QuarterBack ~ Marcus Mariota ~ Oregon Ducks 6036/222
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 Cannon, it says here, the more likely that they're going to rely on that crutch as a Get Out Of Jail Card as often as they can, and 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: Exceptional. Mariota's Mechanics have improved considerably over the last couple of Years, and the results have been outstanding. It's worth noting that he's only been starting since his Senior Year in High School!!
Pocket Presence: Impressive. Here, too, he improved considerably, last Year. That in fact excites me the most about his Trajectory, for natural Scramblers are prone to Bail Out unnecessarily. There's still Development to be done, here, but Mariota seems to've turned the corner in this regard, and showed dramatically improved Poise, last Year.
FirePower: Excellent. Tremendous Velocity and consistent DownField Precision.
Their innate Ability to squirt away from Pressure tends to be too tempting, too often, and they consequently tend to employ that Capacity as a Crutch. I believe that this usually tends to be detrimental not only to their developing the Pocket Presence that they'll need to survive at The Next Level, but to refining their Processing Speed, as well.
Why hone one's ability to work through Progressions effectively when you can just Bail??
I know: Stupid. But you see evidence of that all the time.
Having said all that: Marcus Mariota is actively pulverizing any such concerns on my part.
Indeed, he'd already greatly reduced them a full Year ago, when I wrote up my first Scouting Report on'm.
Mariota has grown by leaps and bounds in a few short Years. His Processing Speed & Field Vision have skyrocketed, his Precision has become an enormous Strength, and his Pocket Presence has improved dramatically.
He is by all accounts an incredibly dedicated Student of the Game, an absolutely outstanding TeamMate, a relentless Worker, and a rapidly developing Leader, one who inspires by Example and now by Words, as well.
It's all about Trajectory, baby!!
My Enthusiasm is always ultimately tempered with Hybrid, Dual Threat QuarterBacks because it's only human nature that a guy who's really good at Scrambling wants to Scramble, and Mariota doesn't amaze me with his Poise as have Andrew Luck and Teddy BridgeWater in recent Years. As such, I'm easing up on the throttle from my earlier Grade.
...But just a bit, mind you.
Grateful Thanks, as always, for the crucial Work done by the folks at Draft BreakDown!!
None of this is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning!! Caveat Emptor!!