QuarterBack ~ Chad Kelly ~ Ole Mississippi Rebels ~ 6020/224
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?
Transitioning from a Spread Offense to Under Center in the NFL is extremely challenging even for those Prospects who've exhibited at least a superior level of intrinsic Processing Speed ~ such as I believe I saw with Luke Falk. For those like Kelly, though, who all too often seems confounded by Coverages at the College level, I envision big Problems.
Precision: Competitive. Kelly is occasionally brilliant, but his Mechanics ~ and his Results ~ are inconsistent.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure: Mediocre. Kelly's a beautifully ferocious kid, but his shaky command of the Field translates to a lot of Tucking & Running and Bad Decisions when Plays break down.
FirePower: Tremendous and potentially awesome. Despite inconsistent Mechanics, Timing, Touch, and Trajectory, Kelly does far more than flash genuinely lethal DownField Precision. He just needs Time & Training.
In addition to the usual Impediments in such cases ~ undeveloped Processing Speed, undeveloped Diagnostic Acuity, inconsistent Mechanics and thus inconsistent Accuracy ~ Kelly faces the intensely daunting Challenge of converting from a notoriously simplified ShotGun Spread Offense to a Professional Under Center Offense.
He's got his Work cut out for'm.
But of course he'll probably get drafter far earlier than I'd advise'm to be, simply because of that beautiful Arm of his.
* April Update: Unchanged, although I wouldn't give you a Bag of Peanuts for'is Services. The Kid clearly has Maturity Issues, and we're talking about the prospective Leader of a Team, here!! No Thanks!!
* Note: Rumors now have'm going more along the 6th/7th Round Range to which I'd attributed his Services's Value being justifiable, back in November, but I'll leave his original Range highlighted, so's to toot my own Horn!!
Thank you so very much, Draft BreakDown, without whom my Work would be virtually possible.
This is not is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning: Caveat Emptor!!