A.J. McCarron QB Alabam #10
Size/Athleticism: Adequate size and overall build. He isn’t huge, but he’s capable of taking a hit. Not a threat to run, but his mobility within the pocket and his ability to roll out is an asset.
Arm strength/Accuracy: Nothing special about his arm strength, but it meets the baseline requirements. Accuracy on short and intermediate throws is an asset. Maintains accuracy on the run. Deep ball accuracy is a concern, and it mostly stems from poor footwork in his delivery. Accuracy is elite when he’s throwing to a spot, but struggles to hit players in stride.
Footwork/Release: He does a great job dancing around pressure within the pocket. Footwork on his throws is very inconsistent. He tends to overstep, throwing his hips open and leading to an across-body throw which diminishes his accuracy and takes away some velocity. Needs to keep his body moving in a straight line to maximize his accuracy and arm strength. Weight transfer is poor and sometimes non-existent. Throws off his back foot, or simply from an open, balanced stance too often.
Decision making: Does a great job keeping his eyes downfield as he avoids pressure in the pocket. Always poised under pressure and rarely forces a throw. Stays very patient when going through his progressions and has plenty of experience picking apart top defenses.
Intangibles: Played in a true pro-style offense at Alabama and will have no problem learning an NFL playbook.
Durability: Extremely durable and tough. Played through rib injury in 2012.
Comments: McCarron has plenty of experience and has excelled at the highest collegiate level. However, his physical tools are somewhat limited and the Alabama coaching staff created a system perfectly suited for his abilities. His ceiling is as a middle-of-the-road starter, but he will more likely be a career backup. There just isn’t enough about his game to get excited about to project him as the type of prospect who makes significant strides in the NFL. He’s high floor/low ceiling prospect who would make a very safe second or third round pick if a team is willing to accept the fact that he may not be anything more than a good backup.
Jimmy Garoppolo QB Eastern Illinois #10
Size/Athleticism: Average height. Fairly well built for his size. Mobility is limited. He can move on designed roll outs and makes some movement within the pocket to avoid pressure, but he’s definitely not a threat to run. His movements are very stiff and mechanical.
Arm strength/Accuracy: Arm strength is a notch below elite, but still very good. He has no issue making all the throws and can even throw the ball on a rope to the intermediate routes when he’s unable to set his feet. Accuracy is solid at all levels and he maintains it on the short and intermediate routes when he’s on the run. Ball placement is above average for a draft prospect. Knows how to place the ball to throw his receiver open.
Footwork/Release: Has a very quick release which is one of his best assets. Footwork within the pocket is very good, but also very mechanical. In a clean pocket he has nearly perfect footwork with ideal weight transfer to get all of his power into his throws. Under pressure though, he looks awkward. His movements are very mechanical, and when he doesn’t have a clean pocket to execute his movements he’s choppy and just looks very unathletic.
Decision making: Locks on to his first read and stares him down. He looks like a first round pick when his first read breaks free, but when he doesn’t it gets ugly. Does not look comfortable sitting in the pocket and going through his progressions. He starts to panic when his first read isn’t open and often leaves the pocket due to phantom pressure. Needs to learn how to see the whole field. Often locks on to one receiver and doesn’t even turn to the other side of the field despite not having an open option.
Intangibles: Starter for majority of his four years, but very little experience against top competition.
Durability: No known issues.
Comments: Garoppolo has all the physical tools but his performance raises some questions about his mental makeup. A four-year starter with NFL physical tools should have been able to sit in the pocket and pick apart FCS defenses, but it just didn’t happen. The overwhelming majority of his successful plays came on quick one-look reads and he got antsy and uncomfortable the longer he had to sit in the pocket. I wouldn’t trust him on the field as a rookie, but the physical tools are clearly NFL caliber and he is an intriguing developmental prospect. All of his issues are fixable, so assuming he interviews well, someone will call his name on the second day of the draft.
Brett Hundley QB UCLA #17
Size/Athleticism: Full report coming soon…
Comments: At this stage of his career, Hundley is an athlete who is still learning the nuances of the being a pocket passer. In a clean pocket, Hundley is calm and can pick apart the defense but he’s easily rattled by pressure. His upside is on par with Robert Griffin III, but he’s raw and shouldn’t be considered a viable top-10 pick because there is simply too much growth still needed.
