Brock Osweiler’s performance against Utah (see above) flashed first round talent. Simple as that. His decision to turn pro was greeted with a mixture of surprise, confusion and criticism – yet when you watch a performance like that, you start to appreciate why he made the decision. He was facing the prospect of working with yet another different offensive coordinator and another playbook – and he decided he might as well be learning NFL plays instead. Maybe this was the right choice after all? I’ve documented several key highlights below alongside the time they appear in the tape. The reason I singled out the following plays is simple – they’re all evidence of what you expect to see on a Sunday.
1:23 – An impossibly accurate throw for a touchdown, fitting the ball into the tightest of windows. Overall he has a split second to make that read, set and release to dissect the two defensive backs and complete the pass. An exceptional touchdown made even better considering he had two defensive lineman right in his face as he delivered the pass – his height probably played a big advantage here to see the receiver in the end zone. Just a fantastic play.
4:08– Perfect fade pass into the back of the end zone and a pro-quality delivery that should’ve been caught. Bad execution on the catch from the receiver and should’ve been a score.
4:19 – Bootlegs right to allow for a developing route before delivering a strike to the receiver right on target. The kind of route and execution he’ll need if he’s going to play in Seattle or Washington.
4:27– Osweiler throws a frozen rope down the left sideline that should’ve been caught. I’m tempted to say there was a little too much velocity on the pass, but to a degree that was needed to fit the ball into a tight window. NFL wide receivers should make that play.
4:48 – Flashes unnatural mobility and agility for a 6-8 quarterback by scrambling on 3rd and 7 and coming within inches of a first down. He makes it on a quarterback sneak with the next snap. Great improvisation skills to keep the drive moving and appears to know when to run, he doesn’t seem to bail on passes too early.
5:20 – Further evidence of good decision making on fourth down showing the composure to read the field, decide to run and making the first down with ease.
5:57 – Nice ball placement on a throw deep to the right across the field from the left hash. Put the football in an area for his receiver to make a play in single coverage. Perfect spiral on the football.
6:27– Osweiler adjusts his throwing angle and chucks a sidearm pass to his receiver for a touchdown. Superb improvisation under pressure. Quarterbacks need to make plays on their own in difficult circumstances when things don’t go according to plan, it may be the most underrated aspect of any prospective NFL quarterback.
6:48 – Brilliant scramble for big yardage, again flashing unique running ability despite his size. This is an absolutely sensational run for a guy listed at 6-8 and around 240lbs.
7:13– Osweiler dissects two receivers to make a perfect throw standing in the pocket.
7:36 – Here he makes one read to the left then clearly snaps his head back to go to the secondary target for a first down with another very accurate pass. This. Is. What. We. Want. To. See.
8:10– Possibly the most exciting throw on the tape – a back shoulder pass to the left corner of the end zone perfectly executed for a score. Osweiler gave the cornerback zero chance to make a play and that’s another NFL throw.
There were a few bad decisions as well early in the tape, but mainly on lazy dump offs to the left hand side where he isn’t making a proper read. As soon as you get beyond the 4:08 mark you’re looking at a player on first viewing that looks like a sure-fire first round pick. He’s a completely unique quarterback prospect and you know what? That’s kind of exciting. If you’re taking snaps at 6-8 you expect a real lack of mobility but Osweiler is surprisingly nimble and borderline ‘athletic’. He’s more than capable of avoiding pressure and extending plays. If he needs to get a few yards, he’ll get them on the ground if he doesn’t like the read.
Osweiler also has elite arm strength and can be a tremendously accurate quarterback. There are several throws in that Utah tape that are as good as anything you will see leading into this draft. With Arizona State trialing, Osweiler takes over the game in the second half and wins it. Yes, quarterbacks are capable of doing that. When you see evidence like this, it’s difficult not to get excited about his potential.
And….then you see this…
There’s really no point in breaking down the Boise State tape because we can sum it up in one word – horrific. It’s like watching two completely different players. Which is the real Brock Osweiler? Is it the one picking apart Utah with big plays and extending long drives, or is it the one that gift wrapped a nice gentle Bowl victory for Kellen Moore in his college finale? In fairness, you could argue circumstance played a part. This was a game that ultimately meant more to Boise State and their quarterback, while Arizona State were limping towards the off-season having endured yet another dose of drama behind the scenes. ASU ended the year abysmally and it was well known that changes were afoot long before the end of the season.
Osweiler clearly was contemplating his next move and perhaps this was a game too far against elite opposition? You can make those excuses, but it doesn’t much help in terms of an evaluation. If the going gets tough, will Brock Osweiler fold like a pack of cards? Will he stand up and be counted in a big game? If he was thinking of turning pro, couldn’t he motivate himself for one last blast against a good team to boost his stock?
The truth is probably somewhere in the middle – he’s not quite as prolific as the Utah tape suggests, but not nearly as bad as the Boise State evidence argues. He’s a player with incredible physical potential, but do you take the gamble early to have the chance to work potential into NFL production? And how will teams approach the level of unknown here, considering a quarterback like Osweiler has never graced the game before?
It’s worth noting that Osweiler and ASU were one of only two teams (alongside Andrew Luck and Stanford) to beat USC in 2011. I’ve included the tape of that game below (all three videos were supplied by JMPasq). He’s a player I’m still trying to work out, but there’s perhaps a little more to his game than I originally thought. He’s one to monitor going forward in this process.
Michael Brockers declares for the draft
Last week we included Michael Brockers for the first time in our mock drafts and we put him in the top ten. It made sense that a highly rated defensive tackle prospect like that would take advantage of a rank bad class at the position. Today, LSU’s Brockers announced he will enter the NFL Draft. Despite only being a redshirt sophomore who is still growing into the game, Brockers will be the first player drafted at his position and should be on Seattle’s radar. His arrival should help the Seahawks in one of two ways – either they have a shot at a talented interior lineman who can play the much needed three-technique role, or he’ll be taken in the top ten forcing another potential target down the board. It’d make a lot of sense if Carolina drafted him at #8 or #9 but don’t rule out a fall to the Seahawks. His lack of experience and raw ability may put off some teams and I don’t have to remind anyone that certain GM’s (eg Tim Ruskell) prefer to avoid underclassmen with limited experience. The Seahawks got a steal when they drafted another redshirt sophomore – Earl Thomas – with the #14 pick in 2010. Maybe lightning will strike twice?
Tyler Wilson coming close to a decision?
ESPN’s Joe Schad is reporting that Tyler Wilson is still mulling over a decision on whether to enter the NFL Draft this year. This is a player who most assumed would return to college after just one season as the starter having taken over from Ryan Mallett. However, some fine performances in the SEC are seemingly giving Wilson food for thought. There’s a gap in the market to be the third best quarterback in this class and Wilson could easily be a high pick given the number of teams needing a QB. He’s got a decent arm even if it’s not at Mallett’s elite standards, he’s mobile in the pocket and well coached coming out of Bobby Petrino’s offense. He’ll have a head start on terminology and he’s used to facing complex defenses. The Seahawks really need this quarterback class to keep growing to aid their chances of solving the team’s greatest dilemma.