His problems have surrounded his judgment at times in games, where can rely too heavily on his "gun slinger" mentality and get into trouble with interceptions and poorly placed balls. On his size and arm strength alone, Lindley should be selected in the late third round to a team looking to use him as a developmental project behind a currently stable quarterback situation.
Lindley stepped into the starting job as a redshirt freshman in 2008, completing 56.7% of his passes for 2,653 yards and 16 touchdowns against nine interceptions as the replacement for New England's second third-round pick that year, Kevin O'Connell.
He threw for more yards (3,054) and touchdowns (23) as a sophomore, but his completed fewer passes (54.7%) while throwing more interceptions (16). Lindley bounced back in 2010, however, with a second-team All-Mountain West Conference junior campaign (57.7%, 3,830 yards, 28 TD, 14 INT).
Although Sipe has helped Lindley's game over the past couple of seasons, the California native's NFL size and arm are still overshadowed at times by his lapses in accuracy and average mobility. Taking advantage of open receivers more consistently and reducing turnovers will help scouts see his potential as a strong pocket passer at the next level.
Accuracy: Very inconsistent in his accuracy. Threads passes in tight windows over the middle, leads slants and crossing routes so receiver can run after the catch. Short-arms throws regularly to wide-open receivers, often with no pressure in his face, due to an inconsistent release point and aiming of the ball. Accuracy drops off significantly when feet are not set. Inconsistent putting air under deep balls so open receivers reach them.
Arm Strength: Plenty of arm strength to deliver the ball to either sideline on short and intermediate outs, as well as get the ball downfield. Generally throws a tight spiral. Throttles down throws on screens and dump-offs so backs can grab them easily, but does not show great touch on shorter finesse throws. Has too much faith in his arm, makes throws into tight or double coverage that lead to interceptions.
Setup/Release: Looks the part of an NFL quarterback in his size, pocket poise and release. Keeps feet moving in the pocket while surveying the field. Runs pro-style system, works from under center and shotgun. Practiced at ball fakes, can fool defenses. Flashes nice five-step drop and deliver, but comes out from under center slow at times and will take a long last step.
Reading Defenses: Sees the field well, knows where most defenses will be vulnerable and looks there first. Looks off safety before throwing back-side slant. See interior pressure coming and stands in to make the throw. Inconsistent anticipating openings, tends to throw to receivers after they break free. Does not feel backside pressure, becoming a sitting duck for blitzers.
On the Move: Best as a pocket passer. Slides a bit in the pocket to find room to throw, but must improve resetting his feet to be accurate. Used on bootlegs but takes a long turn and needs to make the fake more quickly or he'll be run over by pro defensive ends. Flashes the ability to get a few yards as a runner, but lacks the quickness to avoid NFL defenders in space.
Intangibles: Four-year starter who showed improvement during his career. Tough player, missing only one game due to injury (throwing shoulder, Air Force, 2008) and working through ankle injury in 2010. No major character issues."
He's done a much better job this year tossing a more catchable football to his targets, taking a little bit off his fastball and improving his overall ball placement in the process, especially on the deep out.
He gets away from the line of scrimmage quickly when under center using his big frame/stride -which can also be a hindrance to his game- and when he collects himself properly and transfers his weight, the guy showcases "plus" accuracy on all levels of the field.
Plus, he showcases the ability to use his eyes to move defenders, work his way toward secondary options and he will try to re-set his feet quickly and align himself up with the target.
On the other hand, he's a bit inconsistent vs. pressure though. He does a better job maintaining his balance and keeping his eye level down the field when he feels the rush off the edge.
He is also capable of sidestepping defenders, keeping his base once he's set and, despite not being a very good athlete, he does showcase some subtleness in the pocket.
However, when he gets pressure in his face, he gets skittish quickly and isn't the type of athlete to quickly collect his feet and get the ball out instantly to his hot man. Instead, Lindley has a tendency to drift from pressure, force the ball off his back foot and his accuracy goes way down because of it.
When the ball needs to come out instantly once his back foot his the ground, too often he doesn't put himself in a proper throwing position out of his drop because of his overextended base.
Lindley holds the ball high in his drop with a throwing motion that is a bit inconsistent at times, as he will try to drop the football down when trying to get the ball out quickly underneath. But when he has time to set, he's consistent and gets he ball out quickly enough.
Impression: Lindley is certainly worth a draft pick and has the skill set to go somewhere in the early/mid round range, depending on how well he performs the rest of the year/post-season. However, if he doesn't improve his overall footwork/coordination from the pocket, it's going to be tough for him to make plays in the NFL when he doesn't have a clean pocket."
Weaknesses: Lindley struggles with accuracy which is mostly caused by poor mechanics. His footwork leaves a lot to be desired. His decision-making is not that of a four-year starter in a pro-style offense. He has a tendency to lock onto receivers and miss open guys and fails to move safeties. His low completion percentage is a major concern as an NFL QB.
Bottom Line: Lindley is another developmental prospect that needs a ton of work on his mechanics. His arm strength very good and he moves enough to escape the rush. Lindley could be long-term option for a team that is looking to groom a young guy under a veteran presence.
Draft Projection: Lindley has some skills to be a player in the NFL but putting all of them together is a long term project. He’s a late 5th, early 6th round prospect."
Misses wide-open receivers under no duress and makes his receivers adjust to the ball.
His accuracy and placement are very inconsistent.
Struggles to manipulate his arm and throwing platform.
Faltered against better competition (see Missouri, TCU)."
Bold Statement: Lindley's NFL Draft standing is solely dependent on how he plays this season.
Games Viewed: (All 2010) Missouri, TCU, Utah, Navy
• May have questionable arm strength. Really struggles at times working the ball near the sidelines.
• Doesn't always get good placement when he has to zip the ball into a tight window. Is much better when receivers have a cushion and he can float the ball in.
• Because of the previous two notes, Lindley has developed accuracy issues. In his best season last year, he completed only 57.7 percent of his passes. He's also thrown a combined 39 interceptions in three seasons, compared to 67 touchdowns.
• Will be a four-year starter at San Diego State. There, he played in a spread system his first three years, but the team is moving to a pro-style offense in 2011.
• Excels at hitting his receivers in stride when they're working the middle parts of the field.
• Gets away from under center and into his set with good pace. Needs to plant his feet better so he doesn't nuder throw as many passes.
• Throws with a nice, compact motion that shouldn't need refinement.
• Has good size and length for a quarterback, but will need to add some strength to his frame.
• Does better than most college quarterbacks at reading defenses.
• Although he's not a running quarterback by any means, Lindley has good enough agility and athleticism to move around in the pocket on play action and called roll outs."
Confident player with solid leadership intangibles; sees the field well and has a quick release, but isn’t all that accurate with a 57% career completion mark; will also throw into coverage and as a result has thrown too many picks in the past including 14 last season;
Can avoid the rush in the pocket, but isn’t very mobile and is not a threat to run; also could stand to add some bulk, but has been relatively durable to date."
Negatives -- Inconsistent accuracy, will make a spectacular throw then a terrible one... Doesn't always put the ball on the money, makes receivers adjust to his throws too often... Numbers regressed as a senior after losing his top two targets in Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson... Has never completed 60 percent of his passes... Needs to work on his mechanics... Throws off his back foot too often, doesn't always step into his throws which results in some errant throws... Makes some really poor decisions, will force the ball into tight windows and will be prone to interceptions in the NFL if he doesn't improve in this area... Poor overall athletic ability, is not a threat to take off and run with the football... Struggles outside the pocket, isn't great at throwing on the run... Gets rattled when under pressure, will force the ball out."