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Bills Beat Blog

By Joe Buscaglia
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QBs Not Named Newton

A day full of expectations was met with disappointment, as reporters learned later in the day on Friday that Auburn quarterback Cam Newton would not be meeting with the media on that day.

He likely was held up on one portion of the NFL Scouting Combine process, and it delayed the rest of his schedule. Odds are, we'll talk to Newton on Saturday.

But because there was a lack of Newton at the Combine on Friday, that gives us an opportunity to meet the rest of the quarterbacks in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Throughout the day, I spoke with Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Andy Dalton, Pat Devlin, Ricky Stanzi and Greg McElroy among others. So here are the notable things said throughout the day from quarterbacks.

Missouri's Gabbert is in a battle with Newton for top quarterback honors in this draft class, and he's ready for the challenge.

"Cam's an explosive athlete. You've seen what he's done at the college level," remarked Gabbert. "He's won a JUCO national championship, won the national championship at a Division-I level. He's been extremely successful, so he has all the talent in the world. But, we're going to compete and find out, and may the best man win."

One of the main concerns with the Missouri quarterback is the type of offense he hails from. He believes that the offense isn't as simple as some make it sound.

"I wouldn't necessarily say the reads are different. We're not really a one-side read offense. We have three, four progression reads," Gabbert said. "Of course the footwork is different, we're in the shotgun about 98-percent of the time, so that's what I've been working on, that's what I've focused on."

One player that needs a great showing at the NFL Combine is Washington quarterback Jake Locker. After being in the conversation for the first overall pick last year, Locker decided to come back for his senior season. Instead of taking over and showing that he had elite talent, the Washington product struggled with accuracy the whole season.

It's something he knew would follow him to the media portion of his Combine visit.

"It's something I knew coming in to this would be one of the big points of question and so I was prepared for it and ready for it," Locker said.

But despite his downfalls, Locker still is in the conversation to be a first round pick. A big reason for that is need for that position around the NFL.

"I believe it's a really good year to be a quarterback," Locker stated. "You look at the draft and I think there's a good number of teams that will be looking at quarterbacks to draft or pickup in some way. I think it's a good year to be able to come out and showcase what you can do and what you can bring to an organization."

TCU quarterback Andy Dalton has been a riser since the season ended, and was afforded the opportunity to work with the Buffalo Bills and head coach Chan Gailey at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL. He recapped the experience.

"It was fun just to get the opportunity to play underneath the Bills, and the Bills staff," Dalton remarked. "Just to get out and be in a pro system and to be in a pro offense and to learn with a bunch of guys. It was a great experience and that's going to help me with this whole transition."

It wouldn't be a draft year without a small school quarterback, and this year Delaware QB Pat Devlin is the man in that role. He summed up his game to reporters.

"I think my accuracy is probably my biggest strength on the field," asserted Devlin. "I love to study film, I think of myself as an intelligent quarterback. I think those are two attributes I try to portray in interviews."

Devlin is hoping to follow in the footsteps of former Delaware product and current Baltimore Ravens starting QB Joe Flacco. But when the decision came to transfer out of Penn State after three seasons, Flacco's success didn't affect the next move of his football career.

"I don't think that really factored in too much," Devlin said. "I didn't really get to talk to Joe [Flacco] too much. It really came down to Delaware has a great football tradition and they also have great academics, and those two things are tough to pass up."

Two players that figure to be mid-to-late round choices at quarterback, Iowa's Ricky Stanzi and Alabama's Greg McElroy fielded some questions.

Stanzi can boast as much starting experience in college football as almost anyone, having started three seasons for the Hawkeyes in his career. He's using that to his advantage.

"There's certain situations you feel more comfortable with and one of those is going through a full season," declared the former Iowa QB. "Having to go through ups and downs, whether it be wins and losses, injuries, missing a couple of guys. All those things, having that experience is definitely a huge help."

In the case of McElroy, timing is everything. And in this case, the timing of an injury that could ultimately effect his draft stock is terrible. McElroy injured his hand at the Senior Bowl, and came away with the diagnosis today at the Combine. He has a fractured second metacarpal on his throwing hand.

"It's probably going to take pretty extensive rehab," a downtrodden McElroy relayed to the media. "There's going to be some tightness in the wrist. So much about throwing is fluidity and relative motion and torque and things like that. It's going to take some time to get back."

So much time, that he won't be throwing on Sunday in Indianapolis, and may not even throw at his March 9 Pro Day.

Ryan Mallett, Colin Kaepernick in addition to Newton did not speak on Friday.

Twitter: @JoeB_WGR

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Locations : AlabamaDelawareIndianapolisIowaMissouriMobileWashington
People : Andy DaltonBlaine GabbertCam NewtonChan GaileyColin KaepernickGreg McElroyJake LockerJoe FlaccoPat DevlinRicky StanziRyan Mallett

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