Brock Osweiler tape review vs Illinois


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:  

ESPN feature on Osweiler and ASU receiver Aaron Pflugrad  

Sixty-yard touchdown pass vs Missouri  

Seventeen-yard touchdown pass vs California  

Thiry-five-yard touchdown pass vs California  

Four-yard touchdown pass vs California  

Arizona State vs Colorado highlights  

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.


  1. Fletcher

    More and more I think the ideal scenario would be trading back into the late teens or early twenties to get Osweiler.

  2. Randy

    I’m honestly not sure why people are that high on Osweiler. Maybe it’s just me.

  3. Eli

    Brock shows he can play in the face of pressure, still would be ok if we traded down some and took him in the first. The play at 3:54 shows that the kid has some stones to stay in their to take the shot and still get the pass off, I’ve seen enough evidence he can subdue any jitters he has in the face of pressure, a underrated intangible not every QB has but this kid does.

  4. Jarhead

    See I’m sold on Osweiler, period. At 11, 12 or wherever we draft him. The kicker is this: for Osweiler who I believe will be a very good QB in this league, one who is unique and will give D Coordinators fits, we can easily trade back as many as 6 or 7 spots and still get him. This will net us further draft picks later on to improve our defense and add depth. If we were to chase after Griffin, who I feel will also be very good, we would be giving up draft picks and limiting our options to add depth and improve our team. Relying on costly free agency and have to compete in bidding wars with other teams for players. I don’t know who will be a better pro, none of us do. No matter what the tape (or hype) tell us, but if I can still get a player I’m confident in and add picks as opposed to losing them, I’ll take that. To me, it’s still a bold move taking a chance on a QB to be our ‘Guy’. Some would undoubtedly prefer Griffin, but I can’t say I would.

  5. Rob

    I think that’s a very good review of the situation, Jarhead.

  6. Bermuda Highway

    In a perfect world, Barkley, Luck, and RG3 would all be in the draft and we it wouldn’t cost too much in draft picks to get one of them. I’m not completely sure on Osweiler, but I agree with this post in that we shouldn’t be afraid to draft QB’s early and often.

    PC/JS have shown what they can do with lower draft picks, so it’s not like all of our roster improvements end after round 3. Kam/Sherman/KJ/Browner/Baldwin/etc are evidence of this. Finding that late 1st or early 2nd gem is few and far between, but we should be able to find a guy eventually that has the tools and makeup to fit our system. We showed marked improvement with Tarvaris, there’s no reason we can’t surround a guy with enough talent to cover a QB’s shortcomings.

    Great post as always SDB. I always read but seldom post. You all should be getting paid by some FO for you analysis.

  7. Rob

    Great to have you on board Bermuda Highway – thanks for the kind words.

  8. Jared

    Clearly I think we’d all prefer to select him with our 2nd round pick. Obviously because we can get another high quality player at another need. But I think it would also help this kid. Clearly, he’s raw and needs some time to develop. The pressure on 1st rounders is significant and it would nice for him to not have that pressure and it doesn’t limit us to what we can do next year. It would be a hard sell if we used 2 first rounders in 2 consecutive years on QB’s– because we overreached this year.

    But at the same time I really like him and would be all for trading back and picking him up late in the teens/20’s. But I wouldn’t complain if Brock Osweiler is this year’s Christian Ponder.

  9. Matt

    What part of the pass at 10:00 made you think it was delivered on a plate and was the receiver’s fault? Watch it again. This time with an open mind. I don’t want to accuse you of being biased, but that was the biggest play of the game, and Osweiler failed to make a play that could have moved his team into field goal range since his receiver had huge YAC if he makes that throw.

  10. Rob

    Well Matt – you have accused me of being biased haven’t you? That’s not how I do things, otherwise I would’ve only included positive plays above. There is no agenda here, why would there be?

    Osweiler extends the play at 10:00 avoiding the rush, he moves up to the original LOS and throws the ball straight to his receiver. It hits the guy in the hands, he drops it and that’s it. How you see that differently to me is baffling to be honest. The receiver completely lets down his quarterback. How is that on Osweiler? Did he need to walk over to the receiver with the ball on a velvet cushion and deliver is straight into his open palms?

  11. Bryan

    One thing that jumped off the tape was accuracy to the outside. At 0:37 and 0:54, both short throws to the outside were way off target. A similiar throw at 3:03 was completed. It seems like he lacks touch on the short throws and as you discuss in the writeup. Yet at 3:10 he throws a perfect short pass.

