UCLA transfer QB, Collin Schlee, has potential developmental upside. While he's too inconsistent and raw to rank right now as more than about an UDFA, he has a high ceiling, because the basic tools are good. In that sense, he's similar to the Alabama transfer QB, Tyler Buchner. Schlee has good size, runs well and has a strong arm. If the "lightbulb came on" for him, he could leapfrog many other draft prospects. It is fitting that Schlee played for the Kent State Flashes, because that's who he is as a QB. He flashes, but he doesn't sustain a consistent high level of play.
Shane Hallam must see some potential with Schlee, because in Hallam's rankings, Schlee is the QB sandwiched between Cameron Ward and Spencer Rattler, 2 much "bigger name" QB prospects. I feel that most experts underestimate Schlee's NFL potential. He's not a finished product, but he has moldable traits and could become a draftable QB if he takes a step forward in 2023.
I don't know if Schlee will enter the 2024 NFL draft. In interviews, it sounded like his plan is to play 2 years for UCLA and finish his degree there. At UCLA, he will be competing on the depth chart with Dante Moore, a 5 star recruit, and Ethan Garbers. It is unclear where Schlee will end up in this battle, he could be 3rd string or he could be the starter. Even if UCLA decides to start one of the more experienced QBs to begin 2023, the vet might only be keeping the seat warm on a temporary basis until Moore is ready to take the reigns.
Name: Collin Schlee. Redshirt Senior. 2 years of eligibility remaining. 22 years old.
School: UCLA. Transferred from Kent State in December of 2022. Studying sports administration.
Size: Listed at Kent State as 6'3'' tall, 213 pounds. NFLDS has him at 6'2 1/8'' tall, with a 4.70 second 40 time.
3 star recruit from Maryland. Basketball player who had scholarship offers from small conference Division 1 schools, but elected to play football instead.
Kent State has a high tempo, RPO based, spread system scheme with simple reads and super wide WR splits.
Redshirted in 2019. Was listed at only 182 pounds in 2019, then 218 the following season in 2020. Backup to Dustin Crum (UDFA 2022, now in the CFL), becoming starter in 2022.
Apparent concussion late in 2022 season, went out in 2nd quarter of a game. Missed a game in 2022 due to what HC described as a lower body bruise, coach said QB had been dealing with the injury for a couple of weeks
2022 (11 games): 59.0% completions, 2,109 yards, 7.93 ypa, 13 TDs, 5 INTs, 98-492-4 rushing, 4 fumbles, 17 sacks.
3 punts in 2022, two of them going for more than 50 yards.
Good runner. The basketball background shows, he has good acceleration, change of direction and excellent body control. Runs with forward lean and finishes plays falling forward. Blitzing him is dangerous, because he can slice through the line and scramble forward. Powerful strides once he opens up, can pull away from defenders, dangerous 2nd gear in open field. Escaped sack in pocket, directed traffic to his OL to set up blocks, then once he got his shoulder pads square to the line, he has a smooth 10 yard burst where he eats up ground like it is nothing, splitting defenders before they can close down the pursuit angle. In a phone booth, has a knack for shifting his body so that the defender doesn't get a clean shot at him, allowing him to dodge or pull out of tackles.
QB draw on 3rd&5, DT unblocked penetrates up middle, QB wrong foots him with head and shoulder fake, slips by him dipping low, sees LB filling hole and cuts back, then excellent 2 step slalom burst to dodge DE tackle attempt, linked with immediate cut back the other way, with stiff arm, to make CB miss diving tackle, finally angled out of bounds after gain of 15 yards.
Snap goes over head of QB and goes to the back of the end zone. QB picks up the ball and it looks like he has no hope, because at least 5 defenders are closing in on him and he's at the very back of the end zone. QB somehow gets around that crowd and runs up the sideline, but it doesn't count, because he stepped on the back line for a safety as he was escaping a tackle.
Live arm and quick release. Easy velocity. Flashes ability to throw with touch. Unblocked defender, QB spins away from sacks, extends to his left, then as he's backup up towards sideline and DE closing in on him, flings the ball side armed 35 yards away and hits WR right at sideline for stunning completion. Frozen rope 15 yards to sideline. Velocity to drive balls over the middle. Can drill slant routes into the chest of the WR. Dropped down and tried to throw sidearm to get ball around DE. Dropped down again and threw pass past outside hip of DE. QB escapes pressure, extends out of pocket to right, under pressure, then while angling backwards, throws rocket 30 yards downfield, nearly hitting WR between 2 defenders. Fired in 15 yard rocket from opposite hash to jam it in and beat coverage. There was a play in high school where Schlee under pressure threw the ball across his body and the pass sailed out of the back of the end zone, reportedly traveling nearly 70 air yards. Supposedly had strongest arm that high school coaches had ever seen in a QB coming out of their region.
