Recalling Trent Dilfer's post-2011 draft criticism of Christian Ponder
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The week the Vikings drafted Christian Ponder, former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer had some critical remarks pointed at Ponder and at the Vikings for selecting him as early as they did.
He blasted the Vikings on "The Herd with Colin Cowherd," calling it a "travesty" and a "major, major whiff" that the Vikings skipped former TCU quarterback Andy Dalton in favor of Ponder, according to ESPN.com. Dilfer was dead-on when he asserted that Dalton would be a better pro. To this juncture in their respective careers, it's not even worth comparing the two young signal-callers.
Here's a snippet from an article written by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert, which includes quotes from Dilfer:
"[Ponder's] drop, his arm speed, everything about him ... it's one tempo," Dilfer said. "He has to play at the 7-on-7 tempo. The drop has to be rhythmical. The receivers have to be open. The ball goes one speed. The pocket has to be nice. Any time he's asked to quicken that up or there's people around him, his accuracy is awful. ...
"The great quarterbacks are as accurate going to [options] two, three and four as they are when you go to one. ... Christian Ponder, as soon as you get to two or three, the ball is dirting. It's high. It's all over the place. OK?. He plays with a lot of anxiety. Do you want your quarterback in the NFL to play with a lot of anxiety?
"Christian Ponder tests off the charts. He's in shorts and a t-shirt. He goes to his pro workout, he's in shorts and a t-shirt. His big pecs are hanging out. He's got big guns. He looks great. He's a good-looking young man and he spins that ball around the football field in a perfect environment and people go 'wow he can play.'"
Dilfer doesn't pull many punches in that review, calling Ponder a quarterback who tested well in workouts, but couldn't perform as well in the pressure of a game. For the record, Dilfer was wrong (to date) about Ponder's mechanics. Dilfer said Ponder would often be hurt in the NFL because of his shoulder build and because his throwing motion puts pressure on his elbow.
We'll give the Vikings a fair defense here: It was just one game; the defense was at least equally concerning; and Ponder's offensive line didn't do him any huge favor.
Head coach Leslie Frazier offered his assessments at Monday's practice: "He made some good plays. You're really excited to see the throws out to Jerome (Simpson) down the sideline that was a great throw, the shot to Kyle (Rudolph) as well. He did some good things. You just have to develop that consistency all the way throughout," Frazier said.
"There were a lot of good things he did and there were some things that obviously we need to improve on and get better at, but he did some positive things as well."