QuarterBack ~ Carson Wentz ~ North Dakota State Bison ~ 6051/238
But I believe not only that Pocket Passing remains the Heart & Soul of successful QuarterBacking, but that the capacity of Speed QuarterBacks to master Pocket Passing can be and often is crippled by the Siren Song of Scrambling: A QuarterBack who has always had that "out" is far less likely to develop the skills that really matter.
Power QuarterBacks ~ The Men with the Golden Arms ~ are equally susceptible to falling Prey to the seductive allure of their own physical Talent: The more powerful their Cannons, the more likely I believe it is that they persistently depend upon that crutch as a Get Out Of Jail Card, and thus fail to develop a more comprehensive Skill Set.
And thus I perceive a Great Irony, one that continues, astonishingly, to elude most: The more explosive a Scrambler that a QuarterBack is, or the more powerful an Arm he boasts, the less likely that he is to achieve Greatness.
Conversely, it's the boring guys who consistently Move The Chains that give you the best Chance to win.
After New Year's Day, when The Only Games That Really Matter are played, History has been relentlessly savage to Power QuarterBacks and Speed QuarterBacks who failed to develop their Games: Once the weaker Teams have been eliminated, the PlayOff Defenses have invariably proven far too much for the Unprepared.
And if you're not prepared to compete after New Year's Day, why play at all??
In consideration of these thoughts, which, like many of my thoughts, fly in the face of what is amusingly considered to be Conventional Wisdom, this is how I break down the Criteria that I focus on, when evaluating QuarterBacks:
1 ~ Processing Speed
2 ~ Precision
3 ~ Pocket Presence
4 ~ FirePower
Processing Speed or Diagnostic Velocity is about how quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape. It's crucial at all 22 Positions, but utterly vital for a QuarterBack to succeed...or to even survive. Reading Coverages, working through Progressions, and selecting the best Receiving or Running Option.
Precision speaks above all to Mechanics: A QuarterBack's consistency with his Stance, his Set Up, and his Delivery. I refer to consistent Accuracy in the Short & Intermediate Zones, where the best Offenses all make their Bread & Butter. In breaking it down, I'm looking at Timing, Touch, and Trajectory: Leading Receivers to DayLight.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure is about Poise, or how one's Processing Speed and Precision stand up Under Pressure, and about one's Temporal & Spatial Instincts in navigating an often chaotic Pocket.
FirePower is a Category that I value, though not as much as others. I refer to Velocity and to DownField Precision, which I don't consider as crucial to Success as Short & Intermediate Precision. DownField Precision makes for tremendous HighLight Footage, but it's Short & Intermediate Precision that Moves The Chains and wins Championships.
Please note, if you will: I don't list 40 Speed among crucial Attributes at all.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Please Note: This is entirely about how rapidly the QuarterBack scans the Field and makes successful Decisions.
* Many College Offenses feature simple Offenses that make this challenging to evaluate.
* It is, nevertheless, far and away the most crucial Aspect of QuarterBacking.
* Accuracy ~ Placement that maximizes the Receiver's Advantage and minimizes that of the Defender.
* Timing ~ Being temporally In Sync with the Receiver. The Ball arriving precisely when the Receiver does.
* Touch ~ The right Speed for the right Play. Only throwing FastBalls when FastBalls are warranted.
* Trajectory ~ Being spatially In Sync with the Receiver ~ enabling him to catch the Ball In Stride.
* Processing Speed Under Pressure.
* Precision Under Pressure.
* Spatial & Temporal Instincts.
* Velocity, irregardless of where he's throwing it: How fast is'is FastBall?
* DownField Precision ~ can he through the Bomb accurately?
So he's raw as Hell, and has locked onto many a Target, with predictable Consequences.
Even so, Wentz has been running a Professional, complex Offense, and has displayed an exceptional capacity to work his way through Progressions, and has demonstrably improved by leaps and bounds over the last 2 Years.
Precision: Exceptional and trending towards Outstanding...and potentially Awesome. His Mechanics need plenty of Work, mind you, and his Game has hardly reached the level of Second Nature, yet...but he's getting there. His Improvement in terms of Timing, Touch, and Trajectory, one Year to the next, has been simply tremendous.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure: Exceptional. Trending towards Greatness. His Poise is already there, and his Improvement in effectively Reading & Reacting while Under Pressure has been considerable. He's still got a ways to go, mind you, and will occasionally Spit the Bit, but he's quite evidently a natural Field General when it matters.
FirePower: Impressive. Potentially outstanding. The raw Power is certainly there. It's a question of Mechanics, which in his case need plenty of Work. Normally, that'd be an huge Red Flag, but Wentz is far earlier in his Development than most QuarterBacks at this stage, and is quite evidently ~ by dint of what both his Tape and those who interview'm say ~ obsessed with Greatness: He'll listen to anyone who can help'm. And he'll Do The Work.
I'm not extrapolating Potential.
I'm extrapolating Potential times my perception of the Likelihood of the Realization of that Potential:
Trajectory > A mercurial Formula that blends Talent, Speed of Improvement, and the Probability of continuing that Speed of Improvement, based on perceived Intelligence, Passion, and Work Ethic: Talent x Intelligence x Drive.
Carson Wentz is a textbook case, as I see it: This is a kid who wasn't even a starting QuarterBack 6 Years ago ~ a WideOut who got pressed into Quarterbacking Duty as a Senior in High School, led his Team to a Conference Championship, languished on the Bench at North Dakota State for a couple of Years, and only then got a Chance.
He's Raw, to be certain.
But everything I see on Tape paints a picture of a kid who is rapidly mastering this Great Game.
And everything I read about his InterViews ~ everything ~ supports what the Game Tape shows: This is a kid who gets it.
And he gets it....because he loves it, because he loves the Work...and because he's kinda brilliant.
Back in 2013, when I was actually able to do some serious Scouting during the Season ~ as I dare hope to, going forward ~ I stumbled over Blake Bortles, a kid who at that time was projected to go on Day 3.
I gave'm a Top 10 Grade.
Yeah. I'm bragging.
I see similarities between these two, though I'm far later in the Game with Wentz, obviously.
I see the dramatic Improvement, from 2014 to 2015, on Tape, in terms of how he Reads & Reacts to the Roiling & Boiling Tactical LandScape in front'f'm ~ his Speed and his Efficacy ~ especially Under Pressure, and I Cross Reference that with the Praise heaped on'm by anyone and everyone who either interviewed'm or interviewed those who did, and the Picture becomes pretty clear to me: While acknowledging that there is no such thing as a Sure Thing and that Wentz in particular presents Prospects long on Potential and short on Certainty...my best educated Extrapolation ~ that's Vulgarian for "Guess" ~ is that Carson Wentz, based on his Intelligence, Work Ethic, and Passion, which I infer not only from what I've read but from the dramatic Improvement illustrated on Tape, ere the last Year, stands a far better Chance than would appear to be case at first glance...of successfully transforming his extraordinary combination of exceptional physical Talent and phenomenal mental Talent into an successful and quite possibly a spectacular Career.
Thank you so very much, Draft BreakDown, without whom my Work would not be possible.
This is not is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning: Caveat Emptor!!