Ready for Prime Time?
One of the biggest performances by Cobie Durant for South Carolina State in 2021 was when his team whipped Jackson State in the Celebration Bowl. Shedeur Sanders had a rough outing in that game, completing 16 out of 36 passes, with 2 INTs and a bad fumble to set up a TD by SCST. Durant sacked Sanders on a corner blitz.
Many draft experts like Sanders and rank him as either a 1st round or Day 2 pick. I feel that he is too raw. He has upside developmental potential, but currently I only see him as a Day 3 prospect. Unless he makes a big leap forward in 2023 playing for Colorado, his best move could be to remain in school for another year.
NFLDB 7th QB, 62nd overall (late 2nd round): Athletic build, can add 10 to 15 pounds of muscle. Manipulates safeties with eyes. Runs well, light on feet. Inconsistent mechanics. Sloppy mechanics on the move, losing accuracy. Needs to improve touch. Streaky ball placement downfield.
NFLMDD consensus big board 7th QB, 66th overall (late 2nd to early 3rd round)
Sporting News 3rd QB
Shane Hallam 14th QB, 157th overall (5th round)
TDN (Ryan Fowler) 14th QB
Drafttek 8th QB, 73rd overall (3rd round)
Sports Illustrated (Froyd) not ranked among top 15 QBs
PFN draft simulator 14th QB, 134th overall (late 4th to early 5th round)
BuffaloFAMbase big board 7th QB, 68th overall (early 3rd round)
Jake Rigdon (Fanspeak) big board 3rd QB, 19th overall (1st round)
Steve Shoup (Fanspeak) big board 7th QB, 77th overall (3rd round)
PFN (Ian Cummings): Sturdy and athletic frame. Rips throws with high end velocity. Flashes ability to drive throws into tight windows. Flashes excellent pocket presence and anticipation. Does not have elite arm strength, deep throws can stall. Linear runner in space. Mechanics are a major work in progress. Inconsistent base, relies on upper body to throw. Could be Day 2 prospect, but might be better served waiting for 2025 draft.
Name: Shedeur Sanders. Turns 22 years old in February of 2024. True Junior.
School: Colorado. Transferred from Jackson State. Studying sociology.
Size: Listed 6'2'' tall, 215 pounds. NFLDB 4.65 second 40 time.
4 star recruit from Texas. Son of Deion Sanders. Older brother, Shilo Sanders, played safety at JSU. Flipped from Florida Atlantic to Jackson State as recruit. Deion was the offensive coordinator on his HS team.
Transferred to Colorado from JSU for 2023 season.
2021: (10-2 record), 65.9% completions, 3,231 yards, 30 TDs, 8 INTs, 7.82 ypa, negative 17 rushing yards, 3 rush TDs. 7 fumbles, 35 sacks
2022: (11-1 record) 70.6% completions, 3,732 yards, 40 TDs, 6 INTs, 7.75 ypa, 85-173-6 rushing. 1 fumble, 23 sacks
Knocked out of 2022 game with possible concussion. On the play, he took a helmet to the side of the head and was temporarily motionless on the field. Sprained right shoulder in 2022 that impacted his downfield accuracy.
Sense of humor, very playful and relaxed in interviews. Confident, focused, holds teammates accountable, but doesn't have as big and brash a personality like his dad. He describes himself as a laid back and chill guy, not a vocal leader, but will lead by example when it is time to put work in on the field.
Reportedly one of the highest paid college football players in the country in terms of NIL money.
NFL pedigree. Competitive, seems to have genuine love for the game. Being the child of a very famous pro athlete isn't an easy thing, but Shedeur seems to have his head on straight.
Has good athletic gifts. Long limbed. Natural arm talent. Puts zip on ball. Very tight spiral. Can deliver accurate and strong throws off platform. Pinpoint 25 yard and 30 yard backshoulders. 30 yard touch pass hits WR perfectly in stride. QB under pressure throws off backfoot, hits WR nearly 40 yards away, fitting ball over CB in tight coverage. Crazy accurate sideline fade pass to get ball past CB glued tightly to the WR. "Mailbox" accuracy on 12 yard backshoulder, threading pass into tiny window.
Agility to evade pressure. Good speed. Capable runner.
Dramatic TD pass on final of regulation in the 2022 Celebration Bowl to tie the game, though team would eventually lose in OT.
Aligns his feet towards the target. Flashes nice blend of arm strength, accuracy and touch.
The team's OL wasn't as good as their WR talent.
Young player barely scratching surface of full potential.
Slender build. Needs to get stronger and physically mature. Lacks play strength, unable to break out of tackles or withstand contact and stay upright.
