As many of you may have heard by now, ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer had some harsh words directed at Vikings 1st-round draft choice Christian Ponder in terms of his value as a #12 overall selection.
“Christian Ponder is Elvis Grbac,” Dilfer said last Friday morning during a radio appearance. “He’s Elvis Grbac. Elvis Grbac was a beautiful thrower. He threw for 4,000 yards. He did a lot of nice things. Every time it got tough, he melted.”
Ponder also received mixed feelings from other draft pundits, as I pointed out last Friday. But as for Dilfer’s comments, it got me wondering why he felt Ponder “melted” in pressure situations. Dilfer also went on to say Ponder “plays with a lot of anxiety. Do you want your quarterback in the NFL to play with a lot of anxiety?”
Ponder’s splits say otherwise.
During his junior and senior seasons at Florida State, Ponder completed 105 of 133 passes (78.9%) for 1,156 yards when the game was tied. When his team was losing by a margin of 1-7, Ponder completed 116 of 180 passes (64.4%) for 1,380 yards with 5 TDs and 1 INT.
Other numbers that indicate his ability to perform in pressure situations would include his 4th quarter performances. In 2009 and 2010, Ponder completed 69 of 112 passes (61.6%) for 779 yards with 5 TDs and 2 INTs. Not to mention his performance against AP ranked teams – 72 for 117 (61.5%), 846 yards, 9 TDs and 3 INTs.
What I like most about Ponder’s splits, though, is how he managed the offense when it reached the opponent’s red zone. His last 2 seasons at FSU saw Ponder complete 45 of 72 attempts for 373 yards with 22 TDs and only 1 INT in the red zone. When faced with 3rd and goal, he converted 8 of 11 attempts for 44 yards with 7 TDs and zero INTs.
How Ponder reacts to pressure situations as an NFL QB is to be determined, but I thought it would beneficial to point out his numbers in said circumstances over his past 2 seasons.
Tags: 2011 NFL Draft, Christian Ponder
Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 69 Comments »