Aaron Murray QB Georgia #11
Size/Athleticism: Undersized. Lacks ideal height and bulk is only average. Gets the ball batted down at the line too often. Seems to struggle to see over linemen at times and has made some bad screen passes because he appear to not see a defender. Mobility is far from special, but he’s capable of moving with the pocket.
Arm strength/Accuracy: Arm strength is definitely lacking, and the ball tends to wobble a little too often as it comes out. He can get the ball down the field, but it hangs in the air a little too long—NFL safeties will close those gaps quickly and he’ll pay the price. Accuracy is an asset at all levels. Doesn’t throw the deep ball on a rope, but the timing of his throws is consistent. Fits the ball into tight windows on the intermediate routes. Timing is strong and consistently leads his receivers.
Footwork/Release: Does a nice job stepping up in the pocket to elude pass-rushers while keeping his eyes downfield. Very fluid movements in the pocket. Looks comfortable and convincing on his pump fakes, and effortlessly puts himself back in position to make a throw. Consistently throws from a sturdy base and displays good weight transfer. Has a consistent, quick release.
Decision making: Seems to know his limitations in terms of arm strength. He doesn’t usually test the defense down the field when a clear window isn’t there. Does a nice job looking off his receiver to draw defensive backs away from his primary target.
Intangibles: A true team leader who was loved by coaches and well respected by his teammates. Has all the intangibles you could ask for in a quarterback.
Durability: Suffered a torn ACL at the end of his senior year.
Comments: Murray has been among the most successful college quarterbacks in recent years but skills don’t necessarily translate well to the NFL. His leadership and football intelligence makes him a prime candidate to carve out a long career as a backup, but his upside is very limited beyond that. He reminds of me a less mobile version of Colt McCoy.
Derek Carr QB Fresno State #4
Size/Athleticism: Adequate height and overall size, although he could certainly benefit from adding a few pounds so that he’s better able to take hits. Definitely not a run-first quarterback but he’s a much better athlete you’d expect based on how he plays. When he needs to buy time, he’s more than capable of rolling out of the pocket and he still looks good throwing on the run.
Arm strength/Accuracy: Legitimate NFL arm strength. Has the ability to make all the throws and doesn’t necessarily need to have perfect footwork and mechanics to get the ball down the field. Makes some throws off his back foot under pressure that most prospects in this class can only make with perfect fundamentals. Accuracy is average to above average at all levels. Due to his arm strength, he has a habit of not setting his feet and sometimes throwing from an awkward open stance which diminishes his accuracy. Can fit the ball in tight windows with his arm strength but also knows when to take something off and throw a catchable ball.
Footwork/Release: Overall mechanics are solid, but not always consistent. When he’s consistently under pressure he starts to rush and forgets about his feet. Needs to learn to throw from a sturdy base due to its effect on his accuracy, even though he doesn’t necessarily need it for arm strength.
Decision making: Trusts his arm too much. He throws far too many passes into tight spaces under pressure when he can’t get set and doesn’t have the velocity or accuracy he needs to fit the ball into tight windows. Needs to learn when to take a sack or throw it away. Extremely limited in what he was asked to do in Fresno’s offensive system—over 50 percent of his passes as a senior were within five yards of the line of scrimmage. Doesn’t have a ton of experience reading the defense and going through his progression.
Intangibles: Reportedly interviewed very well at the combine. A smart player on and off the field. Younger brother of former No. 1 overall pick David Carr. Mature off the field compared to many prospects. Already married with a son.
Durability: Played through a sports hernia in 2012 which required offseason surgery.
Comments: Carr has elite potential, but needs to iron out some flaws in his game. His arm strength is an asset, but it’s led to some bad habits because he hasn’t needed to perfect his mechanics. His accuracy suffers due to poor footwork, and it must be fixed in order for him to play at a high level. It’s tough to see him succeeding right away because he was so easily flustered by pressure at Fresno State and he’s sure to see even more in the NFL—especially if he’s drafted into a bad situation. But he has the raw tools that you can’t teach, and is definitely a candidate to emerge as the best quarterback from this class.