Seahawks Insider

Why Ponder could be good fit for Hawks

Post by Eric Williams on March 11, 2011 at 11:21 am with 27 Comments »
March 11, 2011 11:21 am
Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder (AP Photo/Michael Conroy).

Florida State’s Christian Ponder has become the trendy choice for Seattle for two reasons – he’s accurate, and the belief is Seattle will move more toward a traditional West Coast passing game with Darrell Bevell now the team’s offensive coordinator, which means an emphasis on the short passing game with a premium on accuracy over arm strength.

Whether that happens or not I think is debatable, because head coach Pete Carroll has emphasized creating offensive balance through a physical running game and then using the play-action pass to push the ball down field off of that, the same offensive philosophy he used during his days at USC.

But if Seattle does go to more of a short passing game, then Ponder could be the right pick in the second round. I think he would be a bit of a reach for Seattle in the first because he does not have a strong arm to push the ball down the field and he has some medical issues.

Ponder’s 23 years old and shined in both the Senior Bowl and the NFL scouting combine. He was named MVP of the Senior Bowl, and some draft analysts felt he had the best throwing performance of any quarterback during the combine.

Ponder also played in a pro-style offense at Florida State and intelligence is considered one of his strengths, so he doesn’t feel like the transition to the NFL will be tough for him to make.

“I really think I’m the whole package at quarterback,” Ponder told reporters during his interview session the combine. “I have great accuracy and can make all the throws. Intelligence is a huge advantage for me, being able to comprehend offenses and defenses. We ran a complex offense at Florida State and I think it will carry over well to the NFL. I’m athletic enough to move in the pocket and make plays with my feet.

“We ran multiple formations at Florida State, and had tons of different pass protections. I did a lot of checking at the line. Just talking to scouts already I’ve learned a lot of stuff that they do we’ve already been doing at Florida State. I think it’s a huge advantage for me.”

At 6-foot-2, 222 pounds, Ponder’s big enough to take the pounding in the NFL, and he has underrated athletic ability, with his 4.65 40-yard-time one example of that.

Ponder completed 61.5 percent of his passes and threw for 2,044 yards, including 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions his senior season. He was sacked 23 times. His junior season he completed 68.8 percent of his passes, throwing for 2,717 yards with 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He was sacked 15 times.

But in listening to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper talk about Ponder, he provided some interesting numbers within those statistics.

Kiper said Ponder’s accuracy on third down was not where it should be, which he thought should be around 60 percent. Ponder had a 52.4 completion percentage on third down his senior year, and that number dropped to 45 or 46 percent against ranked teams, according to Kiper.

Kiper said at his best, Ponder could be someone like Chad Pennington, a smart, accurate quarterback who lacks arm strength but still had some success in the league.

“He’s a smart kid, tremendously intelligent,” Kiper said. “I like that. He’s certainly a guy when you talk about accuracy, pretty good. It’s not Chad Pennington-like, who I compared him to during his career – but it’s similar. Arm strength is average, getting the ball down field sometimes, his accuracy is not as good as you need it to be.

“It’s just inconsistent film evaluation, the injury thing I think affected that this year. He didn’t always have the best of talent around him. He’s an interesting guy. I could make a valid argument for Christian Ponder to be a second-round pick. I could make an argument for him to be a fifth-round pick. So I would think somebody in the second or third round takes Christian Ponder and hopes he can be like a Chad Pennington. I think that’s the best-case scenario.”

Rob Rang, senior draft analyst for, echoed some of Kiper’s sentiments on Ponder.

“I think with Ponder what you’re looking at a guy who’s going to go in the first two rounds,” Rang said. “With that, there’s obviously expectations that he’s going to be ready to play that much earlier. He doesn’t have a ‘wow’ arm, but he’s got plenty of arm strength to be able to make all of the throws, and I think he demonstrated that at the Senior Bowl.

