Many of the QBs we've looked at for next year's draft were very highly touted high school recruits. They were supposed to become NFL draft picks. Kedon Slovis isn't in that category. He wasn't a 5 or 4 star recruit. He was supposed to be a backup for most of his college career, but instead has been a starter for almost his entire career. Slovis burst on the scene as a true freshman at USC back in 2019, but since that point his draft stock has kept dropping lower and lower. Did Slovis "regress" or is he just exactly the QB he was always supposed to be when he was a 3 star recruit?
Kade Warner was a prolific high school WR from Scottsdale, Arizona, setting the state record for most career receptions. Kade broke the record formerly held by Mark Andrews, who played at the same HS. Kade's dad, Kurt Warner, helped to coach his son's high school team and in 2015 was officially named as the team's offensive coordinator. While Kurt was the OC, one of the starting QBs on the team was Kedon Slovis.
Slovis was never supposed to become the starting QB for USC. He was a 3 star recruit who was lightly recruited. JT Daniels was a very highly touted 5 star recruit and was USC's starter as a true freshman in 2018. So, when Slovis arrived on campus a year later, his path to the starting job was blocked. Slovis unexpectedly beat out 2 more experienced QBs to earn the backup spot behind Daniels.
In the first half of the first game of the 2019 season, Daniels tore his ACL, elevating a true freshman Slovis into the starting role, ironically mirroring how Kurt Warner became the Rams starter in 1999. Slovis had impressive stats in 2019 and was considered to be an emerging star. This lead to Daniels transferring to Georgia in 2020.
Slovis was not as good in a shortened 2020 season, hampered by injury. In the summer of 2021, Slovis worked with Tom House and Jordan Palmer on his throwing mechanics. That work didn't produce better results in 2021 as Slovis again was slowed by injury. During one stretch of the 2021 season, Slovis was in a playing time rotation with Jaxson Dart, which concerns me, because when Dart was playing for Ole Miss in 2022, I didn't think that he looked like a good QB.
Slovis transferred to Pitt for 2022, but had a down year. He will play for BYU in 2023, his final year of eligibility.
Name: Kedon Slovis. Turns 23 years old in April of 2024. 5th year bonus senior.
School: BYU. Graduate transfer 2023 from Pitt. Transferred to Pitt in December 2021 from USC. Degree from USC in spring 2022 in communication, had good GPA. Was master's student at Pitt.
Size: Listed by BYU at 6'3'' tall, 215 pounds. Sports Illustrated 6'2 1/8'' tall, 200 pounds. NFLDB: 4.73 second 40 time, 6'3'' tall, 215 pounds, 9 7/8'' hands, 31 1/4'' arms, 75'' wingspan.
Was 1 of 4 team captains for Pitt in 2022.
2019: 71.9% completions, 3,502 yards, 30 TDs, 9 INTs, 23 sacks, 8 fumbles
2020: 67.0% completions, 1,921 yards, 17 TDs, 7 INTs, 15 sacks, 3 fumbles
2021: 65.0% completions, 2,153 yards, 11 TDs, 8 INTs, 12 sacks, 3 fumbles
2022: 58.4% completions, 2,397 yards, 10 TDs, 9 INTs, 15 sacks, 3 fumbles
Right elbow injury in 2019 bowl game. Concussion in 2019. Left leg injury 2019. Sprained right shoulder in 2020. Lower leg injury in 2021. Slovis said that he dealt with arm fatigue and soreness throughout 2019 and it was an issue he had back in high school. He said that he lost confidence in his arm and his accuracy during the 2020 season. Neck injury early in 2021 season. Hamstring injury 2021. Undisclosed injury 2022. Knocked out of game in 2022 on sack where he appeared to suffer a concussion.
Feet stay wide, maintains base to throw as he moves around in pocket. Shoulders are level and stay closed to intended target. Body remains balanced when throwing on the move.
