Will the real Brock Osweiler please stand up?

January 12th, 2012 | Written by Rob Staton

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.

31 Responses to “Will the real Brock Osweiler please stand up?”

  1. Dan V. says:

    Great insight into two of my favorite prospects in this draft. All the talk right now is around Matt Flynn, but I’m much more inclined to favor drafting our own QB to develop, one that has a much higher ceiling. In my view, Osweiler’s ceiling is “Elite”, and I’ve been intrigued by Wilson for awhile as well. Both are guys that come with higher risk, but if they’re trained properly, either could potentially be the franchise player we so desperately want to see at that position.

    Thanks again for the great work!

  2. Jake says:

    The guy has hype/flop written all over him. RG3 would be such a better upgrade, its not even funny.

  3. Kip Earlywine says:

    I don’t know if I said it here at SDB, or at 17power in a post-game writeup, or just on a message board somewhere (my memory is terrible), but I mentioned that it recently occurred to me that the ideal QB for Seattle’s system is actually Ben Roethlisberger.

    Some might take exception to this label, but I would classify Big Ben as a game manager with elite talent and a good deep ball. He can scramble for a first down, he can buy time in the pocket, he’s extremely tough, he’s very accurate, and pretty smart with the football, and while he’s generally possession oriented, he’s good for a few quality deep throws a game. The Steelers are an elite team because of defense, but for several years, Big Ben made them title contenders with some of the worst offensive lines in the NFL.

    Seattle could go a few routes at QB, but watching the way they have transformed Tarvaris Jackson in 2011, they made him look like a crappy version of Big Ben: Conservative, tough, and accurate- with major innate differences beyond Carroll’s control- things like elusiveness, instincts, and intelligence.

    I have a long list of misgivings about Osweiler, but outside of Andrew Luck, Osweiler is as close to Big Ben as you will find in this draft. That could cause Seattle to covet him greatly, and it truly wouldn’t shock me if Seattle made Osweiler a 1st round pick (though hopefully not at #11/12). I’d give him a 4th round grade personally, but my opinion doesn’t matter for squat. Osweiler checks a lot of boxes for this FO. He’s not even close to being as good as Big Ben right now, but he does have Big Ben potential, and that could have a ton of appeal. He’s definitely a guy to watch on draft day.

  4. Turp says:

    Rob/Kip – does Osweiler’s throwing motion look a little long to you? His footwork looks pretty good, but he doesn’t have a quick release. Interested to know what you think.

  5. Ben says:

    @Kip,

    I see a lot of parallels between the Steelers and (my idea of) Pete’s vision for the Seahawks. The Steelers started their recent run (in 2005) with a strong defense and an emphasis on the run.

    For instance, they ranked 1st, 14th, 3rd and 8th, respectively, in rush attempts over the first 4 years and 32nd, 14th, 31st, and 9th, respectively, in pass attempts.

    While the passing game was efficient (#2 in NY/A), it wasn’t prolific (24th in team passing). The defense was good (9th in points, 15th in yards), it wasn’t dominating. They also limited turnovers (23 on the year for 6th overall).

    http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/pit/2005.htm
    http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/pit/2006.htm
    http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/pit/2007.htm
    http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/pit/2008.htm

  6. Rob says:

    Turp – I wouldn’t say it’s super quick, but neither is it elongated. From the point where he sets and the timing of the delivery, it’s quite sharp. The arm doesn’t drop to reach it’s high point around the shoulder, it seems to be one fluid movement. In fact, Osweiler’s height might be the only thing stopping it from being a plus point. He’s also a bit side arm (less of an issue given the height) which helps with the quickness of the release.

  7. Curlin says:

    Good stuff as always Rob. I especially like the analysis of specific plays that both helps confirm what I think I’m seeing, and also what I may have missed and should go back and look for. Find that really valuable in terms of clearly tying the film all the way through to the conclusions presented. I’m sure it takes extra time to write up, so want you to know it’s helpful and appreciated!

  8. Ben says:

    And my comparison to the Steelers is clearly not very well developed but I agree with Kip that the early Rothlisberger model (limit turnovers, let the run game work, extend the play if you can, make big plays downfield when they’re given) is similar to what Pete’s looking for.

