Arizona State QB Brock Osweiler: The Next Big Thing or Just Big?
The concept of value in the NFL draft is always one of the most difficult things to attribute to positions and players, especially the quarterback position. One of the prospects in this class that is most polarizing in value is Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler, a towering 6'7" 242-pound athlete with loads of arm strength. But is his value in the first round as high as some are suggesting?
Osweiler is a giant compared to the competition at the quarterback position. His stature is more than ideal, as it enables him to see over tall defensive linemen and scan the entire field.
Although Osweiler has great stature, he often does not play like it because of his arm slot and release points. His delivery tends to be all over the place (with his elbow often below his shoulder) when passing the ball to his targets. An instance of this is his sidearm release which negates his height advantage and can lead to passes being deflected.
Footwork & Accuracy
I chose to tie in footwork and accuracy for this report because they are intertwined and it is especially noticeable in Osweiler's performances.
Osweiler has issues in his footwork that can be labeled chronic. He locks his front leg when throwing the ball which causes the throw to be inaccurate because of imbalance. All of his weight is shifted to his front leg and consequently, makes the ball dip downward when in flight.
Furthermore, he lacks consistent hip rotation on his throws. This is an issue that young quarterbacks tend to have, but it's a bigger issue than usual with Osweiler because it leads to inaccurate passes.
Pocket presence is one of the most important aspects of quarterbacking and it's an area of Osweiler's game which I have concern over.
Osweiler steps up into the pocket when facing backside pressure, but when it's in his face, he has issues. He needs space to work with when delivering passes, being unable to throw them when there is a defender in his face. He also tends to hold the ball too long.
Touch is a requisite skill to form a complete arsenal when attacking NFL defenses and it's a part of Osweiler's game. He hasn't thrown a significant amount of these passes because of the offense he operates in, but he has shown the ability to throw them.
Osweiler has a very strong arm, and it is noticeable when throwing downfield. He is able to make all of his throws from different platforms. However, because of his footwork, his velocity can be dramatically decreased despite his arm strength. Despite this issue in his game, a good coach will be able to get the most out of his arm strength.
Another quality aspect of the ASU product's game is his mobility. Taller athletes tend to have a more difficult time coordinating themselves when moving rapidly, but this is not an issue for Osweiler, who shows good movement skills. He is able to escape the pocket and move the chains with his feet.
Throwing On the Run
Moreover, Osweiler's ability to throw on the run is not in question. He does a good job in this aspect of his game as he's able to square his shoulders and deliver the ball downfield. However, he must improve his decision-making when on the move (as well as in the pocket).
At Arizona State, Osweiler operated in a scheme that was put together by offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone. Mazzone is one of the finer teachers and coaches in football and does a great job of simplifying the game for his quarterbacks.
Is Brock Osweiler worthy of a first-round pick?
Mazzone's offense does a good job of attacking space and utilizing horizontal and vertical stretches to widen defenses. Because of this, many of the reads Osweiler made were two-man reads that are typically seen out of a three-step drop back passing game. It is important to note, however, that he did make multiple reads (more than two) at times.
Arizona State's Brock Osweiler is one of the most polarizing quarterbacks in this April's draft. He has upside and some tools that coaches can work with, but overall, there are many questions about his potential transition to the professional level. That doesn't necessarily mean he will be a bust, but area of selection may dictate that regardless if the label is applied or not.
I would be surprised if Osweiler becomes a consistent, starting quarterback in the NFL. In my opinion, his value in this year's draft falls in the fifth to sixth round, although I expect him to go significantly higher.
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