QuarterBack ~ Mason Rudolph ~ Oklahoma State CowBoys ~ 6036/234
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?
Precision: Marginal. Impressive Touch, but inconsistent Mechanics, and his mediocre Field Vision is also seems detrimental to his Timing and Trajectory: On the Tape I've watched ~ though I'm hoping and expecting to find Footage from later in the Year to see if this'is improved ~ his WideOuts chronically needed to leap, lunge, and pirouette.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure: Mediocre. Extremely Tough Under Pressure, but his Spatial and Temporal Instincts are still raw, and his Field Vision seems to suffer badly when he's on the Move.
FirePower: Marginal. Competitive Velocity, but his DownField Throws are plagued by Fluffy Ducks.
Shot Gun, Quick Pass, and Easy Read Offenses are the Albatross of College QuarterBacks, who spend Years training in a System that provides precious little Time & Training of the sort that QuarterBacks can actually use at the next level.
It's like getting a Liberal Arts Degree in QuarterBacking.
Mason Rudolph may very well command far more fundamental Processing Speed than is evident to these eyes, but he's had precious little Opportunity to develop FootBall Processing Speed ~ Field Vision ~ and consequently is Light Years behind both in Skill Level, and in actual Training to implement has capacity for Rapid Decision Making.
On top of that, his Precision is marginal, his lack of Field Vision cripples his Pocket Presence Under Pressure despite tremendous Toughness, and I can't even say that he's got a great Arm or even a good one.
He's tall, which at least gives him one Advantage, and I can say two things in support of a glimmer of Hope regarding his prospective Future. First off: He keeps improving, Year after Year. Second off: He has exhibited a Penchant for Late Game Heroics. That at least hints at finer Processing Speed than I've discerned, overall...and the Potential to grow.
I believe that he would be very wise to go back to College for one more Year of Development before hitting the Big Time.
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!!