January 22, 2006

The Breakdown: Quarterbacks

In "The Breakdown," veteran talent scout Randy Rodgers is analyzing film of a select group of the nation's top prospects for Rivals.com. Rodgers has more than 35 years of experience in the college recruiting arena. He was the recruiting coordinator at the University of Illinois (1988-91) and the University of Texas (1992-97) and is one of the leading authorities on high school football talent analysis in the country. In this edition, Rodgers takes a look at quarterbacks.

Matthew Stafford, 6-3, 210, Dallas (Texas) Highland Park Video
Stafford is best described as a playmaker. He plays with a lot of confidence and can make all the throws. Has excellent touch on deep balls (fades, takeoffs, corner routes), can throw with velocity on tough throws ... is one of the better high school QBs in recent years on short arc throws. He has a quick release under pressure and seems to have a real knack for putting his throws in the best position for his receivers. Some would criticize his throwing motion because he throws from a variety of angles-including some sidearms. However, the type of pass needed and the type of pressure he is receiving dictates his throwing motion. Makes many throws off his back foot, but still has the arm strength to overcome any weight distribution problems. Very good at finding secondary targets. A better athlete than he is given credit for. Has a real thick body and is able to withstand hits. Has toughness and competitiveness and should play early in college.
Mitch Mustain, 6-3, 208, Springdale (Ark.) Video
Superior player, mechanically sound. Has excellent size, sits tall in the pocket, keeps feet alive, and gets hips moving forward into throws. Has high release point and efficient throwing motion. Shows excellent touch on deep balls, makes tough throws with velocity, very good at hitting vertical and crossing receivers in stride. Also has the athletic ability and speed to run from the spread or if forced to. Should be outstanding in college.
Demetrius Jones, 6-3, 192, Chicago Morgan Park Video
Has good size and thickness. Excellent runner, who has tendency to tuck and run when pressured. Definitely a scramble-to-run QB, but may be at his best when protection breaks down. Ideal for the spread offense because he is a definite running threat. Needs to improve his velocity. Didn't have many hard throws in his offense, but does have good accuracy. Would like to see him "gun" more throws, but does have good arm strength. Will need to improve his ability to find secondary receivers when he gets to college, because defensive athleticism and speed will catch up. I really like his mobility and all his mechanical needs can be improved on when he reaches college. Will need to red-shirt.
Isiah Williams, 6-2, 207, Chicago Vocational Video
Has a really strong armócan definitely stretch the field. Might be a little shorter than listed, but has excellent mobility and speed. Can escape the rush and throw on the run. Throws off his back foot a lot, but does complete most of his throws. Has decent velocity, but isn't asked to make many tough throws between the hashes. Another player who will benefit from position coaching and spring practice in college.
Josh Freeman, 6-6, 231, Grandview (Mo.) Video
Tall and big, surprisingly mobile for his size. Has only average mobility and will fit best in pocket system. Needs to continue working on getting his feet and hips lined up consistently, but has strong enough arm to make throws when not mechanically sound. Has great confidence in his own ability and completes balls into coverage. Can throw on run. Seems to be able to anticipate and throw to spots on the field. Will need to red shirt, but has the big-time size and arm strength to be a very good college player.

Randy Rodgers' QB Comparison:
Of the QB's that you have given me, I would rank Mustain and Stafford well above the others. They are ready to play at the college level. Mustain is technically more sound, Stafford may have better velocity, Mustain is a better running threat. You can take first pick and I'll take the other. I see Freeman as strictly a pocket guy, Jones and Williams as more athletic. I think Jones has the best mobility, the most ability to make plays with his feet, and by far the best runner. It will be interesting to see how Charlie Weis tones down Jones, but he is a major talent athletically to play in that kind of system. Williams will also need to red shirt to improve on mechanics.

More Breakdowns:
Backs/Receivers | Offensive linemen | Defensive linemen | Linebackers | Defensive backs

For more of Randy Rodgers recruiting analysis, check out his website, randyrodgersrecruiting.com.

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