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QB Quick Takes

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  • QB Quick Takes

    A Pre-Combine consideration of some of the draft’s top quarterbacks:

    Sam Bradford
    Observations: The one benefit to Bradford’s lost season was highlighting the impact he had on the Sooners’ success. With Bradford in the lineup, OU was a national title contender in ‘08. Without him, they struggled to 8-5 in ‘09. Like Tebow and McCoy, he was a key component of one of college football’s best teams. Unlike Tebow and McCoy, Bradford was a pocket passer who succeeded using the same skills he will be asked to draw upon in the pros. He goes through his progressions, makes quick decisions, uses good judgment, and has completed a high percentage of his throws.
    Risk Factors: By far, the biggest question is how his shoulder checks out. Bradford played in a spread offense but stayed in the pocket more than most spread quarterbacks. Nonetheless, there will be some questions about transitioning to a system where he will be dropping back on the majority of plays.
    Gut Reaction: Bradford's got game. If his shoulder checks out, he is the only quarterback I'd seriously consider drafting in the top five at the moment.

    Jimmy Clausen
    Observations: If some quarterbacks are raw prospects and others polished, Clausen is that shiny spot on a bronze statue that has been rubbed about a million times for good luck. Jimmy’s older brothers were Division I quarterbacks, his parents paid for him to learn from a professional quarterbacks coach in junior high, he went to a prep school with a high profile football program, and capped it off by learning a pro system at Notre Dame from none other than Charlie Weis. It is doubtful that any other quarterback in this class compares in terms of preparation for the NFL. The flip side is that he might also be the closest to his ceiling. Despite what might sound like a slightly pampered upbringing, Clausen has played through injury and sickness and earned his place on the team. He has a quick release and throws with velocity and accuracy.
    Risk Factors: One area of concern is that despite Clausen’s gaudy personal statistics, the Irish never made it into a BCS bowl under his leadership. His college career ended with his head coach being fired after 4 straight losses to the likes of Navy, Pitt, U Conn, and Stanford. This was the team’s second loss to Navy in Clausen’s three years starting, snapping a 43-game streak of Notre Dame wins in the match-up. Given that all of ND’s losses were close last season (7 points or less), it is a bit disappointing that he did not pull off a few more comeback wins. He did not have the greatest defense or running game to help out, but he has benefited from playing with receivers like Golden Tate and Michael Floyd. Some also say he doesn’t have the greatest deep ball. I would also have slight concerns about how he would fit in with his teammates based simply on my own experience with Notre Dame alumni who often seem to forget that not everyone has enjoyed the same advantages.
    Gut Reaction: What you see is what you get. He’s sort of the anti-Tebow—all the skills but no magic.

    Colt McCoy
    Observations: Daniel “Colt” McCoy looks great on paper. A four year starter in the Big 12, 45 wins, 70.2% completion percentage, he almost took Texas to a national title game in 2008 and did take Texas to the title game in 2009 only to fall to injury in the first quarter. McCoy is an exciting dual-threat quarterback with strong leadership qualities who accomplished a great deal without elite receivers or run game support.
    Risk Factors: McCoy’s injury in the title game appears to be a relatively minor issue, but many will see him as a system quarterback whose style is ill-suited for the NFL. His mechanics are better than Tebow’s, but he will still have to adapt to dropping back from behind center and checking down through his receivers. He is also relatively slight of frame and has a relatively weak arm.
    Gut Reaction: I get the feeling he’s a big boom or bust player. Four years from now, he could either be starting for the Rams or selling them at Colt’s Chrysler Dodge.

    Tony Pike
    Observations: Give him and Coach Brian Kelly credit for putting Cincinnati in a pair of BCS bowls and very nearly earning the chance to play for the national title. Pike makes good decisions and throws to where his receivers are going. His height is also a plus, and it perhaps helps to explain his superior field vision.
    Risk Factors: Pike is a scarecrow. His gangly stature would not be so disconcerting if he had not missed time after breaking his non-throwing arm on two separate occasions. Durability is a real concern, doubly so because he lacks the mobility to escape pressure. He also is said not to be quite the vocal leader that some of the other prospects are.
    Gut Reaction: I could see him fitting right in with the quarterbacks of recent Rams history--dangerously accurate, dangerously immobile, and spending half of every season on injured reserve.

