Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images (Graphic: B/R)
When given time to set up and throw, Jay Cutler (6'3", 220 pounds, seven seasons) is a very accurate passer. Fans may be critical of his completion percentage, but actually, charting Cutler’s throws gives you a different perspective—one that shows the quarterback isn’t that far off the mark.
With one of the strongest arms in the NFL, Cutler continues to be a template of arm strength for NFL prospects. Cutler throws with some of the hardest velocity in the NFL, which can be a good or bad thing for receivers. There are times when the ball is delivered too hot and receivers can’t bring it in. Learning when to take something off the ball has eluded Cutler.
The problem with Cutler’s game is that he knows how strong his arm is, and oftentimes he tries to throw into windows that he shouldn’t. His overconfidence in his arm puts him in as many bad situations as it does good ones.
From a mechanical standpoint, Cutler needs some work. A big issue is his tendency to throw off his back foot while fading away from the line of scrimmage. While Cutler is strong enough to pass without stepping into the throw, this leads to accuracy issues, as the ball can float when not thrown with the force of a step toward the receiver. Also, too often you see Cutler drop his elbow before throwing the ball. This hasn’t been as costly, but it’s still an issue that you don’t like to see.
It may surprise people, but Cutler can run, and run well. He’s much faster than given credit for, and this shows up in his roll-out packages and when he’s pressured and forced to run. Cutler won’t beat Robert Griffin III in a race, but he’ll keep up with the faster set of quarterbacks in the game.
A love-or-hate quarterback for most, Cutler is on the higher end of the spectrum in terms of pure talent. His body language and decision making can be terrible at times, but his arm strength, velocity, mobility and accuracy are all near the best in the league. If he could play behind a better offensive line, with less pressure, it would be exciting to see where Cutler could go as a quarterback.
Cutler was tied at No. 9 in last year's B/R NFL 1,000 quarterback rankings.