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Monday, April 28, 2014

Around The Draft: Various QBs

The draft should've happened already.  By this time three years ago, Cam Newton was already a Panther.  This throwing it back two weeks is nutty.

And, I'm going on six days without a post due to some family tragedy.

So, I'm throwing a bunch of guys out today in hopes of catching up.   I haven't talked QBs, and that's all everyone is - let me start right here and say that I'd be very surprised if Carolina drafted anyone.  The Joe Webb thing is already a throw-away situation, in my opinion.  The team wants and, in my opinion, needs Derek Anderson.  With that defense, and with the attention to the running game, Newton's attributes running are a positive, but they need a good QB more than a running one if Newton is out of the game for whatever reason.   Anderson's abilities in the passing game and experience make him a good change-up.  He's suited, possibly, to that backup role a bit more, but has fringe starter talent.

Still, if you were to push the idea of a long-term backup with wheels, you might throw a later pick at the spot.  This is where, you might argue, I'm deviating from the 25-to-85-ish theme (I'm sure plenty of those prospects are outside the top 90 to other eyes).  These players are lower players.

But Carolina can't afford to throw a top 90 pick at a spot that hopefully would never play. And trying to find a similar skill set to Newton's would be more expensive than that - finding a player that has his size/speed characteristics, much less with quarterback skill, isn't always that easy.

So, who's intriguing?

*Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech -
the thing that jumps out at you is his size.  Legitimately a little taller and thicker than Newton, he shares a number of attributes.  They're both quick for that size, they both have the broad shoulders and heft that a lot of running QBs clearly lack, which would assumedly create a bit more durability for running.  They're both long-legged striders who don't look fast but still get upfield deceptively fast (Thomas ran a similar 40 at 4.61). Both can slip around in the pocket but both can stand in and take the hit.  Both have a ton of arm.

Now, Thomas is remarkably inconsistent.  Even in all-star practices this offseason, Thomas was everywhere - great, awful.  Newton had a better final year, and showed a lot more promise.  The mechanics are just not there sometimes.  He gets his body around more than early Newton but the long leg provides similar issues - you're not going to be throwing from on top of that left leg so the launch point is more variable.  Still sounds like Cam, but it's worse than Newton was. He did have some significant struggles in the last two years, too.

I have him around the 5th.  If the spread was wildfire right now, he'd be higher, but not necessarily deservedly.  He's a project, but I think he could be good in a system that fits him. Like Newton, he can hit a lot of throws that most of these kids can't.

*Connor Shaw, South Carolina -
The opposite of the above, Shaw is 6'0.  That does provide some challenges, both as a runner and passer.  He's compact at 210, so he at least has a modest amont of bulk, but he's certainly smaller.  You can't stand tall in the pocket if you're simply not tall.   Then again, if Shaw can get reps and learn to do the pocket wandering that Drew Brees does, great.  And Russell Wilson isn't hampered by it.  But, Shaw's flaw could be his undoing as a starter, and he's not as special as the above two guys in this paragraph, nor as special as the Thomas/Newton type players.   Which makes him available late, when his tape says he's a good starter.

Shaw is a consistent player with an average arm, the requisite toughness and leadership ability and all that. He's a player that could play above his rating because so much of the negative is in measurables. But it's so hard to overlook that.

*Tajh Boyd, Clemson -
There are guys like this out there, just without the name.  Boyd played almost exclusively in shotgun, had mostly easy throws, and wasn't actually asked to do that much - while also being somewhat carried by better players and a good team.  Boyd's height is somewhat of an issue, and he's not even that fast.  He has a slow windup on his throws.

But he's obviously an elusive player who has a knack for playmaking in both phases, a spark guy.  If you can overlook the big issues, and strip the mistakes, you never know.

I don't know if the team will look for a guy here.  I wouldn't.  Honestly, going into year 4 of Newton, without a longterm deal and a young guy behind him, makes Newton look disposable and unwanted - at least that's the press narrative.

But, Thomas is clearly the guy who fits, the type of guy who you'd have to throw time into and hope it pans out.  Since it's now such a 2-QB roster league, I don't know if Carolina has room for this type of guy, though.

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