I’m a big fan of Brock Osweiler. In January I wrote an article arguing why the Seahawks should consider drafting him in the first round. That wasn’t based entirely on need either, it was based on talent. I think Osweiler is worthy of a first round grade.
When I reviewed his performance against Oregon, I wrote the following: “Osweiler is a unique player with a ceiling higher than most quarterbacks entering the draft. He’s far from the finished product, but I’m starting to believe he’s going to eventually enter the first round discussion. If you can draft him at any point after the first round you’re getting a potential steal.”
Today was Osweiler’s pro-day at Arizona State and his opportunity to throw for scouts, coaches and GM’s. Pete Carroll, John Schneider and Darrell Bevell were in attendance, 24-hours after visiting the Texas A&M pro-day. NFL.com’s Gil Brandt was also present and he had some interesting thoughts on the work-out:
“Osweiler threw 72 passes, with seven hitting the ground. The seven misses were not, however, an indicator of wildness; his accuracy was very good. He presented himself very well, which is important for a quarterback, and interacted well with his receivers. Despite his height, he is very flexible and has a solid throwing platform. Mazzone has worked with him to correct a tendency to drop his elbow, which Osweiler avoided doing on Friday.
“Based on Friday’s workout, I think Osweiler vaulted himself into the first round on draft day. He will likely work out for a number of teams; there is a lot of excitement surrounding him. His showing Friday was somewhat surprising; I think he exceeded the expectations of everybody in attendance. Osweiler, an outstanding high-school athlete from Montana, has a lot of upside, and some team with a need at the position will be tempted late in the first round.”
That’s quite a review for a prospect who’s been generating grades mostly in the mid-rounds. Brad Denny also has a positive write-up for SB Nation and it’s worth checking out.
I’ll qualify that I don’t expect Osweiler to be a first round pick. I think he probably should be, especially if Ryan Tannehill is considered a top-ten lock these days and if Christian Ponder can tempt a team to spend the #12 pick on his services. He’s far from a polished quarterback, but I’ve seen enough short/medium accuracy throwing into tight windows, improvisation, ‘x-factor’ throws, a decent arm with potential to become even better and mobility to believe he’s good enough to invest some degree of faith. There are very few quarterbacks I’d wish to start in year one, and Osweiler is no different. However, if I’m trying to find a player to develop and eventually help a team compete then I’m comfortable with the guy.
I think he’ll be a solid second round pick. I hope he falls beyond that and becomes an option for the Seahawks, who almost certainly will not draft a quarterback in the first two rounds. But a lot of people disagree with such a positive outlook on Osweiler’s talent and potential. In this video, Michael Lombardi and Charlie Casserly both give short shrift to Brandt’s first round suggestion with Casserley quoting a survey of nine teams – eight of which graded Osweiler in round four. That fourth round grade is the most common I’ve seen among those who make such projections.
On the other hand, Brandt has an ally in ESPN’s Todd McShay who has also been beating the first-round drum. McShay’s Scouts Inc. currently has Osweiler as the 29th ranked prospect in the entire draft. So there’s a real discrepancy in grading, which is nothing new when it comes to quarterbacks. Several teams wouldn’t have drafted Jake Locker in round two last year (possibly including Seattle), but Tennessee took him at #8 overall. I suspect Washington and Mike Shanahan were waiting to pull the trigger at #10. The year before, Denver manipulated their position in round one to take Tim Tebow – a prospect many teams didn’t even grade as a permanent quarterback. It’ll only take one coach or GM to believe in Osweiler the same way that Brandt, McShay and myself do and he’ll be a first rounder, or at worst an early second rounder. Just don’t be too surprised if it happens.
Personally, I hope the Seahawks were impressed enough to consider drafting the guy in the early second round if the opportunity presents itself. That would need to be a shift in planning, because it certainly appears the intention post-Matt Flynn signing is to address other areas and let Flynn battle it out with Tarvaris Jackson. Essentially, the investment in a young, drafted quarterback would be put back to 2013. I think Osweiler has a shot to be Seattle’s guy, or at least be the guy that can help this team get to where it wants to go. He’s 21, so he has time on his side. A second rounder might be early for a player who wouldn’t be an immediate contributor, but it’d be worth it to at least have another quarterback in the stable with some ‘long term’ potential.
As mentioned, there would seemingly have to be a change of plan for this to happen. It seems like DE/OLB, linebacker and running back will be the top three priorities for the Seahawks in the first three rounds. Even so, Osweiler is a player I like and in the right environment and with the right coaching, he could end up being a very productive quarterback. I’ve posted some tape below, so take a look if you haven’t seen it already.
Bobby Wagner ran a 4.45 at the Utah State pro-day. He’s a linebacker to watch for Seattle in round two, but could sneak into the bottom of the first.