John Rhys Plumlee draft introduction

The Next Taysom Hill?

UCF QB, John Rhys Plumlee, is very fast. There are many dual threat QBs who might be in the 2024 NFL draft, but out of the entire group, Plumlee is potentially the most dangerous runner of them all. Plumlee has over 2,000 career rushing yards and has averaged 5.9 yards per rushing attempt in his career. Drake Maye had 3.8 yards per carry last season. Jayden Daniels has averaged 4.5 yards per carry in his career. JJ McCarthy has a 4.4 yard average. Jordan Travis has a 5.2 yard average. Jeff Sims has a 4.2 yard average. When you factor in the total volume of rushing yardage Plumlee has amassed relative to the number of games he has started and the efficiency with which he's gained those yards, he's a cut above nearly every other QB in the draft class. Even more impressive is he was just as productive against top defenses such as Alabama and LSU as he was against against smaller schools.

Plumlee isn't much of a passer, but I don't understand why some experts have QBs such as Jalon Daniels from Kansas ranked so much higher than Plumlee. One board has Daniels as a 2nd round pick and the PFN simulator has Daniels as a 4th round prospect. I have Plumlee graded ahead of Daniels. What is the reasoning behind placing them on different tiers? Their stats are very similar. Daniels averaged 5.5 yards per carry last season, has 7.2 yards per passing attempt in his career and completed 61.9% of his passes. Plumlee averaged 5.4 yards per carry last season, has 7.1 yards per passing attempt in his career and has completed 60.1% of his passes.

In September of 2022, Ryan Fowler (TDN) said that NFL scouts saw JRP as a Taysom Hill type player, but Fowler suggested that Plumlee had the passing tools to potentially could garner interest purely as a QB. Hill was an UDFA and wasn't even signed by the Saints. He was initially with the Green Bay Packers and Sean Payton discovered him by accident when he was studying a different Packer in preseason games. The Saints got him with a waiver claim when the Packers cut Hill. The Saints officially list Hill as a tight end, even though he only had 9 catches last season.

Jordan Love was a 1st round pick by the Packers in 2020. In limited playing time (he's only started one game in his career), Love has a 79.7 passer rating. Hill as a former UDFA is 7-2 as a starter in his career and has an 88.7 career passer rating. Love is supposed to be the new starter for GB as ARod's replacement. He needs to have a good 2023 season, otherwise the return value from that 1st round pick would fall short of the value the Saints got during the 4 year period from 2017 through 2020 on their waiver claim of Hill.

My NFL comp for Plumlee is Trace McSorley, who was a 6th round pick by the Ravens out of Penn State in 2019. McSorley was 6 feet tall, 202 pounds, with a 4.57 second 40 time. Some NFL teams reportedly wanted McSorley to do defensive back drills at the Combine, but he declined and only worked out with the QBs. Playing for Penn State in 2018, McSorley only completed 53.2% of his passes, with 18 TDs and 7 INTs. He added 798 rushing yards and 12 rushing TDs. McSorley has been a 3rd string QB for most of his career and is currently with the New England Patriots.

Like McSorley, I don't project Plumlee to ever become more than a 3rd string QB in the NFL. A team might try using him as a WR or as a change of pace RB. Maybe he could be used to return punts and kicks or perform other roles on special teams.

I have an UDFA grade on Plumlee, but I also think he could be an interesting player to try to develop as an NFL backup, due to his special talent at making things happen with his legs. The Rams took on Bryce Perkins as a developmental project. Perkins was a dangerous runner at Virginia. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry at UVA. Perkins had many flaws as a passer, primarily with his accuracy, but he had good height. If you put Plumlee and Perkins in the same draft, I would go with Plumlee over Perkins.


Name: John Rhys Plumlee. Turns 23 years old in January of 2024. Redshirt senior.

School: UCF. Transferred from Ole Miss in 2022. Was multi-disciplinary studies major at Ole Miss.

