QuarterBack ~ Bradley Kaaya ~ Miami Hurricanes ~ 6036/210
But I believe not only that Pocket Passing remains the Heart & Soul of successful QuarterBacking, but that the capacity of Speed QuarterBacks to master Pocket Passing can be and often is crippled by the Siren Song of Scrambling: A QuarterBack who has always had that "out" is far less likely to develop the skills that really matter.
Power QuarterBacks ~ The Men with the Golden Arms ~ are equally susceptible to falling Prey to the seductive allure of their own physical Talent: The more powerful their Cannons, the more likely I believe it is that they persistently depend upon that crutch as a Get Out Of Jail Card, and thus fail to develop a more comprehensive Skill Set.
And thus I perceive a Great Irony, one that continues, astonishingly, to elude most: The more explosive a Scrambler that a QuarterBack is, or the more powerful an Arm he boasts, the less likely that he is to achieve Greatness.
Conversely, it's the boring guys who consistently Move The Chains that give you the best Chance to win.
After New Year's Day, when The Only Games That Really Matter are played, History has been relentlessly savage to Power QuarterBacks and Speed QuarterBacks who failed to develop their Games: Once the weaker Teams have been eliminated, the PlayOff Defenses have invariably proven far too much for the Unprepared.
And if you're not prepared to compete after New Year's Day, why play at all??
In consideration of these thoughts, which, like many of my thoughts, fly in the face of what is amusingly considered to be Conventional Wisdom, this is how I break down the Criteria that I focus on, when evaluating QuarterBacks:
1 ~ Processing Speed
2 ~ Precision
3 ~ Pocket Presence
4 ~ FirePower
Processing Speed or Diagnostic Velocity is about how quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape. It's crucial at all 22 Positions, but utterly vital for a QuarterBack to succeed...or to even survive. Reading Coverages, working through Progressions, and selecting the best Receiving or Running Option.
Precision speaks above all to Mechanics: A QuarterBack's consistency with his Stance, his Set Up, and his Delivery. I refer to consistent Accuracy in the Short & Intermediate Zones, where the best Offenses all make their Bread & Butter. In breaking it down, I'm looking at Timing, Touch, and Trajectory: Leading Receivers to DayLight.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure is about Poise, or how one's Processing Speed and Precision stand up Under Pressure, and about one's Temporal & Spatial Instincts in navigating an often chaotic Pocket.
FirePower is a Category that I value, though not as much as others. I refer to Velocity and to DownField Precision, which I don't consider as crucial to Success as Short & Intermediate Precision. DownField Precision makes for tremendous HighLight Footage, but it's Short & Intermediate Precision that Moves The Chains and wins Championships.
Please note, if you will: I don't list 40 Speed among crucial Attributes at all.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Please Note: This is entirely about how rapidly the QuarterBack scans the Field and makes successful Decisions.
* Many College Offenses feature simple Offenses that make this challenging to evaluate.
* It is, nevertheless, far and away the most crucial Aspect of QuarterBacking.
* Accuracy ~ Placement that maximizes the Receiver's Advantage and minimizes that of the Defender.
* Timing ~ Being temporally In Sync with the Receiver. The Ball arriving precisely when the Receiver does.
* Touch ~ The right Speed for the right Play. Only throwing FastBalls when FastBalls are warranted.
* Trajectory ~ Being spatially In Sync with the Receiver ~ enabling him to catch the Ball In Stride.
* Processing Speed Under Pressure.
* Precision Under Pressure.
* Spatial & Temporal Instincts.
* Velocity, irregardless of where he's throwing it: How fast is'is FastBall?
* DownField Precision ~ can he through the Bomb accurately?
But even in what ought to've been a painful transitional Year in this new Offense ~ mind you: it's not like the Hurricanes are rocking and rolling!! ~ Kaaya's capacity to rapidly read the roiling and boiling Tactical LandScape and respond both effectively and with increasing consistency is clearly evident. And that is extremely impressive to me.
* April Update: Extraordinary. The Work has certainly paid off.
Precision: Extraordinary. Kaaya brings an incredibly advanced Command of Touch, Timing, & Trajectory to the BattleField, and his Mechanics are outstanding, a reflection, yet again, of the Years of Hard Work that he's invested.