  9. kevin mullen says:

    Some might see a guy that can make laser throws in tight windows, I’m seeing a guy that’s looking at his target the entire way. Those throws won’t be there at the next level. That first td throw against Utah, that won’t be there even if he plays Detroit. Delmas would take that in a heart beat.

    Then there’s that throw the his RB at 1:55 mark, didn’t read the LB had him shadowed. Tackled for lost, even the commentator mentioned it.

    He should stay one more year, develop and make a bigger splash next year. If he does declare, I’d take him with a sixth?!

  10. Rob says:

    Curlin – really appreciate that message, thank you.

  11. Seahawk Steve says:

    I don’t know why exactly, but his throwing manner appears “lazy”. Is this because of his hieght? Or is it a visual appearance. I was just reading a post over at Field Gulls and a qoute was given in Charlie Todaro’s article(one of my favorite writers), “what you see is what you get”. I really believe that is true, especially with quarterbacks. Do we want more inconsistancy or are we looking for someone who performs at a high level 90% of the time? I think everyone has a bad day once in awhile. However; I would prefer a QB who isn’t up one game and down the next.
    This is part of the “intangables” everyone talks about when selecting a quartback. Back to OS’s manner, I don’t pick up a sense of urgency from him. It’s more of, let’s try this then that. Rather than I am going to make this happen come hell or high water.

  12. Rob says:

    Thanks for those thoughts, Steve. I guess there’s always going to either be a big learning curve, technical corrections or flat out inconsistency if you’re going to rely on second tier quarterbacks and beyond. Perhaps this is yet another argument as to why settling or trusting your judgement to improve individuals may be either apathetic or even slightly arrogant sometimes. Making a big splash at QB can be expensive, it may come with a risk, but it’s also potentially very rewarding to avoid the kind of issues discussed here.

  13. rr says:

    Kip,
    I was thinking the same thing about the comparision to Big Ben. Brock, for his height is very atheletic, he committed to Gonzaga University for basketball before a change of heart led him to ASU. He’s raw but if he’s there in the mid-round I would love to have him with the hawks.

  14. Colin says:

    I would saying Osweiler has the highest ceiling of any second tier QB in this class. And in all fairness, there is a big difference between playing Utah and then playing BSU. Fairly high talent discretion. His WR’s showed they were completely incompetent in both games and dropped tons of catchable balls. Excuses aside, I think this is a kid they need to keep an eye. Pete is on record talking about ‘guys nobody knows about’. Do I want him over an RG3? Of course not.

    If they can’t go up to get RG3, I’m hoping this kid is the pick.

  15. williambryan says:

    Watching Osweiler, he actually reminds me a lot of Charlie Whitehurst. His throwing motion seams similar to Philip Rivers. Because of his athletic ability I think his ceiling is obviously higher than Whitehursts, but if this guy is a 2nd or 3rd round grade, that’s not all that different from Whitehurst, right? So far, Chandler Harnish is my favorite pick if the team can’t get RGIII.

  16. Tom says:

    Good job, Rob. I like how you broke down the exact film time with description.

    He shows flashes but that is what is so worrisome, they’re flashes and that’s what separates a decent QB that can get you to 8-8 but doesn’t have the goods to take you all the way and they fade into backups.

    Consistency is such a key facet that is overlooked. We get that inconsistency with TJack and last thing we as fans should get on Sundays and “hope” they develop and someday arrive.

    We’ve just experimented with these 2nd and 3rd rd projects in TJack and CW. You get exactly what you pay for and we should remember that. We buy 3rd rd junk, we’re going to get 3rd rd junk.

    That is what separates the Lucks and RG3′s. They may have a bad ball here or there but they’re going to give you exactly what you expect. They’re pretty consistent from play to play and game to game.

    I realize Osweiler is part of the “option” process of QB discussion and while Osweiler should turn out better than Dan McGwire, I’d just as soon pass and if the Hawks didn’t like Mallet, I find it hard to believe that Osweiler is very high on their board. We’ll find out.

  17. Dan V. says:

    Tom:

    I wouldn’t compare Osweiler to Mallet at all. Yes, they’re both tall, but Osweiler is an exceptional athlete who runs well. Mallet isn’t mobile… at all. That’s why he wasn’t a fit for the Seahawks.

