The very top of this year's draft class has both intrigue and quality. If we took Travon Walker and Aidan Hutchinson (the top 2 picks in 2022) and moved them over to the 2023 draft, they might only be about the 9th and 10th overall selections. Per Lance Zierlein's draft grades, Travon Walker would have been the 14th highest ranked prospect in the 2023 draft.
The top 2 QBs expected to be drafted in 2023 are Bryce Young and CJ Stroud. If, however, NFL teams drafted purely based off of which QBs had the highest ceilings, the top 2 QBs really should be Anthony Richardson and Will Levis. Both Richardson and Levis are freakishly talented.
Perhaps all 4 of those QBs will fly off the board at the very top of the draft. In many mock drafts they are all taken within the top 5 picks. On the other hand, it would be far from unprecedented for at least one of them to fall outside of the top 10. In 2021, Justin Fields was the 11th overall pick. In 2019, Dwayne Haskins fell all the way to 15th. In 2018, Josh Rosen went 10th. In 2017, Mahomes went 10th and Deshaun Watson went 12th. Per the PFN Industry board, which samples 20 different draft boards, Levis is currently ranked 15th overall, while Richardson is 29th.
A recent CBSSports mock by Josh Edwards has Will Levis as the number one overall pick to the Carolina Panthers and all 4 of the top selections in the drafts are QBs. So, maybe Levis will be a Baker Mayfield type surprise and be the top pick in the draft.
Per the draft trade chart, the Rams could move all the way up to about 13 without using any picks in future years. To move up for a QB, they might need to pay a premium, costing more than standard chart value. If Levis falls far enough to be within range, should the Rams attempt to trade up to get him? If the Rams need to rebuild anyway, acquiring a franchise QB might be the single most important piece in constructing a "new look" Rams team. If Levis is talented enough to potentially be the number 1 overall pick, perhaps he could be a massive draft steal for the Rams.
The word that comes to mind when I watch Will Levis play football is "indefensible".
1. Not justifiable by argument. Synonyms: Unforgivable, inexcusable;
2. Not able to be protected against attack.
At his very best, Levis is simply on a different level than the other players on the field. The opponent's end zone becomes indefensible. When people say that Levis is the 2nd coming of Josh Allen, it isn't hyperbole, his strengths and weaknesses are very similar to those of Allen coming out of Wyoming.
At his worst, Levis makes plays that are so incomprehensibly bad that you wonder if he's a converted TE who just started playing the QB position. His mistakes are indefensible, unforgivable. Bryce Perkins last year was essentially a 4th string level QB. He probably should have been on a PS or in a developmental league. Levis can be so bad that at times he's arguably worse than the 2022 version of Bryce Perkins. The bust potential for Levis is so great that we aren't just talking about him getting benched and becoming the next Baker Mayfield, we are talking about him potentially washing out of the NFL entirely. Levis could become the next Paxton Lynch. After flopping in the NFL, Lynch went on to play in the USFL and the XFL.
In a nutshell, that's Will Levis as a draft prospect. Super high ceiling, super low floor. You don't have to read the rest of this fanpost unless you want even more detail. Is your team's GM a high stakes gambler willing to bet on the upside, enthralled by a QB who could end up being even better than Josh Allen? Or is the GM going to pull back, scared that drafting Levis would be exactly the same as taking that 1st round pick and throwing it directly into the trash bin?
Name: Will Levis. Turns 24 years old in June. 5th year redshirt senior.
School: Kentucky. Transferred from Penn State. Undergraduate degree in 3 years from PSU, magna cum laude in finance with 3.97 GPA. Got a master's degree in finance in December of 2022.
Combine measurements: 6'4'' tall, 229 pounds, 32'' arms, 10 5/8'' hands. 34'' vert jump, 10'4'' broad jump.
Josh Allen has 10 1/8'' hands. Very few NFL QBs have hands at least 10 1/2'' big. Notable QBs with big hands:
10 7/8'': Dak Prescott
10 3/4'': Ryan Mallett, Ryan Fitzpatrick
10 5/8": Heath Shuler, Nick Foles
10 1/2": Mark Sanchez, Ryan Leaf, Steve McNair, Jordan Love
Well, at least not all those guys were busts.
Born in MA, family moved to CT. Mom was a great soccer player in college. Dad was a Div III tight end. Uncle was football player at Yale. Had a private QB coach since he was in middle school. Has 3 sisters, which makes me think of Tom Brady, because he also has 3 sisters.
3 star recruit, lightly recruited. Played baseball, was a good student in HS.
Unable to beat out Sean Clifford at PSU. Levis was mostly used as a running specialist at PSU, similar to Tommy Stevens, who was a 7th round pick in 2020.
