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Need A West Coast Quarterback: Christian Ponder Could Make Sense In The Second Round

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During one of his draft scenarios last month, the Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy envisioned that, if all things went accordingly, the Cincinnati Bengals could select Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Reedy points out that drafting wide receiver A.J. Green in the first round made the most sense. We disagree. From most reports -- along with A.J. Green fanboys -- the Georgia Wide Receiver is a specimen. And maybe Green could be a big contributor, replacing a departing Chad Ochocinco either this year, or next.

Yet, our first instinct says that a fourth overall selection seems a bit high for a wide receiver on a team that plans to go back to a core power rushing offense that has yet to determine who their quarterback is going to be.

That being said, Reedy has support for Christian Ponder, who is being praised by NFL Network's Mike Mayock.

“He’s a West Coast (scheme) quarterback who is smart, talented and a hard worker,” Mayock said. “He’s one of those guys that as we get closer to the draft, I think the more teams are going to like him. While we’re all focused on those first-level quarterbacks, don’t be surprised if Ponder continues to move up and very quietly teams fall in love with him.”

The Bengals are converting into offensive coordinator Jay Gruden's West Coast style and will need a quarterback that can play the West Coast -- a major reason why Arkansas' Ryan Mallett might not fit.

Maylock ranks Ponder as the fifth quarterback prospect in this year's draft. So does Mocking The Draft. ESPN's Draft Tracker ranks Ponder seventh amongst quarterbacks, giving him below average on things like durability, intelligence and decision-making. On the other hand, ESPN loves his pocket mobility, toughness and leadership.

Throwback quarterback with great toughness. Continues to improve as a leader each year. Is commanding the huddle now. Is proving to have the physical and mental toughness it takes to succeed as an NFL quarterback.