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2012 NFL Draft: 4 Reasons Sun Devils' Brock Osweiler Is a Top-5 Quarterback

Matt MadsenCorrespondent IIFebruary 21, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: 4 Reasons Sun Devils' Brock Osweiler Is a Top-5 Quarterback

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    The NFL draft is chock-full of mysteries.

    Every year, guys seem to come out of the woodwork and make huge impacts on the success of teams around the league.

    Every year, top-10 draft picks, guys who scouts commonly label "can't-miss" prospects, completely fail to make any impact whatsoever.

    And then there are those middle guys, the players who the experts recognize as talented, but not elite. Guys who are a little under the radar.

    Brock Osweiler is one of those guys.

    It's fair to say that he's been recognized by the experts, since both Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay have him in their top five quarterback prospects.

    But after a so-so career at Arizona State, why do they have him where they do?

    Let's take a look.

Elite Size

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    Brock Osweiler is gigantic.

    At 6'8", 240 pounds, he has some room to grow into his body, but there's no denying his NFL frame.

    It's no secret that NFL teams covet elite size at every position, and Osweiler will be one of the tallest quarterbacks in the league come April.

    For quarterbacks, having height as an advantage can be key, as offensive linemen in the NFL are among the game's biggest players. Being able to see and throw over them is a huge advantage for a quarterback, as he won't have to worry nearly as much about managing passing lanes.

    Tall quarterbacks are also generally regarded as having superior arm strength.

    That rings true with Osweiler, as well. He has the ability to zip balls into tight spaces and make those deep throws that NFL scouts love so much.

    He has all the physical tools demanded of an NFL quarterback prospect.

Underrated Athleticism

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    While he's no Tim Tebow, Osweiler can get it done running the ball when he needs to.

    Due to rushing yards being adjusted for sacks, his rushing yards appear extremely limited, but Osweiler did run for three touchdowns in 2011. At the NFL level he certainly won't run by anyone, but he's also no Kurt Warner.

    At 6'8", you might think of him as rooted to the ground, but that couldn't be more untrue. Before committing to ASU, Osweiler originally had been recruited to play basketball at Gonzaga.

    In the video above, Osweiler is seen stiff-arming USC linebacker Devon Kennard and scampering for a first-down conversion. The Sun Devils were trailing 14-3 and facing a third down in USC territory.

    He's got more Ben Roethlisberger in him than Ryan Mallett.

Supporting Cast Was Limited

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    While at Arizona State, Osweiler did not enjoy a wealth of talent around him. In fact, his supporting cast was pretty weak.

    Of his three leading receivers in 2011, one was completely unranked by Rivals. One was a two-star Oregon cast-out who transferred to ASU after failing to make an impact for Chip Kelly.

    In fairness, leading receiver Gerell Robinson was a four-star recruit coming out of high school. Robinson struggled through most of his career until Osweiler became the full-time starting quarterback.

    In his first three years at ASU, Robinson totaled 58 catches for 674 yards and five touchdowns.

    In 2011, he caught 77 passes for 1,397 yards and seven touchdowns.

    Did he magically become a better player, or did Osweiler's emergence have something to do with it?

    Osweiler's situation is somewhat similar to that of Stanford's Andrew Luck. His own success was hindered at times by the lack of talent surrounding him, rather than by any fault of his own.

Production

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    It's true that Brock Osweiler only had 17 career starts.

    It's also true that he only won eight of them.

    But it wasn't for lack of proficiency on his part.

    In 2011 alone he threw for over 4,000 yards and 26 touchdowns, rushing for another three scores.

    He completed nearly 64 percent of his passes and and always looked in control of the offense.

    After returning to the starting role after over a year as a backup, Osweiler responded by going 27-of-36 for 380 yards, four touchdowns and no picks.

    He added 35 rushing yards and another touchdown on the ground. Needless to say, UCLA wasn't pleased. It was his third career start, and first since his freshman year.

    He is a natural talent who can extend plays and understands defenses. He will light it up in an NFL offense.

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