In the middle of the 2020 season, Levis was handed a golden opportunity to supplant Clifford and take over as PSU's starting QB. Clifford was benched during a game against Nebraska and Levis was named the starter for the next game against Iowa. Levis got benched in the 3rd quarter of the Iowa game. He was 13 of 16 passing, but for only 106 yards and he fumbled 3 times. Two fumbles happened early in the 2nd half, and the coach had seen enough. Clifford returned to the starting role.
This is a red flag, because Sean Clifford is projected to be an UDFA, he wasn't even invited to the Combine. The situation reminds me of Cardale Jones and JT Barrett at Ohio State. If Levis were really as good as advertised, he should have won the PSU job outright and Clifford should have been the QB to transfer in 2021, not the other way around.
In January of 2021, Levis entered the transfer portal. Liam Coen was a Rams assistant coach from 2018 through 2020 and late in the 2020 season he was hired to be the new OC for Kentucky. Coen brought to UK some of the play designs and concepts he had learned while serving under Sean McVay. Coen was familiar with Levis, because he had recruited the New England region while he was coaching at UMass and Maine, prior to joining the Rams.
When Coen left to join the Rams in 2022, UK hired Rich Scangarello to be the new OC. He had been Denver's OC during Drew Lock's rookie season, and he had 2 stints with the Niners as their QB coach, working under Kyle Shanahan. Scangarello was fired by UK at the conclusion of the 2022 regular season.
Got sacked 36 times in 11 games in 2022. Turf toe, dislocated finger on left hand, left shoulder injury all in 2022. Missed one game due to injury in 2022. He says that he constantly had to rehab in training room and relied on medication to be able to play each week during 2022 season. Opted out of team's 2022 bowl game.
One of 8 captains in 2021. One of 7 captains in 2022.
17-7 record as starter at UK.
2021 (13 starts): 66% completions, 2,826 yards, 218 yards per game, 8.0 yards per attempt, 24 TDs, 13 INTs, 148.3 rating
2022 (11 starts): 65.4% compl, 2,406 yards, 219 YPG, 8.5 YPA, 19 TDs, 10 INTs, 151.9 rating
Had 23 INTs in 24 games started at UK. 6 fumbles at UK, 12 total career fumbles. INT rate last 2 seasons of 3.62%, which is extraordinarily high for a top QB prospect, particularly because he played in a system that had many short passes near the LOS where it was almost impossible to throw an INT. Sam Darnold supposedly had an INT problem as a top draft prospect, because he threw 21 INTs over his final 2 seasons at USC, but his INT rate during that period was 2.6%, a full percentage point lower than Levis's INT rate.
Levis's poor INT rate is one of the traits he has in common with Josh Allen. Over his final 2 seasons at Wyoming, Allen had a 3.27% INT rate. As a rookie, Allen had a 3.8% INT rate had a miserable completion rate, below 53%. The rookie version of Josh Allen at times didn't look like a bona fide NFL QB.
Very self confident to the point of being arrogant. Has multiple NIL deals. Active on social media, got attention (including the Today Show) for viral videos where he ate an overripe banana in the peel and put mayo in his coffee. Some UK fans wore banana costumes to home football games. Levis admitted that he doesn't actually put mayo in his coffee, he just did it as a joke.
ESPN says that some NFL scouts have questioned his touch, and his habit of forcing throws.
Both Kurt Warner and Alex Rollins made good videos on Levis, so check those out if you are interested in very in-depth expert analysis and detailed breakdowns of individual plays from his games.
Kurt Warner: Good arm, big runner. "Worried" about his inconsistency and accuracy, doesn't handle pressure well, poor footwork, misses short throws, lacks touch. Josh Allen comp.
Alex Rollins: Extremely inconsistent. Really strong runner. Great arm. Tough. Rips passes over middle. Good pre-snap reads, but not post-snap reads. Inconsistent footwork and ball placements, timing, deep ball accuracy. Lacks anticipation. Poor accuracy at times. Great tools. Takes unnecessary sacks. Had a new OC every season. "Worries me", but still worth a high pick, a franchise QB.
Todd McShay said that Levis is polarizing with some GMs comparing him to Josh Allen and others saying that he's Carson Wentz. Biggest knock on him from NFL execs is his poor pocket presence and concern that his linebacker style of play mentality will lead to injuries.
Sharp Football Analysis said that per their QB passing score model, if Levis is a 1st round pick he would have the lowest score of any 1st rounder, even lower than Jason Campbell (2005, the very next pick after Aaron Rodgers). They said that he had the lowest on-target rate on throws of at least 10 yards for any QB in the draft. They also noted that against Power 5 conference opponents the last 2 seasons he struggled, including only 7.1 yards per attempt. They were concerned that in 2022 he had 4 red zone INTs and took 10 red zone sacks. Ranking him as a Tier 3 QB, they suggested that he will be comparable to Drew Lock.
