Ranking the Senior Bowl Quarterbacks

The Reese’s Senior Bowl is one of the biggest events during the months that leads up to the draft. Each year, top seniors across the country gather in Mobile, Alabama, to display their skills to NFL scouts, coaches and general managers. With the rosters recently announced, here’s a look at the senior bowl quarterbacks.

As a draft analyst, I must rank everything. Today, I’ll be going through the quarterbacks currently on the roster and looking at what they do well, what they could improve on and giving them projection.

Currently there are four QB’s on the Senior Bowl roster: Anthony Gordon from Washington State, Shea Patterson from Michigan, Steven Montez from Colorado and Jordan Love from Utah State. There is the potential that players like Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert end up on the roster. But for now these are the guys they have and if it changes, we’ll revisit the list and re-rank it.

Senior Bowl Quarterbacks: Jordan Love, Utah State

Jordan Love is currently the best quarterback on this roster. Love has recently opted to enter the draft rather than transfer to another school as a graduate. His name has been in the first-round conversation for a good while now and it makes sense that he has declared.

However, within the last week it has come out that he and two other Utah State players had received a misdemeanor for possession of marijuana. So the Senior Bowl will be a real chance for him to talk to coaches about the situation and clear up some thoughts they might have about him. Now it’s time to look at some plays.

The Good:

The above throw shows exactly what excites people about Jordan Love. The ball is snapped, and Love doesn’t see any of his receivers open, so he scrambles out of the pocket and one of his receivers is able to get behind Kristian Fulton. Once Love sees his receiver get past Fulton, he throws a beautiful touch pass right over the corner’s head and straight into the hands of his receiver.

One of Jordan Love’s strengths is throwing on the run. Time and time again nothing will be originally open, but he’ll extend the play and make a great throw while on the run.

The Bad:

This play isn’t a very good one from Jordan Love. He does well to escape the pressure and extend the play, but the decision to throw the ball to the receiver he chose to throw too was poor. Love sees the pocket collapsing and is able to escape the pocket to potentially make a play. Once he decides what he wants to do with the ball, he sets his feet and launches the ball downfield.

The problem with this play is the decision. Love decided to throw the ball deep to a receiver who is running a route directly into one of the best safeties in the country, Grant Delpit. The receiver is able to get away from the cornerback, but as soon as he separates from the corner, Delpit is mirroring his movements.

Love throws the ball hoping his receiver can high point the ball and beat Delpit and reel in the catch, but that doesn’t happen. Instead, the ball is caught by Delpit, who out-muscled the receiver. Love saw his receiver pull away from the corner but failed to see the safety sitting in the middle of the field, ready to take over coverage on that receiver.

How He Projects:

Jordan Love isn’t a finished project. He isn’t an unfixable mess. He is a physically gifted thrower who has lapses in judgment at time.

Throwing him directly into a starting job might not be the best thing for him or for whatever NFL team picks him. He is someone who needs some NFL coaching to iron out some wrinkles he has. Love will most likely be picked in the middle to late first round.

The most ideal fits for him are going to be the Colts and the Saints. Frank Reich and Sean Payton are two brilliant football minds who know how to get the most from their quarterbacks, and both teams are going to need a new quarterback soon.

The Colts currently have Jacoby Brissett, who isn’t terrible, but is someone to move on from. The Saints have all-time great Drew Brees who will most likely be retiring within a few years, and if they can get Jordan Love to sit and lean behind him for a bit, they’d be just fine.

Senior Bowl Quarterbacks: Anthony Gordon, Washington State

The latest product of the Mike Leach offense is in the draft this year. Last year, Gardner Minshew went from a 6th-round-pick to the starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

The air raid offense seems to be becoming more and more popular in the NFL. Players like Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes are just a few of the names that played in an air raid offense. Because of the growing popularity of this style of offense, Anthony Gordon is in a good place to get serious NFL interest.

The Good:

The play above shows exactly how the air raid offense succeeds. All three receivers are running to the endzone, and Gordon just needs to throw to the receiver who is most open. The ball is snapped, and Gordon first looks left then quickly snaps his head to the other side of the field to see the receiver running past the defender.

There is only one deep safety, so Gordon knows the safety won’t be able to cover the receiver in time. He lofts the ball over the top of the cornerback and right into the hands of the receiver, resulting in a touchdown.

The Bad:

The play above was bad from the beginning. The offensive line does a good job picking up the late blitzer, but Gordon gets happy feet in the pocket and starts hopping around. He attempts to direct traffic, but he and his receiver are clearly on different pages.