    Dan LeFevour
    Observations: The man from Central Michigan looks like the prototype of an NFL quarterback. He is the proud owner of the record for most credited touchdowns (passing and rushing) in the NCAA. He may have turned some heads with a good game in the Senior Bowl. With Tebow-like size and scrambling and somewhat more traditional mechanics, somebody is going to fall in love with his potential.
    Risk Factors: Much like McCoy, LeFevour’s arm has been called into question, and he will have to adjust to dropping back from behind center and staying in the pocket. He will also face a bigger transition in level of competition than many of the other quarterbacks on this list.
    Gut Reaction: He‘ll be an off-season riser, but he’s not someone you’re going to want to just throw into the fire. My best bet is that he’ll go to a team that plans on having him hold the clipboard for a year or two.

Related Topics


  • r8rh8rmike
    The Watercooler: Who Are The Rams' Top Draft Options At QB?
    by r8rh8rmike
    10.22.2009 12:27 pm
    Who are Rams’ top draft options at QB?
    By Roger Hensley


    QUESTION: If the St. Louis Rams were to take a quarterback in the first round of next year’s draft, which current college quarterback would you suggest they select?

    Very tough call, and of course I reserve the right to change my mind later, after these kids play more games and also go through the NFL Scouting Combine. Because a lot can change between now and the draft. But if we are talking right now, I’d go with Washington’s Jake Locker. Big (6-3), strong and athletic, Locker has a plus arm, and a quick release. He’s been thriving in the pro-style offense installed by first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian. Also, Locker is being tutored by one of the best, QBs coach Steve Clarkson, who in the past has worked with Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Leinart and others. Clarkson cleaned up Locker’s mechanics and the improvement was immediate. And keep in mind that Locker is getting it done at Washington, and he’s not surrounded by elite talent. That makes his performance even more impressive.

    Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen has moved up as an NFL prospect. Clausen has always had the natural talent, but he’s grown at Notre Dame, and is more physically imposing now. Looks like a tough kid, too. He is certainly used to pressure and it doesn’t get to him. The best is yet to come for Clausen. The red flags are out on Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford; it’s not only the shoulder injuries, but the questions of whether he can throw while under pressure, because he doesn’t encounter much of a pass rush at OU. Cincinnati’s Tony Pike could be the steal of the draft; he’s likely to be downgraded and drop down the board because of multiple injuries to his left wrist. But he’s a player. Not sure if Colt McCoy (Texas) has the frame, but he seems like a good fit for a West Coast offense. Jevan Snead (Ole Miss) has been touted by scouts and draftniks, but I haven’t seen enough (yet) to get excited by his NFL future. Again, that could change. All of this could.

    With his bum shoulder this season, Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford may be losing stock for the 2010 draft or may even be considering waiting another year to come out. But if he’s available, the Rams would be wise to snap him up. Although he could stand to be more mobile, especially considering the Rams line, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner has all the tools to build a team around: accuracy (67.9 percent of his passes last season), height (6-4) and a leadership presence that makes players want to play better just for him, OU coach Bob Stoops says. Maybe some will see the shoulder injury and apparent aggravation of it last week against Texas as something chronic or signs he is brittle, but sometimes quarterbacks just get hit and hurt. There’s no reason to think it’s anything more with Bradford.

    -10-22-2009, 04:20 PM
  • AvengerRam_old
    What I'm looking for in a franchise QB
    by AvengerRam_old
    Taking a franchise QB prospect in the top 10 picks of the draft is a daunting task. Will you end up with the next Matt Ryan/Joe Flacco, or the next Alex Smith/Jamarcus Russell?

    There will never be a pefect formula for this, and if there were, I doubt I'd be the one to discover it, but for what its worth, here are the things I'm looking for:

    1. MPTs (Minimum Physical Traits)
    Top QBs don't all come in the same shape and size, but I do think there are a few minimum traits that, if lacked, will doom a QB to no better than mediocrity. They are: arm strength, physical bulk, and "pocket footwork."

    Arm strength refers to the ability to get the ball out and to a receiver quickly. It is a function of two factors: (1) release speed and (2) velocity. One factor can compensate for another, but the best QBs have both.

