TEMPE, AZ - OCTOBER 29: Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Arizona State Sun Devils drops back to pass against the Colorado Buffaloes during the college football game at Sun Devil Stadium on October 29, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Buffaloes 48-14. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Big news coming out of the Combine people! Brock Osweiler, originally thought to measure in at 6'8", is actually just 6'6 7/8" tall. So, about 6'7". So, now, finally, we can stop comparing him to Dan McGwire.
In all seriousness though, this is fairly significant, as he comes in a full inch shorter than originally thought and if he runs well on Sunday, people's perception and notions of him as a huge, lumbering uncoordinated oaf will likely be dispelled a bit and the whole "no 6'8 quarterback has ever succeeded in the NFL" argument can be put to bed. I guess.
He happens to be one of the quarterbacks that I'm most intrigued with and there are a few reasons for this. One, I am not of the opinion that the Seahawks should or will take a quarterback with their first pick - whether it's at 12 or if they trade back. I believe they'll possibly take a quarterback in the second round as a developmental project and backup option to replace Charlie Whitehurst, and I think Osweiler works there. I simply don't think this is the year of the "QBOTF", the guy you depend on to carry the team, the guy you depend on with your job on the line, at least not in the draft. That's why taking a shot on a high-upside, more risky guy like Osweiler makes sense in my head.
He's very raw, but most will say he has the physical tools to play quarterback at a very high level. He's got a strong arm, by most accounts, has decent athleticism and footwork, can throw on the run, and is very confident. His skillset lines up with what the Seahawks have looked for and brought in at the quarterback position - strong arm, good mobility, and also importantly - big personality. Ask Scott Enyeart - this is actually very important for Pete Carroll. Osweiler obviously believes in himself - evidenced by the early entrance into the Draft and just as apparent in his body-language on the field and his personality in interviews. Think about Charlie Whitehurst's body language and apparent lack of a care in the world - this is the opposite of how I perceive Osweiler. This matters to Carroll. He said, today at the Combine: "We're looking for a great competitor and a guy who can carry other guys when things are tough. Competitive guy."
His accuracy is one controversial point, and I've seen some describe it as awful and others as above-average. It's likely he checks in somewhere in the middle of that so as a developmental project, his accuracy is one thing a team would really have to work on. His release is a little funky, but in my biased mind that's not as big of an issue. Philip Rivers' release is vaguely similar to Osweiler's, and he's doing ok for himself.
From watching film on Osweiler though, in my opinion he does possess some attributes that can't be taught and thus makes him intriguing. He shows a willingness to make throws into tight windows. He flashes nice pocket awareness and seems to have that internal clock that allows him to either make the throw or start running. As you watch below, you'll notice that he very rarely takes sacks. Now, part of that is due to the offense ASU runs, sure, but he also shows a nice ability to slide around, climb the pocket, or just take off when it collapses. Importantly, he shows the ability to make throws even with pressure in his face or when he's about to take a big hit.
He keeps his eyes downfield. He scans the field well, and his height gives him a distinct advantage in that. He doesn't hesitate very often, in my estimation. I'm nobody's scout, but my perception is that he's got some very impressive skills and attributes that make him the perfect project QB. Which is what 2nd round quarterbacks are. If he goes earlier to another team, so be it, and I'm not advocating that the Hawks taking him in the first.
He likely (though, surprises happen) won't go in the first because he's very raw. He's only had a little more than one year of starting experience. He played in a spread offense where a large portion of the throws were swing passes. He never took snaps from under center. That is all stuff that he's going to have to learn and develop in the pros. It will take time for him to learn these things.
I've talked about this before, but if the Seahawks are taking a quarterback anywhere outside the top 10 or 15 picks, he's going to be a project. I don't see Andy Dalton 2.0 happening with this team; though, obviously, that's not impossible. The Hawks could take a guy they like that could theoretically manage the game and have some nice athleticism and tools - I'm thinking of Brandon Weeden, maybe Kirk Cousins, maybe Ryan Tannehill. The problem with these guys though is that they also have some pretty worrisome limitations - whether it's size, arm strength, age, lack of poise or accuracy or decision making - or a combination of all that.
Thus, for the reasons I didn't like Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton, Colt McCoy, and/or Jimmy Clausen the past couple of years, I don't really like any of those guys. I didn't like Blaine Gabbert and we saw how he's done so far as well. I didn't (and don't) like Mark Sanchez for the same reasons. Cousins is probably the most intriguing but even then he doesn't really project to have a very high ceiling. With anything, there are going to be guys that overachieve and make analysts look dumb, but that's just my amateur take right now. In the second round, you're likely taking a guy with the idea that he's your backup. That's what, in my mind, Osweiler would be.
In terms of franchise QB upside though, I like the potential of Brock Osweiler a lot more because he lacks some of these limitations. He's got NFL size. He's got an NFL arm. He's poised. He makes some pretty big-time throws. He's young enough to invest a few years of development in. He was fricking born in 1990. 21 years old. It's very likely that any quarterback taken in the draft this year won't see the field in year one anyway, so why not take a shot on a guy with a higher ceiling? Though some may think so, I don't think the Hawks are that desperate at the moment. Not with the options available, despite everything the media says. Despite what we may or may not believe.
They could be smokescreens, but John Schneider has taken to the airwaves lately and hammered home the idea that THEY WILL NOT PANIC. It's almost comical the emphasis he's put on that lately. That could really mean a few things: one, they will not panic and he's preparing you for the inevitable disappointment of another Draft with no QBOTF selection; or two, he's just throwing up smoke and mirrors for other teams. Either option is plausible, so we really have no way of knowing. Regardless, now you know what I think. Now you tell me why I'm wrong.
Brock Osweiler vs Boise State 2011
Brock Osweiler vs USC 2011
Brock Osweiler vs. Oregon (2011)
Brock Osweiler vs Illinois (2011)
Missouri D vs Arizona State O 2011
Big thanks as usual to DraftBreakdown for the excellent scouting videos they put together. If it wasn't for their hard, unheralded and humble work, we'd be forced to watch those godawful horrible highlight videos with terrible soundtracks all day. So, thanks to Aaron Aloysius, JMPasq, JPDraftJedi, TTN2810, MARI0clp and the wholeDraftBreakdown crew.