QuarterBack ~ Brady Gustafson ~ Montana Grizzlies ~ 6054/240
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?
The Grizzlies installed another one of those Easy Read/Quick Strike ShotGun Offenses when Coach Stitt took the wheel two Years ago, so Gustafson is hampered, as all such QuarterBack Prospects reared in such Systems are, by having received virtually no Training whatsoever in the Under Center/Drop Back & Work Your Progressions style of NFL QuarterBacking that he's gonna now need to learn from Scratch, as he exhibited against the Panthers.
And I know that College Coaches are always pumping ~ and pimping ~ their Players...But the context of the way Coach Stitt spoke of Gustafson struck home with me. I will of course reserve the right to change my mind when Draft BreakDown breaks down a few more Games later on ~ or when I troll the InterNet and other Resources, should I need to ~ but, ridiculous though it will surely seem to most who read this for me to ring up such an optimistic Grade based not on Gustafson's Game Tape but on his Coach's Testimony, I can tell you that one of the Talents that I've been blessed with is the capacity to discern when I am reading genuine Insight, as I believe I did in that excellent Article.
In EarthSpeak: I believe that I will see far better Processing Speed from Brady Gustafson in the ensuing Games than I did against the Panthers... and that when he finally gets Time & Training in a Pro Offense, he will take to it far quicker and far more effectively than most would expect'm to. It's not the first time that I've gone way out on a Limb.
You of course will judge for yourselves, Fellow FootBall Fiends...as will indeed History.
Precision: Marginal...but improving. Absolutely horrible against the Panthers ~ who sport an impressive Defense ~ but his statistics jumped dramatically in his 2nd Year in Coach Still's System. That Grade, too, is highly speculative.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure: Mediocre, but with tremendous Potential. Oh, yeah. Speculative Big Time. His low Grade is based mostly upon effective Processing Speed ~ his current level of it ~ but as I speculate that he is possessed of excellent intrinsic Processing Speed, I believe that that will eventually translate ~ if it hasn't already done so in subsequent unseen Games ~ into a genuine Strength, which will in turn translate into far more effective Pocket Presence, as Gustafson is very tough indeed and already exhibits the tendency to hold the Pocket regardless. It's just a matter of getting the Time & Training in Working His Progressions that I believe he's got the capacity to master.
FirePower: Competitive and potentially excellent. He's definitely got a good Wing.
He just needs to develop those Ice Cold Mechanics.
They're different Prospects, but I was extra high on Carson Wentz, last Year, based on similarly etheral Speculation, rating him higher than Jared Goff, and it says here that Brady Gustafson has tremendous Potential.
His Mechanics suck, and I'm not going as high with him ~ at least not yet ~ as I did with Wentz, but I'm seeing tremendous fundamental levels of Processing Speed, outstanding Height, an excellent Arm, and the Intelligence to convert the combination of these Talents into Top Caliber Potential far more quickly and effectively than most expect.
* I'm gonna back'm off a Half Round, but I still feel very much the same: Raw as Hell but with tremendous Potential, and enough Evidence ~ though much'f it tangential ~ to suggest that he's got the Intelligence to make it!!
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!!