Last season, Kent State played against Washington, Oklahoma and Georgia, all 3 of those games being on the road. In those contests, Schlee was 37 for 64 passing (57.8% completions), 483 yards (161 yards per game, 7.55 yards per attempt), 2 TDs, 3 INTs and 104 rushing yards. Not spectacular, but respectable given how badly overmatched his team was against those powerhouse opponents.
Mobility was impacted by his leg injury in the middle of the season, otherwise he might have had even better rushing stats. In one game, he came up gimpy after running out of bounds, non contact play, limping after end of play and after that point couldn't move normally, running on one leg.
Only scratching surface of his potential. Started just one year in his career. Didn't play in pro style offense at Kent State. Best football could be several years down the road.
Extremely inexperienced. Plays like he's an underclassman. Not refined or polished in any aspect of his game.
Average pocket awareness and presence. Pocket movements not composed. Did unnecessary 360 degree spin inside of pocket prior to throwing pass. Blitz, hot route is wide open, QB caught by surprise, not prepared for how to respond to the pressure.
Not yet ready to handle NFL reads and a pro system. Doesn't properly dissect even simple half field reads, throwing the ball to the wrong target.
Has never put up big passing stats, even going back to his high school career. Only had 3 games in 2022 with at least 200 passing yards. Only had 2 games where he completed at least 65% of his passes and one of those contests was against Long Island.
3/4 arm delivery. With lower delivery, nearly threw INT directly to DE. Slant pass deflected at LOS by DT. Messy upper and lower body mechanics, doesn't throw with balanced base or get proper rotation.
Inefficient completing simpler passes. Throws ball too hard at times, making it difficult to catch the ball. Short 3rd down, TE leaks out and is wide open, super easy toss, no pressure on QB, but QB doesn't set feet, fades away and throws off back foot, misses so low that the TE falls to the ground to make catch, so instead of a 1st down, it becomes 4th down and the team fails to convert on the 4th down play. What a ridiculously bad pass. Basic slant open on 3rd down, but QB rockets pass way too high and hot, missing target badly. Stick route on short 3rd down, scatter shot accuracy, ball placed high and too far inside.
Has arm strength, but doesn't have great deep ball accuracy. 35 yard go route overthrown. 40 yard go down sideline off target.
Does not have great run strength or power. Carries the ball loosely, a fumble waiting to happen when he's running. Costly mental mistakes in a close game in 4th quarter where he slid down instead of running forward, resulting in him being marked short of the line to gain.
I'm concerned that if he gets beaten out for the UCLA job that it will only further hold back his development, causing him to lose out on valuable playing experience. Maybe he could even try to transfer out to a different school for 2024.
Not a single draft expert currently lists Schlee as a draft worthy prospect. Let me quote for you what TDN says in their profile on Schlee: "_____". It is totally blank. They have his stats and that's it.
Shane Hallam 18th QB, not in top 250 overall (priority UDFA)
NFLDB 62nd QB (super deep UDFA). It is unclear whether DraftBuzz even has Schlee ranked, because his profile says he's the 62nd QB, but the 2024 board doesn't list his name anywhere, so I am unsure if this is because they don't rank him high enough to make the list or because they are not anticipating him being in the 2024 draft.
NFLMDD consensus big board 62nd QB (super deep UDFA)
PFN draft simulator 35th QB, 379th overall (UDFA)
The opening game of UCLA's season could be a key under the radar showdown, because they play Coastal Carolina, which has a QB draft prospect named Grayson McCall. The rivalry game vs USC is in the middle of November.
For an NFL comp, I'll go with Danny Etling, a 7th round pick by the Patriots in 2018. Etling began his career at Purdue, then transferred to LSU. He only lasted one season with the Pats and his 2nd year they tried to move him to WR. He bounced around on several other teams, including briefly in the CFL and is currently on a future contract with the Packers. In 5 years in pro football, Etling has yet to appear in a single NFL game. For almost the entire time, he's been a practice squad player.