QuarterBack ~ Seth Russell ~ Baylor Bears
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?
He often seems a tick late, and while I certainly make Allowance for the Developmental Disadvantage that such an Offense imposes on'm, it seems to these eyes that while his Diagnostic Acuity is fine, his Processing Speed is fundamentally slow. Between that and the incredibly steep Learning Curve that he now faces, he's got a ton of Work to do.
Precision: Awful. His Mechanics are inconsistent, and his Timing, Touch, and Trajectory all need a lot of Work. And I rarely reference Statistics, but his Completion Percentage, considering Baylor's Easy Read/Quick Strike Spread, are horrific.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure: Marginal. Like many Athletic QuarterBacks, Russell is too prone to Duck and Run rather than keep his Eyes DownField. And of course his deficient Field Vision is a big Liability Under Pressure.
FirePower: Exceptional and with extraordinary Potential. Russell not only has an excellent Arm, but is startlingly effective with it. Perhaps he and Casey Beathard possess far better Linear Field Vision than 3 Dimensional Field Vision, thus enabling them both to hit effectively DownField despite struggling with Crossing Routes and such.
And of course his having played in the Baylor Bear Easy Read/Quick Strike Spread for the last few Years ~ where he was rarely asked to work through Progressions and was evidently free to Duck & Run whenever he saw fit ~ has done absolutely nothing to help'm develop the Processing Speed that is absolutely vital to NFL Success.
I've read comparisons to Geno Smith, a 2013 Prospect who slid to the 2nd Round, but was tracking as a Top 10 Prospect when I gave'm a 4th Round Grade, and I believe that they're only partially accurate: Smith and Russell have very similar Frames and racked up extraordinary Statistics in College, but Russell has a much better Arm and also brings the Scrambling Element to the Field of Battle. And he is rated far, far lower than Smith was in 2013.
I'm tempted to give'm a UFA Grade, because even in a simplified Pro Offense, his lack of Precision would be an enormous Liability, and in a Zone Read his lack of Processing Speed would be equally detrimental to'is Success.
But even I don't dismiss his combination of FirePower and Speed. I give'm Long Odds of developing into a Success at the next level, but if somebody were to burn a 7th Rounder on'm, I wouldn't be the guy to blame'm.
*And if Footage of him Hauling Ass at 440 in the 40 Yard Dash prove accurate, I just might wright'm up as a Split End!!
* April Update: Yeah, he's not much'f a QuarterBack Prospect...And he didn't get a Chance to show his Power and Speed at The Combine, so I can't claim that he warrants a Split End Scouting Report, as it is...
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!!