Brains. I believe that the most crucial Aspects of any QuarterBack's ability to Move The Chains and lead his Team DownField against the best Teams in the World during The Only Games That Really Matter ~ the ones that happen after New Years Day ~ are neither his Arm nor his Legs. Great Arms and running ability are nice Attributes for a QuarterBack to possess, at least in theory, but when I consider the History of This Great Game, it seems to me that the Gutters are littered with the corpses of QuarterBacks who were blessed with such Capabilities, yet, quite possibly because of them, failed to do what it took to develop the rest of their Games...and after annually shredding Mediocre Defenses all Year long, ended up coming up short during The Only Games That Really Matter.
His Diagnostic Acuity, his Processing Speed, and his Will To Win: His Capacity to read Defenses before the Snap and assess how best to attack them, his Capacity to Rapidly Read & React to what Defenses do after the Snap and to attack them effectively and consistently...and above all his willingness to invest the thousands upon thousands of Hours of relentless Study & Drill over Years upon Years that it takes to reach the point where he can wake up in the middle of the Night and instantaneously answer theoretical Tactical Questions because he's ingrained it in himself, and where he can wake up in the middle of the Night and execute the best Tactical Responses with consistent Precision, because he's invested the thousands and thousands of Reps it takes to master the Mechanics.
That is the QuarterBack I want leading my Team in January...when it matters.
Accuracy. At the end of the day, it's not usually the HightLight Reel guys who win Championships: It's the guys who consistently and reliably display precise Timing ~ hitting their man In Stride ~ and Touch as well as the Capacity to consistently and reliably throw the Ball where their guy has a maximum Opportunity to get it.
It's the guys who Move The Chains.
Poise. Poise Under Pressure. This is where you separate the Wheat from the Chaff, my friends. Anybody can pick a Defense apart, given enough time to do so. But of course the real World is constantly roiling in Chaos, and Improvisation is not the exception but the rule. QuarterBacks who keep a cool head and keep their eyes steadily DownField as they work their Progressions are infinitely more valuable to a Team's Championship Quest.
A guy with the Spatial Diagnostics to sense the shifting shape of his Pocket and the Agility to move around within it without bailing ~ yet who knows when bailing is precisely what to do!! ~ who keeps his head, keeps his eyes DownField, and maintains crisp Mechanics in or out'f the Pocket is infinitely more capable of leading your Team to The Promised Land than either a Rocket Armed GunSlinger or 40 Yard Dash Champion who panic whenever the Pocket breaks down, drop their eyes, let their Mechanics go to Hell, and sling Fluffy Ducks all over the Field.
And in all fairness I strongly suspect ~ this is a pet Theory of mine ~ that in the majority of cases poor Poise Under Pressure is a reflection not of a dearth of Testicular Fortitude but of insufficient Processing Speed.
FirePower. Although I approach Rocket Arms with immense Skepticism, I'd be the last guy to disparage FirePower. But it's critical to distinguish between the mere Capacity to sling it 50 Yards on a line and the Capacity to do so with consistent, reliable Precision: Ripping it at 100 Miles An Hour is ultimately useless if you can't hit the Strike Zone. But genuine FirePower ~ Velocity to the entire Field and DownField Precsion ~ is a beautiful thing.
Please note, if you will: I list FirePower last of the 4 Attributes I value most...and don't list 40 Speed at all.
Yon Rambling Dissertation
Arm Strength is vastly overrated, and scrambling ability, while exciting, is ultimately worse than useless, because History makes it clear that Scramblers, over the years ~ and indeed, the same could be said about the thousands of QuarterBacks who've failed despite a great Arm ~ ultimately fail to focus all their energy on QuarterBacking.
Mobility, alike, is vastly overrated. Steve Young is the only Scrambler who ever won a Super Bowl, and he won it because he was on a great team, because Barry Switzer can't coach at the NFL level or the CowBoys would've rolled the Miners again in 1994, and because he eased up on the scrambling. He became a QuarterBack.
Mind you: I'd hardly suggest that Arm Strength isn't nice to have...But the temptation to let'er rip ~ and to relying on that Capacity ~ can have a crippling effect on developing those skills that most matter, deep in the Heart of Winter.
