Why Zac Dysert Should Be in the Mix for the Jets' First Pick
From now until April's draft, you will hear plenty of pundits claim that this is not a good year to be drafting a quarterback. In a sense, they are right; there is no surefire, can't-miss player like Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III that will be among the best players in the league right off the bat.
Nonetheless, there are starting quarterbacks in this draft, it just takes a little more effort to go about finding them.
By now, you have probably only heard of a few names being thrown around as possible top-10 picks from the quarterback position: Geno Smith, Tyler Wilson, Mike Glennon and Ryan Nassib are garnering the most attention.
Meanwhile, Miami of Ohio's Zac Dysert continues to fly under the radar, despite having all of the same tools the other top prospects have. He just has not gotten the national recognition playing on a mediocre Miami team that is lacking talent around him.
There is a very good chance that by the time the Jets pick ninth overall, Dysert will be the best quarterback on the board, and general manager John Idzik should strongly consider pulling the trigger on him.
Stats and win-loss records do not mark an NFL quarterback—specific, rare traits do, and Dysert showcases just about everything you want in a pro passer.
Ball Placement and Anticipation
Unlike Mark Sanchez, Dysert showcases the ability to put the ball exactly where it needs to be, particularly on touch passes. Check out this would-be touchdown pass where he places the ball right over the defenders' reach and right into the hands of his undersized receiver, who manages to drop the pass.
It is difficult to tell with a still image, but the ball is still thrown while the receiver is covered. However, Dysert sees the corner starting to jump the route, and throws the ball over his reach.
As you can see from this angle, the ball is perfectly placed into the receivers' hands, but the receiver fails to haul it in. It is plays like this that kept Miami from being a successful team, and thus keeping Dysert away from the national spotlight.
These types of throws can only be taught to a certain extent, this comes with a having a natural "feel" for the game and is required to succeed in the NFL.
Moving to Secondary Reads
One of the biggest issues young quarterbacks have is that they tend to decide who they are going to throw to before the ball is even snapped—otherwise known as a "predetermined read."
In this play, Dysert shows that he can maintain a level of calmness in the pocket and move off his primary read. Here, his primary read is to a receiver running an outside route, but he sees the corner ready to jump the pass. If he throws this pass like many young quarterbacks would, this could be a pick-six.
However, Dysert calmly resets his feet (not just his head and arm) and finds his second target over the middle.
The ball is thrown with perfect velocity and location, allowing the tight end to get a few yards after the catch.
Because of Dysert's advanced ability to move off of secondary reads, his future offensive coordinator will be able to use much more of the playbook, treating him like a veteran.
One of the great debates among NFL scouts is the issue of arm strength. Arm strength is a key component to NFL success, but a rocket arm like that of Joe Flacco or Aaron Rodgers is not necessary.
Dysert does not have the kind of arm strength that players like Glennon or Wilson possess, but he has enough arm strength to make the necessary throws in the NFL.
Check out the following video (starting at 1:56). When finally given adequate protection, Dysert is able to step into his throw and throw a dart to beat the safety coming in to break up the pass.
The ball placement is perfect, allowing the receiver to pick up some serious yards.
Throw on the Run
Because of the ineptitude of Miami's offensive line, Miami used a lot of plays that involved a moving pocket to buy Dysert some time to make throws.
In the same game against Ohio State, Dysert makes a brilliant deep throw that—guess what—is dropped by the receiver.
Dysert releases the ball of his back foot—more evidence of his underrated arm strength—to deliver a perfect throw that beats double coverage.
Pocket Movement and Keeping Eyes Downfield
Unlike many young passers, one of the best things Dysert does is that he keeps his eyes downfield under pressure.
The reason why players like Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers are so successful, is because they are always looking to make a play downfield, despite the destruction and chaos going on around them. Dysert likely developed this skill working behind a horrendous offensive line at Miami, where he was constantly under pressure.
Here, Dysert faces edge pressure from both sides, but remains calm and is able to maintain his eye level throughout.
He is forced to climb the pocket, and his eyes stay downfield, ready to make the throw.
Eventually, he is able to find a receiver near the sideline, and get the throw off while being tackled.
What separates Dysert from other prospects is that he exhibits traits that are rare for quarterbacks in the college ranks, which will allow him to step into a starting role immediately.
The fact that he played with such a sub-par supporting cast is actually a good thing—the NFL game may actually be a bit easier for him with some talented players around him.
Taking Dysert ninth overall would certainly be a risky move and heavily criticized after the draft, but in reality, there is no such thing as a "safe" pick.
As an executive, you want to make decisions that help you win games, not just fill holes. If Idzik takes a player like Alabama's Chance Warmack—an excellent, near-flawless guard prospect—he will get a very good player, but how many games does a guard win for you?
No one knows for sure whether or not Dysert can be the answer at quarterback, but because of the advanced traits he exhibits, he deserves to be in the conversation to be the Jets' first pick in April's draft.
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