From the Mag: Quarterbacks Preview

The upcoming Packer Report Magazine includes about 40 pages previewing next month's NFL Draft, with breakdowns of more than 250 prospects — like this story about the quarterbacks — and much more. Plus, we take a look inside the Packers' quarterbacks school.

Packers' perspective

With Aaron Rodgers, the Packers are one of a handful of teams that will be Super Bowl contenders every year for the next six to eight years.

However, that doesn't mean quarterback isn't an area of need. Impressive backup Matt Flynn's contract expires at the end of the upcoming season. Assuming free agent rules remain the same as under the old collective bargaining agreement, that means Flynn will be an unrestricted free agent. Flynn is a competitor and clearly will want a chance to run his own team. That means the Packers would be wise to select Flynn's eventual successor in this draft.

Rank of importance: Fifth (of 14).

Good luck ...

Missouri's Blaine Gabbert and Auburn's Cam Newton are in the running to be the No. 1 overall draft pick. Washington's Jake Locker and Arkansas' Ryan Mallett probably are first-rounders, too, and Florida State's Christian Ponder and perhaps Nevada's Colin Kaepernick could join them in Round 1, as well.

That's all good news for Green Bay. The more quarterbacks go in the first and second rounds, the better value the Packers will find at No. 32 and No. 64.

Our draft board

Andy Dalton, TCU: The Packers love Dalton, an NFL source told us, but he's probably far too good to fall into the Packers' laps. As a senior, he completed 66.1 percent of his passes with 27 touchdowns and six interceptions for the undefeated Horned Frogs.

Ricky Stanzi, Iowa: Stanzi is the only quarterback to go 3-0 against Penn State's Joe Paterno, so that must count for something. He struggled at the Combine but bounced back at his pro day. He completed 64.1 percent of his passes with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions as a senior.

Greg McElroy, Auburn: The Packers had good luck using a late-round draft pick on a national championship-winning quarterback a few years ago.

This story is one of our position previews in the upcoming Packer Report Magazine. To get it, subscribe by calling 888-501-5752 or CLICK HERE. The deadline to get the magazine is Thursday.

Might they go back to the well again?

The Packers talked shop with Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy at the Scouting Combine.

"It was good," he said. "We just talked system, talked some X's and O's. That's something I really kind of enjoy. The best minds in the football game are the guys you're talking to. The coaches just know so much, they're so wise when it comes to the small things you can do to tweak a route or all those things. Visiting with their coaching staff last night briefly and their quarterback coach (Tom Clements), it was a great moment for me."

In many important ways, Flynn and McElroy (6-2, 220) are clones.

Most importantly for the Packers' purposes, both are winners, superb decision-makers and of high character. McElroy went 24-3 as a starter with 39 touchdowns against just 10 interceptions. As a senior, he was named the ESPN Academic All-American of the Year. He probably has more arm talent than Flynn at the same stage of their careers, though a hitch in McElroy's throwing motion will need a makeover by Clements or whoever winds up being his quarterbacks coach. He said a West Coast scheme would match his skill-set best.

"Strengths is just my ability to prepare," he said. "I've played in the big game. That's definitely a strength. I've been successful in the big game. I've been fortunate to win at every level, I think that's a strength. These all being intangibles. As far as tangible assets and things you can measure? I'm fairly accurate, fairly efficient within my offense. I do exactly as my coaches told me to do, and that's protect the ball, get it into the playmaker's hands as soon as possible. Get us in the correct run play, pass play, just do everything you can in order for us to be efficient as an offense, and I've done a good job of that over the past two years. A lot of people kind of agree with my assessment."

Pat Devlin, Delaware: Similar to Baltimore's Joe Flacco, Devlin transferred to Delaware from a big-time program (Penn State, in Devlin's case). The similarities end there, though. Devlin's arm strength isn't a strength. Still, the heady Devlin completed 68.0 percent of his passes with 22 touchdowns and three interceptions in leading the Blue Hens to the national title game.

