Tuck: NFL Draft Questions

Back in December, Albert Breer of NFL.com, began to address the draft situation when the likely second quarterback taken, Matt Barkley, decided to return USC for his senior year.  The Heisman trophy winner seemed to be the next obvious QB to assume second place to Andrew Luck.  He did present some challenges to RGIII becoming that guy though.

Here is some of Breer gathered.

The trouble arises not in what scouts can see on film.  It’s what they can’t see.

“They don’t call plays in the huddle. They walk to the line, the play comes from upstairs to the sideline, and it’s signaled in,” said one NFC executive. “The coordinator upstairs is reading the defense, (Griffin) is not doing that at all. And in the NFL, you’re going to have to be the one reading the defense. You have to know what’s going on at all times. And you have to get him under center, taking 3-, 5- and 7-step drops.”

Another NFC exec said, “It’s a very good system, and they’ve done a heck of a job recruiting for it. … But it’s simple, and he’ll have to adjust. He’s really smart, accepted to law school and all that, but it’ll be an adjustment. … You’re not gonna come in and put him in a Peyton [Manning] offense.”

Funny how 5 months shades our opinions.  Luck didn’t get any worse, and RGIII likely didn’t get any better, but now there are many people who think the Colts may be making a mistake passing on Griffin.

It continues.

One college scout assigned to the Big 12 I spoke to was less enthusiastic about Griffin’s prospects than the above execs, but conceded that he’s one that some will more than likely fall for over his overwhelming physical gifts.

“That offense made things simple on him,” said the scout. “Because he’s such a running threat, he saw soft coverage, you didn’t see defensive ends bending the corner to get him. They played him different to keep him in the pocket, and as a result, he got passing lanes he may not get in the pros. It’s a problem, because he’s got average-to-below-average size. The Vick comparison is there, because you figure he’ll miss games (due to injury), but you can’t tell him not to run, because that’s what makes him special.”

The scout continued that, “There’s gonna be a significant development period. Him moreso than anyone. You can’t fault him for what they didn’t ask him to do. I think he’s capable of it. But it’s natural as a talent evaluator to want to see it.”


Griffin completed72.4 percent of his passes this year, but the college scout said part of that is that “roughly 75 percent” of his throws went no further than 7 or 8 yards past the line of scrimmage, but Griffin also exhibited deep accuracy uncommon for a spread quarterback in limited chances to show it.

Beyond Baylor’s offensive structure, other negatives you get from these evaluators start with Griffin taking hits that aren’t necessary. “He’s not as big as Cam (Newton) and takes more hits than he should. You wonder if he’s trying to be a tough guy … because he doesn’t always play smart,” said the first exec.

On the flip side, he does run with the purpose of throwing, but his accuracy was rarely tested with tight-fitting throws. There were also third-down inconsistencies that raise red flags. “If it’s third-and-6, Barkley will get it more than RG3 does,” said the second exec. “When I look at RG3, I see a lot of big plays, but a lot of third downs he didn’t get too.”

 

Ryan Tannehill, has been another high riser.  Here is what has been said of him before his meteoric rise up draft boards.  Since his foot surgery at the end of the college football season, his stock has unquestionably gone up, but there are still doubts present.

Dan Pompei of the National Football Post suggests that Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill is not ready to start at the NFL level.

NFL Network’s Charley Casserly said on Path to the Draft Wednesday that he interviewed 12 NFL teams about Texas A&M Ryan Tannehill at season’s end and “pretty much all” called him a late first-round pick at best.

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock compares Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill to Jake Locker as a quarterback that needs time to “develop” before starting in the NFL.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. said on January 26th only Andrew Luck and Griffin have first-round grades among quarterbacks, though some consider Tannehill a late first-rounder.

According to SI.com’s Peter King on February 27th, the belief amongst some NFL coaches is that Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill “could be picked higher than he should go.”

 

I think the bottom line for both Griffin and Tannehill is they are supremely talented.  They both have some “wow” factor associated with them work out.  But both will have some work to do to fulfill their potential as NFL quarterbacks.  Both could learn and be great, but that is the great unknown with most quarterbacks, and the reason why many other super talented guys have failed.