Every year, I get the list of the Senior Bowl prospects and go through each one for a 15-30 minute tape and initial data scouting session. I then slap an initial (school) grade reaction on each prospect and write a few lines about my first reaction to my preview study on them – to publish during Senior Bowl week to get ready for the practice week and game.
I’ll get a better feel for these players after we get their Combine and/or Pro Day numbers and run our scouting analytics and do deeper research on some of them, but for now he’s a first reaction preview of the players going into their Senior Bowl week (ranked by lowest-to-highest initial reaction grades)…
*Updated grades/ranks noted after scouting the entire week.
QB Shea Patterson, Michigan (6’1”/200) *Early Preview Grade: F
Sad that he is even here. He doesn’t belong in this game…he won’t make the NFL or CFL. He wasted a spot that some other smaller school guy could have really used. Patterson had a weak senior year on top of a flimsy career (for a potential pro prospect). He doesn’t have the arm or talent for the NFL. He’s barely a ‘good’ college QB.
QB Steven Montez, Colorado (6’5”/230) *Early Preview Grade: D-
He’s here because of his size…it has to be that because it’s certainly not his pro prospects. Montez looks the part, at a glance, but man is he a terrible pro prospect. No feel for the game, no ‘it’ factor or urgency or confidence displayed at all on the field, in my tape watching. Throws of his back foot constantly, despite there being no pressure. I just did not like a thing about this preview…except when I first turned on the video and saw his size, I was like ‘wow’…and then I watched throw against Oregon (0 TDs/4 INTs) and was like ‘huh’?
QB Anthony Gordon, Washington St. (6’3”/210) *Early Preview Grade: C-
Ran the Mike Leach Air Raid competently like the QBs before him…Minshew, Falk, etc. Could he be another Minshew? I don’t think so. I don’t see the same instincts, zip on his passes, or ability to move around in the pocket at a high level. He got to stand in a pocket without anyone touching most games/plays, but when he did face tougher opponents…it didn’t go as well as when he was beating up on the UCLA’s of the world. He’s more system QB than high-end NFL QB prospect – but if you come from a Mike Leach system you could hold your own in the pros. He could be a backup and then not a terrible emergency starter – but franchise QB? I don’t see it. I did with Minshew and saw good qualities in Falk. Gordon the lesser of them, but not terrible.
QB Jordan Love, Utah State (6’3”/225) *Early Preview Grade: C- (Update: C)
UPDATE: Physical tools = A.
Passer instincts = D.
Runner instincts = C.
He showed it at the Senior Bowl…physically gifted but sluggish, lifeless a lot of the time in his play. All the tools…makes you drool sometimes, but mostly he’s an enigmatic yawn. The upside is, with more time and inspiration/coaching, maybe you can home this into a ‘B’ grade QB but that’s a lot of time and cost to see if you can.
I know this – scouts are in love with the tools and are looking past everything else if they can.
Org. Comments: Physical tools in abundance as a thrower – nice size/frame, big arm with an effortless flick to gun it downfield. Take his best throws and he looks like a great QB prospect.
I think he’s a bit of a head fake prospect, however. He’s all bombs away because I think he’s not fond of the physicality of the game. It’s easy for him to chuck it deep. When you make him sit in the pocket and try to read things and make throws over the middle/in tight windows – he does not have that skill much at all. Very inaccurate. Very wobbly passes thrown. He’s a bubble screen and bomb guy…the sign of trouble in the NFL because he cannot make the hard throws when it is time.
In addition to his troubles as a pure passer, he doesn’t like to run…even though he looks like a big tail back and can move pretty well. He just doesn’t do it as much as you’d hope/want him to.
There are a lot of raw skills here to work with, to develop…a great day #3 pick to try and groom. However, there are so many polished QBs with decent feet flooding into the NFL…why try to ‘fix’ Love, when no one has ever ‘fixed’ an erratic QB in the history of QBs that I can recall.
Had Love been a big producer in college, he’d be a serious prospect. But anytime he faced better competition he was a turnover machine. Had 2 or more INTs in a game in five of his 14 games in 2019…20 TD passes/17 INTs in 13 games (and no rushing TDs?) from a three-year starter working in the Mountain West…you gotta do better.
QB Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma (6’1”/218) *Early Preview Grade: B-/C+ (Update: B-/B)
UPDATE: He’s a B grade talent because of his immense running skills…he’s not a speed demon/water bug runner, he’s a muscular power RB who can throw the ball pretty well. He’s a real weapon of the NFL looks at him properly, and so far…they aren’t.
Org. Comments: I think Hurts is one of the most interesting QB prospects in this draft. A few years ago, Hurts doesn’t stand a chance to make it as a QB in the NFL…but, now, in the era of the spread QB, the highly mobile QB – Hurts is like an Adrian Peterson body/runner playing QB. And that’s a desired thing, or so I think it will be. Hurts is down in consensus rankings because he lost his job to Tua but that’s not a good gauge to use here. I think people will come around a little on Hurts during Senior Bowl week, starting to realize he has different gifts to bring to the table…the Alabama/Tua thing shouldn’t even matter.
QB Justin Herbert, Oregon (6’5”/237) *Early Preview Grade: B-/C+ (Update: B/B+)
UPDATE: Herbert showed he was polished in his passing skills and mechanics, showed off his surprising foot speed, and has a near perfect QB body (height/size). He should be the #2 QB off the NFL Draft board, but he probably won’t be.
Org. Comments: I’m warming up to Herbert. Not my favorite QB prospect but comparing him to the recent new-era QB prospects rolling into the NFL and doing fine, flaws and all (Lock, Haskins, D.Jones, Darnold) – Herbert is a better all-around prospect than most of them. He has the size, mobility, arm, and college production that says he’ll be fine at the next level.