awards On the field, you can see his savvy when he totally controls the team, but will have problems rallying the squad when faced with constant pressure He has enough pocket presence that allows him to improvise on the fly, but his big issue happens when he tucks the ball and tries to run with it (security problems)

Character: Ponder is a team-first type of player who is not one to boast about his success He is a quiet field leader and solid locker room presence He gets good family support and has no known off-field issues He graduated with a master's in Finance and is mature for his age He is a quiet sort, but well-respected by the staff and teammates He shows the pluses in character development that teams look for in a maturing quarterback

Competitiveness: Ponder is a tireless worker with total command of the huddle, but does melt down under constant pressure (see 2010 Oklahoma and North Carolina State games) He hates "special treatment" that most quarterbacks require and prefers to be considered "one of the guys " He takes well to hard coaching and has a very business-like approach, just like the one that Drew Brees (Saints) has taken throughout his career He will get a bit too hard on himself when he makes a mistake, but is also very accountable and not the type that will deflect blame

Work Habits: Ponder is a solid performer in practices and in the training room He gets along well with teammates and wears his leadership tag with great pride He is a hard worker in the training room, refusing any preferential treatment He spends the extra hours in the film room studying tape and has complete control of the offense Regular visitors that came to see Ponder over the summer saw the amount of other players that joined him in his off-season training program and in controlled passing sessions Even though he is perceived as a quiet leader, he will speak up when he needs to and has complete command in the huddle

Set Up: Ponder has good balance and quick feet in his set up He has the intelligence to know when to step into his throws and shows enough foot speed to buy time when forced out of the pocket He throws with an efficiently tight spiral and looks very comfortable taking his drops from center to his pass set point He demonstrates the feet and balance needed to drive back from center, set up and be in position to unleash the ball in an instant He has the body control to take the snap, drive off with his back foot and get to his set point before the defense can properly digest the backfield activity He is quick to set his feet when he drives out from under center, doing a fine job of maintaining balance when retreating and has the ability to quickly set his feet

Reading Defenses: Ponder does a nice job with his pre-snap reads, but must be more consistent looking off the defenders, as he is prone to throwing the ball into tight areas He is not the type that gets "happy feet" but is also not the type that shows good avoidance skills when having to bolt the pocket He will force the ball into a crowd and has had serious ball security issues (see 2010 Wake Forest, Boston College and North Carolina State games) He has to demonstrate better patience waiting for his targets to get open, as he is capable of making his progression reads, but there are times where you will see him lock on and throw to a receiver in coverage (see 2010 Oklahoma and Boston College and 2009 North Carolina State and Clemson games) He is a high percentage passer, but lacks that excellent touch to be consistently successful on his long throws, thanks to just average arm strength The thing you see on film is his inconsistency in finding his secondary targets, which is a bit puzzling, as he has that keen vision to scan the entire field before making the throw

Release: Ponder has a quick, over-the-top, snappy release, as it is very rare to see him drop the ball near his waist when getting into throwing motion He is much better throwing from the pocket When on the move, you can see him making some of his tosses a bit long (windmill action) when he is trying to air the ball out When firing in the short-to-intermediate area, he displays a compact and smooth release, putting good zip behind his throws to connect with his receivers, but must do a better job of hitting his targets while they are in stride or coming out of their breaks when trying to stretch the field He can be systematic in his approach, getting the ball off quickly, but you can see a bit of a long wind-up when he throws long Still, he has enough arm strength to get decent accuracy on his long tosses, when he steps up in the pocket When he throws with a high release, he demonstrates outstanding quickness He can throw across his body effectively, but there are times you have to question his ability to improvise on the move

Arm Strength: This is not his strong suit, especially when having to fire deep on the move Ponder shows decent enough velocity going long, but must learn to set his feet better to prevent a loss in zip and velocity He fails to put consistently good zip behind his tosses when throwing from the outside hashes He shows much better velocity and zip on intermediate and short throws and his strength is much better on comebacks and deep outs when he steps up in the pocket, where he shows much better precision than when having to throw in motion