Daniel Jeremiah 12th overall
Lance Zierlein 54th overall
ESPN 3rd QB, 14th overall
CBSSports 3rd QB, 8th overall
PFF 2nd QB, 4th overall
PFN (Industry) 3rd QB, 15th overall
Drafttek 4th QB, 12th overall
Shane Hallam 41st overall (2nd rd)
Brian Bosarge 75th overall (3rd rd)
NFLDB 3rd QB, 12th overall
Lance Zierlein: 6.34 draft grade (eventual plus starter), Jay Cutler comp. One of the most physically gifted QBs in the draft, but warts in his game that might not be easily corrected. Prototypical size, experience in pro-style offense. Arm talent for all 3 levels, but poor placement and accuracy creating many uncatchable throws. Capable runner. Needs to improve feel for pressure and throwing on the move. Needs a good QB coach. Compact release. Extremely tough, played through injuries. Serious arm talent, tight window throws. Can simultaneously slide and throw in pocket. Nearly 25% of his passes were behind LOS. Inconsistent post-snap making throw on time. Uncomfortable working short zones. Falls off platform, poor footwork. Scattershot ball placement and accuracy on simple throws. Poor pocket feel. Poor TD to INT ratio. LZ quotes an NFC exec who said that the media is being too hard on Levis, saying he's a good teammate, big, with arm talent. [I think it is worth noting that the draft media was very harsh on Justin Herbert when he was in the draft and he's had more success in the NFL than many experts predicted. I didn't like Herbert as a prospect, for many of the same reasons experts doubted him, he had decision making issues and didn't throw the ball with great touch. LZ compared Herbert to Carson Wentz.]
Daniel Jeremiah: Inconsistent tape. Ideal size, arm strength, athleticism. Makes tight window throws. Inconsistent throwing underneath. Bad misses, especially throwing to his left. Closes off front side, severely impacting ball placement. Lack of awareness in pocket leads to monster hits and ball security issues. Some bad habits that need to be cleaned up to be a reliable starter.
NFLDB: Prototypical size, like a linebacker. Strongest arm in draft. Elite quick release, fast processing that "makes him ideal for a Sean McVay style offense." [Hmmm, which NFL team does Sean McVay coach?] Very accurate on intermediate and long passes. Flashes anticipation. Most of INTs result of WR mistakes. Subpar OL and still took care of ball under serious pressure. Incredible improvement. Super smart. Tight window throws over middle. Well developed footwork. Major threat as red zone runner. Raw mechanics. Lacks instincts vs blitzes and coverage changes. Needs to improve touch. Impatient, takes off running. Doesn't go through progressions. Inconsistent footwork. Didn't beat out Sean Clifford. Josh Allen comp. Could be 2nd coming of Josh Allen.
PFF: 90.6 grade in 2021, but only 68.6 grade in 2022. Oozes more potential than almost any prospect in draft, but far from NFL ready. Could be a star. Elite physical tools. Lightning quick release, exceptional arm talent. Can make any throw on field. Dynamic running ability. Needs to drastically improve accuracy and decision making.
High achiever, ultra competitor, a driven and ambitious person. A showman who exudes confidence on the field. Cut from a similar cloth as Baker Mayfield in terms of personality. If he plays well, I imagine he'll be in a bunch of commercials, just like Mayfield.
Tough guy attitude on field. Relishes and loves physical contact. If he sees a defender in front of him, will charge directly at that player and try to run him over. Made a great tackle after throwing an INT. Reminds me of Dan Kendra, a FSU blue chip QB who became a fullback.
Outstanding size, strength and momentum as a runner. A one man scrum, 4 defenders tried to tackle him and he dragged all of them forward. Two defenders try to tackle him at 2 yard line, but can't keep him out of the end zone.
Excellent forward acceleration.
Nearly unstoppable on QB sneaks. Can power forward, but also can jump over the top and extend the ball.
Once he takes off running, it is like he's a TE or a fullback, tremendous running power and strength.
The best Superman dive I've ever seen from a QB. Fearless and can launch himself forward to add another yard to end of runs, especially useful if he's near the 1st down marker or the GL. 3rd and short, QB sells out and tries to run over DB in violent collision. Medium 3rd down, QB scrambles and in desperate attempt to pick up 1st down he tries to hurdle defender, even though there are 3 more defenders waiting for him next, nearly gets helicoptered in the air for a Sage Rosenfels, but still manages to valiantly extend the ball with his arm. Hurdled defenders on multiple plays.
Throwing an INT isn't a good thing, but once Levis throws a pick, he's more aggressive and a better tackler than many safeties. This is dangerous, because he could get injured trying to make a play after an INT instead of just getting out of the way and protecting his body, but it also could have value in certain situations. Remember when Jerome Bettis fumbled the ball against the Colts and Big Ben had to try to save their SB hopes by weaving back and forth to try to prevent a long defensive TD?
