Every scouting mix has a share of fascinating quarterback stories, and a 2018 mix was no different. Sam Darnold didn’t throw. Lamar Jackson didn’t run a 40-yard dash, yet he did charm many people during a podium.
For college quarterbacks who aren’t distinguished names, a mix can be a onslaught to get noticed—one of a final chances to get on a NFL‘s radar before a draft. Throwing sessions play a large partial in that, and for lesser-known quarterbacks, infrequently a usually approach to get on a margin during Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis is to be a “thrower” for a using backs a day before a quarterback and receiver drills. It isn’t glamorous, and your name doesn’t uncover adult in lights, yet maybe you’ll stir in those drills and get a shot during throwing a subsequent day with a “big boys.”
That’s what happened to Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek, who has left a tough approach to prominence. The one-year starter eliminated from Iowa before a 2015 deteriorate and spent many of a subsequent dual seasons sitting behind Davis Webb and Patrick Mahomes.
Mahomes was a Kansas City Chiefs’ first-round collect in 2017 and will be their starter in 2018, yet Shimonek’s destiny is distant reduction defined. This notwithstanding a fact that he threw 6 touchdowns in usually 58 flitting attempts as a backup in 2016, and threw for 3,963 yards, 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as a Red Raiders’ starter in 2017.
None of that mattered. Shimonek had to take a unwashed work with a intensity excellence when a mix came calling.
“The mix executive [Director of National Football Scouting] called me and told me that we was invited to a combine,” Shimonek recently told B/R. “After that, they asked me, ‘Would we mind throwing [to a using backs?]’ we could have told them approbation or no, yet we was going to go regardless.
“I’m not certain if we was usually an additional thrower—I consider somebody else competence have been an additional thrower and afterwards pronounced they couldn’t do it, yet we called my representative and he said, ‘Yeah, it’s usually another opportunity.’ So we called them behind and said, yeah, certain I’ll do it. I’m not going to spin down another event to chuck in front of that many scouts.”
So, yes, he was invited to chuck with a quarterbacks yet also asked if he would be a thrower for a other position groups. It’s a bit like being invited to a celebration with a full bar—and told that it would be good if we brought your own.
Throwing to a using backs Friday competence have had a clear outcome on a mix opening that incited a lot of heads—despite a fact that he wasn’t even named on a numerical inventory of quarterbacks given to a media any year.
“I got a feel for a sourroundings and a dash that all was handling at,” he said. “Also how a footballs felt—were they slick, were they ragged down, were they aired adult or flat? If anything, it unequivocally benefited me over a subsequent integrate of days.”
Shimonek met informally with about 20 teams during a combine, with specific seductiveness from a Tennessee Titans. Overall, a week went about as good as he could have expected.
“I’m a perfectionist, so we suspicion we could have finished better. we felt that we helped myself out, and my representative [Leigh Steinberg] felt a same way. My thing is, we can chuck with all these guys; we usually don’t have a knowledge they do given we sat behind Pat a final dual years. But as distant as removing out there and throwing, we consider I’m right adult there with these guys.”
Ah, yes. About a miss of experience. Shimonek creatively suspicion he was going to be Iowa’s destiny quarterback on a full ride, yet he was sitting behind Jake Rudock and C.J. Beathard. He redshirted in 2013 and before a 2014 deteriorate asked conduct manager Kirk Ferentz for an honest comment of his playing-time prospects. Unhappy with a answer he got, Shimonek eliminated to a propagandize in his home state of Texas, sat out a 2014 deteriorate due to send rules, and afterwards wound adult in a same situation—sitting behind dual adored quarterbacks in Webb and Mahomes.
While he acknowledges a vast irony of this, Shimonek now sees a positive.
“Sitting behind Pat and Davis, dual guys who got drafted, and C.J. and Jake, dual some-more guys who were drafted, we attempted to use that to my advantage and take pieces and pieces,” he said. “Jake and Davis were intensely well-prepared any and any week. Pat and C.J. were also unequivocally well-prepared, yet also played a lot some-more on instinct. we attempted to take a small bit from any of their games while being myself, yet if they’re removing drafted, they’re doing something right. It wouldn’t be intelligent of me to omit all they’re doing.”
It didn’t assistance that Shimonek wasn’t offering a grant right divided during Texas Tech—he had to wait until 2015, that led him to start a seat replacement business in his gangling time.
“My mom is an interior engineer behind in Corsicana, Texas. She refurbishes furniture, and she’s unequivocally successful during it. I’d been around it flourishing up, and when we eliminated from Iowa, we put that financial weight behind on my parents. we felt terrible about it, usually given we was removing all paid for and now they had to compensate for everything. we wanted to assistance any approach that we could, and that was a approach we could assistance them out a small bit. It wasn’t a ton, yet it was groceries and bills and gas, things of that nature.
