The Vikings are expected to visit with Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler Tuesday, according to a league source.
Cutler is the third-ranked QB in the draft, according to scout.com, and might go in the top 10 selections. A number of draft experts believe that if the Vikings trade up to select a quarterback, Cutler would be the object of their desire.
He is a confident, strong-armed QB whose has drawn comparisons to Brett Favre because of his attitude and being the type of prospect who could fit in well with the Vikings' new West Coast offense.
Despite the top two QB prospects not working out at the Combine, Cutler did.
"I wanted to do everything going into it. I asked a lot of questions at the
Senior Bowl as to what the scouts thought, what the coaches thought, and everyone said you can't really hurt yourself, go out there and throw and do the best you can," said the 6-foot-3, 226-pound prospect. "You come here to show what you have."
Cutler went from a relative unknown to a fast-rising prospect in his senior year. It started on the field and continued as scouts began to see his throwing ability. In his final game at Vanderbilt, Cutler led his team to a 28-24 win at Tennessee, throwing the game-winning touchdown with 1:11 left to play.
He called that the topping on four years of hard work, but he believes once Vanderbilt started winning is when his draft stock began to rise.
"We got some wins, I think that started it all. We won some fourth-quarter games. I think people wanted to see if I could lead a team to victory," Cutler said. "Once that started, the ball started rolling and it just kind of picked up pace throughout the year. ''
USC's Matt Leinart is expected to be the first QB taken because of his winning experiences and his strong decision-making. Vince Young is thought to be a close second because of his athletic ability. Cutler is a little bit of both, but he believes the NFL is a pocket-passer's game.
"I think they want pocket guys that can move a little bit. I don't think they are really looking for guys that can get out of the pocket quickly and run around. I mean you are not going to make a living running around in the NFL," Cutler said. "There have been some quarterbacks in the past that have tried to do it, and you are only going to get yourself hurt. Being able to escape from the pocket and get rid of the ball quickly, I think that is one of the things they are looking for though.''
Cutler has been working on his footwork and wanted to display that to scouts at the NFL Combine.
"Obviously I have a lot of arm strength. So I am going to put it in there. My footwork, I have been working on that. That has been an issue and been a concern going into the Senior Bowl and coming here, so a lot of little things," said the SEC Offensive Player of the Year. "I think once I land somewhere they're going to iron those things out throughout the year.''
Part of Cutler's footwork issues could be related to the pressure he often felt from defensive linemen. He ended up throwing off his back foot and in unconventional ways to avoid sacks, similar to what Favre is often seen doing on Sundays in the NFL.
"I got it done without a lot of guys around me. Nothing against those guys, I love them to death, but I didn't have All-Americans scattered across the field and I had to adjust. I had to deal with pressure. I had to deal with getting the ball into tight places, so I think it is going to help me going to the next level, dealing with adversity and being able to succeed through it,'' he said.
TFY DRAFT PREVIEW ANALYSIS
Bio: Four-year starter awarded All-Conference honors as a senior after leading the SEC in passing with 59.1%/3,073/21/9. Junior totals were 61%/1,844/10/5.
Pos: Athletic prospect with the physical and mental skills necessary to start at the next level. Patient, stands strong in the pocket and immediately finds the open wideout. Displays a sense of timing, throws strikes and hits receivers in stride. Poised under pressure, can elude the rush and gets rid of the ball rather than taking a bad sack. Sells the ball fakes, accurate throwing on the move and displays toughness in all aspects of the game. Not afraid to challenge the vertical.
Neg: Must improve the consistency of his footwork - releases the errant pass off his back foot. Made a lot of plays on the college level because of his strong arm. Will force the errant throw into coverage on occasion.
Analysis: A consistent passer who has shown continual development throughout college, Cutler comes off a brilliant senior campaign. Must improve his fundamentals and pass placement but offers all the skills to lead a franchise into the future.
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