QuarterBack ~ Connor Cook ~ Michigan State Spartans ~ 6036/220
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?
Precision: Mediocre. There are indeed many tremendous Throws to be found on'is Tape, and he seems to possess a genuinely extraordinary natural Gift for Timing & Trajectory, often hitting his man in stride perfectly. But his Mechanics are maddeningly inconsistent. He doesn't yet seem to appropriately prioritize the crucial importance of carving out enough Time & Space to get Locked & Loaded before throwing the FootBall. All too often, he's throwing off the back foot, or throwing from an awkward Stance, or simply rushing it. He has perhaps too much Confidence in'is Arm.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure: Marginal. I have no particular complaints with his Poise, but Cook seems to freeze up Under Pressure all too often. I don't sense that he possesses either a good sense of Timing for Pressure, nor a good sense of Space. Furthermore, I get the sense that his Processing Speed constricts Under Pressure.
FirePower: Competitive, though with Exceptional Potential. When Cook's granted a clean Pocket, he can be extraordinary. His Mechanics are raw, but he commands excellent Velocity and'is DownField Precision is often remarkable.
I gave'm a Contender Rank and a 4th/5th Round Grade at that Time, far below Market Value.
A Year later...I'm not so optimistic!!
I believe that one should tread lightly when venturing to speculate about a Prospect's Character. These are very young Men, and it's irresponsible to expect them to behave like older Men, or to've developed older Men's Demeanors.
Even so: It would be equally irresponsible to ignore Character when evaluating Prospects.
I don't get a very good Vibe from Connor Cook's Prospects as a Leader of Men. When you read or hear about this or that, a random comment or incident or two, you can quite conceivably chalk it up to Youthful Indiscretion.
But when I put it all together, combining Cook's not having been elected any of three Team Captains despite being not only the QuarterBack but a Senior, combined with him publicly snubbing Archie Griffin, combined with the disturbing comments I read from Scouts ~ questioning both his Intelligence and his FootBall Intelligence in particular, questioning his Work Ethic, commenting that he "likes being a Celebrity" ~ and combining all that, above all, with persistently flawed Mechanics, persistent Inconsistency, and a lack of significant Improvement as a Senior ~ indeed, of Stagnation ~ my Gut is telling me that all these Indicators, while not damning, paint a picture of a kid whose Stock carries an Ocean of Risk.
I simply don't trust Connor Cook. He's got a long ways to go to develop the Mechanics he'll need to operate successfully at the next level. More importantly, though: I have grave doubts that he'll ever develop the Processing Speed to compete or even to survive in the NFL...and that's without even taking his Motor into consideration.
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!!