“He has the accuracy and the intelligence you’re looking for, and certainly the mobility as well. And so in my opinion he is truly one of the better West Coast offense quarterbacks in this draft. There’s quarterbacks out there that are bigger, stronger and all of those things, but for Seattle’s scheme Ponder in my opinion is one of the best fits.”

The key for Ponder will be how he checks out medically. Ponder missed the final three games of his junior season with a grade-3 separation of his throwing shoulder. And he had two surgeries on the elbow of his throwing arm in 2010, forcing him to miss two games his senior year.

Ponder talked about his elbow injury at the combine, and said he’s fully healthy.

“I got hit in the sixth game of the year (against the Hurricanes) and the fascia, which is the connecting tissue between your skin and
your muscle got separated from my muscle and a little pocket formed,” Ponder said. “Every time I landed on it fluid would build up. I’d get it drained once a week and the next game I’d land on it again. Throughout that whole process scar tissue had built up and that was what was impeding it from healing. They went in and cut out all the scar tissue and did some other stuff to heal it. Now it’s fine.”

“I spent like three hours in an MRI machine. It’s not a fun process. The shoulder checked out fine, and the MRIs were all good. I cleared out medically.”

NFL Draft
Leave a comment Comments → 27
  1. Dukeshire says:

    Actual football! Thanks Eric, lol.

    I like Ponder and think he’d be a good fit. But with so many teams needing QBs this draft, he strikes me as a potential classic reach for someone. I’d be surprised if he were there for the ‘Hawks in the second, and I’d be uneasy (at best) if they took him at #25.

  2. AaronCurryIsBUST says:

    Oh please. Able to take the pounding at the NFL level? Ponder couldn’t even take the pounding at the collegiate level! Give me Jake Locker over this guy any day. Ponder was on a STACKED FSU team and underwhelmed.

  3. Looks like Ponder doesn’t have much upside, but he’s unlikely to be a total bust. Chad Pennington was a good QB. We could do a lot worse.

  4. AaronCurryIsBUST says:

    Chad Pennington did more in 1 season with the Dolphins than he ever did with the Jets.

  5. Dalton lit it up at his pro day, and he certainly has a good amount of potential, another plausible 2nd round pick, and probably more realistic than Ponder who might be gone early in the 2nd, Dalton might be better throwing the ball compared to Ponder, but he doesn’t have the experience in the pro-style system.

  6. I like Ponder. Have I mentioned that?

    But what about this fellow? What are your guys’ thoughts?

  7. Dukeshire says:

    Pennington is the all-time career leader in completion %.

  8. Don’t really want a ginger for a QB

  9. Dukeshire says:

    Only 30 minutes left for the union to decertify or strike another extension.

  10. SeahawkFan12 says:

    No Andy Dalton, please. He’s been average or slightly above in a conference that he should have dominated considering the talent he had around him. Lack of arm strength and accuracy are a bit underwhelming, too.

  11. AaronCurryIsBUST says:

    Dalton is crap, has anyone actually seen him play? Wonky mechanics, weak arm, on a team that rides it’s defense to success while the offense is just there for the ride.

  12. Dukeshire says:

    TCU had the 12th rated offense in FBS DI-A last season. Hardly just along for the ride. Dalton’s not “crap” (He had the 5th highest QB 166.5). However, he’s not the answer either if one’s question is “who’s the next franchise QB?”, IMO.

  13. Dukeshire says:

    Union now saying an extension will be considered if the league will present the past 10 years of audited financials. 4 minutes…

  14. Hate the Ponder pick.

    I’d rather see the Hawks give Philly the #25 pick + 2nd or 3rd RD pick for Kolb + conditional picks. It may be a pipe dream but adding Kolb over an unproven entity would be the best possible solution for the Hawks.

    Can you imagine Kolb, Lynch, BMW, Carlson, and perhaps a matured Tate? It’s worth draft picks to land a sure thing.