And often they have been.
Countless times, in fact.
And don't get me started on Scrambling.
Processing Speed and an insatiable Work Ethic, producing that relentless Devotion to mastering every possible Aspect of the Job ~ the Aspects I've listed above ~ and Balls are what ultimately win Championships.
It's not as easy as simply counting the Rings, because Fortune & Circumstance play a large part in the Fates of Men.
And it sure as Hell isn't racking up gaudy Statistic during the regular Season. It's the Capacity and the Will to do the thousands of little things that put one's team in the best position to win, day in and day out ~ and doing them well ~ that is the ultimate measure of any QuarterBack, albeit one ~ ironically ~ that's impossible to quantify.
It's the ability to Read & React with Speed & deadly Accuracy against the nastiest, wiliest Defenses on the Planet, deep in the Heart of Winter...and the Will to dedicate Years to intensive Training & Study in order to be able to.
That ~ and his willingness to Use The Whole Pig ~ is what once separated Tom Brady from the Pack.
Brains. Outstanding. Isn't asked to work deep into'is Progressions very often, but whether he needs to get rid of the ball quickly due to a rapidly collapsing Pocket, or needs to make a play Outside the Wickets and On The Run, he shows remarkably consistent Precision in rapidly reading the Chaos in front'f'm and Making a Play.
Accuracy. Excellent. Not yet quite as consistent as he'll need to become, but does much more than merely Flash Touch & Timing: It is clear that he's focused on and aware of such things, and that he's improving.
Poise. Exceptional. Stands Steady or steps up into the Pocket like a 10 Year Pro Under Fire. Strong Spatial Awareness & Instincts. Eyes consistently DownField. A genuine Beast Under Pressure. Demonstrates an outstanding consistency in sustaining efficient Field Vision and Mechanics On The Run. Disciplined enough to Square & Set when time allows, and coordinated enough to consistently throw effectively On The Fly when he has to.
FirePower. Adequate and with Potential. Inconsistent DownField Precision, but impressive Velocity on the Short and MidField Throws, and there's definite Potential to develop Long Range Efficacy.
I went to great and doubtlessly excruciating length, last Year, when Breaking Down Geno Smith, to explain how much emphasis I put on evaluating all Players ~ and especially QuarterBacks ~ in Games that they lost.
With Geno Smith ~ who was the Heisman Favorite at about this Time, last Year, right before the Games I would focus on ~ I saw a physically talented and intelligent QuarterBack who's Game collapsed Under Fire.
With Bortles, I saw a rawer, far less refined Prospect than Smith ~ one who indeed made a couple of costly JackAss Plays in the very Game in question ~ who nevertheless emphatically Rose to the Occasion: He consistently stepped up into the Pocket Under Fire ~ intense Fire!! ~ delivered deadly strikes all day long, and never gave an inch.
His Decision Making requires refinement, of course, but as Young QuarterBacks go, his Decision Making Under Fire is highly advanced, and his ability to Rapidly Read the Field and Rapidly React in an effective and often deadly manner is highly impressive, indeed: On many occasions, I felt like I was watching a seasoned Veteran.
He and'is TeamMates clearly believe in each other, and played Balls Out all day long, even after an early 10 Point lead had become an 18 Point Deficit with 10 minutes to go. They couldn't've been less intimidated by the highly favored GamePenises, who in their secret hearts were probably grateful to escape with the Victory!!
And well they might be: 2 Weeks later, the Knights knocked off none other than the highly favored Louisville Cardinals and Teddy BridgeWater, who is highly acclaimed, indeed, as well he should be.
Blake Bortles needs some Work, I grant you.
But he's blessed with outstanding Processing Speed, he's an accurate Passer, he's Poised Under Pressure, and he's blessed with phenomenal Improvisational Skills, Instincts, and Field Vision.
He's got The Right Stuff, and I believe that he's going to become an extraordinary QuarterBack.
Thanks, as always, to the extraordinary Work by the men of Draft BreakDown!!
Perceived Market Value
Yankee Market Value