Shimonek stopped that trade as shortly as he could.
“I did it for a year-and-a-half while we wasn’t on scholarship, and it wasn’t like we enjoyed doing it. It served a purpose, and afterwards we nixed it once we got into that backup purpose and got into courses for my degree.”Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Perhaps all this adversity explains Shimonek’s certainty in himself. He started a 2017 deteriorate hot, with 11 touchdowns and usually one interception in his initial 3 games. But then, as happens to any quarterback, he struggled to keep adult with defenses that were adjusting to Texas Tech’s agitator flitting diversion and distant reduction considerable rushing offense. The some-more hostile teams rushed 3 defenders and forsaken 8 into coverage, a some-more Shimonek struggled to understanding with dual defenders on any one of his receivers.
The tipping indicate came on Nov 18 opposite TCU, when Shimonek finished 17 of 33 passes for 137 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. The day after that game, Kliff Kingsbusy went to his quarterback and told him that a subsequent week opposite Texas, McLane Carter would start. But when Carter could do little, throwing no touchdowns and dual interceptions and assisting his group to a 10-point deficit, Shimonek exhorted Kingsbury to give him another possibility and shortly threw dual touchdowns to win a game.
It’s a big-time throws he’s finished that make me consider Shimonek has a splendid destiny in a NFL. Yes, he’s a one-year starter, and there are severe spots in his game, yet he’s a good downfield thrower with good mechanics, velocity, hold and accuracy.
According to Pro Football Focus, Shimonek ranked sixth among all FBS quarterbacks with an practiced execution commission of 76.6. On passes roving 20 or some-more yards in a air, he finished 27 of 54 for 1,049 yards, 13 touchdowns and no interceptions. Add in a game-winning touchdown pass in a East-West Shrine Game, and he starts to demeanour like a sleeper quarterback in a 2018 draft.
He’s not a large name, yet when we watch Shimonek’s tape, we see a cranky between Nick Foles of a Philadelphia Eagles and a younger chronicle of Matt Ryan, before Ryan schooled to delayed things down as he review defenses and started to use mobility as an attribute.
Shimonek sat down with me to watch his 2017 tape, and we went over a good and bad, as good as all a sum of 5 plays.
Play 1: Touchdown Pass Vs. Arizona State
Doug Farrar @BR_DougFarrar
Bleacher Report: This touchdown to Dylan Cantrell vs. Arizona State looks like a good instance of your throwing mechanics and discerning release. This is a unequivocally accurate chuck over coverage. Was Cantrell your initial review on this play, and what was a pattern overall?
Nic Shimonek: No, he was a third read.
B/R: Well, that’s given we wish to ask these questions, given nobody during Texas Tech ever throws past a initial read, right?
Shimonek: Yeah, exactly. So, a play is, from left to right—there’s a go track farthest on a left, there’s a small five-yard out for a second read. Keke [Coutee], a container to a right, he’s using an over track usually to squeeze a eyes of a safeties, and he does a good pursuit opposite their Cover 4. The reserve took Keke adult to Dylan’s side, and Dylan had a post track behind that. Once we saw that reserve expostulate Keke, and he got a lot of importance put on him, we knew there would be a window for Dylan in a finish zone.
B/R: What is that play called?
Shimonek: We call it “95.”
B/R: What does “95” mean?
Shimonek: It’s a whole judgment of a play. It’s not like a numbering system—a “383” or whatever, like they had during Iowa. “95” is a whole concept. You know what you’re doing, and we know your reads on “95.”
B/R: So, Kingsbury has it like, a “42” Play encompasses these routes and protections? It’s a package of routes as opposite to a “383” means that a receivers run a 3-route, 8-route, 3-route from left to right?
Shimonek: Exactly. That’s how it was when we was during Iowa. Here, we would usually vigilance “95” to everybody, and everybody knows their jobs.
B/R: That’s engaging to me, given I’ve listened some systems get maligned given a arrogance is that if a play call is simple, a play contingency be simple. You guys are make-up a lot into a integrate of numbers. What’s a advantage of that?
Shimonek: The dash we play at—trying to facilitate things not so most for a quarterback, yet for a receivers, usually so we can go discerning during all times. It’s one vigilance to everybody, and boom, everybody knows what they’re doing.
B/R: Is that a “check with me” to a sideline, or do we have a array of plays that we call for an whole drive? How most control do we have when it comes to play-calling?
Shimonek: I have finish control. [Kingsbury] calls it from a sideline, yet if we wish to change pass to run or run to pass for any reason… if it’s fourth-and-1 and a invulnerability is personification run and we wish to check to 4 verticals, we can, as prolonged as we have a reason.
