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Titans safety calls Vikings rookie Ponder a 'borderline genius'

If intelligence were the sole attribute necessary to create a successful NFL quarterback, the Minnesota Vikings would have a can't-miss prospect on their hands in Christian Ponder. At least according to Myron Rolle.

Ponder is smart, having earned his degree at Florida State in just 2 ½ years. But Rolle, a Titans safety and former college teammate, takes his praise of Ponder's intellect to another level.

"He's a very smart person, incredibly smart, one of the smartest I've met," Rolle told *The Tennessean* on Saturday. "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."

Rolle has some perspective on such topics. He's a former Rhodes Scholar who already holds a master's degree in science. He's planning a post-football career as a neurosurgeon.

"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."

Ponder, the 12th overall pick in April's draft, saw time in Minnesota's preseason opener against the Titans, going 8-for-13 for 84 yards. Ponder is No. 3 on the quarterback depth chart, behind Joe Webb and starter Donovan McNabb.

Rolle thinks playing behind McNabb will undoubtedly help Ponder.

"I think he has the opportunity to learn behind one of the best quarterbacks who has played the game," Rolle said. "He's got a lot of talent around him. He has an outstanding running game. He's excited about his opportunity."

All of which leads to the biggest question of them all: Does Rolle think Ponder is smarter than him?

"I don't want to compare, but he's very impressive, and I think that will help him succeed."

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