Decent accuracy on short and intermediate passes. Hole shot 25 yards downfield. Nice ball placement on 25 yard seam route to backshoulder of TE. Tight window 20 yard pass over middle. Accurate backshoulder throws to the sideline anywhere within 25 yards of LOS. Pinpoint throws within 20 yards of LOS. Helped his teammates get huge YAC by being accurate with short throws.
Tough, absorbed some huge hits.
Very experienced starter. He'll be a 5th year starter in 2023, an oddity caused by the covid season. Has experience with snaps under center.
Enough speed as runner to scramble forward if there is wide open space available.
Pitt OL was inconsistent pass blocking in 2022. Jordan Addison transferred from Pitt to USC in 2022.
Leadership skills even going back to his high school days. Cerebral personality in interviews, handles tough questions appropriately, with professional answers, organized and thought out answers. Mature and intelligent. I think NFL coaches and front office execs will like his personality and feel that they could work with him and coach him, even if they only see him as a backup and not as a future starter.
USC stats were inflated by having strong supporting talent at receiver. In 2021, the top WR for USC was Drake London. In 2020, the top WRs were London and Amon-Ra St. Brown. In 2019, he had Michael Pittman Jr., St. Brown and London as his WRs. Velus Jones Jr., a 3rd round pick in 2022, wasn't even part of the rotation, he was just a special teams kick returner that season. The 2019 USC receiver group was arguably better than the 2023 Los Angeles Rams receiver room. Completion percentage inflated by quick horizontal throws behind or near LOS.
Thin build. Even though he's supposedly 6'3'' tall, for whatever reason, it feels like he's shorter than that on the field. Gets passes deflected at LOS. Threw slant directly to LB on RPO, lucky not an INT. Pass over middle deflected by underneath LB, lucky it deflected to WR for catch instead of going to a defender for an INT.
Lack of arm strength likely caps his ceiling to only an NFL backup. In the games I watched, he almost never attempted deep bombs.
Does not have a quick release. Segmented delivery combined with mediocre ball velocity results in slight delays on quick game throws to flat, slants and comeback routes, interfering with the optimal timing of the play.
Not accurate driving 30 yard pass over middle, missed low. Missed wide trying to drive seam throw over middle. Not precise trying to drive throws towards the sideline. Pass tailed off driven to sideline from far hash. When throwing on the move, throws tend to die short of the target. Another deflection by underneath defender nearly goes to CB for INT.
40 yard pass underthrown. I question whether he can effectively throw the ball more than 45 yards from LOS. Deep comeback, QB bounces ball way short of WR, not enough arm to get it there.
Play action deep shot, WR is behind the DBs, should be a 70 yard TD, but QB's pass is off line, instead of leading WR into open space, twists WR around back towards middle of field in direction of the CB and WR is unable to adjust to flight of ball and make difficult catch.
Not precise with red zone ball locations to beat coverage.
Pocket awareness errors and clock in his head can be broken. Eyes too focused downfield, doesn't feel defenders closing in on him. Feet froze in pocket, took sack vs 3 man rush instead of dumping off to his safety outlet. Held ball too long for sack fumble from blind side. Pressure in face, still tries to force pass through defender, but deflected in air for INT. Outside of pocket, late to feel LBs smashing into his face as he's throwing, ball softly lobbed up in air, pure luck that it goes to WR for a catch instead of to CB for INT. Blitzer gets by RB, initial grab slips off QB, but QB just stands still instead of escaping, allowing defender to grab him again for sack and nearly fumbles. Blitz, knows the pocket is collapsing, but as he climbs forward nonchalantly still tries to throw pass, very predictably his arm gets hit on release, fumble. Takes avoidable sacks by hesitating and not moving intelligently or by not throwing to checkdown. Stepped up to get away from LB blitz vs RB block, but then continued to hold ball, allowing LB to change direction, recover and get sack from behind. Play action deep shot, all QB has to do is take one slide step to his left, but stands in one spot, allows pressure to get to him and impact throw. Retreats backwards to create even bigger loss of yardage sacks (including on 1st down) that kill drives when he could go sideways or throw ball away. Seemed to get confused by zone blitz, held ball and ate sack instead of dumping it off to his TE. QB hesitates and doesn't throw on schedule, then not realizing that the left side DE is behind him, goes backwards, directly into potential sack. Risks fumbles in pocket by not reacting better to pass rush.