T.J. Yates, North Carolina: Yates owns most of the Tar Heels' passing records after starting 44 games. Like the others we've listed, he doesn't have a big arm but he knows the game. He completed 66.8 percent of his passes with 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions as a senior.

Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin: Tolzien is yet another smart quarterback with limited arm strength. He was brilliant as a senior with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions on 72.9 percent accuracy.

Nathan Enderle, Idaho: Enderle wasn't exactly supported by a great supporting cast but threw 44 touchdown passes and 25 interceptions in his final two seasons. He's a smart player who was allowed to control much of the action at the line of scrimmage.

Josh Portis, California (PA): Portis dominated Division II and is more skilled than most of the quarterbacks in this draft. As a senior, he threw for 2,651 yards on 61.2 percent accuracy, with 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His offensive coordinator was the esteemed Walt Harris.

But then there are the questions.

After transferring from Florida, where he was stuck on the bench behind some guy named Tebow, Portis landed at Maryland but was suspended for the season for cheating on a quiz, so he transferred to California (PA). In December 2010, he made a deal with prosecutors after allegedly shopping with a stolen credit card, though his family told Packer Report that Portis wasn't involved in the theft of the card and those around him told us that Portis is a good kid who has done volunteer work for years.

The Packers interviewed Portis at the Scouting Combine, watched him throw at Pittsburgh's pro day and traveled to California (PA) for his pro day the next day.

"I think quarterbacks that have the pocket presence, moving around in the pocket, moving to throw instead of moving to run — then, when things break down at the last minute, then you take off," he said. "Hang out a little longer to find that open receiver, then go, instead of dropping back, going through the reads one-two, then going. I think exhaust your progressions a little bit longer. That's what Aaron Rodgers did this past year; I thought Michael Vick did that extremely well. I think that's the key."

Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M: You know Johnson's head coach (Mike Sherman) and offensive coordinator (Tom Rossley). The 6-foot-5 Johnson had a brilliant junior season and was one of the top-rated prospects entering his senior season. Instead, due mostly to offseason surgery on his throwing shoulder, he was benched and watched his backup lead the Aggies to a bowl game. As a junior, Johnson completed 59.6 percent of his passes, with 30 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He was sacked 24 times in 13 games. As a senior, he completed 56.6 percent of his passes, with 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Showing a lack of decisiveness and confidence, he was sacked 25 times in seven games. Still, Sherman steadfastly has told NFL scouts that Johnson has what it takes to play in the NFL.

Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech: With Rodgers, it'd be foolish to ever run the wildcat. But Taylor is a brilliant athlete and an accurate passer. The ACC player of the year, Taylor threw for 24 touchdowns and five interceptions as a senior. However, he's got a funky release and is only 6-foot-1.

Adam Weber, Minnesota: Weber started 50 consecutive games for the Golden Gophers, with 72 touchdowns and 51 interceptions. He's got an average arm and is only 6-foot-1, but he anticipates the action quickly.

Taylor Potts, Texas Tech: Potts was Graham Harrell's backup and has better measurables (6-foot-4 and a decent arm). He threw for 35 touchdowns and 10 interceptions with 67.0 percent accuracy as a senior.

Ben Chappell, Indiana: Chappell (6-2) completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 3,295 yards, with 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He can make all the throws and has a bit of gunslinger in him.

Adam Froman, Louisville: Froman (6-4) has given himself a shot with a much better offseason than career. In two years as the starter, the junior college transfer had 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Mike Hartline, Kentucky: The 6-foot-4 Hartline has plenty of arm strength and his numbers as a senior are solid (66.2 percent, 23 TDs, nine INTs). However, he was suspended for the bowl game as a senior after being arrested for public intoxication. That's a big knock, especially for a quarterback prospect.

Small-school sleeper

Troy Weatherhead: An honorable mention on the Division II All-American team as a senior, Weatherhead was a three-year starter who set an all-divisions single-season record by completing 76.9 percent of his passes. The 6-foot-3 Weatherhead was brought in for Michigan State's pro day and impressed.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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