This year’s quarterback class is pretty underwhelming. There are some interesting guys, and at least a couple quality players will come out of it. And after the quarterback draft class in 2012, most years are going to pale in comparison. But the fact of the matter is, no quarterback in this class has the tape to warrant a mid to high first round pick.
The consensus top guys are becoming household names: Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson, Mike Glennon, Ryan Nassib. In the past couple of months, guys like E.J. Manuel and Zac Dysert have gained some ground with strong Senior Bowl performances. And one guy in particular has become a pretty hot topic since he blew up the Combine: Matt Scott, out of Arizona.
Scott is a senior who sat behind Nick Foles for the last three years, so he only has 17 collegiate starts to his name. However, Ryan Tannehill had the same number of career starts when he was drafted, and he went in the top ten picks, so teams won’t necessarily shy away from that type of relative inexperience.
Let’s take a look at him and see where he projects on draft day(s).
| Ht || Wt || Class || Ranking || Projection |
| 6'3" || 213 || Senior || 144th || 3rd-4th Round |
Mobility: We’re on the cusp of the golden age of the mobile quarterback in the modern NFL, and Scott’s ability to maneuver the pocket and extend plays with his legs will make him an enticing mid to late-round option for teams seeking to mimic the success of the Seahawks, 49ers, Panthers, and Colts. Unlike most talented running quarterbacks, Scott doesn’t tuck and run when things break down. He keeps his eyes downfield and seeks to pass first.
He had a great Combine, featuring a great 4.69 40-yard dash and an elite 3.99 short shuttle and 6.68 three cone. Those times indicate tremendous balance and short-area agility.
Arm: Scott has a strong arm. His release is tight and compact, and he’s balanced and fluid in his dropback, giving him great accuracy on short and intermediate stick throws. He doesn’t always come over the top as much as one might like, but his tight spiral and significant velocity indicate that he can make any throw in the NFL. I was also impressed with his ability to drop it in the bucket downfield with good touch and ball placement.
Mentality: He’s an aggressive, tenacious player whose leadership ability visibly tilts the field. He often took huge hits to step up and make a throw or stretch for an extra couple of yards. In his final college game, he stepped up in the clutch and threw two touchdowns in the last minute of the game, leading the Wildcats to a huge come-from-behind victory over Nevada.
Experience: Since he’s only started 17 games in his career, he’s quite raw. He isn’t experienced at reading defenses, and the Rich Rodriguez spread offense rarely required him to progress beyond his first read (within the construct of the offense). When his first read was covered and the pressure mounted, he often got panicky and had a tendency to loft off-balance passes or try to force throws. He’s a talented improvisor, but he’ll need some NFL seasoning before he can be a reliable pocket quarterback.
Size: At 6’2 ?” and 213 pounds, he isn’t alarmingly small, but the physicality of his game could take a toll on him. He’d do well to add 8-12 pounds of muscle to his somewhat lean frame.
Scott’s lack of experience is a pretty big stumbling block at this point. He has fantastic arm talent and he has the mentality of a starting quarterback, but he won’t be able to start consistently for the first couple years he’s in the NFL. However, as a developmental guy who has to come into a game or two in a pinch, you could do a lot worse than him.
As NFL teams move more and more toward the read option and other schemes that favor mobile quarterbacks, Scott’s skillset will fit in more and more. At the very least, he should have a solid career as a reliable backup. With some careful grooming and a few years under an established starter, he could become a franchise quarterback himself.
Don’t be surprised to see a team like Green Bay, San Diego, or Pittsburgh identify him as a potential heir to Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, or Ben Roethlisberger, and pick him up as early as the fourth round. Or, a team like Kansas City, Cleveland, or Philadelphia could prioritize him as their guy to groom for a couple years, and he could be off the board in the third.