A big pocket passer who owns virtually every Oklahoma State passing record (both career and single season). Drafted out of high school as a pitcher, and returned to college football in 2007 after shoulder injuries ended his baseball career. Teamed up with wide receiver Justin Blackmon to form the most prolific quaterback/wide receiver duo in the country over the last two seasons. Has more work to do mechanically than you’d like for a quarterback his age (28 year-old Redshirt Senior), but the mechanical inconsistencies also indicate the potential for untapped upside in terms of arm talent and accuracy. He projects to go from the middle of round one to early round two.
Has a pitcher’s mechanics – locks his front knee, raises his back leg upon release, and has an inconsistent release point due to bringing the ball so far back behind his head during wind-up (which causes him to throw sidearm at times). Habit of patting the ball before pulling the trigger, which elongates the release process. Played almost exclusively from the shotgun, mostly “catch and throw” snaps, three step drops, and five step drops. Has a slow dropback with no crossover, however, he improved the speed of his drops as the 2011 season went along.
Isn’t mobile, but is capable of escaping pressure to his right with pretty good quickness. Not a statue, but he can get clumsy and awkward when forced to his left. Pocket-passer.
Has enough pop in his arm required to make baseline NFL throws – although he doesn’t have a cannon. Arm-stength gets negated at times due to inconsistent release point, stiff front leg, and no weight transfer or trunk rotation. Despite his age, his arm isn’t maxed out, and the velocity on this throws can increase if he improves his footwork, weight transfer, and trunk rotation.
Gets streaky with his accuracy and ball placement, but shows the capability of making stick throws when he’s on target. Prone to raising his back foot on release, leaving him unbalanced – which causes a lot of his passes to get thrown high and/or behind the wide receiver. College offense naturally created open space for receivers to adjust to erratic ball placement. Again, when he’s in a rhythm, you see the potential for a very accurate NFL quarterback. How far he progresses in his consistency in this area, once again, comes down to mechanical improvements and consistency.
Decision Making and Intangibles
Field general who dictated an up-tempo, no-huddle passing attack. At his most comfortable throwing inside the numbers, especially in-breaking routes to the isolated, weak-side receiver in the formation. Due to having a wide receiver that drew so much extra coverage, he has a good understanding of defensive leverage vs an isolated receiver. Also very comfortable with vertical seam/post reads by interior receivers. Tendency to lock on in his progressions and to throw blind into coverage late in the play count – needs to speed up his timing and understand how routes synch with the plant and gather phases of his drop. Corners who play a lot of sink and trail coverage can throw him off and force him into puzzling decisions. Style of offense did not require him to play with much anticipation, and often threw to open-spaced areas. Needs to improve his feel of the pocket – the few times per game he was pressured, he had a tendency to drift and throw off his back foot.
Has top notch intangibles and proved to be a quick learner at Senior Bowl practices. Was the top performer throughout the week in Mobile. Has already been through the grind of being a professional athlete – going through the MLB farm system before shoulder problems forced him to retire from baseball and return to college to play football.
Drafted in the 2nd round out of high school by the New York Yankees. Last played baseball in 2006. Will be 28 when drafted, turning 29 during the season.
2011: 13 games, 408-564, 72.3%, 4727 yards, 37 TDs, 13 INTs; 17 rushes, -102 yards, -6.0 avg, 1 TD
2010: 13 games, 342-511, 66.9%, 4277 yards, 34 TDs, 13 INTs; 17 rushes, -68 yards, 0 TDs
2009: 3 games, 15-24, 62.5%, 248 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT; 4 rushes, 1 yards, 0 TDs
2008: 1 game, 1-3, 33.3%, 8 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs; 1 rush, 2 yards 0 TDs
A marketing graduate.
Awards and Honors
2011: All-Big XII 2nd Team, Davey O’Brien Award Finalist, Manning Award Finalist
2010: All-Big XII 1st Team, Manning Award Finalist