I was having a conversation yesterday with my brother in law that really got me thinking on my way to the doctor. What makes a great Quarterback? I mean really! Is it the arm strength, the ability to move on his feet or maybe his ability read a defense? Just because a kid has a strong arm doesn’t make him a great quarterback. Just because he can run a forty yard dash in times like 4.58 or 4.4 doesn’t mean that will effectively equate to the field. The breakaway speed will transfer but that’s about it. Or is it the fact that he can walk up to the line of scrimmage and read that the defense is showing man coverage but actually the cornerback is showing a tell tell sign of actually a quarter coverage.
There is enough on these players to come out and win every Saturday in college where there is a lot on the line where they might have an average of 30-40,000 fans and that’s not to include bowl games. Then you add the draft and these guys wanting to make an impact in the League, the added stress for the entire first round draftees, not to mention the top 10. Teams and fans have this inclination that if they draft a quarterback that it will automatically change the team and they will start winning. This has only happened a handful of times in the last 6 or 7 years.
What makes a great quarterback is the ability to come into a team and understand the tools he is working with. He doesn’t come in with an ego like he is the top dog and everyone on the team should bow down to him. He is only as good as his lineman, receivers and defense are. There is a time for an ego as long as it is beneficial for the team. Cam Newton is a great example of a positive impact. While he and DeAngelo Williams had their differences and Williams is now with the Steelers; Cam has since made a positive impact on the team and helped them to winning seasons.
Great quarterbacks excel at the next level because they are able to add positive impact within the organization. Meaning enabling a great atmosphere for the team and being a leader both on and off the field while creating an environment where other players would want to play and work. He understands and works with the team and the team will work him to develop his arm strength, his speed, his ability to read a defense. Reading a defense is not just looking at the player placements, its the ability to scan the field and utilize their peripheral vision and understand the areas where receivers should be open.
Great quarterbacks work well with others and can take criticism, while it is sometimes difficult. Egotistical players are a liability to the team, especially when it becomes more of a distraction. GM’s and Owners are growing tired of the sideshow antics and such that players are bringing to the NFL. However, they are growing accustomed to the different Brands that players are creating and supporting the players as long as it is not a distraction to the team. After all this is a business and not just a sport. It is these qualities that really make a quarterback great in my opinion.
My steal of the 2017 NFL Draft is Brad Kaaya from the University of Miami. This kid has phenomenal pocket awareness. His ability to step up in the pocket as well as hang in there and take a hit to complete a pass. His ability to read the field and understand where the receivers will be open is a huge key for success. This is one thing I think that separates him from the rest of the field and will be a great add to any team.
His ability to come to the line of scrimmage and take control is admirable and shows that he is a leader. He doesn’t know allow his emotions to over take him and his composer is one of the best I have seen. It is amazing that no one has really been talking about this kid which could turn out to be a blessing because it will allow him to actually sneak higher in the draft. A few things that needs to change is that he needs to look away from his go to receivers a little bit more. He tends to eye his receiver as the play develops when he is in the shotgun.
Kaaya’s ball placement when he has the ball is ideal because it allows him to make either a quick throw to a hot route or check off his receivers as the plays develop. His arm strength is there and his accuracy is great but has on a time or two under thrown his receivers making them either stop or come back for the ball forcing them to lose that forward motion and yards. Kaaya has been one of the best I have seen to hold a play action and read the defense and make them commit and then he comes off to complete a pass behind the defender.
The other thing that I think he will need to do is add some thickness to his legs and beef them up so that when a 300 pound lineman lands on him in the NFL that he doesn’t break anything. This was one of the downfalls for RGIII, in that his legs from the calves down were brittle because there was no muscle there. Kaaya needs to add some muscle to his legs during the off season and during his rookie year to ensure he has a lengthy tenure in the NFL.
I think the Kaaya would be a great addition to either the Jets or the Texans. He could also be a plausible fit for the Bills and they would be able to build a team around him and make him their franchise QB as long as he continues to excel at the next level and they can keep him from getting sacked the 61 time he did in his college career.
Photo courtesy of: https://athlonsports.com/college-football/brad-kaaya-miami-hurricanes-next-star-quarterback
Patrick Mahomes II has probably the absolutely strongest arm coming into the draft this year and one of the most assertive as well. He will openly admit he loves showing off his arm strength and when you are drafted in the 37th round of the Major League Baseball draft it says something.
This kids arm strength is phenomenal and speed to back it up to make him a dual threat QB for sure. His one downfall is that he is heavily reliant on his arm and is used to being in a spread offense with no time under the center. I think with this kids ability and field of vision, if he could master being under the center and controlling the flow of the game with an I formation, Two Tight formation, Wishbone any run scheme that would allow him to utilize his speed and agility and arm strength to mix in play action passes will make him a true triple threat QB at the NFL level and make him one of the greatest.
