Is a tough kid who has battled through adversity and has some real grit to his game, picking up first downs with his legs and putting his body in harms way for the better of the team. Looks natural on the move and deciphers information well when asked to break containment and improvise. However, doesn't seem to have a good feel of reading defenses, even in his pre-snap reads, failing to consistently recognize the blitz and holding onto the football far too long waiting for receivers to uncover.
Impression: A tough college quarterback who has the grit and toughness to help move the chains from time to time, but isn't a legit NFL quarterback prospect."
That game against the Buckeyes was actually the low point of Tolzien's junior season, his first as a starter (he played in three games as a redshirt sophomore, going 5-for-8 for 107 yards and an interception). He threw two of his 11 interceptions (both returned for touchdowns) in that contest, but earned honorable mention All-Big Ten accolades for the season by completing 64.3 percent of his passes for 2,705 yards and 16 touchdowns. Tolzien performed even better as a senior, winning the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and garnering second-team All-Big Ten honors after completing an outstanding 72.3 percent of this passes for 2,459 yards and 16 touchdowns -- with only six interceptions. He also ranked sixth in the FBS in passer efficiency rating.
Wisconsin coaches went after this top Chicago metro-area high school quarterback a few year ago because he fits exactly what they desire in the Badgers' offense: a tough passer who is accurate enough to take advantage of being in a run and play-action heavy offense. And despite his average size and arm strength, an NFL team may appreciate those attributes enough to use a late-round selection on him as a potential long-time reserve.
Strengths: Experienced signal-caller who works under center and from the shotgun. Stands strong in the pocket to deliver passes despite knowing he will take a hit. Looks off safety to open up routes behind him. Owns mobility to be effective on bootlegs. Quick release, drops arm slot to sling out balls to the flat when necessary. High completion percentage between the hashes. Steps up into the pocket when pressure comes off the edge.
Weaknesses: Doesn't stretch field vertically or horizontally because of slightly below average arm strength. Not asked to throw to the wide side of the field often. Short follow-through on some passes with rush around him, loses accuracy. Benefitted from play-action in run-heavy offense. Does not drive the ball downfield. Loses spiral when trying to fit a ball in a tight space. Average height and three-quarter delivery results in tipped passes."
Positive: Productive college quarterback who is best in a timing offense. Patient in the pocket, buys time for receivers, and displays field awareness. Finds the open target, goes to check down receivers if nothing is available downfield, and makes good decisions. Relatively accurate and puts the ball in front of receivers, allowing them to run to the pass. Shows a lot of moxie in his game and does the little things well, making positive plays.
Negative: Does not consistently throw with proper footwork and steps out of throws. Changes his point release, which affects his accuracy. Lacks an NFL arm.
Analysis: Tolzien has been a solid college quarterback the past two years and is a game manager for the next level who could make it as a clipboard holder in a West Coast offense."
Negatives: A little inconsistent with his ball placement... Throws off balance too much, doesn't set his feet when throwing on the run... Takes too many sacks, waits for his receivers too long before trying to make a play himself... Has a thin frame, could stand to add some weight to his frame... Likely to take the same career backup role as former Badger quarterbacks Brooks Bollinger, Jim Sorgi, and John Stocco... Was rarely asked to win games on his own, offense was tailored toward the running game... Will be a 24 year old rookie... Upside is limited because of his lack of athletic traits, is more of a game manager... Won't blow any teams away in workouts."
During his 2010 season, he dramatically increased his completion percentage and led the nation in that category (64.3% in 2009 to 72.9% in 2010). Tolzien became a much more effective game-manager quarterback behind a very good collegiate offensive line. In 266 pass attempts, he only threw six interceptions.
He is efficient at the position, meaning he makes good decisions and does not force passes that aren't there. He has a good (but not great) arm and throws the ball with good velocity. Tolzien led Wisconsin to a 21-5 record as a starter. Good mobility, but not particularly quick or fast.
Tolzien sometimes throws without his feet set and needs to learn to throw the ball away when nothing is there. He will need to add weight to take the punishment of a full NFL season. He will be 24 years old as a rookie.
Tolzien projects as a sixth to seventh round prospect in the 2011 NFL Draft."
Strengths: Experienced QB in the Big Ten who got better each year, despite being in a run-oriented offense. Winner of the National Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award, for the top senior QB. Has good accuracy, especially on the short to intermediate throws. A smart player (Academic All Big Ten) who can work through his progressions and doesn't make many poor decisions. Experienced in a pro-style passing offense. Leader on the field and commands respect of teammates. Exhibits toughness and puts the team ahead of personal accomplishments.
Weaknesses: Not a terribly big player, which is a detriment given his no-holds barred and sometimes reckless style of play. Has a decent arm, but lacks zip and deep-play ability. Shows mobility, but pocket presence is sometimes lacking and he'll take a big hit as a result.
Projection: Has enough experience and success to garner a look as a late-round backup option. Performed well-enough at E-W Shrine to keep himself on scouts' radar. Probably a 6th rounder in the 2011 NFL Draft."
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