    Is this the two levels of touch that you are refering to?

    The throw on 4:26 irrationally has me thinking Sidney Rice catches that for a TD all day long. Actually, most NFL WR would get both feet down on that pass.

    The play at 10:00 should’ve been caught, but it was to the opposite side to where the WR was moving and the WR only got one hand on it. Tough catch. A throw to the WR’s right side would have been a completion.

    Thats again Rob for the great writeup and tape review.

  12. jason

    Thanks for the tape Rob, I was online arguing with ASU fans online a month ago they all where saying 4-7 round. I thought then he was a third but would rise like Flacco. If he rises like I think would you risk trading down. I say take him if you like him….

  13. jason

    LOL delete online for me.

  14. Kurt

    Sorry don’t see it. If we draft this guy that means another year of T.Jack. In my book that’s unacceptable and WILL result in another 3rd place finish.

  15. Michael Kelly

    I would love to get Brock in a Hawk Uniform. Also think we could trade down to late teens and get him since all the teams behind us have pretty good QB situations already. I think we have to overdraft a QB if we like him. Just the way the draft is. TJack will still be the starting QB to start the season but we will have made a down payment on the next level if we can get a new potential franchise QB. I am willing to build for the long haul and suffer losses for the short term.

  16. Randy

    Rob, I think what Matt is seeing is the pass being quite a bit behind the receiver who was running toward the sideline. Instead of the pass being led in front of the receiver which was following his momentum with plenty of space between the player and the sideline, it was thrown behind, which was an incredibly hard pass to catch for any player, NFL or NCAA.

  17. Rob

    Kurt – I’m not sure what alternative there is in the draft that equals avoiding another year of T-Jack?

    Randy – I take all views on board but having watched that play a few times, I have to say I think the QB does a great job and puts the ball in an area for the WR to make an easy catch. The receiver twists himself into an awkward position and drops it. That was not on Osweiler for me, and I don’t think holding that opinion should come with claims of bias.

  18. Colin

    Look at the throw immediately after 10:00. Brock throws a strike right down the seam into a VERY tight window and, again, his receiver fails to haul it in. Probably could’ve been called DPI but alas no call.

    The play at 10:00 wasn’t a great throw, but YOU HAVE to catch that! It’s a little off but a receiver that can’t catch is worthless.
    Brock Osweiler doesn’t have much to work with at ASU. The kid makes several tremendous throws every game and really never has any “what was he thinking?” moments.

  19. Eli

    After looking at the 10:00, the WR contorted his body when all he had to do was wrap his mitts around the ball. Don’t see that as BO’s fault save that it goes down to an incompletion on the stat sheet. I think it’s fairly evident that Osweiler’s WR’s largely failed him at critical times, not their fault just that the majority of them (save for Robinson who is a possession type) are not NFL caliber WRs. You put NFL WR’s in there with Brock, I think their would be different results and outcomes when it came to some of these games.

  20. Randy

    Rob, Colin, and Eli,

    I of course disagree about bias. But I’ve watched the throw time and time again, and I keep seeing the same thing. Ball was thrown behind the receiver, behind the momentum of the player. The reason he was twisting awkwardly was he was trying to reach the ball with his right hand behind him. You can see the twist even before the throw arrives. Do I think it could have been caught? Yes, but I think the throw was causing the contortion in the first place, causing it to be a much harder catch. I really wish we had a HD version of the video though.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Osweiler better than Hamish, because of the physical tools he provides. But I don’t necessarily see a first round pick because of some of the odd decisions he makes at times.

  21. Randy

    Whoa whoa. I don’t think anyone really thought RGIII was THAT good going into the 2011 College Football season. A lot of games were played since October that really changed his draft stock.

    And I agree with Rob’s analysis about Tannehill and especially Landry Jones, and I was pretty hyped about Tannehill coming into this season.

  22. Colin

    We wouldn’t be talking about the throw at 10:00 if the receiver had caught the ball, THROWN RIGHT IN HIS WHEELHOUSE AT 10:23!!!! Good lord. You want to talk about a touch throw? Go look at it! Osweiler made up for his gaffe and the receiver failed to make a play, a common theme among ASU receivers in 2011.