    I do think Osweiler is a guy they would have high on their board, although I have a hunch they’ll go a different direction. We know this about Carroll and Schneider. They have a plan. They’ll decide which guy is “their guy” and they’ll maneuver the draft to make sure they get him.

    I just wish we didn’t have to wait so long to find out who that is!

  18. Randy says:

    @williambryan

    Wow, I’m happy I wasn’t the only one that thought that way. I was thinking the same thing when I was watching the three videos. There’s talent there, but too much inconsistency, and too much of the staring down the receivers (although, to be fair, it looks like he can make multiple reads, it just didn’t happen very often.)

  19. Ryan says:

    This kid is exactly the type of guy you go for in the mid rounds…this is the definition of “potential”. His footwork alone is incredible for a guy that size. I’d love for the Hawks to grab him.

  20. Joe says:

    So, what about Mark Sanchez if he will not find any love in NY? Is there a possibility PC would like to pick up his former QB?

  21. jim J says:

    I like him as a mid round pick and backup QB. We need backups folks! None of are QBs can stay healthy for a whole season. In the meantime the coach can work with him, and given a year of instruction he may turn out great. Or we may be getting another QB the year after.

  22. Jarhead says:

    I have liked Osweiler since he declared. I think he’d fit right in to what we are trying to achieve. While he may not be NFL ready from the first say of training camp, there is no law stating that he must take every snap of his NFL career, or else. Okay so here’s a little dose of reality check- I myself was guilty earlier this season of overstating the potential of the Seahawks as a team. We are NOT only one player away from a Superbowl. We ARE, on the other hand, maybe a year as a cohesive unit from contention on that level. There are many FA players that need to be resigned so quite frankly we don’t know if we’ll even be getting the same Seahawks next year. I honestly believe the only college QB who is ready to start day one is Andrew Luck. He is an impossibility for us. As for Griffin, he’s obviously the second best QB but I don’t see him coming right out of the gate and just turning a team around. He will take some time to develop himself. Also, let’s not kid ourselves, we know how the draft hypetrain works and teams we’re not even thinking of will be jockeying for position to draft this guy, so he is one step below impossibility. I honestly believe he is out of reach as well. Not being a pessimist, but just stating what I feel is reality. In closing- just because we don’t trade up and draft Griffin doesn’t mean we didn’t make an offer. If we get him, it will be a great acquisition. If we do not, well then let’s coach up who we do get. As for Osweiler, if you watch his Maaco Bowl postgame interview, you will see how emotional he gets when speaking of his old OC Mazzone. I believe he came out early when another year would have suited him out of necessity, and that he would rather take the next step than learn under a new OC who he had no history with and whom had no loyalty to him as a player. I like him and would be excited to see what he could offer the Seahawks

  23. Ryan says:

    I totally agree Jarhead. This idea that we can or even should trade up to get RG3 is silly. Schneider is building a house…start with the foundation i.e. the big boys up front. Draft for value, draft guys with chips on their shoulders, winners.
    Rob, how many draft picks do you think we would have to give up to Minnesota to get the #3 pick? I think it’d be a kings ransom, not to mention St.Louis might be trading down and it aint gonna be with the Seahawks.
    These Mid-rounders with high upside are the guys we have to look at QB.
    T-Jack was voted captain by the other players in that locker room, so to think they’d bring in another free agent for big $$$ is far fetched.

  24. Colin says:

    Ryan buddy I agree we need to keep building this foundation but how long do you want to be a 7-8-9 win team? Sure some of these second tier QB’s have upside, but they are later round QB’s for a reason. Most, if not all, will be nothing more than journeymen players. That isn’t getting us into the playoffs consistently and Super Bowl? Get real.

    They have spent 3 years adding the offensive line up. They have retooled the secondary. They have young guns at receiver, running back, and tight end.

    Jarhead- I tend to agree with you that we aren’t one player away from a Super Bowl. But we’re getting there. This isn’t an Arizona team that lucked into 8 wins against mediocre competition with punt returns. We smashed some good teams (and some not so good teams) and played competitive ball all the way. The Seahawks were a handful of plays away from 10 wins.

    It’s not unrealistic to add an RG3 and win 11 games. What did the Ravens do Flacco’s first year? Run the ball, play defense and ride 11 games to an AFC Championship appearance.