Size: Listed 6' tall, 200 pounds. Listed 192 pounds in 2019. NFLDB 4.52 second 40 time. When he was in high school, timed 4.42 seconds in the 40. Sports Illustrated 5'11 3/4'' tall, 200 pounds, 4.42 second 40 time.

4 star recruit from MS. Flipped from Georgia to Ole Miss.

When Matt Corral got injured in 2019, Plumlee played as a true freshman. It was the only substantial playing time he got at QB at Ole Miss. Started 8 games in 2019, ran for at least 90 yards in 6 games, including 109 yards against Alabama and 212 yards against LSU, the number one team in the country with Joe Burrow at QB and a defense stuffed with future NFL players.

One game started at WR in 2020. In the Outback Bowl to end the 2020 season, he had 5 catches for 73 yards, the 2nd leading receiver for Ole Miss in that game. Played WR in 2021, had 19 catches for 201 yards that season.

Played outfielder for both Ole Miss and UCF baseball teams.

2019: 154-1,023-12 rushing, 4 fumbles. 52.7% completions, 910 yards, 4 TDs, 3 INTs, 8 sacks

2022: 159-862-11 rushing, 6 fumbles. 63.0% completions, 2,586 yards, 14 TDs, 8 INTs, 28 sacks

Shoulder injury, concussion and hamstring injury in 2022. Minor surgery on left knee in 2019.

Confident and outgoing personality. Jokes around and keeps his teammates loose. High energy competitor. Brings good vibes to the team, has fun playing the game.


Lightning in a bottle. Sudden athlete. Short area quickness and excellent acceleration. Solid run strength relative to his size, not afraid of contact. Repeatedly hurdled over defenders with ease. Good vision and instincts to properly plot his course and take good angles at 2nd level. Decisive and aggressive. Has a direct running style, getting upfield quickly instead of wasting time with unnecessary jukes or hesitation moves. Gets yards after contact, doesn't get taken down by weak tackle attempts. Very good body control. Finishes runs falling forward. Can stop on a dime and jump to side to dodge defenders. Speed to win races to edge and 2nd gear in open field to stress pursuit angles. In situations where DL appear to have the angle on him in the backfield, they are unable to get to him, the QB is too fast and from a standing start can pull away and turn the corner on them, breaking containment and heading upfield. His running ability is useful to convert on short 3rd and 4th downs.

Plumlee led UCF in rushing in 2022, even though he missed a game. He had about 50 fewer attempts than the starting RB, Bowser (who was a relatively well regarded draft prospect), but had more yards than Bowser, with a rushing average 1.5 yards per carry better than Bowser. In 2019, Plumlee had nearly as many rushing yards as Scottie Phillips and Snoop Conner combined. So, calling Plumlee a dual threat QB doesn't even fully convey how much of a threat he was as a runner.

Erases sacks with agile moves inside of pocket. OL blows blocking assignment, nobody blocks DE, who is clean to the QB right off the snap. QB scrambles to his right to escape the sack, then stops and reverses field, heading back to the left and picks up yardage past LOS.

Not afraid of contact, will lower his helmet and barrel into defenders if necessary. Uses his off hand to try to push defenders down who are attempting leg tackles. Can switch the ball to proper arm. Willing blocker, gives effort to try to block for other players.

Quick release, enough arm talent to effectively operate in a West Cost system if moved outside the pocket and given shorter throws. Flashes touch. Decent accuracy on shorter throws, throws catchable ball. Beat blitzes with quick release, turning potential sacks into completions. Dodged free rusher to erase sack, then threw pass side arm for completion.

Made some nice throws where he's hit immediately after release. Helmet balanced, smooth delivery. Enough arm to make throws in 40 yard range. 25 yard TD strike from far hash.

Gutsy, will challenge tight coverage. 3rd down, QB throws pass to sideline right by the earhole of the CB.

One of his fumbles wasn't really a fumble, he got hit on the throw, causing the ball to go backwards and out of bounds.

