Rookie Watch: Ponder has promise

I am a fan of Christian Ponder. Even when many criticized the Vikings for using such a high pick on him (No. 12 overall), I commended the pick.

Minnesota has found its quarterback of the future. There will be plenty of growing pains. And the Vikings' wide receivers outside of Percy Harvin, who remains a work in progress himself, really struggle to gain separation or get deep downfield. Ponder needs a No. 1 wideout to help his progression. The Vikings' offensive line also needs a lot of work.

But Ponder is smart and decisive. He gets the ball out quickly and throws a very catchable ball.
He is light on his feet and a very good athlete. His arm isn't the strongest, but it is not a liability either. Ponder makes his share of questionable decisions, but he puts those mistakes behind him and moves on to the next play.

The rest of the 2011 season should have plenty of valleys for Ponder and the Vikings overall, but that is often just part of growing up in the NFL -- particularly at quarterback. Ponder has the makeup of a successful starting quarterback.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.