    Physical bulk, I believe, is more important than height. I'd rather have a well-built 6'1 QB, than a 6'6 string-bean. Otherwise, an injury-filled career is too big a risk.

    Finally, "pocket footwork" is, in my opinion, far more important than running ability. Give me a guy who knows how to step-up, side-step and roll out over a guy who can take off and run for first downs.

    2. Contagious Confidence
    People often mistakenly mistake brashness or vocal presence for leadership. To me, its more a question of a guy who displays confidence in his demeanor, what he says, and how he plays when the chips are down. Give me a guy who can throw 3 interceptions in the first half, shrug it off, and throw for 3 TDs in the second half.

    3. Unaided College Productivity
    Combines and workouts serve a purpose, nothing compares to productivity in game conditions. There's a caveat, though... beware of "aided" productivity. A college QB who racks up great stats in a non-pro style offense, against outmatched competition, or through "all-purpose" yardage will rarely be able to duplicate their productivity when they reach the NFL. You also have to throw out won/loss percentage, to a large extent. There are simply too many great college teams that merely carry their QB along for the ride. I'd rather have a smaller-school guy who plays in a pro-style offense and puts up great stats against teams with similar talent on the roster.

    So... how do I evaluate the top current prospects for the 2010 draft?

    Well, in terms of MPTs, I look at Locker and Clausen as the top prospects. McCoy and Bradford have some "bulk" issues that concern me, though in Bradford's case, his fragility may be overstated. In terms of footwork, I'd give McCoy the highest grade (though I'm not sure I've seen any college QB with better footwork than FSU's Christian Ponder).

    In terms of "contagious confidence," my subjective viewpoint is that McCoy and Clausen receive high marks....
    -10-27-2009, 02:30 PM
  • eldfan
    Quarterback draft class: For now, questions fill the air
    by eldfan
    By Jim Corbett, USA TODAY
    INDIANAPOLIS — Red flags rivaling those posted at a riptide-threatened beach were raised by the 2010 quarterback class at the NFL scouting combine.
    From Sam Bradford's surgically repaired throwing shoulder to Jimmy Clausen's surgically repaired right toe and maturity issues to Tim Tebow's 2.0 release, Colt McCoy's lack of ideal height and Dan LeFevour's decision not to throw, questions abound.

    "This is the most uncertain quarterback year I've seen," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock says.

    "Most people in the league would say Sam Bradford is clearly No. 1. Some people will feel comfortable with Jimmy Clausen because he comes out of a pro-style offense.

    "(Clausen) can make all the throws. But there's some hesitancy to just decide that he's the guy. He has to prove he has leadership skills and the other intangibles."

    Former Florida star Tebow oozes intangibles. But his elongated release fueled criticism at the Senior Bowl.

    Tebow hired former NFL quarterback and head coach Sam Wyche along with Zeke Bratkowski and Marc Trestman— both with experience as NFL offensive assistants — to revamp his throwing mechanics. The result is a quicker, more compact release, according to Tebow.

    "Tebow is never going to look like Sam Bradford, that classic passer," Mayock says. "But can you modify him to the point where those changes stick under pressure? It's one thing to go out on your pro day and throw. It's another thing when you're facing an overload blitz from the Pittsburgh Steelers and you're trying to get rid of the football to your hot-read receiver."

    Bradford, whom the St. Louis Rams are considering with the first overall pick along with Clausen and defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, said his shoulder is 85% healed after Oct. 28 reconstructive surgery performed by renowned orthopedist James Andrews.

    Bradford said there was no damage to his rotator cuff and that he has been throwing the past six weeks at Athletes' Performance Institute in Pensacola, Fla., with former NFL quarterbacks coach Terry Shea.

    "Sam's accuracy is probably his signature," Shea says. "That's a pretty darn good signature to have.

    "Sam has all those consistent manners about his play that Peyton Manning brings to the field. Sam brings that 6-4, very tall frame in everything he does.

    "To be that tall and have as good a feet as he does? That's a rare combination."

    Bradford met Peyton, Eli and Archie Manning while working as a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana over the summer.

    "Obviously, it is an extremely high compliment to be compared to someone like Peyton Manning, one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game," Bradford says of...
    -03-06-2010, 08:11 AM
  • AvengerRam_old
    Which Pros Do The QB Prospects Remind You Of?
    by AvengerRam_old
    Which recent NFL QBs do the top prospects remind you of?