So quick with his release and effortless RPMs on the pass that it makes you think of QBs such as Drew Bledsoe, Matthew Stafford and Dan Marino. Plenty of zip and mustard. Ball jumps out of his hand.
Can make Safford type, off platform, frisbee throws, where he just flicks his arm and has no sound technique with his lower body or torso, yet the pass somehow still perfectly hits the target. After an RPO type play action fake, can throw the pass out to a WR in the flat without any windup and without moving his feet, something I imagine very few QBs could pull off with sufficient velocity and accuracy to make it a viable technique.
Frozen ropes to WRs outside the numbers. QB standing in middle of field, WR speed out, there is no separation from the CB, but the pass rockets past the defender with so much velocity, impossible to stop. QB on far hash, getting jostled in pocket, pass 12 yards past LOS to the sideline is on a dime. QB jumps in the air like a baseball shortstop, 25 yard pass to sideline is right on the money. Some of his best throws outside the numbers are identical to passes Trevor Lawrence made at Clemson.
Flashes the ability to take some steam off of both short and intermediate throws to make the pass more catchable for the receiver. In general, he throws the ball too hard on short throws, but he doesn't do this 100% of the time, a few of his throws do have perfect touch for the situation and the route. Nice touch on swing pass to RB. Beautiful touch pass to TE on arrow route. Nice touch on RB swing pass, with good footwork to make accurate throw.
3rd down in red zone, seam fade from far hash, fantastic touch and perfect accuracy over the CB, slot WR nearly has TD, but ball knocked away at end. Very nice touch on fade route, but WR drops the ball.
Flashes ability to throw deep with touch and accuracy. 48 air yard throw on go route, ball has pinpoint accuracy and nice touch, bounces off hands of WR. Nice touch on intermediate route to corner.
Pump fake with shoulder to manipulate defenders or help set up double moves. Generally keeps 2 hands on the ball in the pocket. Not super loose and careless with the ball in the pocket like Carson Wentz was in college.
Not his fault receivers sometimes dropped passes. One bad drop by WR ruined potential big gainer.
Not his fault there were pass protection issues with missed assignments and missed blocks.
A couple of his throws it was difficult to tell if he really missed the throw or if the WR messed up and didn't run the route properly. One of his throws, I'm fairly confident the WR was supposed to stop and settle vs zone, but ran through the window, so the throw was fine, even though the ball ends up going behind the WR. On one of his red zone INTs, it appeared to me that the slot WR was supposed to run a rub route to effectively set up a tunnel screen, but doesn't do it properly, resulting in the other WR getting hit immediately after the catch, so I'm not sure the QB was to blame on that one.
IMO there were some issues with how a few of their plays appeared to be designed on paper, making it difficult to tell if the root of the problem was how the OC drew it up or how the QB was executing the play.
Can create yards out of broken plays. Improvised shovel pass to RB. Picked up bobbled snaps and ran forward for yardage.
His experience playing under Coen might help him learn the Rams playbook faster.
His stellar academic record not only is a reflection of his intelligence, but also is likely a reflection of his work ethic. This is a trait that could translate well to being an NFL QB. John Wolford also had a degree in finance and was an excellent student in college. He was about to become an investment banker if his football career didn't get off the ground. One reason Sean McVay liked Wolford is because they were kindred spirits.
Will Levis might be the perfect QB to be a McVay protege, because he has Wolford level intelligence, but with a much higher level of athletic tools. The opportunity to mold and develop such a QB could be the type of thing that keeps McVay interested in coaching and keeps him from retiring early, a legacy defining project that could cement his status as a future HOFer.
Wild player with no discipline, consistency or focus. Plays like a young Brett Favre or Tony Romo.
A lamb killer. He piled up huge passing yardage against teams like Youngstown State, UL-Monroe, New Mexico State, Miami (OH) and Northern Illinois, but he wasn't nearly as effective against all of his other opponents.
If you took out the 3 lower tier games he played in 2022, he only had 10 TDs in the other 8 games and 178 passing yards per game. If you took out the 3 lower tier games from 2021, he only had 179 passing yards per game in the other 10 games. Do you know which NFL QB threw for about 179 yards per game in 2022? Baker Mayfield. When Zach Wilson was coming out of BYU, he beat up on some terrible defenses. Once Wilson got to the NFL, it quickly became apparent that things weren't going to be as easy as playing against the likes of Texas State or North Alabama.
His accuracy doesn't just slip from time to time, it can completely disappear, resulting in the ball not coming remotely close to the target. Corner route, the WR is behind the CB, should be a TD if thrown to pylon. The pass is 4 yards short of the target. Scattershot ball placements. Pass requiring touch, the ball doesn't land in the same zip code as the WR. Deep fade, no accuracy, QB just lofts the ball up for grabs on jump ball. Placement and accuracy not reliable on end zone fades, doesn't give WR chance to even attempt catch on some throws. Misses short throws so badly it is as if he's aiming for the toes of the WR. Deep shot, WR has a step on the CB, but pass is underthrown and becomes an INT.
