In the last week we’ve been discussing Brock Osweiler as a possible round one pick and had a look at his tape vs Illinois. We’ve already looked at four other games (USC, Utah, Oregon and Boise State) and I wanted to run through what I liked/disliked about this performance. Aside from the obvious positives (arm strength, ability to make difficult throws into tight windows, mobility) I’ve seen enough evidence now that he can make more than one progression, that he is capable of feeling pressure, that although he does take risks he’s not careless with the football and his turnovers are rarely reckless and that he’s willing to take a hit to make a key completion on a developing route.
There are several things he needs to work on too. For example, he really only has two levels of touch – one of which is a pure fast ball. I like the trajectory and air he gets on the drilled throws but I’d like to see a greater range here – so that when he needs to place a throw in between two defensive backs he’ll make it. He’s a bit hesitant sometimes to make a decision and although he received very little protection in the game above (and suffered through a series of bad drops) he was also directly responsible for some avoidable sacks. Although he has a good deep out, I’ve not seen him throw deep down the middle for a big completion, but without all-22 tape it’s hard to see if teams take this option away because of his arm strength.
I don’t think he’s quite the ‘project’ that some people think and because he has such pure natural ability as a passer, he’ll be able to contribute quickly in a scaled down playbook. Everything about him is unique – especially the frame and the release – but I kind of like that. One of the key things I look for in a quarterback is an ability to improvise and make plays when things don’t go according to plan and Osweiler has shown he can do that. He might not reach a pro-bowl level as a rookie, far from it in fact, but I suspect he’ll be able to come in and make enough plays to avoid becoming a weekly hindrance. Considering Seattle’s starting quarterbacks have combined for 26 regular season touchdown passes in the last two years, it’s hardly a stretch to believe he can improve upon a 13-touchdown average.
As we’ve started to discuss Brock Osweiler more on the blog, people have started to say, “I’d take this guy in round two, but not at #11 or #12.” Personally, I think you’re going to be very fortunate to draft a player like this beyond round one. The Seahawks are never going to be in a position to draft a quarterback the majority of people feel ‘comfortable’ with while they’re winning even seven games in a season. If you’re waiting on Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, Robert Griffin III, Matt Stafford etc etc – all of those players have been drafted – or will be drafted – within the top handful of picks. The Seahawks have been built to keep progressing, to move forward under Pete Carroll’s vision. If you want to draft a quarterback for the long haul yet be consistently picking deeper in the draft, be prepared to eventually take a chance on someone like Brock Osweiler.
He has a lot of first round tools and while admittedly there is also a degree of inexperience, why are we so afraid to fail? This team hasn’t drafted a quarterback in round one since 1993, but some people cringe at the idea of a toolsy quarterback with big-time potential – yet a similarly raw defensive player or offensive lineman will get a collective thumbs up. It’s not a case of drafting any old quarterback – which is why I’ve been very critical of players like Ryan Tannehill and Landry Jones this year. Brock Osweiler is better than those two players on many different levels.
Before we get into the tape-breakdown, I’ve added a selection of links to check out for more on Brock Osweiler:
Steve Muech from Scouts Inc also wrote a piece today grading Osweiler in round one:
“He is a good athlete who chose the Sun Devils over an offer to play basketball at Gonzaga, and Osweiler shows the ability to buy time in the pocket and even pick up yards with his legs when given the opportunity. He’ll never have the elite pocket mobility of a quarterback like Drew Brees, but given his frame and above-average athleticism Osweiler is good enough in that area.
“Taller quarterbacks naturally have longer deliveries as well, and while Osweiler’s accuracy will be affected at times by over-striding, he has a unique release that gets good results. He has a unique release that reminds you a bit of Philip Rivers, but because his arm is strong he can get away with looking a bit like a dart-thrower. Osweiler can be accurate when his lower body is sound, puts enough zip on the ball to fit it into tight spots, and he can vary his launch points to account for hands in passing windows and the positioning of defenders in coverage.”
I’ve broken down some of the plays from the Illinois tape (see above) and listed a few thoughts on each with the time they appear in bold:
0:08 – Instinctive play thrown deliberately low to make it hard to defend. Essentially, his receiver is catching the ball or nobody is. The defensive back probably would’ve jumped the route had it been chest-high, so that’s a good decision from the quarterback.
0:14- Lingers too long on his intended target and needed to move to a different option or throw it away. Having lingered on the hot read, he can’t move back inside into traffic to extend a play. A completely avoidable sack.
0:48- Evidence that he is willing to progress through reads. Osweiler looks to his left, then down the middle before progressing to the deep right. He rejects all options and throws incomplete to his left. It’s hard to tell without all-22 tape if any of his downfield options were open, but he visibly made multiple reads here.
0:56 – Good patience to let the inside route develop and an accurate pass for a nice gain.
1:04- Good play action into a shoulder pump to the flare, before looking deep right and throwing a nice pass that gave his receiver a chance to score a touchdown in single coverage. Should’ve been caught.
