Cardinals, Round 4. I fully expected the hype machine to push him into Round 1 at some point of the draft process, but he still went too high, in my opinion. I mean, he absolutely looks the part – size and strength and speed – but it’s the mental aspect of being a quarterback that is lacking, whether that comes from his college coaching or whatever. If I were drafting, I wouldn’t take him before the 6th round as a long-term developmental prospect behind Carson Palmer. Essentially, he reminds me of Marqueis Gray, the quarterback out of Minnesota from the 2013 draft who was moved to tight end immediately and became a contributor. But his physical assets were elite enough to make the Cardinals think that, if they could fix his mental errors, they would have a franchise quarterback. Will be given a chance to learn the craft for a couple of years behind Palmer and then get a chance to fail at quarterback in the NFL before potentially being moved to another position such as tight end – the position he played in high school.
All-Star Games: Senior Bowl.
Positives: Great size for a quarterback. Huge hands. Good size for a tight end, with a long wingspan. Ran a pro-style system in college, so he may be more ready to play in the NFL. Good arm strength and above-average velocity, and throws a nice spiral. Good throwing mechanics on most throws. Goes through progressions and doesn’t always lock onto single receivers. Is willing to throw the ball away when he thinks he can’t make a throw. Is a good runner, with above-average speed and quickness, and good for his size. Knows when to slide on the run, but is also willing to lower his shoulders to push for extra yards. Finishes runs tough consistently.
Negatives: Though his throwing mechanics are usually good, he tends to drop his left shoulder on the follow-through and short-hop passes. Consistently poor accuracy even on screens and passes to the flat. Inconsistent medium accuracy. Doesn’t throw well when required to use touch. Often throws into coverage. Inconsistent decision-making ability. Consistently poor decisions on clutch plays. He doesn’t seem to see or sense rush up the middle, and even though he’s a good runner, he doesn’t move well when pressured up the middle. Often lays out his wide receivers over the middle. Lazy on handoffs and screens.
Projection: Don’t draft expecting any kind of return in the short term. He’s a definite long-term hold, though, if you have the patience and the roster space.