WR is open for potential TD. QB on move, throws wildly fading both sideways and backwards off back foot. Along the sideline, there is a lane so that the ref can run up and down the field. Behind that space is a row of photographers taking pictures of the action. Behind the photographers is a white line. Behind the line is a male cheerleader. The pass should go to the front pylon of the end zone. There is enough space that the pass doesn't even need to be perfect, just lofted up in the air in the general area to give WR a chance to run under it. The cheerleader is standing at the 7 yard line. The pass is so far off target that as it sails out of bounds, the cheeleader jumps up in the air, but the ball sails over his outstretched arm.
Poor understanding and feel for how to throw the WR open. Instead of leading the WR away from the defender on deep passes, pass is sometimes thrown directly towards the defender, preventing the WR from gaining any separation. Some of his deep heaves have "chuck and pray" accuracy, almost as if he's throwing a Hail Mary pass or intentionally trying to throw the ball away for an incompletion. Some even go directly to the safety as if the S were the intended receiver.
"Looked good until the end" deep throws. 55 air yard bomb, showing off massive arm strength, an impressive throw. Only problem was it didn't land even close to the WR and if QB had thrown the pass accurately the play would have resulted in an 83 yard TD. WR streaking down the sideline, wide open, should be TD, but deep pass sails over WR's head, can't even lay a finger on the ball. Fantastic 60 air yard deep ball goes for TD, but the pass isn't aimed properly, it should have led WR away from CB, not forced WR to slow down and make heavily contested catch. Great looking 59 air yard deep pass, but why are we throwing the ball into double coverage and why are we throwing the ball over the head of the WR?
Absolute cannon for an arm, QB drills 36 yard pass with velocity. Only problem is accuracy was terrible. Should have been a TD, plenty of space to allow WR to make catch in bubble between 2 defenders, but QB's pass is too far outside for PBU. 50 yard pass, ball is way underthrown, WR forced to aggressively attack the CB to break up potential INT, because CB has much better chance of catching the ball.
His footwork often becomes an absolute nightmare. Makes a mess of some very basic short throws with "Connor Cook" feet. Zero discipline in his footwork, he's wild and all over the place, frequently for no reason, sloppy even in clean pockets with no pressure at all around him. Lack of urgency and precision with his dropbacks. Super clean pocket, no pressure at all, QB for no reason does a strange fade away throw off his back foot with his hips wide open. Play action, sift TE is open near LOS, QB decides to fade away and hop in the air on the release. Rolling to left, very bizarre body position on throw, forcing TE to jump to make short catch. Strange hop on his toes on simple pass to TE going over middle. Throwing to left side of field to TE in the flat, his left shoulder flies open extremely wide, feet not aligned, pass placed to wrong side of the TE.
Unable to consistently make some of the most elementary, basic throws possible. RB flare to the flat, QB fades sideways and jumps in the air to throw. Are you serious? It is a flare pass. Limits YAC by making receivers adjust to off target throws and jump up in the air to catch screen passes, horizontal throws behind LOS and dump off throws. Missed target to stationary TE standing 3 yards past LOS. Multiple times air mails pass over the head of his safety outlet in the flat and the pass is thrown so hard with so much velocity that even if the ball had been slightly lower the RB likely had no shot at making the catch, it would have been so hot. Missed throw to WR on tunnel screen. Incompletion to RB in flat, missed behind target. Rolling to his right, QB misses TE running crossing route 4 yards past LOS. WR running shallow route 4 yards past LOS, right over middle, QB misses target, way low and outside. Josh Allen had similar throws in this category at Wyoming and his rookie year with the Bills where he simply couldn't hit targets within 5 yards of the LOS.
Poor sense of touch. In love with his own arm and wants to show it off. Pass over middle requiring touch, he guns it hard, pass is behind the WR, bounces off his hands and deflects for an INT. Causes drops to happen by throwing the ball way too hard on short and intermediate throws. No touch at all at times, just a super hot potato thrown high and behind WRs. Routinely misses throws over the middle high and hot, resulting in tipped balls that could go for INTs. One such pass deflected to a 2nd WR for a completion, but this was just a random, lucky break, it just as easily have gone directly to a defender.
WR on over route is all alone, there is no defender within 10 yards of him on either side, all QB needs to do is loft pass into open space, but instead QB tries to drill it hard, off target and incomplete.
A safety's best friend. Creates INT opportunities for safeties by forcing throws into congestion, air mailing balls over the WR or throwing the ball so hard that it bounces off the WR's hand and up into the air. I'm not joking, on multiple plays it looked like the safety is the intended receiver, because Levis literally throws the pass directly to the S, not even close to the WR.
