Editor’s note: NFL.com researcher and former NFL director Bucky Brooks shares some of his college scouting notes, including his take on arguably a tip rusher in CFB.
But first, Brooks’ analysis of a reigning Heisman winner’s pro potential:
Is Lamar Jackson a subsequent Marcus Mariota or Robert Griffin III?
When scouts are sitting in a film room study a Louisville star’s diversion this fall, they will come to a indicate where they postponement a fasten and ask themselves either a 6-foot-3, 205-pound youth has a collection a rise into a authorization quarterback with a multi-faceted diversion or if he is another dual-threat playmaker unfailing to destroy in a joining where “running” quarterbacks fire out.
Fair or not, Jackson will have his talent and intensity compared to Mariota and RG3 — dual of his many new Heisman Trophy-winning-QB brethren with games that resemble his possess — via a pre-draft routine due to their success as run-pass playmaking threats as collegians. Scouts will import his long-term intensity opposite his predecessors’ prolongation as pros to eventually establish how high he sits on breeze play on breeze day, whenever he elects to make a detonate to a pros.
Before we get into Jackson’s evaluation, we should demeanour behind during how Griffin and Mariota dominated a diversion as collegians before apropos No. 2 altogether picks in a 2012 and 2015 drafts, respectively.
2010: Completed 304 of 454 passes (67 percent) for 3,501 yards with 22 touchdowns and 8 interceptions; 149 rushing attempts for 635 yards and 8 scores
2011: 291-of-402 flitting (72.4 percent) for 4,293 yards, 37 TDs and 6 INTs; 179 rushes for 699 yards and 10 TDs
2012: 230-of-336 flitting (68.5 percent) for 2,677 yards with 32 TDs and 6 INTs; 106 rushes for 752 yards and 5 TDs
2013: 245-of-386 flitting (63.5 percent) for 3,665 yards with 31 TDs and 4 INTs; 96 rushes for 715 yards and 9 TDs
2014: 304-of-445 flitting (68.3 percent) for 4,454 yards with 42 TDs and 4 INTs; 135 rushes for 770 yards with 15 TDs
2015: 135-of-247 flitting (54.7 percent) for 1,840 yards with 12 TDs and 8 INTs; 163 rushes for 960 yards and 11 TDs.
2016: 230-of-409 flitting (56.2 percent) for 3,543 yards with 30 TDs and 9 INTs; 260 rushes for 1,571 yards and 21 TDs
Although any actor thrived in a opposite chronicle of a spread, we found it engaging that Griffin and Mariota were some-more fit and effective passers than Jackson by a poignant margin. Griffin, in particular, finished some-more than 70 percent of his passes as a collegian and looked like a fit thrower on paper. On a other hand, Jackson is a distant some-more bomb curtain and delivers some-more dash plays (touchdowns/long runs) as a rusher.
Now, that doesn’t meant many in a altogether evaluation, though it is something that scouts will note when comparing Jackson to his Heisman Trophy predecessors as they plead his prospects down a road.
When we complicated Jackson’s fasten from final season, we was tender with his bomb athleticism and playmaking ability. Simply put, Jackson is a “wow” contestant with an well-developed multiple of speed, speed and burst. He is means of scoring from anywhere on a margin as a sleazy shun artist on a accumulation of zone-read, QB-designed runs (sweeps and draws) and speed-option plays. Jackson’s electric using ability is his biggest item as a playmaker and Louisville tailors a complement to intensify his strengths.
In a flitting game, Jackson is some-more of a thrower than passer. Despite carrying a “big” arm (outstanding arm strength, zip and velocity), he lacks a discriminating footwork and fundamentals to well work from a pocket. He fails to consistently step into his throws, that leads to struggles with his correctness and round placement. Jackson customarily misses open receivers on straight routes and lacks a hold to “drop a round into bucket” on low tosses. With his trashy footwork also inspiring his correctness on brief and middle throws, Jackson is a streaky passer who’s unqualified of stringing together completions during a high rate in a intrigue with modernized reads.
At his best, Jackson is many effective throwing siege routes (quarterback is taught to chuck to a specific receiver though a post-snap read) or elementary concepts (slant-flat or stick-go routes) on a perimeter. In addition, he is fit and effective on movement-based passes (bootlegs/sprint outs) with half-field reads that concede him to decisively aim a primary or delegate receiver.