Even though he was in a read option based scheme, he made good decisions executing their plays, so he seems like he has decent football IQ and feel for the game.

His injury seemed to limit his mobility in some 2022 games. If he hadn't gotten hurt, he very likely would have had the 2nd 1,000 yard rushing season of his career last year. He had 1,000 yards in 2019 even though he didn't play in all of the games and got hurt that season too. I wonder what type of rushing stats he could put up if he could stay healthy for an entire season.


He's a white guy. Would his draft stock be higher if he were black? Keenan Reynolds was a QB at Navy who was drafted by the Ravens in the 6th round in 2016. Reynolds was very small at only 5'10'' tall, but a quick and elusive runner, piling up big rushing stats in Navy's option offense. He ran 4.57 seconds in the 40. Seems like Plumlee would be a better NFL prospect than Reynolds.

Was faster and more electric as a runner in 2019. I don't know if this is because of his injuries or because he added weight and got more muscular, but he lost some of that quickness and explosion in 2022. In 2019, Plumlee could pull away from CBs, he was considerably faster than they were. Okay, those weren't NFL CBs, but still, how many times do you see a QB break into the open field, then run by CBs as if they were standing still? It wasn't just "if he's even, he's leaving", the CB could be 5 yards downfield from the QB, but still had no chance, it was over, the pursuit angle was scorched in the blink of an eye. As effective as Plumlee was in 2022, you should go back and check out his 2019 highlights to see him at the height of his powers. He was really fast for a QB.

Too short and small. Repeatedly got passes batted at LOS, unable to get the ball up and over defenders who are in his face. Footwork breaks down when he has pressure in his face, his baseball background takes over and he'll jump in the air with wild body positions to try to work the ball over or around defenders, which looks cool when it works, but other times it results in errant short passes that sail high and flirt with danger.

Appears to have short arms and small hands, which limits his upside if moved to WR. Tried to make circus one handed catch, but was unable to bring the ball in. Hands are shaky catching the ball as a WR. Tight hipped, preventing him from being sudden as a route runner. I don't think he'll become another Julian Edelman.

Does not have an NFL arm. Lacks zip to drive the ball to the sideline from opposite hash. Lack of velocity hampers quick game, ball is too slow getting to WRs on simple horizontal passes, not enough steam. Struggles to put a good spiral on the ball. Has to exert himself and step on gas in order to zip intermediate passes into zone coverage.

Below average accuracy. Not precise on backshoulders, the ball can drift off target and be too close to the CB or even be on the other side of the CB. Missed some basic throws behind or high of target. Wheel route down sideline, pass sails well out of bound, not giving WR any chance at catch. Square in, WR has leverage on the route, but pass is behind the WR and is nearly intercepted by the trailing CB. 35 yard post route, WR is behind the CB, if pass hits him in stride and leads him into open field it is a huge play and potentially a very long TD, but pass isn't even in same area code, way overthrown, way off target to the outside instead of towards middle of field, it was if the QB just punted the ball into the air and hoped for the best. Sailed intermediate pass to sideline high, throwing on the move to his right. I'm willing to give him at least some benefit of the doubt, because he had a shoulder injury in 2022, so I don't know how much that injury might have impacted his accuracy and arm strength.

3rd down play, shallow drag route near LOS, WR 2 steps ahead of CB, potential for big YAC, but QB's pass appears to get deflected at line, even though there is a ton of space for QB to just lob the ball gently over the top and lead the WR into wide open field. I have no idea how the QB managed to mess up this play, that's terrible to lose such an easy 3rd down conversion. It's almost the same as a turnover, like throwing an INT, because the offense should still have the ball and a fresh set of downs, but instead the opponent is going to get the ball.

Poor ability to layer throws. Had space to fit ball over CB for a 3rd down completion, but instead of trying to drop it in, just guns it flat and misses too high, way over head of WR.