Sometimes a CB's best friend. Tries to force speed out against a CB who has leverage, should have been a pick 6, but the defender drops the ball. CB in zone is sitting right in the area where the WR is going to break. QB has unobstructed view of CB, yet for unknown reason, QB forces pass to WR anyway, and it is as if the CB is the intended receiver, the pass goes directly into the chest of the CB.
Hesitates in pocket and takes extra unnecessary hitches. Eyes will drop and he'll look directly at the defensive line. Corner route, WR is wide open, no defender close to him. QB holds the ball and eats it for a sack instead of making the throw.
Not a good red zone QB. Slow to read the coverage, diagnose when the receiver is open, doesn't throw the pass on time and doesn't deliver the pass with proper touch and accuracy. Great rub route by WRs in red zone causes the primary read WR to be wide open, should be automatic throw and easy TD, QB moving to his right, throws the pass way too hot and hard, missing high and behind the WR's back shoulder, incomplete. Ball inside 5, TE route to the flat is open for TD, but QB's pass is late and too far to the inside, resulting in an INT. RB in flat is open for TD, but QB's pass is too high and too hot, poor touch, bounces off RB's hand. Routinely late throwing red zone passes. Terrible red zone INT in final seconds of 1st half, forcing pass into coverage to a receiver short of the end zone, stubborn, not smart. Near red zone, 3rd&9, QB extends outside pocket, then throws across his body to force pass late over middle, cardinal sin, pass is behind the WR and CB trailing the route nearly gets INT. Forced late pass over middle, across his body on a different play as well.
Has almost no pocket awareness or pocket presence. Completely blind to blitzes. Pressure coming that he should see in his field of view, yet he doesn't react and it results in an avoidable sack fumble. When QB sees the DE drop into coverage, he should know that it is a zone blitz, but doesn't feel pressure at all, takes big hit. LT runs into his back, QB should throw ball away, but tries to spin out of back of pocket and runs himself into a sack. QB stands like a statue, not moving, all he needs to do is slide one step to his right, gets hit on release. Stunt opens up middle rush lane for LB blitz, QB doesn't feel it until too late, even though coming right in his face, gets sacked.
Zero coverage blitz, middle of field wide open, QB lofts the ball outside to empty space as if he's throwing it away when the WR breaks inside on post route.
Doesn't make sound decisions based on down, distance, field position and score when it comes to protecting his body and the ball. QB drops back, doesn't like what he sees. What he should do is throw the ball away and live to play another down. Instead, he takes off running, aims directly for LB at the LOS and slams into him for a huge collision and a very minimal gain. This makes no sense, you just set yourself up for potential serious injury and the result of the play is virtually identical to if you had just thrown the ball out of bounds. Long 3rd down, unlikely the offense is going to convert. QB drops back to his own 2 yard line, then retreats into his own endzone, creating a safety. That is Dan Orlovsky level bad. Not only does he risk injury with unnecessary scramble attempts, he risks fumbles.
In many hot situations where there are more pass rushers than blockers, he doesn't show any feel for seeing the field clearly or any recognition of the need to get the ball out in response to the pressure. 7 defenders vs 6 blockers, the TE is wide open over the middle for a very easy throw, but QB takes unnecessary sack instead. Didn't realize he was hot, QB gets destroyed in the pocket by monster hit.
Poor feel for when he needs to climb forward in the pocket, wasting available space in front of him. Medium 3rd down, QB stands like a statue instead of climbing forward, barely escapes sack, then as he scrambles he lowers his shoulder and slams into the LB. Corner route is open, should be TD. Plenty of space for QB to step up in pocket, but QB instead runs sideways out of the pocket and directly into pressure.
Traits of a one read QB. Curl route is wide open, QB doesn't read the progression, just aimlessly throws the ball out of bounds. Bunch set, the underneath WR is open, QB doesn't throw, holds ball too long, then gets flushed. No ability to read coverage some plays, medium 3rd down, the inside WR has good leverage on the defender for a very easy throw, but QB turns this down to try to attempt a nearly impossible throw on slant to the 2nd WR, just makes no sense. Medium 3rd down, QB is too slow reading the progression. If you look at QB's eyes, he looks down the middle first, which isn't necessary based on the pre-snap look, then he gets stuck too long on his 2nd read. WR lower in the progression roasts his CB and is wide open on slant route, would have been easy 1st down conversion, but QB never even looks at him. Medium 3rd down, pivot route is open, potential conversion if QB throws, but instead of reading the progression the QB just takes off scrambling, gets tackled near the LOS. In red zone, instead of letting routes develop a split second longer, QB bails on the play and just takes off running. Medium 3rd down, both the angle route by RB and an in-cut are available, but the QB just aimlessly throws the ball out of bounds. QB vacates the pocket early on a play where if he just waited a split second more, WR would have uncovered, QB creating his own pass rush pressure. QB has solid pocket, but he panics and tries to run up middle, bounces off lineman then wildly runs sideways out of pocket, lacking composure and patience.