Accuracy: Ponder demonstrates very good zip and velocity executing underneath and mid-range passes He does a decent job of placing his long tosses on the outside shoulder of his targets, but has better success executing those throws from the pocket When firing deep on the move, his receivers will generally need to adjust, as his attempts will tend to flutter thanks to a lack of ideal arm strength He shows good zip on his short throws, but when he fails to set his feet, he will get into a rhythm where the receiver will have to accelerate in order to get to his tosses, as he will over-lead at times He does not do a great job of firing the ball in tight quarters (see 2010 Oklahoma and Boston College and 2009 Clemson games), as he is not always effective putting touch on his passes or just unleashing them On his long tosses, when he is not standing tall in the pocket, he will throw it too close to the defender and not to the sideline side of his receiver, but has the athletic ability to correct that flaw with patient coaching

Touch: Ponder displays decent release quickness and an adequate over-the-top release, but he is much more effective throwing from the pocket than on the move He is not the greatest at leading his receivers when going long, as his targets will usually have to break off their route and adjust to his deep throws that tend to flutter In the short and intermediate area, he is a good passer and can put the ball where the receiver can catch it easily, but will over-lead at times, forcing his targets to accelerate out of their breaks more than they would like On the long ball, he has to do a better job of feathering the ball over his target's outside shoulder and away from the defender Sometimes in the short area, he would throw the pigskin too early, failing to hit his targets coming out of their breaks, but he refined his release a bit (more over the top) and improved in that area in 2010 The thing you see on film is the touch he shows firing the ball into the seams He just has to learn how to generate good deep ball placement, despite not having a cannon for an arm He has worked hard to vary the speed on his throws to make the completion, displaying the timing and consistency to make all of his throws

Poise: Ponder is quite effective when he is provided with solid protection, but gets into trouble often when flushed out of the pocket Ball security appears to be a major problem, evident by his 16 fumbles (10 lost) the last two years He has the peripheral vision to quickly locate the edge rushers, but durability is a problem and he will shy away from absorbing punishment and taking the hit in order to complete the pass He has to develop that strong mentality to know that he can make all of his throws and not be the type that will get "happy feet" and run with the ball too early He is generally good at making quick decisions, but he must do a better job of throwing the ball away than try to bolt and run with it when he's forced out of the pocket

Leadership: Ponder is not really a vocal type, and this could irk some position coaches, but will take command in the huddle and is a respected leader He is the type that is quick to credit others for a good play and take full blame when the play breaks down Still, most QBs need to have a fiery nature and get in the face of a teammate when needed, some areas that Ponder prefers to deal with more maturely

Pocket Movement: Ponder shows good straight-line quickness to tuck the ball and run with it when his targets are covered, but he is woefully lacking in ball security, evident by his 12 fumbles during his last 22 games He has the body control to make things happen when he steps into his throws, but while he has the vision to locate soft spots running with the pigskin, he has to be more conscious to backside pressure He does not show that he can throw well on the move, despite displaying the loose hips to redirect and avoid pressure He shuffles his feet well to avoid low tackles, but you would like to see more consistency in attempting to step up in the pocket to make the completion He has the lateral agility to slide in the pocket and the ability to stand tall and hit his targets in stride on timing routes, but must concede that one of his biggest liabilities is ball security, especially on the move or vs backside pressure

Scrambling Ability: Ponder is never going to be confused with Michael Vick, nor will he ever be the runner in the Colin Kaepernick/Cam Newton mold, but he has scored 10 times on the ground the last three years He has enough avoidance skills to sidestep the bull rush, but has major ball security issues when trying to run into the second level or vs backside pressure

Summation: Ponder has a pro caliber arm for a West Coast offense or pro-style attack, as long as he's comfortably parked inside the pocket He has lacks the ideal size you look for in an NFL quarterback and his injury issues, along with a lack of ball security, keeps him from being the elite prospect in this QB draft class, though

If you look at his film from the last two years, you see a player capable of moving an offense, but then, here come a slew of mistakes, especially holding on to the ball when he decides to run with it With a patient coach and a controlled offense, he can move the chains, but look below to see who I compare him to before getting excited enough to anoint him a starting NFL passer

Compares To: Tony Romo-Dallas Like Romo, Ponder is not blessed with ideal football size Like Romo, injuries have played a major part in his inconsistent performances the last two years He looks like he will capitalize on his Senior Bowl and pre-draft performances to go earlier in the draft than where he was rated in December, but while he can be a playoff-caliber passer, there is not enough in his total package to feel that he will ever lead his team to the "promised land "

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