With that being said, Jackson positively has some intriguing collection to build around as a quarterback. He is an A-level contestant with a arm talent to make any chuck in a book, though he needs to work on his diversion to spin a tip awaiting in a 2018 or 2019 draft.
When we review his diversion to Mariota and Griffin, he now is closer to Griffin, a 2012 Offensive Rookie of a Year, than a Tennessee Titans’ authorization quarterback. Jackson and his supporters competence take offense to my comparison formed on RG3‘s new struggles, though we trust he could learn from a former Redskins and Browns QB1’s missteps.
Instead of relying usually on his athleticism to get out of trouble, Jackson contingency learn how to win during a pre-snap proviso by bargain how to interpret coverage. In addition, he needs to be means to routine post-snap adjustments and find a approach to get to his second or third choice when opponents sweeping his primary receiver.
The best quarterbacks in a diversion are means of winning with their minds when opponents take divided their legs.
Speaking of legs, Jackson needs to diligently work on his footwork and mechanics in a pocket. He needs to entirely incorporate his reduce physique into his throws to urge his correctness and round placement. In addition, he contingency vaunt some-more intrepidity and restraint when a slot collapses. Although Jackson is positively means of evading a rush with his legs, he will need to collect and select when to use his athleticism/running ability in a NFL to suffer a prolonged career. The distance and speed of NFL defenders is many opposite than collegians, and Jackson will need to equivocate hits to his slim support to consistently fit adult for his squad.
Overall, Jackson is one of a biggest furious cards among prospects during his position. He has a jaunty talent to be a be a diversion changer during a subsequent level, though he needs to labour his altogether diversion (pocket poise, footwork/mechanics and evidence skills) to spin a franchise-quarterback awaiting in a eyes of NFL evaluators.
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Is PSU RB estimable of a hype?
At a time when a using behind position is clearly devalued, hype is using prevalent for Penn State RB Saquon Barkley in NFL scouting circles streamer into a summer.
“He’s special,” pronounced an NFC scout. “He is as finish as they come during a position.”
With such lofty regard being heaped in a 5-foot-11, 223-pound junior’s direction, we suspicion we would cocktail in some fasten to see if Barkley deserves to be in a review with Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette streamer into a season. Considering how any of those players came off a house during with a No. 4 altogether collect of a 2016 and 2017 drafts, respectively, Barkley has to be a special actor to acquire that kind of honour in a scouting world.
After study a diversion tape, we trust Barkley is a blue-collar curtain with a singular diversion that mixes energy with finesse. He has a speed, speed and detonate to spin a dilemma on any defense, nonetheless he is a nasty downhill curtain with adequate bump to run by hit during a indicate of attack. He regularly breaks tackles in a hole by obscure his shoulder into a defender, and he will follow it adult with a pointed shake to equivocate a subsequent tackler. Barkley’s supernatural ability to change from energy to refinement is uncommon, that is since using behind coaches will slobber over his diversion during a subsequent level.
Barkley also displays considerable skills as a receiver out of a backfield. He catches a round clean and runs routes like a receiver in space. He is a versatile playmaker who’s means of aligning anywhere in a arrangement to emanate a mismatch in a flitting game. As a NFL continues to develop and incorporate using backs into a aerial conflict as mismatch options, Barkley’s ability to locate a round could make him a disproportion builder in a multifaceted system.
I trust his restraint skills could give him a corner over others during a position, too. He is a pro-ready pass guardian with sound technique and a claim physicality to plea linebackers in a pocket. Barkley’s efficacy in pass pro is startling to see from a immature player, that is since he will acquire high outlines from scouts checking out his fasten this summer.
From a vicious standpoint, we will bring his unsuitable prolongation as a bit of a concern. Despite gaining scarcely 1,500 rushing yards (1,496 to be exact) as a sophomore, he usually had 5 games with 100 or some-more yards on a season. Sure, Barkley posted a span of 200-yard games, though chosen runners are approaching to post poignant prolongation any week and his disintegrating acts will lead to questions about his ability to browbeat during a subsequent level. It creates it tough to review his impact intensity to Elliott’s and Fournette’s since they consistently surfaced a 100-yard symbol via their careers.
In a end, I’m really tender with Barkley’s diversion and potential. He reminds me of a immature Frank Gore formed on his using style, flexibility and continuance as a RB1. Although he hasn’t put a finishing touches on his collegiate resume, Barkley positively has a talent and intensity to be a widespread actor during a subsequent level.
Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.