Multiple INTs where he forced passes to WRs underneath who were blanketed tightly by CBs. Terrible INT on play action throw to sideline as CB jumps all over route, but CB lands out of bounds due to very poor footwork, unnecessarily jumping way up in air when he could have just reached up with hands to catch ball, then raced down sideline for pick six, so INT doesn't count. Blind to S driving on slant, throws his WR into a huge hit. Stared down slant, leading underneath LB directly to window, lucky that ball goes by LB's hand and isn't an INT.
Disappointing gaffes for a player who is so intelligent. Poor clock management awareness at end of half. Tried to throw pass about 3 yards past the LOS, resulting in penalty. Questionable game management decision in red zone to force pass into coverage, resulting in end zone INT.
Average speed, doesn't have burst to pull away from defenders. Even when there is an opening, can get caught and tackled before he can escape pocket. Had good opportunity to scramble for 1st down, but combination of hesitating prior to taking off and lack of speed resulted in him not being able to make it to marker.
Not a sudden athlete. Forced to waive the white flag and eat ball for sacks when he's unable to escape, lacking short area quickness to dodge the defenders.
Can't stay healthy. Long list of injuries, hurt every season of his career. His play traits are contributing factors behind why he takes so much punishment and gets hurt.
BYU is joining the Big 12 conference in 2023. They play several teams that could be good, including Texas and Oklahoma. So, while the schedule looks challenging, Slovis should have plenty of opportunities to prove himself against quality opponents.
Slovis is generally viewed by draft experts as being deep in the UDFA territory.
Sports Illustrated: Pro ready with intelligence to start in NFL, but has a limited ceiling. Excellent lower body mechanics. Goes through reads. Composure, processes well on field. Pocket presence to escape pressure. Accurate to all levels, great touch. Layers balls, leads WRs away from contact. Rumored to have season long shoulder injury in 2020. Locks onto 1st read and telegraphs passes. Slightly elongated motion, kink in mechanics. Leadership qualities, studies film. 6th round grade.
TDN: Quickly processes coverage, consistent mechanics. Tough in pocket, throws with anticipation, keeps eyes downfield. Accurate short and intermediate. Inconsistent accuracy on vertical throws. Only modest arm strength. Makes risky decisions.
NFLDB: 56th QB, 539th overall (UDFA)
PFN draft simulator 295th overall (UDFA)
Shane Hallam 48th QB (UDFA)
NFLMDD consensus big board, created by combining a large number of other boards and mock drafts, 59th QB, 631 overall.
If Slovis could have a bounceback 2023 and rebuild his draft stock, maybe he could become another Davis Mills, a 3rd round pick in 2021. Currently, I view Slovis as a fringe draft prospect and have him as an UDFA, just like most draft boards. He doesn't have enough arm talent, doesn't run well, is inconsistent with his decision making and field awareness. Maybe he could be a 3rd string QB or practice squad player, but I think he'd have to considerably improve just to be a viable 2nd string QB in the NFL.
Around this time of the year back in 2021, multiple mock drafts (including by SportingNews) projected Kedon Slovis to be the 2nd overall pick in the 2022 draft, both mocks sending him to the Detroit Lions, to be the replacement for Jared Goff. CBSSports had him as the 9th overall pick. A PFF mock draft had Slovis going 13th overall to the Steelers. WalterFootball mocked Slovis as the 3rd overall pick. In September of 2021, CBSSports mocked him as the 18th overall selection. In one mock, the QB taken after Slovis was Tyler Shough. On the NFLMDD consensus board, Shough is now the 731st ranked prospect.
Two years later, Slovis has gone from a player who was a potential top 5 overall selection to a prospect who would be extremely lucky to even get drafted in the 7th round. Go figure.