Vikings by position, Day 6: Scouts not sold on Joe Webb's future at QB
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Editor's note: Each weekday until the NFL Draft begins on April 28, Tom Pelissero is breaking down the Minnesota Vikings' roster by position, based on observations of games and practice, weekly tape studies and interviews with NFL coaches and scouts.
On the roster (2)
Scouts love the raw skill set of Webb (6-foot-4, 220 pounds), who showed promise in taking a Football 101 game plan to victory in his first NFL start at Philadelphia. But the Vikings are in the majority that isn't sold on Webb's future at quarterback, and the plan for now is to find other ways to get him on the field -- in a Wildcat formation, at receiver, on returns or otherwise. He's just too gifted to hold a clipboard, even if he has a long way to go to master the consistency, accuracy and volume needed to succeed at his natural position. Bomar (6-2, 225) signed off the New York Giants' practice squad on Dec. 21 and remains a developmental player at age 25. Enough scouts think Jackson (6-2, 225) still has potential that he'll turn up somewhere next season. The Vikings didn't even offer him a restricted tender, though, and he needs a fresh start. Ramsey (6-2, 225) is just a spare tire at age 32 and might be done. Favre (6-2, 222) has retired again, but that won't stop NFL teams from calling in a pinch -- he just won't hear from the Vikings.
One scout's take
"I've been impressed with Joe Webb. But to say that he can go out there and be the starter -- I don't know that. From what I've seen, I wouldn't feel comfortable with that. And I'd love to have Joe Webb on our team -- but as a backup, you know? He's really talented. He looks tough and it doesn't look like it's too big for him, which is important. They didn't even draft him as a quarterback. They drafted him as a receiver and they moved him. They didn't even know what they had."
-- NFC personnel man
It would be nothing short of stunning if the NFL Draft's first two rounds pass without the Vikings selecting a quarterback. They've drafted one that early only four times in the franchise's 50 years -- Tommy Kramer (27th overall in 1977) and Daunte Culpepper (11th in 1999) in the first round, Bill Cappleman (51st in 1970) and Jackson (64th in 2006) in the second. But a gaping hole at the most important position, coupled with their detailed work on all of the top quarterbacks during the pre-draft process, makes it a safe bet this time around. Coach Leslie Frazier has made no secret about his desire to draft and develop a franchise quarterback, and that would become more and more difficult the longer the Vikings wait. The top two prospects, Auburn's Cam Newton and Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, universally are projected to be off the board before the Vikings' first selection at No. 12 overall. If they pass on Washington's Jake Locker and the rest of the second tier with their first-round pick, trading up from No. 43 in the second is another possibility -- there's just no telling how long the quarterback(s) they target will be on the board in a year so many teams need one.
Last 10 drafts
• 2010: None.*
• 2009: None.
• 2008: John David Booty (fifth round, 137th overall).
• 2007: Tyler Thigpen (seventh, 217th).
• 2006: Jackson (second, 64th).
• 2005: None.
• 2004: None.
• 2003: None.
• 2002: None.
• 2001: None.
* Webb was drafted as a receiver and converted to quarterback during rookie minicamp.
According to various reports, the Vikings have held private workouts with Newton, Locker, Florida State's Christian Ponder and Iowa's Ricky Stanzi and hosted official visits with TCU's Andy Dalton and Arkansas' Ryan Mallett. They sent a large contingent to the pro day workout of Gabbert and had dinner with him afterward. According to NFL sources, they met at the Senior Bowl and the NFL scouting combine with the draft's other top quarterback prospect, Colin Kaepernick.
• Mel Kiper, ESPN: 1. Gabbert. 2. Newton. 3. Locker. 4. Dalton. 5. Mallett.
• Mike Mayock, NFL Network: 1. Gabbert. 2. Locker. 3. Newton. 4. Mallett. 5. Ponder.
• Shawn Zobel, DraftHeadquarters.com: 1. Gabbert. 2. Newton. 3. Mallett. 4. Ponder. 5. Locker.