Did not play in a pro style offense. Team didn't huddle, looked to sidelines for play call. Shotgun, RPO system, spread with very wide WR splits. Stats inflated by short passes in spread scheme. Played against lower level of competition against FCS opponents.
Due to Deion Sanders effect, JSU had multiple players who were playing "down a level" and should have been at powerhouse FBS schools, but instead decided to play SWAC football in 2022. JSU had superior talent vs their opponents. Receiver Kevin Coleman was a 4 star recruit, a true freshman who chose JSU over a long list of power conference schools and has transferred to Louisville. 6'5'' WR Shane Hooks, the team's leading WR, is transferring to Auburn. Dallas Daniels, the 2nd leading WR, is an UDFA with the Denver Broncos. Willie Gaines, the 4th leading WR, has transferred to CU and will again play with Shedeur. Team even used Travis Hunter, a 5 star CB, as a part time WR, doing his best imitation of Deion Sanders. JSU might have been a small conference program, but they had good talent to help the QB.
Raw throwing mechanics. His shoulders are not level, he tilts to the left side. He relies more on his arm than turning his torso to load energy. His head and center of gravity shift forward, leading his arm. Has an odd hitch in his motion. Sometimes stands flat footed in pocket, then whips the ball with his upper body. Tempo and spacing of his steps inside the pocket are undisciplined and wild. Incomplete weight transfer, 45 yard pass underthrown, forcing WR to slow down to make catch. 40 yard pass underthrown. Elongated throwing motion results in him not having a quick release when he tries to drive the ball with velocity or to throw deep.
Blown coverage, WR all by himself in end zone, QB moves to his left, but since his throwing motion is flawed, he cannot throw the ball across his body to get enough mustard on pass to get the ball to the WR and the ball bounces short of the target.
Doesn't drive backwards in drop, takes his time and skips, making him late to get to top of drop. One play, WRs come out of their break on short routes and QB still had 3 steps left in his dropback. Feet not calm, skittish. Had clean pocket, but instead of settling and remaining calm, skittish feet, so when deep over route WR comes open, QB is not in position to throw the football. Once QB hits top of his drop, sometimes takes an odd extra step, spreading his feet wide apart. Allows his feet to get way too far apart. Took super deep drops on a few plays and I can't tell if that is what the coaches told him to do or if the QB was afraid that the pass protection wasn't going to hold up.
5 step slant by WR, wide open, but since QB is so lazy dropping back, he is late delivering pass, resulting in WR taking huge hit from safety when he catches the ball. If QB throws pass on schedule, WR would have had about 5 yards of space to try to juke the S and gain YAC, maybe try to create a big play. Instead, WR goes to sideline after the play with an injury. Small details like that might not seem important, but in the NFL what if that WR had been Cooper Kupp? A play like that can change the course of a team's entire season.
Doesn't read the entire progression. QB decides primary read isn't open, takes off running even though both the 3rd and 4th read WRs were open and he could have just thrown the ball to one of them, possibly gotten more yardage out of the play, plus wouldn't have exposed his body to getting hit (a big DT landed on him heavily on tackle).
Refuses to step up in the pocket. Like he thinks there's an alligator who lives in the front of the pocket and he's scared of getting too close to it. Even if there is an enormous amount of space, QB prefers to retreat and back up instead of using available room in pocket. On 2nd & goal, went backwards instead of stepping up in pocket or throwing ball away when WRs weren't open, took a 15 yard sack, making it a super long 3rd down play.
Not explosive or particularly elusive as a runner. Carries the ball loosely both inside the pocket and when running.
CU won't be messing around this season. They open their schedule on the road at TCU. The 2nd game is against Nebraska. The 4th and 5th games are against Oregon and USC. The schedule is evenly split between home and road games. There are no cream puff opponents, CU needs to be ready to hit the ground running it they want to succeed, have a winning record and go to a bowl game. Pre-season projections typically have them winning about 6 games.
The OC for CU is Sean Lewis, who previously was the HC at Kent State. He is expected to run a very high tempo, Baylor style Air Raid, RPO based, spread scheme capable of putting up video game stats. In 2020, Kent State had over 600 yards of total offense per game, which not only led the nation, but was over 60 more yards than the 2nd place team, Alabama. So, there is a good chance that Shedeur Sanders will generate eye popping 2023 statistics.
While the hype machine might be set up for Sanders to explode onto the FBS level in 2023, I'm skeptical about him as an NFL prospect. He's a developmental project who needs more coaching. Both mechanical and mental processing issues will need to be addressed before he'll be able to compete for playing time at the NFL level and that process could take years. He has size and the athletic tools to potentially be a good player someday, but unless he substantially improves in 2023, trying to be an early entrant in the 2024 draft could be a mistake. Long term, he might have a better chance at succeeding if he stayed in school another year to continue to work on his game and get more playing experience.