    Here's my list (and, keep in mind, these are the Pros I think they could resemble. There is no guarantee that any of them will be as good as the players I'm comparing them to).

    Sam Bradford -- Kurt Warner
    Like Warner, Bradford has good, but not elite, size and good, but not elite, arm strength. For both QBs, the biggest assets are quick release, accuracy and field vision. They are also both rhythm passers who can get on a roll and take apart a defense.

    Jimmy Clausen -- Drew Brees
    I am convinced that Clausen, like Brees, is not much taller than 6'0. They both like to sling the ball and have great confidence in their arms, though neither has a true gun. Clausen has to work on his precision to be as productive as Brees, but Brees took a few years to develop in the NFL too.

    Colt McCoy -- Jeff Garcia
    McCoy uses his tools very well and is dangerous with his feet. He doesn't always look pretty, but he makes plays. Like Garcia, he's a good fit for a West Coast offense.

    Tony Pike -- Eli Manning
    Pike does not have Manning's arm strength, but he does have his pocket presence. Both are tall and a bit lanky. They also are both very streaky. When they look good, they look very good. When they look bad, they look very bad.

    Ryan Mallett -- Ben Roethlisberger
    This is somewhat of a generous comparison, as Mallett is nowhere near as accurate as Big Ben. That said, they are both big, strong QBs who can stand in the pocket and withstand a pass rush, and they both have very strong arms. For Mallet to have the kind of initial success that Big Ben had, he probably needs another year in college.

    Tim Tebow -- Vince Young
    Like Young, Tebow is everything you don't look for in a passer. Odd throwing motion, slow release, and only average accuracy. Both players rely on athletic ability to keep defenses off balance. Tebow does not have Young's arm strength, but he seems to be a more stable personality.
    -01-04-2010, 06:13 AM
  • eldfan
    Evaluating QBs is a tough part of draft
    by eldfan

    If only it were a matter of standing tall in the pocket and throwing the ball through a wall. Evaluating talent is always a crapshoot in the NFL draft. But picking a quarterback?

    Double tough.

    There's so much that goes into playing the position, things that can't be timed or measured, things that have absolutely nothing to do with size or arm strength. Which helps explain why even at the top of draft there's a Ryan Leaf for every Peyton Manning; an Akili Smith for every Donovan McNabb. MORE RAMS

    Rams general manager Billy Devaney says he has learned this lesson the hard way at times over his career as an NFL personnel evaluator.

    "I've come full circle," Devaney said. "If you don't have the intangibles to play that position. ..."

    Well, it's probably not going to work.

    Devaney was with the San Diego Chargers when they drafted Leaf — a colossal bust — No. 2 overall in 1998. And that experience helped change his thinking.

    "To me, the physical skills are almost the easy part now (in evaluating) these kids," Devaney said. "There's so much that goes into being a quarterback in the NFL. The work ethic that you have to have. The leadership. The time that you put in. The media scrutiny. If you can't handle all that stuff, you're going to have a hard time performing on the field."

    As they decide whether to take Sam Bradford, or perhaps trade down for Jimmy Clausen or Colt McCoy, the Rams are factoring lots of traits and characteristics into the evaluation process.


    "The teams that have been successful lately, it seems to me they have those leadership-type guys," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "Guys that can get the job done in a pinch. Certainly you want all the other things that go with (playing quarterback) — a guy that can throw the football, all the physical qualities. But leadership to me is really important at that position."

    In Detroit, coach Jim Schwartz said the Lions felt the same way en route to deciding on Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford as No. 1 overall.

    "Does the team believe in this quarterback's ability to win?" Schwartz said. "If you can't cross that hurdle, it doesn't matter how strong his arm is, or how smart he is, or how fast he is or any of those other things. He's the leader of the team, and if a team doesn't have confidence in that player, then you're never going to get anywhere with him."

    Leadership doesn't show up on game film. So it takes lots of research, but there should be a track record in college and earlier.

    "You just grind as much as you can, talk to as many people, and try to get as accurate a picture as you can on the guy," Devaney...
    -04-12-2010, 04:26 AM