If you have a young quarterback, the important thing to see is improvement. You want to see the young man you drafted develop into the player you would like him to be. Christian Ponder has been derided for being a below average quarterback, and many people are wondering if the Vikings will look for a quarterback in the draft this year. If he improves like he did last year, then there is no way. Even if he plateaus, I think the Vikings will be drafting late enough in the first round that it won’t be worth it.
Among the categories he showed marked improvement in:
Completion percentage: 2011: 54.3, 2012: 62.1
Interception percentage: 2011: 4.5, 2012: 2.5
Yards/Game: 2011: 168.5, 2012: 183.4
QB Rating: 2011: 70.1, 2012: 81.2
He’s getting better. His targets were actually worse last year too, so while part of the improvement is attributable to more time in the pocket because of a better offensive line, a lot of it is on Ponder.
Oh, and don’t get me wrong, Ponder isn’t an elite quarterback, I won’t argue that, but I will say that he is just what the Vikings need. I still remember how much people like Brad Johnson when he was in town. His career stats with the Vikings for those same rates:
Completion Percentage: 62
Interception percentage: 3.9
Yards per game: 163.2
QB Rating: 82.5
Brad Johnson was good enough for a lot of Vikes fans, and led the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl. Ponder in his second year has already reached those same statistics with Jerome Simpson and Devin Aromashidou, while Brad Johnson had Cris Carter and Jake Reed.
I understand that Brad Johnson isn’t the loftiest ideal for a quarterback, but I am trying to say this. Christian Ponder is already better than Johnson, and improved dramatically last year. Johnson was enough to take a team with a good ground game and a strong defense to the Super Bowl. Why couldn’t Christian Ponder do the same thing?