Which NFL Draft QB Prospects Are Best-Equipped to Run the Read-Option?
In today's NFL, the read-option has become the hot ticket for offenses. In a league that becomes more pass-heavy every year, the read-option has become the "flavor of the month" as Steelers coach Mike Tomlin called it a few weeks ago.
The read-option allows a quarterback who is both athletic and strong-armed, along with a quick running back, to try and keep the defense on its toes.
The quarterback lines up in the shotgun, and the offensive line blocks in one direction, while the quarterback decides whether or not to hand off the ball to the running back.
Should he decide to keep it, the quarterback is then on the move and has the option to either scramble or throw it down field.
The three most dangerous quarterbacks in the NFL with this scheme are Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, and Colin Kapernick, who really brought it to the forefront of the NFL with San Francisco's Super Bowl run.
With more teams looking to incorporate this into their offense, teams will be analyzing which quarterback prospects may have the tools to run a read-option in the NFL.
New Eagles head coach Chip Kelly in particular will be bringing his spread offense from college and could very well be searching for the right college prospect. Others will be on the lookout as well as they attempt to get more creative and athletic on the offensive side of the ball.
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A bit of a late riser, especially after a stellar performance at the NFL Combine, Matt Scott could be next year's Russell Wilson.
Scott does not have the accuracy that Wilson does, but he is every bit as athletic, as well as a good bit taller. In 2012, his first full season as a starter, he threw for 27 touchdowns and had career highs in rushing yards and touchdowns.
But he does not have much of a body of work from his actual playing days. He was never a full-time starter until his senior year, and a lot of his potential is based on projection.
Scott reportedly had an incredible performance during his Pro Day, which will undoubtedly leave teams salivating over his potential as a dual-threat quarterback at the next level.
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A bit of an unknown, especially when compared to his older brother, Jordan Rodgers is a late-round prospect who may end up as a starter one day, if he lands in the right situation.
Rodgers improved dramatically from 2011 to 2012, and put up solid numbers en route to leading Vanderbilt to a Bowl victory in 2012.
In games that Rodgers was the primary quarterback, Vanderbilt was 11-8, which is more impressive than it seems considering the state of the Vanderbilt program compared to its SEC counterparts.
Rodgers is a bit undersized, and does not have a particularly great arm or blazing speed, but he has the quickness in the backfield and accuracy needed to be a potential read-option threat in the NFL, should be given the time to develop.
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Ryan Nassib has really risen up draft boards over the past few months. He received less attention for playing at Syracuse, but he deserves all the hype he has gotten since January.
He does not have the cannon of an arm that Kaepernick has, and relies more on placement and timing to complete his throws. He also does not have the elite agility of RGIII, but he runs strong and has deceptive quickness.
While Nassib may not be an outstanding athlete, he puts together everything in a package that could make him appealing as both a pocket passer and read-option guy, which would really make him valuable to NFL teams.
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And now we get to the best read-option prospect in the draft, Florida State's E.J. Manuel. Manuel reminds me a lot of Newton, although he does not have quite the same quickness that Newton does.
But he has a good arm, sound mechanics, and an ability to throw on the run. He played in a fast paced, high-octane offense at Florida State, where he thrived with athletic players around him and a wide-open playing style that allowed him to improvise and take risks.
Manuel will be able to contribute right away, as he has the athleticism and the intangibles to run a read-option at the next level. Anyone who thinks that he could be Michael Vick's successor in Philadelphia definitely is on the right track.