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Chan tightens QB vest

INDIANAPOLIS -- Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey did not offer any clues Thursday on his specific evaluations of the quarterbacks in the 2011 NFL Draft class during a briefing with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Gailey offered some brief evaluations of quarterbacks Cam Newton of Auburn, Blaine Gabbert of Missouri and Christian Ponder of Florida State. But it was hard to draw any conclusions from his comments.

Asked if it will be hard to pass up a quarterback with the third overall pick if the BIlls decide a franchise guy is available, Gailey said: "I think you have to look at all scenarios. You’re trying to take care of immediate needs and at the same time take care of the long-term franchise good. As you look at it you have to consider all scenarios."

On the QB class in general, Gailey said: "It’s a different quarterback group. These guys have been in a lot of different types of offenses. It’s not just your cut and dried pro-style of quarterbacks in this draft. So you’re projecting a little bit more maybe than we have in years past on this group. There’s a few of them that have been in that. Just like in the last couple years, there’s guys that haven’t been under center very often. How are they going to react? How are they going to be able to handle that? You can handle it in shorts. But can you handle it when there’s big guys on the other side about two yards away coming at you?"

What does he think of Auburn's Newton? "I’m anxious to see him continue to work out. I’m anxious to see what he’s going to do here this week. But he obviously had a great year. I watched him several times on TV. I’ve not studied him to this point yet. I’ve looked at a little bit of tape but not studied him. He’s a big athlete that is in that wildcat mode but obviously has the ability maybe to go to the dropback passer mode."

Gailey said Newton's throwing motion is excellent. "His mechanics are fine. He has no mechanical flaws. He has all the physical attributes."

Gailey's view of Missouri's Gabbert: "Same thing. He can make all the throws. Arm strength, size, he's obviously not the runner. But they didn’t ask him to either. He’s not going to go run it 15 times a game like the other guy (Newton) will. But he had to read a lot more things in the pass game than Cam did. He had to see the whole field. They were in four wides, five wides quite a bit so he has to see the whole field and that’s an advantage he has."

Florida State's Ponder was recruited by Gailey at Georgia Tech out of high school. Ponder probably will be a second-round pick, not a first-rounder. "He was in more of a traditional pro offense than some of the other quarterbacks in the draft. So I think his transition will be a little easier. He was hurt a lot. That’s always a question and something you have to make sure you research extensively to be comfortable about a guy like that. But mentally and physically talentwise he’s fine. I think he’s got a chance to be very successful."

---Mark Gaughan




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