If there is anything I have learned about the NFL Draft from my time of tracking, it’s that a lot of how a draft class during is perceived is influenced by preconceived notions.
This quarterback class, in particular, I was not looking forward to watching out the gate because of what I heard.
To my delight, I found the complete opposite to be true. I really enjoyed watching this QB class because it reminded me a lot of 2014’s class where there was really no consensus top QB, but there was a lot of overall talent.
So, as I have officially gone through all the QBs in this class, I’m hear to finally claim the beast that is these preconceived notions, and which ones were outright bogus lies.
1. “Mitch Trubisky is the most pro ready QB in this class.”
This is the one narrative I will downright stab with a pencil until the darned thing is erased from existence. I don’t know how this one came to be, and I don’t know why it did. All I can say is that this preconceived notion is an absolute LIE that has completely brainwashed many people.
Let me get this out of the way first, a lot of these QBs played in a spread offense, and while UNC’s Larry Fedora runs a a spread scheme that is considered the “Pro style spread”, Trubisky wasn’t controlling the line of scrimmage.
What I mean by that is Trubisky isn’t being asked to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage like change protections, identify the mike LB and audible in out of plays based off what defenses are showing. He isn’t being asked to do those things, the coach is the one relaying the calls (or signaling the plays) to the offense. If the coach sees something, he’ll tell Trubisky what to change in regards to protections and the play call.
You may think that doesn’t mean much but it’s a huge part of playing QB and it’s why a lot of people hate these college spread offenses that simplify everything. Not every spread offense does, but the UNC offense does.
Now for the last part. While I have a few other things I can point out with Trubisky, this last point absolutely irks me to no end.
Mechanics: This one grinds my gears beyond belief! I knew it as soon as I watched him something wasn’t right. I have a huge gripe with his elongated throwing motion. It’s not Bortles or Leftwich bad, but it is so noticeably slow. I think this could be due to a lack of shoulder flexibility, as he really doesn’t get a good range of motion. That lack of motion has had me speculating about if this is due to his muscular arm build, a problem Brady Quinn had and while he isn’t as big, I still have my worries. I also noticed he had a tendency to lock out his front leg which is due to his back hip coming through too early, and as a result. his posture is all out of whack. This is a red flag to me because it can really affect his accuracy and it shows on film. What really disturbs me is that it hasn’t gotten better, and I could still see a lot of the same problems from his pro day workout. I’m not saying you need to have perfect mechanics, but these are really concerning mechanical issues to have going into the NFL.
Does that sound like the most pro ready QB in this class? Not to me.
2. “Brad Kaaya cannot stretch the field.”
This one doesn’t bug me nearly to the extent the first one did, because for a while I didn’t believe he had the arm to throw 50-60 yards. This one is up for debate for consistency, but I noticed Kaaya not only under threw deep passes occasionally, he also overthrew them just as much. This perplexed me and when I saw him launch a 60-yard pass against WVU that got intercepted (penalty on the play), it showed to me that there’s more there than initially perceived.
Then I remembered, Kaaya used to have one of the best deep threats in all of college football back when he was a freshman, Philip Dorsett. Then I went to go look back on some of his film and sure enough, I saw Kaaya throwing deep passes from their team’s 45 yard line, to the endzone. That’s about a 55-yard pass and what was peculiar was that wasn’t a one time thing, he hit Dorsett on some deep passes, and while it may not have been in the elite arm talent range, a QB who can throw it about 50-55 yards down the field is pretty good.
One thing that came off a bit strange to me was how well he threw the football in bad weather conditions. The ball always seemed to have great spin on it and his accuracy didn’t seem to suffer from the conditions. This is something I tend to notice with bigger handed QBs, and QBs who put really good spin on the ball.
While I’m not saying this means Kaaya can be a vertical scheme passing QB, I do believe this helps him a bit in terms of ceiling because with his level of timing, anticipation, mechanics and eye manipulation, it helps to keep the defense honest knowing he can throw it down the field.
3. “Patrick Mahomes is a 3-year project.”
I am really fired up about this one because during the whole regular season, I had that notion in my head constantly. I couldn’t stop thinking about how wonky his mechanics looked and I couldn’t even get through 1 play before I quit completely. I was so closed minded because of that preconceived notion and the fact I am so picky about mechanics to begin with, which really made it hard to consider him.
After watching Dak Prescott play in the regular season though, and the preconceived notions I heard about him that led to me not even watching his film, I knew I had to be open and give Mahomes a shot. Sure enough I saw a QB who checked every single box and had the best film by a mile in this entire class (at least to me).
Now let’s get into the meat and paraphrase what people have said about Mahomes that makes him a “project.”
- Played in a simplified offense: This is blatantly false, and I can’t believe analysts are still spewing this nonsense even when they have this much time to go and look at the film.
I’m not one to critique others, and what they see but when you have a QB that has said to the media what he did in that offense and it’s on film, you’re just being plain ignorant. I have explained this in my report of Mahomes, but the thing that caught my eye was the fact he was changing protections at the line of scrimmage and he had the freedom to audible out of plays based off what the defense showed. Mahomes has talked about this and even mentioned that Kingsbury signals the play to him and Mahomes signals it out to the rest of the offense. What that shows me is that he’ll have an adjustment period because he’ll have to call plays verbally, but it also shows me control and football IQ. The fact Kingsbury put that much on his plate shows me not just that he trusts him, but that Mahomes processes information very quickly.
- Footwork renovation project: If you remember when I released my first top 10 by position rankings, I stated specifically that people would try to make his mechanics into a bigger problem than they actually are. What I mean by that is when bad/lazy mechanics gets confused for broken mechanics. I don’t know if people understand broken mechanics but I think the name Christian Hackenberg needs to be brought up in context with broken mechanics.
Broken mechanics is when your lack of proper mechanics begins to affect your accuracy to the rate that there’s so many bad throws that hit the turf, or sail over the intended receivers heads that you can’t overlook it, it’s too consistent. That’s not Mahomes in the slightest. Mahomes has bad/lazy mechanics where occasionally he’ll throw off his back foot and it’ll be slightly underthrown but this is such a small sample size and it never comes close to reaching the level of consistency.
Mahomes, for having some really bad mechanics, is so unbelievably accurate it befuddled me to no end when I first watched him. Now I’m watching videos from his training and at his pro day, and it’s come so far along in such a short time. I don’t see anything concerning either in those videos. His front leg isn’t locked out, he isn’t overextending, weight transfer looks really good, he’s not leaning (meaning his posture is pretty good) and he gets that hip activation into the throw. The only thing he needs to work on is maybe getting a little more depth in his drop and just continue his repetition because occasionally he forgets to drive into the throw because he was thinking about his footwork a bit. That will go away though as long as he keeps up the repetition.
I rambled on, but tell me, does that sound like a guy who’s going to take 2-3 years to be ready? Not in the slightest to me.
Don’t always believe what you hear from major media outlets. Just because they say something doesn’t always mean it’s true. This is why I don’t listen to any preconceived notion in regards to the NFL draft. If you aren’t watching a prospect with an open mind, you aren’t going to see what’s actually there.