B/R: When we speak to NFL teams about your brief play wordiness yet modernized concepts inside those discerning calls, do they seem flattering confident with a thought that we can grasp modernized stuff?
Shimonek: I consider so. And being during Iowa helped me a lot—I had a integrate scouts tell me that we should put importance on a fact that we was during Iowa and Tech; dual totally opposite offenses. we was underneath core for any singular snap during Iowa, and afterwards we go to Tech and I’m not underneath core scarcely as much. I’ve seen dual opposite ends of a spectrum as distant as offenses go, and that’s going to do zero yet assistance me.
Play 2: Touchdown Pass vs. Arizona State
Doug Farrar @BR_DougFarrar
B/R: This an instance of a chuck we need to make in a NFL—you’re starting to feel vigour adult a middle, and we make an off-platform chuck to Derrick Willies for a touchdown. You put a good hold and arc on this pass. This pass and a game-winner in a Shrine diversion were dual examples of good hold passes. Have we always worked on that, as distant as varying your quickness and arc?
Shimonek: I consider that’s some-more of a healthy thing. Some guys usually get out there and slice it, and they can chuck it unequivocally hard, yet they can’t put a hold on it they need to. we consider a hold factor—being means to loft it into places other guys can’t—I consider that’s some-more natural. You can apparently work on it, yet it’s one of those things we have a feel for. It’s like, you’re possibly discerning or you’re not, and we can work on it to an extent, yet I’m never gonna outpace Lamar Jackson.
B/R: What is a play call here? It looks like we have some straight routes to your front side. Is Willies your second or third read?
Shimonek: No, there’s a cornerback shell over there [to a descent left side], and they had attempted that before. The reserve gathering it [the route], yet we still got a execution for 6 yards. So, we came behind to a sideline and we pronounced to Derek, ‘Damn—that reserve attempted to make a play on that.’ Because when he sees a cornerback blitz, he’s ostensible to run a small hitch. we don’t even consider we told Coach Kingsbury about this, yet we told [Willies], ‘Next time, if a dilemma blitzes, usually run a hitch-and-go.’ I’m gonna pump-fake a hitch, given that’s what we’ve shown on film. Sure enough, he ran his hitch, a reserve gathering it, Derek had a step or dual on him, and we usually attempted to give him a catchable ball.
B/R: So, partial of a hold here is a certainty of meaningful you’ve outsmarted a defense.
Play 3: Game-Winning Touchdown Pass Vs. Texas
Doug Farrar @BR_DougFarrar
B/R: The game-winner opposite Texas was generally engaging in that we had been benched in a game. What was behind that decision, and what got we behind on a field?
Shimonek: That was a week after TCU, where they were dropping 8 into coverage, and a passes we finished were mostly brief passes—we didn’t strike any home runs. We were 5-6 during that point, and Coach Kingsbury came to me a day after TCU and told me, “Hey—we need to make a pierce [at quarterback] during slightest to start a game.” If we didn’t win opposite Texas, we weren’t creation a play game, that was not going to be good for that coaching staff. He didn’t contend that exactly, yet we got a indicate of it—we indispensable to win for them.
So, it was late in a third entertain [against Texas], and we weren’t doing a whole lot offensively. we told Coach Kingsbury during a finish of a third entertain that he was about to run out of time of he didn’t make a pierce flattering quick. He kinda looked during me like we didn’t know what we was articulate about, yet about dual mins later, he sent one of a grad assistants over to tell me to start warming up. At that point, we was like, “You ain’t got to tell me twice.” we already had a round in my hand.
B/R: Do we consider that brashness sloping a contingency in your preference with Coach Kingsbury? Did he wish to see that from you?
Shimonek: we consider so. Just my confidence—he’s had a lot of certainty in me, and I’m a same approach with myself. Hearing a declaration in my voice that we was going to do whatever it took to get a pursuit done, we consider he kind of felt that. So he said, “Shoot, competence as good give it a chance—we’re down 10 points.” He pulled a trigger, and a rest is history.
B/R: The chuck to Cameron Batson–there’s a lot going on here. You have garland right and a crosser to a left side, and we make a chuck to a receiver on a behind side. What is this play concept, and take me by your reads on this one.
Shimonek: I’m unequivocally ostensible to be giving Keke a possibility over a middle, generally given a safeties are split. But we felt that down there [in a red zone], we had already strike Keke a few times on that drive, so pre-snap, I’m thinking, down here during a finish of a game, they know I’m going to Keke. It’s a Cover 2 demeanour and we know a [right slot] cornerback is sitting in coverage on Dylan [Cantrell]. Cam had one-on-one with a cornerback, and I’m perplexing to demeanour that cornerback off for a second. we put a small hold on it, gave Cam a possibility to go adult and get it, and a reserve usually couldn’t get there in time.
