While there are many uncertainties regarding what teams will do in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, one thing is certain for the Los Angeles Rams, despite what the head coach and GM may be saying...
The Rams need a quarterback.
What they’re willing to do to get one - or whether they intend on doing anything at all - remains to be seen, but many draft prognosticators have them addressing the position at some point; and oftentimes in Round 1.
But it can be just any quarterback. Should the Rams choose to draft a QB, that player needs to be a fit for what they’re trying to accomplish. Easier said than done.
On Saturday, we did an exercise using analysis from Pro Football Focus’ 2016 NFL Draft Guide [which you can buy here], where their Top 5 Wide Receivers were listed anonymously, and you were asked to pick the one that best suited the Rams. If you didn’t get your vote in, or missed it altogether, Ohio State’s Michael Thomas ran away with the lead early, and is currently leading all vote-getters with 45%. Laquon Treadwell, perhaps the wideout most often linked to the Rams, still only has 4% of the overall votes.
As promised, we’ll continue to cover the positions of need for the Rams in the same manner. Today, we’ll take a look at the QB’s.
As a refresher, I’ve taken their analysis of these players and listed them under an anonymous player number. With the receivers I provided two of their strengths ["what he does best"] and weaknesses ["biggest concern"]...with the QB’s I’ve increased it to three for both. I’ve also added a bonus QB, so there will be six listed below.
Not that it particularly matters, but of the players listed below, PFF has one projected as a Top 5 pick, one a 1st rounder, another a 3rd rounder, and three of them are projected to go in the 4th round. They are, however, not listed in any particular ordered.
I’ll wait for 100 or so votes to roll in, and then I’ll tell you who’s who in the comments section below. Have at it!
What He Does Best:
* Willing to challenge tight coverage. Not scared to fit passes into tight windows and give his receivers a chance. Had the highest accuracy percentage on passes that were thrown into "tight" coverage
* Can get to his second read and hit open receivers with a quick release
* Accuracy percentage on deep (20+ yard) passes was best in the draft class at 59.4 percent
* High-risk, high-reward player. The same aggressiveness that creates big plays also gets him into trouble
* Throws "YOLO balls" into zone coverage. Often careless with the ball and just throws it up
* Short area accuracy is inconsistent at best. Graded at -2.3 on passes thrown in the 1-10 yard range
Player 2What He Does Best:
* Makes big plays. Big-time throw (BTT) percentage of 6.97 percent ranks third in the class
* Works through progressions, can hit throws on the backside of plays
* Intermediate and deep accuracy was among the best in the class
* Ball location on short passes is poor. Will badly overthrow screens
* Timing is not good in the passing game. Will sometimes pass up easy reads, however this does work in his favor at times and is part of his big play ability. But may not be suited to run an efficient, short passing attack predicated on good timing
* Will stare down targets
Player 3What He Does Best:
* Can fire the ball in there on the deep out/comeback. Made far-hash throws look easy at the college level
* Arm strength on comebacks and seam routes make him a prime candidate for a vertical passing system
* Did a nice job as a designed runner and as a scrambler in college. Can pick up yards on the ground, but not sure how much his future team will want him to do so at the next level
* Slow to process in the passing game. Will be late on short and intermediate throws, but arm strength bails him out.
* Rarely got to a third read in his progression, even when running common, staple passing concepts.
* Accuracy at 21-30 yard range was well below average, his adjusted completion percentage of 43.5 percent ranked 23rd in the draft class. For a big-armed quarterback, has to take advantage of throws in this range to maximize his potential
Player 5What He Does Best:
* Accuracy. Had an accuracy percentage of 78.2, third-highest in the draft class, and higher than any of the top prospects
* Executes from a clean pocket extremely well. Over past two seasons has thrown just seven interceptions on 635 passing attempts with no pressure, completing 73.5 percent of his passes
* He is smart. Able to diagnose coverage, throw with anticipation and get the ball where it needs to go at the right time
* Arm strength. He doesn’t have an outright noodle, but his game needs to be more about anticipation and smarts than arm strength
* 2015 regression. His 2014 grade was the best of this draft class, and right up there with Marcus Mariota.
* Inconsistent under pressure. At times, he can navigate a cluttered pocket and look very good. At others the blinkers come down and he gets spooked, taking off to space and failing to slide away from the traffic and stay within the pocket
Player 6What He Does Best:
* Can use the quick release on run/pass option plays. Gives offense flexibility
* Threw only three passes beyond 40 yards in the air, but two of them were perfect, on-target strikes on deep posts. May be able to take advantage of the post route against one-on-one coverage at the next level
* Very good touch, had a number of impressive "bucket" throws
* Accuracy seems to wane when he tries to throw with velocity at the short and intermediate level
* Accuracy at the intermediate level and outside the numbers was poor (49.0 percent accuracy percentage, among the lowest in the nation)
* A high percentage of his throws were either screens or designed rollouts