Posted by Will Brinson
Christian Ponder didn't -- at least according to one expert opinion -- get off to the greatest start on Satruday night as Minnesota lost his debut to Tennessee 14-3. But that doesn't mean he can't become a good, great or just plain smart quarterback.
Or all of the above. According to Myron Rolle, that should be easy. Rolle, Ponder's former teammate at Florida State and a Titans safety, says the Vikings quarterback is, in fact, "borderline genius."
"He’s a very smart person, incredibly smart, one of the smartest I've met," Rolle said Satruday, per John Glennon of The Tennessean. "He’s borderline genius. So I don’t think it will be an issue for him at all to get adjusted mentally to the [professional] game."
If there's one NFL player (or human being in general, actually) who knows a thing or two about being intelligent it's Rolle.
Rolle, a Florida State graduate and former freshman All-American, eschewed the 2009 NFL Draft to pick up a Masters of Science in Oxford and then entered the 2010 draft, where Tennessee took him in the sixth round.
So, yeah, if you're talking about big brains, Rolle's a guy you want to check in with. And he worked with Ponder for some time in Tallahassee so while there's potential for bias, but it's pretty hard to argue with since, as Glennon points out, Ponder's got his bachelor degree, an MBA degree and is casually still rolling through FSU's sports management program.
"He has a mind outside of just book-smart," Rolle said of Ponder. "What I like to call it is applied knowledge. He can understand things. He grasped our teams at Florida State very quickly. He grasped social concepts at Florida State very quickly. He’s very impressive."
And, as Rolle points out, he's in a pretty good situation for applying said knowledge. Sitting behind Donovan McNabb and learning the Vikings offense, adjusting to the speed of the NFL game and growing into a professional quarterback.
Absolute worst-case scenario? It doesn't work out for Ponder and, like Rolle, he falls back on one of his many collegiate degrees to earn a nice living elsewhere, which is the real advantage of being a smart NFL player.
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