B/R: I get what you’re observant about a progressions, yet you’ve still got to make a backside blur throw, diversion on a line and with vigour coming. That’s a flattering gutsy throw.
Shimonek: Yeah. The reserve helped us out by tripping and falling, too [laughs].
Play 4: Interception vs. South Florida, Birmingham Bowl
Doug Farrar @BR_DougFarrar
B/R: This interception looked like a unequivocally discerning review and throw—what were we saying here, and was your aim in a right place?
Shimonek: They were in male coverage, and T.J. [Vasher], my receiver there is 6’6″. I’m perplexing to give him a back-shoulder throw—just put it adult there, and give him a chance. The cornerback knew it given we had thrown so many of those to T.J., and he usually sat on a chuck and got a palm on it. The round bounced off dual or 3 people, and they wound adult picking it off.
B/R: So, this is a quick, “It’s a three-step track and I’m throwing to my high guy” kind of thing?
Shimonek: Yeah, Pre-snap, I’m saying T.J., who’s 6’6″ out there on this male who’s 5’9″, and we like my matchup. we indeed threw a touchdown to T.J. opposite Texas, a diversion before this, on that same back-shoulder throw. That was being too predicted on my part—they knew it was coming. “I’m in male coverage, design a back-shoulder throw.” It was a right review and a right footwork; we should have given him a improved ball.
Play 5: Game-winning Touchdown Pass, East-West Shrine Game
Doug Farrar @BR_DougFarrar
B/R: This game-winner in a Shrine diversion is another good instance of how we use mechanics to get unchanging hold and correctness on downfield throws. How were your playcalls opposite in this situation, and tell me about this play in general?
Shimonek: It’s funny, a improved play in that diversion competence have been usually before this—it was fourth-and-6, we rolled out to a right, no-looked [faked out] a linebacker and banged a chuck for a initial down. But this play specifically, we’re usually going discerning down a field. Being there for usually a week, we don’t implement a lot of plays generally in a two-minute drill. But one thing we did implement was all straight [routes]. Steven Dunbar had won on that track progressing in a game, and one of a quarterbacks didn’t strike him. we knew all week that he was improved during removing a good recover off press coverage as opposite to Jake Winneke, a receiver on a other side. As shortly as we get adult there, we know I’m going to Steven unless something crazy happens. I’m usually holding a safety, and [Dunbar] does a good pursuit blending adult a coverage off a line of scrimmage, and he gives me a small window to chuck a ball.
B/R: You’ve got a lot of accurate back-side throws on your tape. Some quarterbacks are distant some-more gentle creation timing throws to their front side, yet this doesn’t seem to impact your hold or correctness or velocity.
Shimonek: No, we don’t consider so. Playing director group when we was during Iowa and when we had to lay out given of a send manners during Tech, we had a mindset to not usually get a invulnerability better, yet to get improved myself. So, we was perplexing a lot of new things—throwing from uncanny arm slots or no-looking throws to receivers. You see Pat [Mahomes] make no-look throws all a time, yet don’t let him dope you—he stole that from me [laughs]. He usually finished it famous. Next time we speak to him, make certain we ask him where he got that from!
B/R: I don’t know what NFL teams are thinking, yet media scouting reports tend to plan we as a third-day breeze pick—maybe a fifth- to sixth-rounder. Why are we improved than those projections? Why will we attain in a NFL?
Shimonek: I consider it’s my ability to adapt. Being in a Iowa complement and afterwards during Texas Tech, I’ve got a extended operation of things I’ve learned. If we ask around, we take honour on being a hardest-working actor on a team. Any time a facility’s open, I’m adult there perplexing to be as good as we can. It’s a cliché, yet a group will get someone who’s peaceful to come in any day and get to work. The usually thing we know how to do is to keep going and keep grinding.
B/R: Are we comfortable with being a backup in a NFL if that’s a approach it goes?
Shimonek: I would cite that. You see guys insisting on starting right away, and it’s not always beneficial. we can’t tell we how many times I’ve told Pat how good it was that he got a possibility to lay behind Alex Smith, even yet he wanted to play right away. One year did a pretence for him—he thinks he’s ready, we consider he’s ready. we would cite to lay somewhere so that once we do get a chance, I’m in finish control—I’m not out there second-guessing myself. I’m a competitor—if I’m playing, I’m going to do all we can to win a game—but a ideal conditions would be to lay behind a Philip Rivers or Tom Brady or Drew Brees.
It competence be a prolonged time–or never–until Nic Shimonek is talked about in terms of those destiny Hall-of-Famers, yet of all a players in this year’s class, he competence have a best possibility of descending to those kinds of heights.