Play action bootleg, the deep over route is wide open. The comeback route near the sideline is wide open. QB doesn't throw the ball to either of those WRs, just runs out of bounds.
WR on his 3rd read is wide open. QB's eyes stuck on primary read, even though CB clearly has leverage on the route from off coverage and the QB should come off this route very quickly. Late to recognize the open WR, QB takes unnecessary hitch, mechanics break down and his pass is well off target.
Risk reward calculus is off. QB puts ball at risk by forcing short passes into very tight coverage where if the WR makes the catch the offense gains almost no yardage, but if the DB gets it or the ball deflects in the air, it would be an INT.
Locked in on the defender covering the WR and doesn't see key 2nd defenders who are involved in the read. Serves up hospital balls, throwing his WRs directly into the path of defenders for huge hits that easily could result in them getting injured. Some of his tight window throws, I question whether he even saw the 2nd defender, I think QB just got lucky and didn't realize he was making a tight window throw. Angle route by RB, clear that QB doesn't see the LB lurking underneath the route, only reason it doesn't result in INT is the LB doesn't react properly and take the right angle, but against a good NFL LB, the same play would be a potential pick 6. Slant route, QB never sees LB drop under route into passing lane, pass deflected for an INT and on top of this the pass likely wouldn't have been complete even if ball had gotten past LB, because QB doesn't see the 3rd defender, the robber in the middle, so he was leading WR into a big hit. Play action bootleg, QB forces it to intermediate over route, not sensing that S is reading his eyes, baiting him into near INT. LB in zone coverage, reads eyes of QB and slides underneath WR route, but QB never sees him, throws pass that bounces off hands of LB and up in the air, deflects to WR for a completed pass and a first down, but really this play should have resulted in an INT, the QB had no idea the LB was jumping the route.
Details in his ball handling on play action fakes and misdirection is below average. Fails to maintain deception, because he doesn't make pass plays look similar to run plays, giving the defense an easy key to read to diagnose what is developing.
YAC from WRs helped to boost his stats.
In an interview after the season, Levis essentially threw Scangarello under the bus with some of the comments he made. I don't consider this to be very professional. A true leader needs to take ownership when things don't go well, even sometimes shouldering some of the blame to take heat off other people. Mike Martz in Kurt Warner's documentary mentions a training camp incident where the center doesn't snap the ball properly and there is a fumble, and Martz screams at Warner, even though he knows it isn't the QB's fault, he just wanted to see how Warner would respond and Warner took the blame. Warner continued to show great football character even when he got benched by the NYG and Arizona. What made Warner such a great player wasn't just his athletic skill, it was his resilient character and leadership. Intangibles matter, especially for a QB.
Brash personality on field. His celebrations can be tacky and disrespectful.
Showed little improvement from 2021 to 2022. He had OCs at UK who were NFL assistant coaches and had private QB coaching since he was in middle school, so the lack of progress for a player almost 2 years older than an average draft prospect is concerning.
Draft Grade and Pro Comp
1st round (not top 10) grade. (Carson Wentz, 2nd overall 2016, Eagles, North Dakota State)
Around this date in 2016, the draft stock for Wentz was rising, while the stock for Jared Goff was supposedly slipping. By the end of March, there was even talk about Goff slipping out of the top 10 entirely. Sporting News did a mock draft that had Goff going 28th overall, Wentz 11th and the Rams taking Paxton Lynch at 15th overall.
As we all know, that's not how the actual draft went. In the middle of April, the Rams traded up for the top pick, packaging multiple high selections to swap with the Titans. It was clear the Rams would take a QB, the only question was whether it would be Wentz or Goff. Many Rams fans were split between the 2 QBs and some Ram fans didn't like the trade at all, preferring to target a QB later, whether Lynch, Connor Cook, Cardale Jones or Kevin Hogan.
The Eagles traded up to the 2nd overall slot within a week of the Rams trade. All the talk about the QBs sliding didn't happen. Goff and Wentz were the top 2 selections in the draft.
In 2017, Wentz was widely regarded as one of the top MVP candidates, but he got injured against the Rams in a pivotal showdown game late in the regular season. Nick Foles came on in relief and helped the Eagles win the Super Bowl.
Over the following years, there were media reports that other Eagles considered Wentz to be selfish and egotistical and that he wasn't on the same page with the coaching staff. The bottom fell out for Wentz in a miserable 2020 season, eventually resulting in him being benched for Jalen Hurts.
