QB Clayton Thorson, Northwestern

6’4” – 222 lbs. – N/A
Redshirted, then started in each of the subsequent four seasons with the Wildcats. Threw for 1,522 yards, seven touchdowns, and nine interceptions (50.8%, 5.2 YPA) as a freshman and went 3,182-22-9 (58.6%, 6.7) as a sophomore, 2,844-15-12 (60.4%, 6.6) as a junior, and 3,183-17-15 (61.1%, 6.5) as a senior. Also ran in a total of twenty-seven touchdowns over four years, although he didn’t actually gain many yards on the ground. Tall quarterback with a solid build; looks the part of a pro passer. Played in an offense which had more pro-style elements than some of the other passers in this year’s class; did do his work out of the shotgun, but was asked to scan the field and go through progressions pretty regularly. Has pretty sound footwork when dropping back; was asked to take some longer drops even from the shotgun, and looks light on his feet when scanning for targets. Able to climb the pocket or buy time against pressure, whether in terms of slipping tacklers or escaping the pocket; not as much of a threat to pick up first-downs with his feet, but can roll out to the right and throw across his body a little bit. Has an elongated release and often takes too long to identify targets. Makes up for it somewhat by throwing with good velocity and a tight spiral; a pretty aggressive player who is willing to throw the ball downfield. Sells the play action pretty well to set up shots downfield. However, isn’t a very accurate passer; completed a low percentage of his throws at the college level, which is historically indicative of a low-percentage pro passer as well. Scatters the ball all around, missing high, low, and to the sides. Would like to see more consistent weight transfer. Forces adjustments to shorter throws which limit opportunities for yards after the catch. Trusts his arm too much; takes shots downfield into double coverage, etc. Attempts too many risky throws into tight coverage off of his back foot against pressure. Eats a lot of sacks – averaged over thirty sacks per season, a figure he topped every year since his freshman campaign. Doesn’t always seem to sense backside pressure in time to throw the ball away. Has a torn ACL in his past which will require further evaluation. A big passer who looks good dropping back and who has made some strides over four seasons as a starter, but never really put it all together and has the type of accuracy/platform issues that might be hard to overcome at the pro level.

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