He wants his receiver to keep running but he stops, and even though he stops, Gordon still throws the ball and it goes straight to the defenders. Now this one could be labeled a miscommunication. But the fact that the receiver was clearly stopped, and Gordon still tossed it deep doesn’t look good.

How He Projects:

The gap between the projection of Jordan Love and Anthony Gordon is substantial. Gordon, from what I’ve seen, is a one-dimensional player, and that dimension is throwing. To be fair, the dude can throw; however, there are still flaws in his game.

His footwork and throwing mechanics need work and so does his decision making. Unlike Jordan Love, there isn’t a specific team fit I like for Gordon. I expect Gordon to be picked on Day 3 of the draft as a developmental player that a team thinks they can work with. His arm is great, and I’m sure a team will feel like he’s worth drafting because of that.

Senior Bowl Quarterbacks: Steven Montez, Colorado

Steven Montez is a 6-5, 230-pound strong arm passer from Colorado. In today’s NFL, size is becoming less important than it used to be, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to be as big as Montez.

The frame and arm strength that Montez has will certainly attract NFL suitors, but at what point will his physical tools stop helping him?

The Good:

One of the clear strengths of Montez’s game is his ability to use his legs to extend plays. In the play above, he does exactly that. Originally, Montez looks comfortable in the pocket surveying the field, but as a defender breaks into the backfield, Montez rolls out to extend the play.

He gets clear of the rushers, directs traffic and delivers a throw downfield to an open receiver. On the run, Montez was able to square his hips and generate enough velocity to get that ball where it needed to go.

The Bad:

The play above shows what is really concerning about Steven Montez. His receiver is working up the seam and he attempts to throw the ball directly to him but fails to see the defender in the middle of the field. The lack of field vision in this play is very concerning.

It seems like this read was a pre-snap decision. Montez doesn’t look anywhere else and was planning on always throwing that pass to that receiver. If he sees that defender, he might be able to throw a touch pass over the head of the defender for a big gain to that receiver, but he attempted to strong arm the ball and it went wrong.

How He Projects:

Obviously, the size, arm strength, and ability to extend plays are nice, but Montez doesn’t offer much in my opinion. Poor field vision, inconsistent accuracy, lack of athleticism, and poor footwork outweigh the positives.

His physical tools are what you like to see in a quarterback, but his gameplay on tape doesn’t excite me. In the NFL, expect Montez to be a practice squad guy or someone a team will pick up as a free agent to be an emergency quarterback. I don’t see much starter, or even backup, upside with him.

Senior Bowl Quarterbacks: Shea Patterson, Michigan

Shea Patterson was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school who was originally attending Ole Miss. However, after everything blew up with Hugh Freeze, Patterson transferred to Michigan. People thought Michigan would be a lock for the playoff with a quarterback like Patterson on roster, but that never happened.

Instead, people question the coaching staff and the quarterback’s ability. Patterson has been given an opportunity to showcase his ability at the Senior Bowl.

The Good:

One thing that Patterson excels that is using his legs. The above play is a zone read, and Patterson either has the option to hand the ball off or keep it and run it himself. Patterson sees the edge defender come downhill towards the running back, so he keeps the ball and runs towards the gap left open by the defender.

Even though this is a running play, Patterson has shown good throws on rollouts. When he can use his legs, Patterson is at his best.

The Bad:

One big negative about Patterson is that he just misses throws. The play above is one that could’ve been made by Patterson. The receiver is in a gap between the cornerback and the safety. In order for this play to be made, the throw needed to be placed on the outside of the corner, but Patterson tried to drop it in above the corner.

The corner is sitting on the route and just make the play when he sees the ball drifting above him. If Patterson throws this ball more towards the sideline, it might be a completed pass.

How He Projects:

Patterson is an athletic quarterback that struggles with consistency as a passer. Patterson hasn’t had an easy path to success; he transferred from Ole Miss and had to learn a new offensive system and the system at Michigan changed again before this season. Patterson had a strong November that landed him with a Senior Bowl invite.

However, the inconsistency as a passer is quite alarming. Without knowing how he performs at the Senior Bowl; I am leaning towards him not being drafted. However, the pre-draft process can be helpful, and with a strong performance at the Senior Bowl. And if he makes good impressions on teams, he could be taken as a late round flyer, but I don’t see it.

Senior Bowl

Reese’s Senior Bowl is scheduled for Saturday, January 25, 2020. The game will be played at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and televised on the NFL Network. 

The Senior Bowl is one of the best ways to improve your draft stock. Perform well in Mobile, your draft stock will rise. With multiple quarterbacks not having great stock, this week in Mobile can prove to be quite useful for these players.

Each year there’s at least one player who immensely improves their stock at the Senior Bowl; will it be a quarterback this year? We’ll have to wait and see.

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