  25. Jarhead says:

    Now Colin, I agree about Griffin’s potential and the level of talent he brings. My major concern is price. I believe we do not have a realistic shot at putting together enough capital to get him. I don’t think that our defense is near as good as Baltimore’s yet. We’re close, but not there yet. Also, look at like this: Griffin is going to be the single hottest commodity come draft day, bar none. Everything comes out in the wash. Everyone and their dog knows Luck is gone so he doesn’t exist to 31 NFL teams. That number 2 pick is where Griffin is going, and there is no way whatsoever that St. Louis deals it to us for all the tea in China. I think that’s something we all kind of understand. I think Griffin would be a great addition. But I’m saying, let’s get some players who can help us grow, and keep adding talent. I guess the bottom line is we got really unlucky in a few circumstances, so we gotta make the best of it

  26. Jared says:

    I’m becoming more and more of a Osweiler fan. I like his size, arm strength. Assuming PC and CO can coach him up, I think he’s the most intriguing prospect there is and would be happy to draft him in the 2nd round.

    Can you imagine if Brockers falls to us at #1 and pick Osweiler up in the 2nd that would be a pretty amazing haul, addressing our 2 biggest needs with our first 2 picks. One can only hope.

  27. [...] as the ideal. Nobody will argue he’s the finished article or flawless. Yet anyone who watches the Utah tape from yesterday’s blog article will see there is some legitimate pro-potential. Fran Duffy, associate producer for [...]

  28. Kip Earlywine says:

    I’m lovin’ all the comments we’ve had lately. Some great discussion- and whether or not you guys agree with Rob or myself, you all have always worked to bring facts and new information to the table.

    @Turp,

    Sorry for the late response. Osweiler appears to have two sets of throwing mechanics. When in his normal stance throwing downfield, his release point is solid, his release time is pretty good and his mechanics are not an issue. The ball arrives with zip and at times he flashes elite accuracy- though he does have more wildly off target throws than I’d like.

    However, when throwing to the sideline on drag throws (hope I got the terminology right), he suddenly goes Tim Tebow with an elongated windup and a bit of a spear chuck motion. That worries me because that extra fraction of a second on the delivery could lead to an interception problem, and sideline passes are some of the most dangerous for allowing pick sixes. It could be fixable, or a team could scheme to avoid it. I wouldn’t call it a red flag.. perhaps a “yellow flag,” if there is such a thing.

    @Ben,

    Thanks for the statistical insights regarding the Steelers.

  29. Tezlin says:

    Doesn’t anyone else think he looks a bit like TJack? Similar stare downs, and decision making (with the exception of being able make better running decisions…). Don’t get me wrong he is younger and might be able to change, but some of those decisions seemed similar to watching the Seahawks this year.

  30. Rob says:

    To be perfectly honest Tezlin I struggle to find an ideal example for Brock Osweiler. I’ve never seen a 6-8 quarterback with an arm like that who can move as wel as he does. In terms of staring down receivers, I think overall he tends to be no better or worse than most college quarterbacks that are prospective NFL QB’s, but we see in the Utah tape clear example of him looking off other options. One of Jackson’s biggest issues in my opinion is the way he gets flustered and cannot improvise on a broken play – but I see Osweiler finding ways to get it done even if it’s a little unorthodox.

    The raw potential is through the roof. Ideally he’d have three years starting experience and be a much more accomplished and and polished college QB – but the situation at ASU is a complete mess and I can’t blame the guy for turning pro. He interests me a lot for what he could become, the complete mystery about him. I wonder if Seattle will see the same kind of potential?

  31. Tezlin says:

    Brock did show some ability to make plays from when they were needed in some of the tape above as well as making something out of nothing. I suppose I am just worried about wasting a high pick on a younger Tjack that we are married to for years to come. I definitely like the size and the arm, that man can throw, but it seems like Tjack pulls some of those out too. One minute I am thinking, WOW, so that is what Minnesota saw in him. The next I am thinking did you really just throw that?

    I guess maybe I am just REALLY undervaluing the ability to turn a Tjack sack into a net zero or positive gain. I imagine that would actually have a pretty large impact in game. Thanks for the great content and the response after as well!