1:22 – Stays composed despite the blind side pressure. He understands where the soft spot in the defense is and took what was on offer. An easy completion for the touchdown, but he capitalised on the opportunity.
1:45- Free play with the offside penalty, so Osweiler throws deep down the left sideline and again puts the ball in an area for his receiver to make a play. Textbook throw.
1:54- QB draw for a decent gain, shows off Osweiler’s mobility. He’s a long way off being considered a threat as a runner, but he moves well for his size.
2:13- Bad interior protection and good defense, Osweiler has two seconds to make a play. He’s tackled as he throws and the ball rather fortunately hits a lineman on the back and is deflected into the hands of an Illinois defender. It goes down as an interception.
2:41- Shows good presence to step into the pocket and throw downfield, but the two receivers get in each other’s way.
2:54- Very accurate pass with perfect trajectory and pace, hitting the receiver in-stride for a first down.
3:29 – Makes two reads but needs to feel the pressure and make a decision. Either get the ball out or throw it away. Protection isn’t good again here, but that was another avoidable sack.
3:45- Avoids contact in the pocket and throws downfield for a completion. Wasn’t distracted by the pressure and managed to avoid the sack.
3:54- Osweiler knew he was going to get hammered by a defensive lineman, but stayed tall to deliver a catchable pass. Should’ve been a completion, but credit to the quarterback for again making a brave throw.
4:08 – Possibly the best play in the tape. This is what the NFL is looking for – great footwork, keeping the play alive and buying that extra time to deliver a big-time throw on third down for a huge completion. First round-level quarterback play.
4:26 – Nice pump fake down the middle before throwing a fade to the back of the end zone. This looked like a touchdown to me on the replay, but it wasn’t given. Accurate throw, nice spiral. Would’ve been a great play had it stood, but still a good throw.
4:53 – Needs to read that this screen play isn’t on. The call broke down and he needs to get out of that – ASU lost yards for no reason.
5:00- Stands tall in the pocket but throws off his back foot and floats a pass to the right hand side. He couldn’t transfer any weight to his front foot due to the rush, but losing that extra yard of pace on the football forced the incomplete pass. Still – not many players can get close to that throw leaning backwards.
5:14- Accurate throw down the middle of the field. On the replay we clearly see this is Osweiler’s second read having looked initially to the left, but he spots the separation from his middle-of-the-field option and makes a big completion.
5:30 – Again a little indecisive here and too tentative. He needs to make a decision when a play collapses like this – he had a check down to the right and didn’t need to take the sack.
5:36 – Play action, two reads and another throw down the middle dissecting two defenders for a first down. Nice play.
6:10- Good work to extend the play, make a difficult throw and take no risks passing low. Pass interference flag gets the first down, but kudos to Osweiler for avoiding the sack in the first place.
6:21 – Nothing he could do here, the offensive line collapses and he takes a sack.
6:27- Deflected pass intercepted. Low trajectory on the throw tipped by a defensive tackle and picked off. The ball leaves Osweiler’s hand above his helmet so it wasn’t due to a side-arm motion. The pressure again collapses the pocket and Osweiler was throwing inside and short therefore not getting much height on the ball. It’s hard to pin too much blame on the quarterback here.
6:42- Great footwork to extend the play, should’ve been caught for a first down. Excellent quarterback play.
6:52- Developing route but Osweiler hasn’t got enough time due to the pocket collapsing yet again.
7:23- Possibly the ugliest play of the night where he lazily tosses a hopeful, floated pass downfield. What is he seeing here to make that throw, let alone put such weak velocity on the ball? Bad play.
7:46- QB draw from the 14-yard line, Osweiler actually has to make 19-yards to get the touchdown. Further evidence of his athletic ability despite a 6-8, 240lbs frame. He bursts through a hole in the line and shows the ability to shift up the gears.
8:13- Again has very little time in the pocket but spends too long going through his progressions. He has three seconds to make the call. Although the left tackle is dominated off the edge by Whitney Mercilus, he needs to sense that pressure and get the ball away. It’s difficult, because he can’t throw out of bounds without being flagged. I’m more inclined to blame the weak pass protection here.
8:52 – Dropped pass, needed to be caught.
8:58 – Nice, accurate throw into traffic for a big completion.
9:14 – Two reads and checks down to the tight end for a smart completion, again taking what he’s given by the defense.
9:20- Similar play to 9:14 and puts a high touch throw into an area for the tight end to make a catch, but he drops it. Should’ve been an easy completion, good throw from Osweiler. The drop possibly cost ASU a chance to make overtime or win the game.
9:53 – Good scramble for a first down, stopping the clock. The right decision.
10:00 – Again does well to elude pressure and extend the play, bootlegs to the right and identifies the original LOS before throwing. Pass is delivered on a plate for a wide open receiver who drops it.
10:16- Under thrown deep ball, bad execution. Put the ball behind the receiver who had separation. Needed to air the ball out to the left and a missed opportunity.
10:31 – Better effort on the deep ball, just slightly over thrown.
10:40 – Throws too high on fourth down, incomplete to end the game. Good pressure from the defense again, but an off target throw that asked a lot of the receiver.