QuarterBack ~ Dakota Prescott ~ Mississippi State BullDogs ~ 6021/225
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: Mediocre. Statistically, his Precision improved substantially this Year, but I believe that that was exaggerated by a dramatic increase in Short Passes. I didn't perceive any significant improvement in this category this Year, I'm afraid: His Mechanics still seem like a big mess to me, and while his Timing & Touch in the Short Game are in fact excellent, his Intermediate Game suffers considerably both from his raw Mechanics and, I strongly suspect, from his mediocre Processing Speed, resulting in bad Timing, too many Incompletions, and killing Yards After Catch.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure: Competitive. Prescott clearly regressed in this crucial regard this Year, but I'm inclined to make allowances for a shaky Offensive Line. Given the Time to stand back there in 2014, Prescott consistently manifested Courage Under Fire. Mind you: He's got a ways to go, and nothing happens in a vacuum: Getting sacked repeatedly can rattle a guy and sometimes inflicts lasting psychic damage. But I'm not concerned about Prescott in that regard. Where he needs to improve, I believe, is in continuing to develop his Processing Speed.
FirePower: Mediocre, yet with superior Potential. The raw Power is definitely there. It's just his Mechanics that are a mess. His DownField Precision regressed in 2015, but that was perhaps another victim of a shaky Offensive Line, leading to Prescott's compensating by rushing his Passes. That of course he cannot afford to do, regardless of what is going on around'm. He's got the raw Power to become dangerous, though, if he develops those Mechanics.
And this Year, there is far less formidable QuarterBacking competition, and Prescott actually improved statistically on his BreakOut 2014 Campaign, throwing for more Yards with a much higher Completion Percentage and far less Interceptions ~ such things that usually drive Prospects's Stock through the roof ~ yet he has been completely ignored!!
I'd chalk it up the Pump & Dump mentality that is the natural way of the Media...except that the Media has historically shown to be consistently accurate, the vast majority of the time, in portraying what the League itself thinks of Prospects!!
Even so, The Market is still higher on Prescott's Prospects than I am.
I'm impressed by his Poise, his improved Command, and above all by his approach towards the Position. It is clear, when he speaks, that he is fully cognizant of how crucial the cerebral aspects of the Game are to a QuarterBack, which I must say is very refreshing to hear from a Prospect, especially one with such remarkable Running Talent.
And they're not just words: His Processing Speed was indeed improved this Year.
The big question for me, though, is of course: Can he develop sufficient Processing Speed to succeed at the next level? It's not enough to be smart, as I know all too well myself: You need to be mentally quick...and those are two entirely different things: You need to be able to process Information rapidly...and many smart men simply can't do that.
I ought to know.
Prescott's Processing Speed has improved, though, and I believe that it will continue to do so, as he has already, on more than one occasion, mentioned his focus on the cerebral aspects of things, and as his improvement has made it crystal clear that he's invested Time & Training in backing up his Words. Presumably, he will continue to do so.
It's just that when I combine his current level of Processing Speed ~ I grade it as Mediocre ~ with his marginal Mechanics and mediocre Precision, I come up with far more of a Risk than I believe his Market Value warrants.
Dakota Prescott is a very intriguing Prospect, though. I believe that he needs considerable Time & Training, and I believe that even then he's a ways away from developing into an effective Reserve, much less a Starter, much less an effective one...Yet I would not be shocked were he to accomplish precisely that over the next several Years.
Thank you so very much, Draft BreakDown, without whom my Work would not be possible.
This is not is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning: Caveat Emptor!!