Anytime you set an NCAA record for most consecutive passes in a season (428) and career (444) without throwing an interception, you've got to feel pretty good about your abilities as a passer. That's exactly what Louisiana Tech quarterback Colby Cameron did last season as a senior.
Cameron finished the season having completed 69 percent of his passes for 4,147 yards with 31 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
Do these passing skills translate to a future NFL career? Let's take a look.
+ Good athlete
+ Doesn't force throws
+ Compact release, efficient body mechanics
- Not ideal arm strength
- Doesn't throw accurately into coverage
- System-friendly scheme helped statistics
Cameron has decent size at 6'2", 212 pounds and moves well around the pocket athletically. With his frame, he could stand to put on a bit more weight and not lose his lateral agility and athletic fluidity. He's got the footwork and athletic ability to manipulate the pocket and make plays after initial reads break down.
He possesses just adequate arm strength but can put a little something behind it when throwing across the middle. He's got a quick release and shows decent footwork in his initial reads and throws, although the majority of his snaps are out of the shotgun.
He comes from an athletic family as his brother, Jordan, is a tight end for the Cleveland Browns and his sister, Brynn, is a member of the USC women's basketball team.
Cameron won the Sammy Baugh award as college football's top passer and was named the WAC Offensive Player of the Year.
One interesting piece of information regarding Louisiana Tech is their offense, which finished No. 1 in the NCAA in yards per game at 577 yards, runs through their center and not through their quarterback.
You read that right. Warner (Center), a senior, doesn't just snap the ball and block. He gets the plays from the sideline, reads the defense, calls the blocking assignments and then barks the snap count. He might have the most unique job in college football.
Cameron doesn't have the arm needed to make every throw at the NFL level. Which is fine, because not every quarterback that's currently in the NFL can make every throw that's needed. He has enough zip on the ball across the middle to get it to his player on time and he can push the ball downfield.
He can get the ball outside the hashes but resorts to timing and accuracy on the ball getting to his receiver on time when making these kinds of throws. He's not going to stand back there and pick you apart from sheer arm talent.
Cameron had great season in terms of completion percentage, but that doesn't always tell the story of how accurate a quarterback is throwing the ball. If you're not leading your receivers correctly or just a few inches off one way or another, it could be the difference between a 3-yard gain and a 15-yard gain.
Cameron benefited from playing in an offensive system that valued quick throws out of the shotgun formation. A lot of quick wide receiver throws and bubble screens to wide receiver Quinton Patton really inflated Cameron's numbers.
It's not that he's not an accurate quarterback, because he is. It's just the tape doesn't match the numbers in terms of his accuracy or ability. He'll sail passes on the outside and really struggles to fit passes in windows across the middle.
He would really need to develop an ability to throw accurately within tight coverage in order to make the jump to the next level. There wasn't enough of that on tape for anyone to feel really comfortable about Cameron being anything more than a practice squad player, or development quarterback right now.
Cameron has a nice quick, compact throwing motion. He shows good footwork in small areas when the initial pocket breaks down and he throws well on the run.
He throws a good fade in the end zone and that's something he displayed a few times at Louisiana Tech last season.
He needs to do a better job of staying under control when his initial reads aren't open. He'll tend to get his feet spread apart as he goes through his progressions, lose leverage and the ability to accurately hit a player on the move down the field.
Cameron moves around the pocket pretty well when it's collapsing around him. He shows his athletic ability when he has a chance to get outside the pocket and make a play. He will look a little impatient at times before the pressure has reached him and this leads to inaccurate throws because he won't get his feet set.
He seemed to know where and when to step up from the pressure or even outside of the pressure and seemed to be able to keep his eyes downfield at the same time.
Cameron shows a decent ability to use his head and shoulders to manipulate safeties. He'll look them off before coming back to the play-side of the field.
Cameron moves well for a quarterback. He didn't tuck it and run a whole lot at Louisiana Tech last season (61 carries, 257 yards) but showed enough in the times that he did run that he's more than capable of picking up yards on the ground if needed.
He knows when to get down and avoid taking unnecessary hits from defensive backs when he's carrying the ball out in space. Cameron shows enough 'wiggle' to get through confined spaces when things are collapsing around him.
Cameron can get outside the pocket on roll-outs and doesn't look uncomfortable out in space.
Future role/scheme versatility
Cameron has an uphill battle to make a NFL roster next season. He doesn't possess great arm strength or dynamic athletic ability. He struggles to throw to wide receivers open in tight coverage or place balls in windows down the field.
He's a two- or three-year developmental project that needs to sit for a while. The link above that talks about the center being the one to make the adjustments for the Louisiana Tech offense at the line of scrimmage doesn't help Cameron's cause.
What aspect of his game do you lead with if you're banging the table to draft him for your team?
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