Hasn't played in a pro style offense. Guz Malzahn is UCF's head coach and they use an uptempo, shotgun spread system, build around RPOs. System had many predetermined throws, touch passes that were effectively just runs, simplistic reads and some gimmicky playground style plays like you'd see a high school team run. A few of his plays, I don't know if there is even a true progression in the play design, it seemed like there were only 2 WRs involved and the QB had no choice other than to throw it to one of those 2 guys. Does not show advanced ability to read progressions, late to recognize open targets. Doesn't throw the receiver open and lead them away from defenders or get them to sit down in open voids. Led LB to slant with his eyes by staring down WR, throws pass directly to LB, should have been an INT, but the LB drops the ball. QB 100% blind to defensive rotation, nearly throws INT to DB undercutting the route, looked to me that the defense intentionally baited QB into the throw and he fell into the trap, because if he knew what the defense was doing, QB should have targeted a different WR. Sail concept, looked to me that QB made the wrong choice on when and where to throw the pass.

Not big enough to power through tackles, break out of the grasp of defenders or drag defenders forward for extra yardage. Some balance issues, when he tries to evade tackles, sometimes he'll lose his balance and fall down. Plumlee's lack of size is why I don't see him as being the next Taysom Hill. He isn't going to be as versatile as Hill, because he's too small.

Nonchalant with ball security, doesn't tuck the ball immediately, carries it loosely in one hand until he anticipates a defender closing in. Doesn't cover the ball with 2 hands in traffic. Even after QB decides to tuck it and run, ball not high and tight to chest, so there is an opportunity for defenders to punch or rip it out.

Aggressive mindset can backfire. Instead of being a game manager, will take risks and put the ball into harm's way.

Running QBs get hurt. A key factor why he's been injured so much in his career is he keeps absorbing hits.

Splitting his time playing baseball probably has hampered his development, hasn't been focused on football. His upper body is almost too muscular in proportion to the rest of his body. If he's willing to give up baseball, maybe he can train his body 100% for football.

Will be a year older than an average prospect. Limited ceiling.

2023 Outlook

UCF has joined the revamped Big 12 conference. They also play at Boise State as a non-conference game. Team lost a good RB, Isiah Bowser, who is an UDFA with the Buffalo Bills. UCF had a very experienced OL in 2022, but many of those guys are gone, so there are going to be a bunch of new faces blocking in front of Plumlee.

The way experts view Plumlee, he has no chance at getting drafted. In fact, he's ranked so low that it is questionable whether he would even be an UDFA. He might be left hoping to get a try-out invitation.

NFLDB 60th QB (UDFA): Instinctive runner. Zip and accuracy on slants. Touch on seam, post and corner routes. Quick release, good accuracy on shorter throws. Holds ball loosely, vulnerable to strip sacks. Average arm strength. Inconsistent stride length, impacting accuracy.

Shane Hallam 35th QB (UDFA). Hallam has JRP ranked almost the same as Cameron Rising, which I think is fair, the 2 QBs are similar.

NFLMDD consensus big board, 57th QB, 601st overall (UDFA). Jalon Daniels on this board is the 15th ranked QB, 143rd overall prospect. Even though Plumlee is very low on this board, he's still ahead of guys like Kedon Slovis, JT Daniels, Phil Jurkovec and Emory Jones.

I don't understand why the experts are so low on this QB relative to other prospects. Let's take Cameron Rising as an example and pretend that we were considering one of those 2 guys as either a late rd pick or to sign as an UDFA. Both players are good runners, but limited passers and too small. Rising is an older prospect with a longer and more serious injury history than Plumlee. Rising is coming off a torn ACL. So, why is Rising ranked as a Day 3 pick to priority UDFA by all the experts, while Plumlee is so far off the radar he's barely a speck on the horizon? Seems to me that the choice between Rising and Plumlee wouldn't be immediately obvious and there would be several good reasons to choose Plumlee ahead of Rising. Some of the draft board rankings don't make any sense. Rising and Plumlee should be closer together, which is how Shane Hallam has them evaluated, not far apart.