As the week of the Senior Bowl approaches, the 2019 quarterback group has the potential to be one of the more enigmatic groups in recent years. The debate has raged about who the top quarterback will be this year, and multiple seniors have chances to shoot up draft boards, or prove that they do not belong. This week we will get to see how these quarterbacks stack up standing right beside each other.
Before getting into what each quarterback can do to help or hurt their stock it is important to note that the week of practices means more to the coaches than the actual game does. Coaches want to throw different concepts, ideas, and schemes at these players and see how they adjust and grow each day. Most scouts and front office members leave before the game, which is looked at more as a reward for the going through a week in which so much was thrown at them.
With that in mind, what is going to be thrown at each quarterback? What can each quarterback prove to show that they are ready to make that next step?
Finely will have to show an understanding of reading the defense pre-snap and reacting to it post-snap. Too often the blitz and disguised coverage were able to knock Finley off guard or make him uncomfortable. He struggled in setting his protections correctly pre-snap, showing that he was unsure where pressure would come from. When defenses mixed blitzes and looks up front, he was hesitant how reacting to this.
Teams will not blitz in the game, but his recognition pre-snap and being able to point out disguised coverages should be something the coaching staff tests him on during practice sessions.
Will Grier will have to show that he can avoid mistakes. Grier throws with anticipation and can make plays in rhythm. However, he ran a very quarterback-friendly offense and will have tougher reads to make.
This will be a real test for Grier because he was a mixed bag when the play broke down. At times, he could find the magic that has some comparing him to Baker Mayfield. However, too often he found himself turning his back to pressure and walking into sacks as well as throwing unwanted prayers and blind shots.
The coaches are going to hand Grier a new playbook and expect him to run it without resorting to his bad habits in college.
Jones might have the most to gain this week. Statistically, he leaves plenty to be desired. However, there is a reason Jones has drawn real NFL intrigue, and he has a chance to pull away from the pack next to some big names this week.
Jones has the needed arm, physical attributes and pocket play to intrigue NFL teams. However, there are questions as to why he hasn’t stood out statistically or in big moments and wins during his college career.
Now, coaches will see Jones standing next to other potential first round picks. They can see how he maneuvers the pocket after Will Grier and how his arm compares to Drew Lock. For Daniel Jones, the big question is does he belong, or does he have just a few strong traits that will get him over drafted?
Drew Lock played his best football late down the stretch. Like Jones, if he can parlay that into a big Senior Bowl week, he could walk into the combine as the most wanted quarterback. However, just like Jones, he could also walk away looking like just another guy.
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Drew Lock has two big questions that will surround his play. The first is his accuracy in the intermediate passing game, especially over the middle of the field. Lock has a big arm, maybe the best of the bunch. However, his accuracy is erratic, especially on touch throws to the short flats and intermediate middle. He will have to hit these in practice settings to draw intrigue.
On top of that, he needs to show improved pocket play. Too often Lock drifts out of the pocket and backpedals. Teams are going to look for him to step up in a literal sense this week.
In a similar way to Daniel Jones, McSorley has to prove he belongs. However, while Jones is looking to prove he belongs in the top tier, McSorley wants to prove he belongs with this group altogether. McSorley is a playmaker; there is no doubt. However, his physical upside, arm accuracy, and pocket demeanor have to be questioned moving forward. The talent at skill player that has gone through his offense has helped him in a big way.
McSorley has done a stable job of avoiding the rush, throwing 50-50 balls, and giving his playmakers a chance to roam. This week McSorley will have to drop back and make big passes into tight spaces if he wants NFL evaluators to consider him in the later rounds.
Minshew is going to get a boost by coming into the draft from an air raid offense the season in which the NFL has seemingly adapted to these schemes and philosophies. Minshew is speedy through his progressions, which will intrigue NFL evaluators.
However, when a play breaks down and he does not throw from a clean pocket he tends to lose accuracy. It will be key to watch him play in a different offense and outside of his comfort level to see if his accuracy dips.
Minshew also has to answer some questions about his arm strength. Throwing on the same field as Drew Lock will help iron out just how much zip Minshew can put on his passes.
Stidham ran an offense where he was not asked to make more than one read, and he got the football out of his hands quick. While that worked, teams are going to throw a lot at him to see how he handles having to go through progressions.
Stidham will also have to work on adjusting to pressure before and after the snap. He struggles to notice blitzes or mixed coverages and struggles to react under pressure. Like Lock, he can drift out of the pocket as well.
Stidham has a lot of work to prove that the Auburn offense did not carry his stats.
Thorson tends to stare down his first read, sometimes for far too long. He has a good enough arm and throws with anticipation which caused him to get away with it at times. However, Thorson will have to play his poker face a bit cooler if he wants to be taken seriously against NFL defenses.
While Thorson can make the quick passes, he also has an issue pushing the ball deep down the field with accuracy. Seeing his arm next to others, and seeing how fast he can process and avoid staring down his targets will be signs that can cause him to shoot up draft boards.
Tyree Jackson has all of the upside in the world but will come into the Senior Bowl as the rawest quarterback of the group. We have seen Jackson throw 50 yards bombs running to his left, but can he complete the simple tasks?
Can he step up in the pocket and deliver passes with accuracy in the short to intermediate? Can he change velocity on his throws, and can he make NFL progressions before bailing from the pocket? If you see a video of Jackson launching bombs from one end zone to the next, it should be expected. The little things need to highlight the week for Tyree Jackson.