Ryan Lindley is a Redshirt Senior quarterback prospect who has started for four years for the San Diego State. He was a four year starter for the Aztecs. He has the strongest arm in the 2012 draft. He played in a pro style offense that primarily utilized base personnel and heavy intermediate throwing. Despite his arm talent and experience, he remains a fairly large project, as his footwork is subpar, he does not read the field quickly or play with timing, and he goes through streaks of very poor decision making. However, he does have significant arm talent and makes for an intriguing developmental option. He projects to be a fourth-fifth round pick, although could conceivably go earlier to a team that falls in love with his tools.
Has an over-the-top release. Doesn’t always get a lot of trunk rotation into his throws, and compensated with a load-up in his release, bringing the ball very far back behind his head. His follow-through snaps quickly and the ball creases with velocity. Attempts to throw from different release platforms, but accuracy becomes unpredictable when doing so.
Most of Lindley’s erratic play at quarterback stems from his poor footwork – most notably through his drop. Nearly always false steps with his first step, failing to gain ground and throwing off his timing. The resulting steps are horribly inconsistent – sometimes there is a crossover and gather, other times he just lethargically shuffles his feet. Even when he crosses over, the depth of his steps are erratic and without purpose. He is a pure pocket passer, displaying limited mobility – he preferred to roll to his right (with mild effectiveness at best) when seeing flashes off the edge, however, there are times where he shows the awareness to keep his eyes downfield and climb the pocket.
Has a power arm and can throw with velocity to all planes of the field and to the outside quadrants. Strongest arm in the 2012 NFL draft class. In theory, if a coach can get him to throw with more trunk rotation, it will be possible to speed his release up without losing velocity, although that is unanswerable at this time. Since his arm strength operates independently from his body, he is able to generate velocity without having his feet set or stepping into his throw. Is a power thrower who was forced to make (often times, successfully) throws into very tight windows on account of an offensive system that did little to create open throwing lanes and free releases to an already deficient receiving core. Consistently able to make throws to the far hash and the intermediate/downfield passing game with excellent velocity.
Generally, the longer Lindley has the ball in his hands after the snap, the more accurate he is, as it gives him more time to get his feet under him and to throw with balance. This is especially true off of deeper drops – if there is play action involved, even better. On these longer drops, he is capable of making pinpoint strikes (albeit, inconsistently) – even under the heat of pressure. His favorite and most accurate throw is throwing the corner route out of the “smash” concept (again, if there is play-action involved, he tends to be more accurate). The more timing-based the route concepts are, the worse his ball placement is, often throwing a step behind receivers on both in and out breaking routes from 3 step drops. Ball placement on timing routes aside, he also has multiple scattershot throws that are completely off mark in every game.
A good decision maker when he has time – will scan the field and go through his reads when he sees the defense drop seven or eight. However, he is a “see it, throw it” type of quarterback that plays with little to no sense of timing. Will attempt to keep his eyes downfield and climb the pocket, although he can become extremely scattershot when forced to reset. Forces a lot of balls into coverage, although he completes a surprising number of them due to sheer arm talent. Loves to throw the post route in the redone, and is very adept at manipulating the safety to get that throw open.
2008: 12 games, 242-447, 56.7%, 2653 yards, 6.2 YPA, 16 TDs, 9 INTs; 31 rushes, -62 yards, -2.0 YPC, 1 TD
2009: 12 games, 239-437, 54.7%, 3054 yards, 7.0 YPA, 23 TDs, 16 INTs; 22 rushes, -131 yards, -6.0 YPC, 1 TD
2010: 13 games, 243-421, 57.7%, 3830 yards, 9.1 YPA, 28 TDs, 14 INTs; 19 rushes, -31 yards, -1.6 YPC, 0 TDs
2011: 13 games, 237-447, 53.0%, 3153 yards, 7.1 YPA, 23 TDs, 8 INTs; 18 rushes, -51 yards, -2.8 YPC, 0 TDs