By: Dan Snyder
When one talks about the NFL Draft and quarterbacks, the typical names come to mind. Of course everyone wants to talk about Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker’s one-season drop off and Ryan Mallett’s character issues. But the focus on these “top” guys leaves something lurking in the shadows…and that something is a frog.
TCU quarterback Andy Dalton is slowly, but surely ascending his way on the outskirts (and maybe inside) the first round conversation.
It all started when ESPN analyst and former 1st rounder Trent Dilfer strongly compared the Horned Frog signal-caller to Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers.
Dilfer stated, “”I can’t tell you how much Aaron Rodgers I see in Andy Dalton. They have tremendously quick releases, they can throw from multiple foot platforms, meaning they can be off balance, very aggressive by nature, (they can) extend the play, and they understand the value of a completion. I think that’s one of the biggest things in evaluating a quarterback that goes unnoticed is which guys understand the value of completing the football. It doesn’t have to be glamorous all the time but they’re going to get a completion, they’re going to move the chains and they’re going to get completions in the biggest moments of games. That’s what I see with Andy Dalton. If there’s one guy in this draft — if I was coaching — that I would want to coach, it’s Andy Dalton.”
Dalton continued his rise by being the the biggest beneficiary from the continued troubling concerns surrounding Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett. Teams see Mallett’s off-the-field issues and are shying more and more away from him. Coincidentally, these same teams see Dalton as a squeaky-clean guy who knows football and is going to work his tail of to be the best.
I’ll admit that two weeks ago I valued Dalton as a mid-round guy who could develop into a starter or be a solid backup. But after all the recent hype, I went back and looked at some tape from Dalton at TCU and I have to say, I’d have to agree with Dilfer.
I’m not sure he’s the next coming of Aaron Rodgers, but Dalton’s immeasurable’s are off the charts. He’s a student of the game and a hard worker who doesn’t have the best arm in the draft but is exceptionally accurate. Andy’s also a born leader and was able to extend a lot of plays with his feet last season.
One thing with all the hype that could go against Dalton is that now a team may draft him with the expectation that he’ll start right away. Dalton is a guy, like Rodgers, who will benefit greatly from sitting and learning for a year or two. Throwing him to the wolves right away could have major negative impacts on Dalton’s career.
Andy has already worked out for the Browns, Patriots, Bears and Chiefs and is scheduled to hold four more private performances. The teams left on the list include Cincinnati, Minnesota, Tennessee and San Francisco.