Scouts Inc. on quarterbacks

Originally Published: August 5, 2009
Scouts Inc.

A common misconception when grading a quarterback prospect is bigger is better. These days, size isn't everything. The quarterback position has become less about height, weight and speed and more about feel, vision and mental toughness.

A good QB prospect must have at least adequate arm strength and show good zip on the ball. The deep comeback route is the best measurement of arm strength – if the quarterback can deliver the comeback throw on a rope and without a lot of arc, his arm strength is at least adequate.

Also, the transition continues from the big, immobile drop-back passer to the player who can buy extra time with his athletic ability. He doesn't have to be Michael Vick, but guys like former Utah QB Alex Smith are what programs would love to have. Today's quarterbacks must also have leadership qualities and above-average character. The ability to play under pressure is scrutinized during the recruiting process; any team will often mirror the personality of its quarterback. This position requires a tough person, mentally and physically.

However, because intangibles are such a factor, many quarterbacks can be misevaluated coming out of high school. Plus, these kids are young. Making projections on 17-year-old players two to four years in the future is not an exact science. System quarterbacks with great high school numbers also tend to get overrated, just as quarterbacks with little to no statistics get passed by because of the often-used Wing-T or option-oriented offense at the high school level.

Quarterback Grading System
Scouts Inc. will evaluate the quarterbacks on the following criteria:

1. Arm Strength: Do they show good RPMs and wrist snap to get good velocity? Do they consistently throw a tight spiral? Do they have enough zip on deep outs?

2. Set up quicks: Do they have quick feet and is their drop speed at least adequate? Are they balanced when they are set? How is their body positioning?

3. Accuracy: Do they have the ability to throw the deep ball and the touch to throw the short ball? Do they throw a catchable ball? Do they have the ability to fit the ball in where only their receivers can catch it or where their receivers can make a play?

4. Field vision: Do they see the entire field? Are they quick enough to go through their progressions and locate the second or third receiver?

5. Running ability: Are they a threat to run out of the pocket? Can they make plays on the run? Can they avoid the rush? Do they have quick feet and can they make people miss?

6. Delivery: Do they have a quick release or is there a windup? Is their release high or low? How are their overall mechanics?

7. Ball handling: Are their ball fakes good enough to freeze linebackers? Do they have the ability to look off defenders, or do they zone in on one receiver and force it?

8. Leadership: Do they possess the ability to move the team when the chips are down? Do they have poise under pressure? Do their teammates believe in them? And how do they play after an interception? Do they get rattled?