Category: Quarterback

QB BRAXTON MILLER, OHIO ST.

QB #5 BRAXTON MILLER, OHIO ST.

6’2” – 215 lbs. – 4.65e

Took over the starting role four games into his true freshman season; has been highly productive at the helm of Urban Meyer’s offenses. Has adequate height and a thick build. Operates out of the shotgun; will have to adjust to making drops from under center and re-reading defenses after turning his back. Footwork on his drops will need some further refinement, but is serviceable; however, despite stepping into his throws, doesn’t effectively transfer his weight onto the front foot, which limits his velocity. Throws a tight spiral and a very catchable ball overall; fairly accurate passer, although he tends to miss high rather than low. However, didn’t have to make many pro-style throws at the intermediate level and may lack the arm strength to fit the ball into tight windows. Uses more of a three-quarters delivery, which leads to some of his passes being batted down at the line; arm angle also tends to drop on shorter throws. Hasn’t been asked to function as an anticipatory thrower, but will need to become one at the pro level, especially given his average arm strength. Production has been inflated by a high volume of predetermined short-yardage passes including screens, although he did make some strides from 2012 to 2013 in terms of making secondary reads. Effective running the read-option; follows his blocks well. Elusive in the open field, with the ability to make the first man miss. Mobile enough to take advantage of an open rushing lane, but generally tries to keep his eyes downfield and find receivers when evading rushers; brilliant ability to extend the play versus pressure. Can throw on the run. Tough runner who is willing to play hurt. However, needs to do a better job of protecting his body by sliding to avoid hits; had surgery on his throwing shoulder following the 2013 season and will miss the 2014 season after re-injuring it. A more polished prospect than former Buckeye Terrelle Pryor, Miller’s footwork, albeit from out of the shotgun, is actually fairly advanced, and he throws a nice football. However, will need to become accustomed to working from under center, reading defenses, working through multiple progressions, and anticipating throws, in addition to making more pro-style throws; consequently, profiles more as a developmental backup than a legitimate starting option.

Games watched: Iowa (’13), Michigan St. (’13), Wisconsin (’13)

QB SHANE CARDEN, EAST CAROLINA

QB #5 SHANE CARDEN, EAST CAROLINA

6’2” – 221 lbs. – 4.80e

Redshirted in 2010, then appeared in one game at wide receiver in 2011 before succeeding Dominique Davis in 2012; will enter the draft with three years of starting experience. Possesses adequate height and a relatively thick build for a pro quarterback prospect. Operates out of the shotgun. Awkward sidearm/three-quarters motion, albeit with a quick release. Mechanics tend to deteriorate versus pressure, but flashes the ability to climb the pocket given outside pressure. Occasionally runs himself into trouble when his protection is still well-positioned. Footwork is very poor at this stage; throws without setting his feet or transferring weight, which has a deleterious effect on his accuracy. Sprays the ball all over the field; mediocre ball placement downfield somewhat diminishes the value offered by his arm strength. Nonetheless, despite poor weight transfer, gets great velocity on his passes, with a tight spiral; applies appropriate touch. Can fit the ball into tight windows. Confident passer, but a bit of a gunslinger who attempts passes he shouldn’t. Has some experience working through progressions and looking off safeties on his deep throws. Not much of a runner, but does have a little bit of experience carrying the ball on designed runs such as draws or read-option plays; has scored a handful of goal-line touchdowns each year. Reasonably accurate making throws when rolling to his right. Has some upside due to his impressive arm and ability to manipulate defensive backs with his eyes, but his footwork, his weight transfer, and his throwing motion are all in need of significant improvement; additionally, he will need to transition from passing exclusively out of the shotgun to lining up under center. Teams will be forced to determine whether or not his extensive starting experience has fossilized his poor technique, or whether he would be able to make significant strides by working with a pro quarterbacks coach; successfully overhauling his footwork in particular would go a long way toward mitigating his accuracy issues. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he could develop into a starter, but at this point he projects as more of a career reserve.

