Friday, April 29, 2011

Calm Down Already

Yes, picking Christian Ponder 12th overall is ridiculous. Absurd. A massive reach. And I'm mostly okay with it.

That's what scares me the most about this pick, really. Every Vikings fan seems to be so eager to be pissed off and rage about how they didn't trade down (no one called, because evidently there was no one to trade up FOR) or why they didn't pick Amukamura (he fell all the way to 19 so maybe teams know something we don't) or Fairley (headcase) or a defensive end (you mean like Duane Clemons? Erasmus James? Kenechi Udeze? Derrick Alexander?). 

Lets forget for a second about how big of a reach this is, whining about who we didn't pick, and focus on what we actually have. Ponder is the anti-T-Jack. Quick comparison between the two:

-Ponder started three straight years in a pro-style system
-T-Jack started three straight years in a... "quarterback runs around and kinda does whatever" system?

-Ponder played for Florida State, a big-time program in a big-time conference, playing in front of 50,000+ every single week, often on national TV, with tons of pressure
-T-Jack played for Alabama State, a nothing school in a nothing conference, playing in front of nobody to a 0.00003 rating on some obscure Fox Sports Net channel

-Ponder put up good stats for said big-time program against the ACC. His junior year over 9 games: 69% completion, 2717 yards (over 300 a game), 8.2 yards per attempt, 14 TDs, 7 picks, QB rating of 147.7. His senior year stats were down thanks to injury, but still nice: 62% complete, 2044 yards, 6.8 yards per attempt, 20 TDs, 8 picks, QB rating of 135.7.
-T-Jack put up okay stats for said nothing program against meager competition. His career stats at Alabama State: 55% completion, 7201 yards (about 240 a game), 8.0 yards per attempt, 63 TDs, 23 picks.

Granted, if you're comparing the 12th overall pick to Tarvaris Jackson, you are inherently in trouble. The point I'm trying to make is regardless of where he was taken, he's a good player. He's capable, he's smart, and he's handled pressure in the past. New offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's philosophy is to build the offense around the players' strengths, and he's got an accurate mobile guy to start with.

He'll be handing off to Adrian Peterson, he'll be throwing to Percy Harvin and hopefully Sidney Rice. There are players around him to make him better. He has every opportunity to succeed.

The mistake the Vikings made was assuming there would be a run on quarterbacks, which obviously never materialized, but the fact is, no matter what the Vikings would have done at 12, people would have been pissed off. GM Rick Spielman said the Jacksonville's trade to 10th forced their hand, which meant the Vikings were waiting for Gabbert to fall. And people would be equally as pissed today had they taken him. People would be whining if they'd been boring and taken an offensive lineman. People would be whining about whoever they'd taken at DE. It's just the way the draft works now.

I'm not nervous if Ponder will be good, because I think he will be. I'm nervous that I seem to be the only one that sees that.

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