Matt Miller's Scouting Notebook: Building a Perfect Quarterback for Today's NFL

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterNovember 15, 2019

Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers talks to Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson after an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 17-9. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Mike Roemer/Associated Press

How do you build the perfect NFL quarterback?

Taking the best of the best in terms of eyes (field vision), arm strength, accuracy, body (athleticism) and legs, who would you combine to make the ideal signal-caller for today's game?

Let's start with the most important part: the ability to see the field, process what the defense is giving you and quickly work through progressions in the route tree.

                

Eyes: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Many would put Tom Brady at the top of the perfect quarterback build, given his football IQ and poise, but no one in the league compares to Mahomes' ability to see the entire field while everything is breaking down around him. Mahomes at times appears like he has eyes on the side and back of his head—he can find players who are streaking downfield on the opposite side of where he's looking or feel pressure in impossible-to-see places.

Mahomes is a king when it comes to field vision.

        

Arm Strength: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

It might be unfair to list one quarterback at two traits, but be honest: There is no arm in the NFL you'd want over Mahomes'. His big right arm allows him to stretch the field, throw off-platform and rifle the ball into tight windows that most quarterbacks have to avoid.

And that's the beauty of Mahomes' arm strength. It opens parts of the field that few quarterbacks can attack. Paired with his field vision, Mahomes' arm makes him arguably the NFL's most complete quarterback. 

Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

            

Accuracy: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Drew Brees was long the top dog regarding NFL accuracy, but as he ages and his arm strength diminishes, some loss of accuracy on deep and intermediate routes is inevitable for the 40-year-old. That's OK, because Aaron Rodgers can still sling it to any level of the field with elite accuracy.

Rodgers' pinpoint ability to fit the ball into impossible windows makes him a favorite in this category, but his hold on this title may not last long. Deshaun Watson is quickly gaining on Rodgers. 

            

Body: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

The ideal body isn't about height—the NFL should know by now that taller doesn't mean better—it's about athleticism and muscle tone. A quarterback must be athletic enough to make throws on the move, strong enough to handle hits in the pocket and have the power to move the ball in short-yardage situations. 

That's Russell Wilson. He might only be 5'11", but his powerful body and top-tier athleticism make him the perfect answer when thinking about who has the ideal muscle tone, strength and agility of a quarterback. While this was Cam Newton, injuries have taken their toll. That's another area where Wilson brings ideal traits—he's never injured.

         

Legs: Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Not since Michael Vick has the NFL seen a runner at the position like Lamar Jackson. You could make a case for Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, but Jackson's open-field speed and his ability to slide past tacklers has made him the NFL's most exciting quarterback this season and a top MVP candidate.

                                                

The Scout's Report

—NFL Network's Ian Rapoport has been all over the Cam Newton news throughout the season, which makes his report that the injured Carolina Panthers quarterback would welcome a trade to the Chicago Bears this offseason very interesting.

Chicago has long been a popular landing spot for Newton when we've discussed both him and the Bears on Stick to Football since the rise of Kyle Allen. The Bears, who haven't found success with Mitchell Trubisky, need to add a quarterback, and Newton will want to play somewhere he can win.

How would this trade work for the Bears, who are projected to have close to $14.5 million in cap space available this offseason? Newton's contract is valued at $19.1 million. So where does the money come from?

Mike McCarn/Associated Press

1. Newton could restructure, converting some of his contract to cash and limiting the cap hit.

2. The Bears could release players such as Kyle Long (club option for 2020), Adam Shaheen and Prince Amukamara to clear enough cap space to trade for Newton and still make moves in free agency.

3. The Bears could trade a salary, such as Leonard Floyd's $13.2 million, to the Panthers with a draft pick to acquire Newton.

What would that draft pick look like? The Alex Smith trade to Washington is a good blueprint. Kansas City dealt Smith in March 2018 for Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick. Newton is no doubt more talented than Smith, but he's also suffered shoulder and foot injuries and will be a free agent after 2020. That could make Carolina's asking price similar to Kansas City's.

—The NFL has scheduled a workout for free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick in Atlanta this Saturday. USA Today has put together a list of teams that have acknowledged they will attend the impromptu workout. By Saturday it might be more notable which teams don't send a rep to the Falcons' practice facility to watch the 32-year-old quarterback.

The expectation, according to multiple pro scouts, is that Kaepernick will run through a series of drills similar to an NFL Scouting Combine workout, but little else is known. No one knows who Kaepernick will throw to, what workouts he'll do or how long the workout will last.

League sources are skeptical, with one calling this "nothing but the NFL putting on a PR stunt."

—Ohio State pass-rusher Chase Young's four-game suspension has been reduced to two games after a review by the NCAA. Young, who said he took a loan from a family friend, is still the unquestioned No. 1 player in the 2020 draft class. This suspension will do nothing to affect his standing with NFL teams. 

Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

—Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers will be a free agent when the season ends; where will the then-38-year-old-land? One rumor making its way through league circles is that Rivers would love to play for the Tennessee Titans.

A native of Decatur, Alabama—just under two hours south of Nashville—Rivers has always been rumored to want to move closer to the South to end his career. With things in Los Angeles not going well for the Chargers, keep this destination in mind if Rivers isn't franchise-tagged this offseason.

                          

The Big Board

1. EDGE Chase Young, Ohio State

2. QB Joe Burrow, LSU

3. WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

4. CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio State

5. QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

6. LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson

7. DL Derrick Brown, Auburn

8. WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama

9. WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma

10. EDGE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa

11. S Grant Delpit, LSU

12. CB CJ Henderson, Florida

13. RB D'Andre Swift, Georgia

14. IDL Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina

15. EDGE K'Lavon Chaisson, LSU

16. RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

17. OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia

18. OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa

19. LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma

20. EDGE Terrell Lewis, Alabama

21. QB Justin Herbert, Oregon

22. CB Paulson Adebo, Stanford

23. CB Kristian Fulton, LSU

24. WR Devonta Smith, Alabama

25. WR Tee Higgins, Clemson

26. DL Marvin Wilson, FSU

27. DL Raekwon Davis, Alabama

28. LB Dylan Moses, Alabama

29. IOL Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin

30. OT Alex Leatherwood, Alabama

31. WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado

32. RB J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State

                                           

Parting Shots

7. Senior Bowl List

Sean Rayford/Associated Press

The 2020 Senior Bowl rosters are coming together nicely, as executive director Jim Nagy has hit home runs in terms of players who have accepted invitations. From Nagy, here's the running list:

Ashtyn Davis, Evan Weaver, Kalija Lipscomb, Robert Hunt, Alex Taylor, Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Jared Pinkney, Jeremy Chinn, Davion Taylor, Harrison Bryant, Kyle Dugger, Brycen Hopkins, Antonio Gandy-Golden, K'Von Wallace, A.J. Green, Carter Coughlin, Kamal Martin, Larrell Murchison, Ben Bartch, Brandon Aiyuk, Terence Steele, Kindle Vildor, Adam Trautman, Javon Kinlaw, Brian Cole II, Michael Pittman Jr., Hakeem Adeniji, Colton McKivitz, Josh Jones and Jordyn Brooks.

       

6. Game of the Week

Georgia goes on the road this week to Auburn, where quarterback Jake Fromm, running back D'Andre Swift and offensive tackle Andrew Thomas must get through defensive tackles Derrick Brown and Nick Coe.

Brown is the top-ranked player on my board from this game and has looked like a top-10 pick throughout his senior season. His ability to shut down the Georgia run game will be fascinating to watch. And while Thomas won't be head-up on Brown in this game, it will be worth watching to see how Georgia handles him.

Fromm hasn't had a major outing yet this season that makes you sit back and put your pen down as an evaluator. Maybe this is the week he breaks out?

                 

5. Stock Down

One of the many players to evaluate in the Alabama loss to LSU was Crimson Tide cornerback Trevon Diggs. A big (6'2", 207 lbs) senior with length and speed that NFL teams tend to get excited about, Diggs looked like a potential Round 1 player. And then he had to line up against the LSU offense.

Diggs struggled throughout the game to make routine tackles and had no success with slowing down Joe Burrow and the Tigers' passing attack. You never want to overreact to one game, but on a national stage against NFL-caliber talent, Diggs struggled.

         

4. Stock Up

Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

Hello, Clyde Edwards-Helaire! 

LSU's big win over Alabama highlighted what has been amazing play by No. 22 all season. Edwards-Helaire might only be listed at 5'8" and 209 pounds, but he dazzled with power, spin moves and exceptional hands in the passing game while taking over the game for the Tigers.

Edwards-Helaire likely won't test well at the NFL Scouting Combine, but his game film throughout 2019 makes him a top-100 player and potential NFL starter.

          

3. Sleeper of the Week

During a conversation I had with Nagy last week, he mentioned Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, an exciting playmaker who recently accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl. Aiyuk is fantastic with the ball in his hands and has been a huge part of the Sun Devils' success this year. At 6'1" and 206 pounds, he doesn't stand out with DK Metcalf-style size, but what he does with the ball in his hands is special.

                 

2. Tailgate Tour

Our Stick to Football tailgate tour was recently announced. If you get a chance to come out, these tailgates are free fan events with no ticket to the game required:

Nov. 23: Cal at Stanford (Palo Alto, California) 

Dec. 7: SEC Championship Game (Atlanta)

          

1. Stick to Football is back in-house this week, with our podcast episodes also available on YouTube as a video series. Check out the podcast and subscribe if you haven't already. We will also post a ton of behind-the-scenes content on our Instagram page.

                                           

Matt Miller covers the NFL and NFL draft for Bleacher Report. Salary-cap numbers courtesy of Spotrac unless otherwise noted.

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