Games watched: North Carolina (’13), North Carolina St. (’13), Ohio (’13)

QB CODY FAJARDO, NEVADA

QB #17 CODY FAJARDO, NEVADA

6’2” – 215 lbs. – 4.70e

Extensive starting experience spread over his first three years in college. Overall height and bulk are adequate, but confirming his listed size at the Combine will be important; could stand to add some additional muscle, especially if teams plan on asking him to run the ball as often as he does in college. Operates almost exclusively out of the pistol (and, occasionally, shotgun); rarely begins snaps from under center, making it unclear how well he’ll adjust to turning his back to the defense and making post-snap reads. Willing to climb the pocket versus the outside rush; somewhat mobile, but keeps his eyes downfield rather than committing to running the ball. More likely to elude pass-rushers than to pick up substantial chunks of yardage on the ground. Has done a considerable amount of read-option work, as well as some designed quarterback draws. Capable of making accurate throws while rolling out to his right. Doesn’t take unnecessary risks with the ball; (too?) willing to take the short completion. Fairly quick over-the-top release. Throws a tight spiral with impressive velocity given his throwing mechanics; room for improvement with further development. Applies appropriate touch and exhibits generally good ball placement overall, although he tends to miss high rather than low. Inconsistent footwork on his drops; looks sound on some snaps, robotic on others. Doesn’t transfer his weight effectively on throws, which forces him to rely too heavily on his arm; throwing mechanics are reminiscent of Johnny Manziel’s. Played in a gimmicky, simplistic offense in which he wasn’t asked to make too many reads; tends to stare down his targets. Did a lot of his work over the middle of the field, rather than operating outside the hashes with difficult pro-style throws. Vision as a runner is above-average, but doesn’t always have the athletic ability to capitalize on what he sees. Durability may become a concern given his of bulk and tendency to run the ball. Will need to make the transition to being more of a traditional pocket passer at the next level, while also learning to operate from under center and cleaning up his footwork and throwing mechanics. Doesn’t make it look pretty, but is already an effective player who possesses the upside to become a spot-starter given time.

Games watched: Fresno St. (’13), UCLA (’13), UNLV (’13)

QB BRYCE PETTY, BAYLOR

QB #14 BRYCE PETTY, BAYLOR

6’3” – 230 lbs. – 4.80e

Has solid size for a pro quarterback, with a thick build. Willing to stand in the pocket and take a hit to complete a throw; body type sometimes allows him to withstand the first blow. Lacks a great feel in the pocket but is athletic enough to escape when he becomes aware of pressure; keeps his eyes downfield while on the move. Arm strength is more than adequate to push the ball downfield with velocity; has the arm to make all the throws at the pro level. Confident about attacking defenses deep and making throws into tight windows. Throws a tight spiral despite somewhat inconsistent throwing mechanics; alters the release point even in a clean pocket (but gets the ball out quickly.) Applies appropriate touch to his passes. Misses a lot of throws due to poor footwork; needs to be more consistent about stepping into throws and making sure his feet are aligned with his targets. Results on sideline throws are highly inconsistent; also hasn’t been asked to complete many back-shoulder throws or comebacks. Gets lazy with his mechanics and bounces a lot of his short throws. Played in a pass-happy spread offense which inflated his statistics and, more importantly, prevented him from having to turn his back to the defense or go through progressions; nearly all of his targets are to predetermined receivers. Stares down his targets and could get victimized by pro defensive backs early. Didn’t do much work at the intermediate level. Has some experience running the read-option but is more of a battering ram than a threat to break big runs; capable of running through arm tackles; tough style of play should help him win over teammates. Was only a first-year starter in 2013 and has time to sort out mechanical issues in his game. Has the potential to develop into a starting quarterback, but at this point there are too many questions about his footwork, mechanics, and ability to play in a pro-style offense to consider him anything more than a developmental backup with considerable upside. That said, despite all of the aforementioned deficiencies in his game, he highly efficient in his first year as a starter, and there are times when he steps into his throws and fires the sort of accurate passes which should endear him to an offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach looking for a project.

Games watched: Iowa St. (’13), Oklahoma (’13), Texas Tech (’13)