  15. Dukeshire says:

    Union has filed to decertify. Oh god, here we go… Antitrust cases are NEVER settled quickly.

  16. Seahawks2620 says:

    I can’t even begin to explain how livid I am.

  17. Wait, what does this decertify, how close are we to a lockout and absolutely no 2011/2012 season? It’s kind of difficult to follow all the details overseas.

  18. seahawks703 says:

    @Curry – how much NCAA football do you actually watch cause i wouldn’t call any fsu team in the past 5-10 yrs stacked…i’ll give you he probably had more talent around him than Locker but that’s not saying too much. I think Kiper even mentions that Ponder didn’t always have the best of talent around him in this article. Sam Bradford had a solid rookie season and seemed to be able to take the pounding despite all of his collegiate injuries…

    @neklok – Kolb the answer…really?…not for that price IMO. didn’t we give up enough for an unproven backup last year? what exactly has this guy proven at the professional level??

    Obviously, I’m pro-Ponder so I’d love to see the hawks get him in the 2nd as long as he clears medically. As the article mentions, his mobility is quite underrated so he’ll have a chance to make some plays with his feet when the line breaks down…as ours tends to do. Unfortunately, don’t see him being around when we pick in the 2nd so unless JS & PC make some deals to move up in that round, don’t see us getting him.

  19. Dukeshire says:

    JacDG – Lockout is midnight tonight Eastern Time, tonight. No ’11 season? Impossible to answer right now. Certain to miss some OTAs though.

  20. freedom_X says:

    For some reason, I think “David Greene” when I see Christian Ponder. Except Greene had big collegiate numbers.

  21. Greene was a southpaw. Made Locklear instead of Big Walt his blindside protecter. Never fit. If Ponder’s wobblies get to spiraling with his fixed shoulder & elbow, it may not be a bad fit, especially if JS can swap picks with GB or PIT and also pick up a 3rd rounder, maybe?

  22. Dukeshire says:

    Having Lock on his blind side was the absolute least of his problems.

  23. Duke –
    Why did Greene flop so bad? He was great in college.

  24. SharkHawk says:

    I still think Ponder is Charilie Whitehurst with a weaker arm. But I know he’d be the guy that would show up for all of the hospital visits and reading to kids at elementary schools. So that’s cool. He’d be a great third QB to have on our team.

    My question though…. do you draft lineman who are potentially 15 year starters in those rounds or a luxury, which is yet another backup QB at this point? If I’m drafting a QB? I want one who could possibly start this year. Ponder? I don’t see him as a starter now. Maybe in 3-5 years if all goes well. Much like Whitehurst has been through (and STILL isn’t quite ready).

    You want a young QB who can start? Then you need a guy who can improvise and make plays with his feet and such. Am I saying Locker? Not really, but he does fit the mold. So does Vince Young and has been a winner in the NFL.

  25. Dukeshire says:

    klm008 – Yeah, terrific college career. But in the NFL his feet were so slow, to the point it seemed he was never set. Add to that a relatively weak arm that wasn’t able to make up for that type of deficiency. And that’s just off pre-season games, he never took a snap in a regular season game. I can only imagine he too had a difficult time picking up a very complex Holmgren offense.

  26. Ruskell was smart.

  27. No thank you to Christian Ponder. He declined and got injured his Sr year… what about that intrigues anyone?

    He has done nothing at FSU except go to class, there is talent there, maybe not USC level or Florida, but he has had talented teammates. He’s smart, but class room intelligence doesn’t exactly translate to understanding defenses and progressing through receivers. Basically, I don’t think his GPA is a worthy measurable. His skills on the field do not inspire any confidence, did you see that wobbler he threw up in the Sr Bowl to Hankerson? Ponder would be no better than Whitehurst in his rookie year and if that’s the choice: Ponder vs Whitehurst we’ll end up with a top-5 choice next season anyway. Might as well take a pass on Ponder add a talented interior lineman (offense or defense) or RT.

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