QuarterBack ~ Paxton Lynch ~ Memphis Tigers
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: Marginal. Mediocre Mechanics compounded, I believe, by deficient Processing Speed, resulting in inconsistent Timing and Trajectory. His Numbers were outstanding, but bloated, I believe, by that Spread.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure: Exceptional, actually, and potentially Tremendous. This startles me, because I almost always find that those QuarterBacks to whom I give poor Processing Speed Grades ~ as I do Lynch ~ tend to be easily rattled Under Fire, due, I suspect, far more to a lack of that very Processing Speed rather than to a lack of Guts.
But Lynch proves consistently Staunch Under Fire.
FirePower: Mediocre, but potentially Sufficient and possibly Outstanding if he can improve his Mechanics. Lynch is possessed of tremendous Raw Power, but Power without Accuracy is ultimately useless.
I actually like Paxton Lynch. That is one of the Aspects of this Obsession of mine that I love the most, in fact: Disputing what I perceive to be the Market Value of a Prospect does not even in the slightest inhibit my ability to admire his Talent, his Drive, or his Prospects. It's just that I have a different Expectation of'm than most of the Draft World does.
I love the fact that he improved considerably Last Year, I love his raw Power, I love his remarkable Agility for a tall guy, I love the fact that, despite that Agility, his Mentality is clearly and consistently Pass First, which is of enormous Importance in evaluating whether he has The Right Stuff to develop into a true Field General...and I love his Poise.
But as far as Grade and Rank?
Between his Processing Speed ~ or what I perceive it to be ~ and his Mechanics and Accuracy, I fall Light Years short of perceiving him to be the Prospect that the Draft World, generally, perceives'm to be.
I see a Project, one who's worth a Draft Pick because of his Frame, his Raw Power, and above all because of his Pocket Presence...But he seems like a Long Shot to me, a far cry from justifying his current Market Value.
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!!