2020 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Sam Ehlinger
School: The University of Texas
Weight: 230 pounds
Night and day. Like most quarterbacks entering college, Ehlinger suffered a lack of touch. In fact, about a third of his career interceptions occurred during his first year. Moreover, he struggled with timing or late-breaking routes. Either he’d throw far behind or sail passes deep. After those necessary losses and a change in coaching, Ehlinger dialed. Now, he shows the confidence to throw between defenders, in the red zone. On top of that, he staggers the RPM of his passes. That is to say, he will use appropriate velocity to find openings.
Ehlinger always possessed a strong arm. Now, instead of just throwing YOLO passes, he will scare defenses from anywhere on the field. From dropping it into the bucket on vertical patterns to threading the needle, the ball gets there. Additionally, Ehlinger can and will make throws outside the numbers.
Despite his size, Ehlinger shows fluidity in sliding the pocket to make a throw. When he does run, and he will take off, he gets downhill in an instant. With purpose, he gains positive yardage and chunks from the defense.
As mentioned, Ehlinger displays mobility. Yet, he will scan through his reads and then take off. If he feels that his wideout can win that 1v1, he’ll stand in, face the rush and deliver the ball.
The Raiders do not have a sound backup plan behind Derek Carr. If you are honest, they do not have a future quarterback, either. If you are honest, unbiased and objective, Derek Carr is a good, but not great quarterback. Granted, he reached new completion heights under Gruden. yet, the tentativeness, and second half failures continue to mount. Gruden lauds himself as a quarterback whisperer, is it time to bring in real competition?
Whether the Raiders keep Derek Carr in Las Vegas, Ehlinger should appear on their radar. Aside from the perceived elite group, Ehlinger exhibits the trait that Gruden reveres most: toughness. He will get downfield on a broken play, using his frame to barrel over smaller defender or displaying enough streak past linebackers.
More importantly, Ehlinger presents Gruden and the Raiders with the tools and demeanor of a quarterback that can be shaped. Blessed with a good arm that evolved into a more accurate one, Ehlinger skills base sits high enough to develop. People can say what they want about Jon Gruden, but after watching Josh Allen, you know he’s seen what parallel talent can do. With Carr probably taking the field in Vegas, Gruden can mold Ehlinger into what he envisions as his quarterback.