Former Viking Brad Johnson A Big Supporter Of Christian Ponder
Add Brad Johnson, a former outstanding NFL quarterback, to the list of people saying Vikings No. 1 draft pick Christian Ponderof Florida State has a lot of talent. “I’ve only met him a couple times; obviously with me going to Florida State, I kept hooked to Florida State all these years,” said Johnson, a former Vikings quarterback as well as a Super Bowl winner for Tampa Bay.
And Johnson has known about Ponder from his high school days in Dallas.
“When I played for the Cowboys, I went and saw my kids,” Johnson said. “They played football at the same high school that [Ponder] went to in Colleyeville and just everything that you heard about him was good. He’s a tremendously hard worker, graduated in 2 1/2 years, playing for Jimbo Fisher, he’s tough on quarterbacks.”
Johnson said there was a lot more demanded of Ponder than of most college quarterbacks.
“[Fisher’s] the head coach now. He was the [offensive] coordinator when Christian got there,” Johnson said. “He demands a lot from quarterbacks and makes them learn the game. Obviously, Christian is a quick study and hard worker and led those guys to a lot of wins down there. The program went through a lot of change when he first got there, so he fought through some tough times. Hopefully he has a great career. He did a lot of good things for Florida State, really kind of stabilized the program. The program went through difficult times when he got there, and he kind of led them back to a winning tradition down there.”
Johnson mentioned how growing up in the competitive football state of Texas helped Ponder.
“Him growing up in Texas, where he was, there’s all kinds of quarterbacks coming out of where he’s from,” Johnson said. “Obviously Matthew Stafford was 10 miles away in Highland Park, but he possesses those traits. He’s got toughness about him, he’s got enough arm to complete whatever kind of ball needs to be completed at that level. Obviously it’s just being ready. It’s going to be tough on him without training camp and minicamp. What happens with this lockout? He’s been a quick study coming up, but any rookie is going to have a tough time adjusting. But he picks things up, and he should be ready to go.”
Johnson, who played 17 years in the NFL, said Ponder is much more ready to play than he was.
“I didn’t play much in college. He obviously started three or four years,” Johnson said. “He’s much more prepared than I was, but I was, when my time came I was ready. Some guys are ready faster than others, but when my time came I was ready.”
It’s fantastic to see so many current and former players showing their support for Christian Ponder. While many people including myself considered Ponder a reach in the draft, he sure has built up a lot of anticipation this year. Ponder definitely has the best opportunity to transition to the NFL considering all the QBs in this years draft class. Let’s just hope the this extended lockout doesn’t effect his development too much!