Wentz was traded to the Colts for a 3rd round pick and a 1st round pick. The Eagles used the 3rd round pick as part of the compensation to trade up to get DeVonta Smith in the 2021 draft. Instead of using the extra 1st round pick immediately, the Eagles essentially flipped it into future draft capital by making a trade with the Saints. After that trade, the Eagles held a 1st rounder in 2022 and another one in 2023, plus other picks. They then used the 2022 first round pick to trade for AJ Brown. Jalen Hurts had a great 2022 season for the Eagles, but something that shouldn't get lost in how that happened was the Carson Wentz trade gave Philly very important draft assets to assemble the elite WR talent needed to help drive their passing attack. If Philly hadn't gotten so much compensation for Wentz, I don't know if they would have been able to advance to the Super Bowl last year.
In the middle of 2021, there was at least some hope that Wentz could rehabilitate his career. In week 10, this is how Gregg Rosenthal power ranked certain NFL QBs based on their 2021 performances:
4. Derek Carr
5. Matthew Stafford
7. Josh Allen
9. Matt Ryan
10. Kirk Cousins
11. Patrick Mahomes
13. Baker Mayfield
14. Teddy Bridgewater
15. Carson Wentz
17. Jalen Hurts
23. Geno Smith
25. Jared Goff
30 Trevor Lawrence
In the final week of the 2021 regular season, all the Colts needed to do to claim a playoff spot was beat the lowly Jaguars, who had a 2-14 record. Wentz had a rough outing in a stunning upset loss and the Colts were eliminated from playoff contention.
Despite the disappointing finish, the Colts somehow still managed to get decent trade compensation from Washington for Wentz, giving him another fresh start with a new club. It didn't go well and Wentz somehow posted an even worse QBR than his terrible 2020 season. Washington released Wentz a few weeks ago and he is currently a free agent.
In the 2016 draft, Mike Mayock compared Wentz to Andrew Luck. When Josh Allen's draft came in 2018 (he was the 3rd QB, behind Mayfield and Darnold), Mayock wasn't excited about the group, saying that none of the QBs were as good as prospects as Wentz or Luck. As Mayfield, Darnold and Rosen have struggled in the NFL, Josh Allen has been the one who has achieved the most success, which is surprising since he was the one who was the least NFL ready coming out of college. In a period of only 5 years, Wentz has gone from being the role model for a great 1st round QB draft pick to now being regarded as cautionary tale and example of a disappointing 1st round QB pick.
Wentz might still be a 1st round pick in a redraft. These were the final 5 picks in the 1st round that year: Joshua Garnett (a guard I really liked, draft bust), forfeited pick by Patriots due to Tom Brady's Deflategate scandal, Robert Nkemdiche (draft bust), Vernon Butler (DT who I loved, draft bust), Germain Ifedi (I guess we can't call him a bust, because he was a starter for Seattle, but he was a "bad" starter every season.) Moreover, the QBs drafted between Wentz and Dak in 2016 were Paxton Lynch, Christian Hackenberg, Jacoby Brissett, Cody Kessler and Connor Cook. Not exactly a collection of All Stars.
The Broncos held the last pick in the 1st round that year. Instead of staying at that slot, Denver traded up to get Paxton Lynch, moving from 31 to 26, and only had to give Seattle an extra 3rd round pick (per the trade chart, Denver slightly overpaid in this deal, but not by much.) The player Seattle got with the 3rd rounder, tight end Nick Vannett from Ohio State, didn't become much of a player for them, so the trade didn't work out well for either of those 2 clubs. If somehow Wentz had fallen within range for the Denver Broncos to acquire him in that draft, I'd argue that he would have been a good pick for them.
Liam Coen has returned to UK to be their OC, but while he was with the Rams in 2022, it seems reasonable to assume that at some point he and McVay talked about Levis, which could give the Rams a scouting advantage over other teams. If Coen endorsed Levis, perhaps McVay has his eye on Levis. Snead likely doesn't want to mortgage the farm to get a QB this year, but if Levis fell far enough, would he become tempting to the Rams?
I wrote a couple of fanposts about the potential for the Rams to trade up to somewhere between slots 13 to 24. Let's assume for sake of discussion that Levis makes it at least to slot 13. At what point (if ever) should the Rams become interested in drafting Levis?
Should the Rams try to make a big trade and move all the way up to 13 for him?
Should they wait patiently and see if falls into the Paxton Lynch range and only make a moderate move somewhere around 24?
Should the Rams sit tight, and take him if he's still available at slot 36?
Is Levis such a risky prospect that not only should the Rams not take him at 36, they shouldn't even take him in the 3rd round if he takes a Malik Willis type nosedive?
None of those questions need to be answered immediately. Should the draft stock for Levis cool, however, these questions could become increasingly relevant and how Snead and McVay resolve them would have massive implications for the future of the Rams.