    Tom, don’t be a johnny-come-lately to the RG3 bandwagon and act as though you were the first to notice his potential. Nobody knew about this guy until he played those lights out games against TCU, Oklahoma and the bowl game against Washington. The guy was nowhere near as good as he is now at this point last year. It’s perfectly okay to change an opinion (which you seem to oblivious to, since Rob has done nothing but praise RG3 since then.) RG3 played better and his stock rose. That’s the name of the game.

  23. Tom

    RG3 looks to be under pressure quite often in this OU game and all throws are captured in this you tube video.

    0:23 RG3 is being rushed by a blitzing stunt, gets drilled but throws an effortless frozen rope to the sidelines. That is Marino or Moon flick of the wrist and bam, ball is on the money. Beauty.

    2:43 Under pressure again, RG3 drills Wright with a perfect slant in stride.

    3:07 Shows the touch on the TD to Reece.

    4:30 When RG3 makes the decision to throw, the ball is shot out of a cannon. Look at how easy he zips in this pass.

    4:48 RG3 splits the OU defenders with a perfectly placed TD pass that Williams drops. You want zip, you’ll get it, touch? no problem.

    7:03 Shows his uncanny escapability and athleticism to avoid a siege of OU defenders and somehow completes a pass along the sidelines.

    7:18 Throws another perfect pass to Williams on a post while Williams is getting mugged.

    8:03 RG3 hits Sampson on a nice crossing route in stride. Everything RG3 does looks easy and this is an OU defense with ballers.

    Let’s look at a few plays when RG3 moves outside the pocket and does he want to run first or does he keep his eyes downfield?

    9:10 Look at how RG3 keeps his eyes downfield and arm ready to throw.

    9:27 RG3 is on the move but his eyes are again, looking downfield, his arm is cocked and ready to release at a moments notice.

    Does it get any better than this play with seconds left in a 38-38 game?

    10:33 RG3 moves around the pocket, has the instincts to know where the LOS is at, slows as he’s looking downfield to make a play with his arm and then finds Williams in the end zone between 2 – OU defenders for the game winner with 8 ticks left.

    Are you kidding me?

    This tape further shows RG3’s God given QB and playmaking abilities and re-emphasizes why I’ve been hyping him for weeks now as an early 1st rounder with more NFL upside than anyone but Luck.

    RG3 flicks his wrist and delivers the out route like Dan Marino, shows the soft touch and accuracy of Warren Moon on crossing routes and deep balls combined with the escapability, pocket presence with his eyes looking downfield and running ability of Steve Young.

    Lofty comparisons, yes, but those are the natural gifts he’s shown all season.
    You can’t coach those innate attributes. You’re born with them or you’re not. Will RG3 have the NFL mental game and work slightly on his footwork? Will he be durable enough? Those are the questions I have but he’s shown the toughness and smarts to succeed at the NFL level.

    RG3 makes every NFL route tree throw effortlessly and I’d say better than Luck who doesn’t always exhibit the arm to throw the deep out route. Yes, it’s more than arm strength but RG3 passes the “eye test” as a supreme collegiate talent and the guy I want to win the Heisman as best 2011 college player. If the Heisman was MVP, I’d go Trent, but best player, I’d go RG3.

    This cat sure is fun to watch chuck that rock around and I would love watching him In Hawk Blue on Sundays and in Februarys for the next 10 years.

  24. Rob

    Tom – Your constant sniping at me and other visitors is not within the tone of this place and will not be accepted. Please stop it, now. You have a lot of valid and strong views, so stick to the football.

  25. Colin

    Tom the 1st comment you made about RG3 was on Nov. 23. Not even two full months of “hyping RG3”. Before that, your only comments were about how Barkley is a game manager and has success “because he plays against below average college secondaries”.

    Difference between you and I is I’ve been supporting MB since September. There was nothing from you on this board in September… or October…. until, ironically, the season was almost complete.

    There’s nothing wrong with that Tom, but to say you’ve been all over RG3’s case for months is laughable.

  26. Colin

    *Nothing from you regarding RG3, until season almost complete.

  27. Matt

    I believe Seattle should wait till second round, and If Brock is still available then maybe take him, but what to watch for from him is his height. At 6-6, he would have to throw downwards, as shown in the video causing incompletions. If Brock is taken first round, then try second or third round for Kirk Cousins. I would say take Kirk Cousins second round, because the Browns, Packers and co. are looking for a sturdy back up. Also I read your article about Kirk Cousins, I believe he could also be compared to the Brady 6. A sleeper, who eventually makes it to an elite quarterback. These are my thoughts on Seattles situation in the upcoming draft. Arguments are welcome.

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