The Crompton question

It's a pretty safe bet that no player in this week's National Football League Draft has a wider range of grades than former Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton.

The so-called "experts" aren't just divided on the ex-Vol; they seem to be prohibitively for him or adamantly against him.

For instance, SportingNews.com lists him as the No. 2 quarterback prospect available in the 2010 draft, behind Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and ahead of Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen.

Conversely, several analysts believe he is not draft-worthy. Perhaps the most outspoken of these is Stewart Mandel of SportsIllustrated.com. In an item entitled "Keep an eye on these stars," he writes:

"Whatever the NFL is looking for, clearly I'm incapable of identifying it. So you will hear no righteous indignation from me over Todd McShay's dire prognosis for Tim Tebow's pro aspirations or bewilderment over the fact some NFL team may draft Jonathan Crompton this weekend (as baffling as that may be to anyone who watched a Tennessee game during the past two years.)"

The reason opinions have varied so greatly on Crompton is simple: His performances varied greatly. To paraphrase the Longfellow poem, when he was good he was very good indeed but when he was bad he was horrid.

Crompton's performances not only varied from year to year but from game to game.

There were times during his UT career when he actually looked like the second-best senior quarterback in college football. Against Georgia last fall, for instance, he completed 20 of 27 passes for 310 yards and four touchdowns. And he literally torched Memphis a month later, completing 21 of 27 passes for 331 yards and five TDs. He also distinguished himself against eventual national champ Alabama, clicking on 21 of 36 tries for 265 yards.

There were other times, however, when JC looked like a guy who would be lucky to get a free-agent offer from an NFL team. In Tennessee's Game 2 loss to UCLA last fall, for instance, he completed 13 of 26 passes for a mere 93 yards with three interceptions and zero touchdowns. A week later at Florida he was 11 of 19 for another 93 yards with two picks and zero TDs.

Crompton's supporters note that his two worst games were in September and that he improved dramatically thereafter. His critics point out that he had two just good months (October and November of 2009) in four years at Tennessee.

Clearly, the former Vol is an enigma. That's why the folks at CBSsportsline.com feel confident rating him No. 7 among QBs in this year's draft and projecting him to be selected in Round 3 or Round 4. That's also why the guys at ProFootballWeekly.com feel just as confident tabbing him No. 21 at his position and giving him virtually no chance to be drafted.


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