* April Update: Mediocre. With More Data in, I'm walking back that initial impression several Clicks. I'd still rate his Touch as Outstanding, but his Timing & Trajectory ~ leading his Receivers, spatially and temporarily, is marginal.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure: Marginal. I have no doubt that Kaaya's got the Heart of a Lion and the Passion to become Great. But at this stage of Development, he is too often too quick to Duck & Tuck, or to get rid of the FootBall before escaping the Tackle Box ~ Intentional Grounding!! ~ as I saw'm do twice against Appalachian State.
However, I am strongly inclined to Make Allowances when I believe they are warranted, and in Kaaya's case, we're talking about a shaky Offensive Line, combined ~ and this cannot be overstated ~ with a complicated System that he and the Hurricanes are just learning. In such cases, there is often a minimum of Time & Training at this stage in what he and his young WideOuts are supposed to do, where they're supposed to go, and when they're supposed to go there, when the Pocket collapses. When it's clean or at least relatively clean, Kaaya has consistently demonstrated outstanding Processing Speed. With his Intelligence and Work Ethic, Time & Training are all he really needs.
* April Update: Still Marginal. Time & Training may improve that considerably, but they did not do so over the course of the 2016 Campaign, as I'd though they might, and it's a monster Red Flag. He should've stayed in School.
FirePower: Impressive. Kaaya's Arm Strength is merely Competitive, but his Mechanics, his Timing, Touch, and Trajectory, and his remarkable Field Vision have already rendered him startlingly effective on Long Passes: As Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and others have shown: It doesn't necessarily require a Cannon to develop DownField Precision.
* Upon Further Review with more Data: Marginal.
It'll be very interesting to see whether or not Kaaya declares for the 2017 Draft or not. If he does so, and without his Pocket Presence developing considerably between now and then, he could go anywhere from the first Pick ~ though I seriously doubt it ~ to the 2nd Round or even later. But if his Pocket Presence shows rapid sudden Improvement over the few remaining Games ~ unlikely ~ and the NFL actually stands up and takes notice ~ extremely unlikely ~ he could very possibly follow the course of Jared Goff from last Year's Class, and ascend all the way to the Top.
By the way: I graded Carson Wentz higher than Goff!! #Bragging!!
This Reconnaissance Report and, if applicable, this coming Spring's Scouting Report, will be based on my perception of the Value of Kaaya's Services ~ Potential Divided by Risk ~ if he does hit the Draft in 2017. That's obviously obvious.
But it bears emphasizing in his case, because if he comes out this Year, at today's level of evident Development, I perceive a lot more Risk in that Formula than I strongly suspect I will a Year hence, should he go back to School.
My Reasoning? 2017 would be his 2nd Year in Coach Richt's System, and the entire Team's 2nd Year in Coach Richt's System...and I believe that that represents enormous Potential for Improvement in Miami.
With a full second Year of Time & Training together, the Game could potentially slow down dramatically for all of them, and as they get increasingly In Sync, with the Offensive Line syncing, and Kaaya and his young WideOuts syncing ~ becoming increasingly sure of where and when they're supposed to be...I strongly suspect that Miami's Offense and Kaaya's statistical Game could explode in 2017, and that his Pocket Presence could likewise improve dramatically.
Or in other words: His Stock could skyrocket...and it would be absolutely entirely warranted.
I'm highly confident that Bradley Kaaya will succeed, whether he declares in 2017 or waits one more Year...But I believe that the Development that he seems very likely to gain, should he play under Coach Richt and his Staff for one more Year, would reduce his Risk of struggling in the NFL enormously, and that therefore not only would his Stock very likely dramatically improve going into The Draft, but that his Career could reap vast and lasting Benefits.
* April Update: Aaaaand that's why I called the Original a Recon Report!! Kaaya did not turn out to develop as I'd thought he might, and I'm not gonna kid myself about that: He's got lots of Work to do to become a solid Starter in the NFL: His Accuracy needs Work, his DownField Precision is weak, an his Pocket Presence, most importantly, is weak.
Even so: Bradley Kaaya may have marginal or at best mediocre Talent to work with, but he's got Experience in a Pro Style Offense ~ though hardly enough: he should've stayed and got more!! ~ and he's loaded with Intelligence and Drive.
I believe that he will, given quality Time & Training, like Jimmy Garappolo got with the Patriots, vastly improve his Pocket Presence. And if he does so, and his Accuracy, as well, he has a good Chance to become a Solid Starter.
Mind you: I'm walking back my Top 10 Recon Grade dramatically.
Thank you so very much, Draft BreakDown, without whom my Work would be virtually possible.
This is not is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning: Caveat Emptor!!