Every year NFL scouts travel the country looking for the next Andrew Luck, or the next late round gem, a la Tom Brady. Countless miles driven, sleep lost, and years pass by without any teams landing such a prospect. As a fan of football, you may ask “What do scouts look for in a Quarterback?” We’ll fill you in, right here.
First of all, the first thing any scout will look for is talent. Is your team’s next “Franchise” quarterback the next Peyton Manning? A true master of the game who can orchestrate an entire playbook on the go? Is he the next Robert Griffin, III? A Dual-Threat player who can stand in the pocket with poise and make all of the throw, and also have the smarts to take off and decimate you with his legs? Regardless, talent is first and foremost what scouts will look at when scouting a QB.
One trait that follows any quarterback, and always will, is leadership. His ability to keep the team’s spirits high when adversity is staring them in the face is a key quality. No moment is too big for him. No situation is uncontrollable in his eyes. Leadership is, and always will be a major attribute for a quarterback.
When you have four 300 LB grown, athletic men running at you as fast as they can, will your quarterback find the open receiver, and place the ball where only he can catch it? Or will he fall to his knees and succumb to the pressure and take an unnecessary sack? Players like Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers are prime examples of elite decision makers at the quarterback position. Brady, when pressured, is able to find an open receiver and move his team down the field, rather than waste a down and take a sack. Rodgers on the other hand, is able to move the chains with his mobility and get outside the pocket, and pick up a positive gain. Decision making skills makes or breaks a quarterback, and possibly a team. Ask any Chargers fan who endured the Ryan Leaf Era.
Success at the collegiate level doesn’t always translate to being appreciated by NFL teams, ask Tim Tebow. Tebow left the University of Florida as one of the most decorated college athletes to ever live. However, as soon as he declared for the draft, scouts and draft analysts fired their shots. Tebow was highly criticized for his long release. He was told that he needed to shorten it in order to avoid sacks, or having it stripped while he wound up to throw. Scouts appreciate a short, compact release. The ability to get the ball out quick is of high importance, mainly because there is a very limited window of success with an oncoming rush. Footwork in the pocket is key as well. Jay Cutler is infamous for throwing off of his back foot, he’s also infamous for his high number of interceptions. Sense a chain link there? The ability to plant your feet and make a solid throw downfield will heighten the success rate for your throws to make an impact on the offense.
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