I would also make the bet that his stats in his rookie year would be better than those of Jameis Winston. I mean looking at Mahomes numbers at Texas Tech the three year he played, his numbers only increased (which they should), but they astounding numbers. He finished his career with just over 11,000 yards, 92 Touchdowns and 29 interceptions.
I would like to see Mahomes II go to the Jaguars to help their offense. His personality and confidence would be great for the team and I think that team would really be a great fit for him and allow him to grow, much like the Panthers did with Cam Newton.
Photo Courtesy of: https://wn.com/patrick_mahomes_(texas_tech_qb)_highlights_vs_lsu_2015
Leonard Fournette might be expected to be the best running back in the NFL draft for 2017, but he has some serious flaws that make him very over rated in my opinion. While he does weigh in around 240 pounds, making him a large framed running back, his 40yd time was 4.51 which is good for a man of that stature. However, given the agility of the defensive line in the NFL now and its only going to improve, Fournette can not be put in the same category as Bo Jackson or Adrian Peterson.
While their styles might be the same, there is one settle difference between them all. Making initial reads is a vital thing for running backs in the NFL and this guy is lagging in that department. If he can’t make an initial read from the time he gets to the line of scrimmage until the snap of the ball, then he is just a giant body on the field. His speed and agility are good but without the ability to read the defensive line and the outside linebackers and being able to make a decision on whom has the best path to the QB on his drop, this could spell disaster.
This is one thing that QB’s want in a running back and we have seen ample QB’s get hammered because the RB either didn’t make the block or they just straight up could not read the defense and cost the team an injury. I would take him in the late first round and would see him going to either the Redskins or even the Bills for a 3 yr deal and he would even be a great fit for the Arizona Cardinals as well.
Image Courtesy of: http://www.nj.com/jets/index.ssf/2017/03/nfl_draft_2017_mock_jets_7_round_leonard_fournette_deshaun_watson.html
Deshaun Watson is a good quarterback but has some flaws to fix in his approach to the game in order to really excel at the next level. His athleticism has carried him this far but will not carry him through any sort of lengthy NFL career if he wants to be a starting Quarterback.
Deshaun’s footwork is good for a man of his size and stature but he could increase his speed in his short drops. Thus getting some distance between himself and the offensive line in order to complete quick passes against loose man and zone coverages. This will in turn help with his reading the field by giving him more time to see everything develop. Through my analysis, his vision of the field and knowing the defenders locations paired with the route the receivers routes is poor and delivery is slow. His delivery to receivers during the combine and his pro day were late by atleast .3-.4 tenths of a second which is all a great cornerback in the NFL will need.
He needs a better field of vision and become more knowledgable on the receiver’s routes so that he can increase his completion ratio and connect to receivers on those key plays. This is very important for routes such as the slant, the 5 yd out, 10 yd out, the dig route or a deep in route.
Deshaun Watson’s pocket presence is very poor to moderate. He seems to like to become mobile when he feels a little bit of pressure. Understanding that he might have that play maker mentality but only a very few QB’s in the NFL have been able to pull it off and remain active in the league. The main one that comes to mind is Cam Newton and even he has changed his game a little bit.
Deshaun needs to learn to be able to maintain the integrity of the pocket his offensive line will give him in order to gain their trust because when it comes time for him to become mobile, they will be more apt to help protect him. Watson’s location he holds the ball in relation to his shoulder is optimal to produce and effective throw with the least amount of wasted motion thus increasing his delivery time.
He does need to put some more zip on the ball because it seems like some of his just kind of fall flat on balls that seem to be needed to be on a rope to beat a defender. If he can’t lead a receiver and catch them in stride with a ball thrown on a rope then he doesn’t deserve to be drafted in the first round. As it stands, I would see Deshaun Watson going to the Redskins or Bills and signing probably a deal that looks something like $55 mil over 4 years with $30 mil guaranteed.
Given all of his achievements while at Clemson does not, in my opinion, make him a solid first round pick that will provide solid numbers for the team that drafts him. He finished his college career with over 10,000 yards in just 3 years of play while at Clemson and he only played 8 games as a Freshman. His potential is enormous and can definitely find some room to grow. He will make a solid quarterback in the NFL within 2 seasons; I would not expect him to come out of the gate and lead a team to the Super Bowl right off the bat. He does not apparently have any off the field issues, atleast none that has really made the news.
Image Courtesy of: http://archive.independentmail.com/sports/college/clemson/deshaun-watson-impresses-in-camp-work-ep-1184949836-347731171.html?page=1