To Reach, Or Not To Reach? Ponder vs. Jackson

With the selection of Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder with the 12th pick in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings opened themselves up to far-reaching criticism from fans, the media, and draft experts across the nation who claim they “reached” for Ponder out of desperation. 

The selection of Ponder, who was slated by most experts as going between 15-30 positions further down in the draft, reminded many fans of the Viking’s head-scratching selection of unheralded, and currently unemployed, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson in the second round of 2006’s draft. 

Stink Whispers wonders: Are these two cases unique, or have the Vikings just reinforced the adage “Those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it”? So, here is a comparison of the men deemed worthy of breaking the huddle for the Minnesota Vikings.

NAME ORIGINS

Ponder: Ponder’s first name comes from the Medieval Latin name Christianus, meaning “a Christian.” In England it has been in use since the Middle Ages, during which time it was used by both males and females, but it did not become common until the 17th century. In Denmark the name has been borne by ten kings since the 15th century. A famous bearer was Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), the Danish author of such fairy tales as The Ugly Duckling and The Emperor’s New Clothes. The name is also said to be a favorite of parents looking to ensure their children grows up to be an egotistical prick intent on keeping poor people in their place.

Jackson: Jackson’s first name comes from the Super Ridiculous Made-up American Name Tarvarisnus, meaning “We are so out-of-our-mind stupid that we are going to come up with a name that will prohibit our son from ever becoming an elected official, corporate executive, or member of regular society that doesn’t get laughed at by complete strangers.” In Montgomery, Alabama (where Jackson was born), “Tarvaris” is listed as only the 83rd most ridiculous name, finishing well behind “Gangreesha” and “Vashonaquinn.”

ARM STRENGTH
Ponder: Entering the Senior Bowl, many NFL scouts rated Ponder’s arm strength to be average to slightly above-average. After the Senior Bowl, many scouts rated his arm strength to be average to slightly above-average. According to his agent, the less-than-stellar evaluations motivated Ponder to dedicate more time to his throwing motion and arm strength. After three months of intense training with a staff of over a dozen strength coordinators and fitness experts, Ponder came to the combine and put on a throwing performance that left those same scouts rating his arm as average to slightly above-average.

Jackson: Despite noted deficiencies in several other quarterback skill categories, one thing most NFL talent evaluators agreed on was Jackson’s impressive arm strength. Darius Anderson, a scout for the Carolina Panthers from 2004-2009, once witnessed Jackson throw a ball over 90 yards in the air while at Alabama State. Unfortunately, that same throw was so off target that it killed a World War II veteran who was shining his war medals on the back patio of his senior living complex. While Jackson spoke at the funeral, he was later asked to leave after he gently tossed a rose down on the casket and hit the widow instead.

MOBILITY

Ponder: According to draft reports, both of Ponder’s legs work just fine. At Florida State he was able to walk, and even occassionally run, all on his own power. Unfortunately, he didn’t perform either very well, often falling over and needing help back to his feet. It was reported shortly after his selection in the draft that the Vikings training staff will be offering Ponder his choice of used, slightly damaged Rascal scooters for use during plays that require him to move outside the pocket. While 2001 models will be excluded from consideration, Ponder is said to “know a guy who knows a guy.”

Jackson: Prior to the 2006 draft, few NFL scouts doubted Jackson’s ability to run the ball. While not blessed with the speed or mobility of Michael Vick, Jackson proved to have above-average ability in both categories at the draft combine. This ability, however, did not translate to his NFL career, with the exception of when he showed promising speed in chasing down defensive backs who had just intercepted one of his patented jump passes. It is rumored that much of Jackson’s mobility issues in the NFL stemmed from having Brad Childress’ head firmly implanted up his ass.

EDUCATION / I.Q.
Ponder: Ponder received his MBA from Florida State University in 2011 and is currently working on his second Masters degree. He is widely considered to be one of the most intelligent players in the 2011 Draft at any position, and it is rumored that he has already set his post-NFL career goals in motion. At present, however, a player’s level of intelligence is not a statistic listed on Hall of Fame plaques or on the back of football cards, so Ponder’s I.Q. is also widely considered to be about a useful as hot sauce on a dog-turd sandwich.

Jackson: Drafted out of Alabama State after his senior season, Jackson has yet to receive a college degree in any field of study. This is partially due to the fact that Alabama State does not offer “official” degrees, since most students drop out of school prior to their senior year to marry a sibling and raise a family of mentally stunted children. It is also due to the fact that Jackson once bought Degree deodorant at Walmart and assumed he now had a Bachelor’s degree in good hygiene.

DRAFT POSITION
Ponder: According to many draft experts, Ponder was expected to be selected somewhere between the late first round and early second. Instead, the Vikings selected him with the 12th overall pick. According to Anthony Cromwell, editor for NFL Draft Monthly, Ponder was ranked as the seventh-best quarterback prospect in the 2011 draft, one spot behind Andy Dalton of TCU and one spot ahead of a dirty mop used to clean the bathrooms of the Burger King in Marion, AL. Judging by the way left tackle Bryan McKinnie blocked in 2010, the Vikings may need that mop to clean Ponder’s forcibly released bowels off the Metrodome turf.

Jackson: In 2007, the Vikings selected Jackson with the 64th pick in the second round. At the time, most draft experts had Jackson listed as a fourth- to fifth-round talent, at best. When asked why the team reached so high to select Jackson, then-coach Brad Children said, “My goal is to no longer be coaching in 2011, and Jackson gives me the best chance to make that dream come to life.”

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