Updated Apr 11, 2013 - 2:42 pm
NFL Draft: Breaking down QB Ryan Nassib
You see, there are a couple of highly-regarded NFL talent evaluators, Russ Lande and Greg Cosell, that have Nassib as the top quarterback prospect in this year's draft.
Then there are other guys, and I fall into this group, that just don't know what all the hype is about.
Nassib shows some good things at times -- some really good things, actually -- but he never puts it together consistently.
When you watch Nassib throw the ball in the 1-15 yard range, you see a guy that looks like he has a howitzer attached at the shoulder.
The ball comes out clean with a tight rotation, meaning he throws a very catchable ball, and goes to a spot where his receiver can grab it and make a play after he gets the ball in his hands.
He shows a good ability to read the defense and get the ball out quickly to a spot, even when that spot may be in a tight window.
Nassib has the ability to get the ball out when there is trash around him, showing an ability to move up or out of the pocket and make an accurate throw.
He has a little John Skelton in him at times, in the sense that he doesn't always change velocities when he is throwing the ball. That gets him in trouble when he's throwing to spots and not to receivers, but that is something that could be correctable with solid coaching.
More so than anything else, Nassib is incredibly accurate in the short/intermediate passing game, as he shows a comfort level with those throws. In the five games I charted nearly 25% of his passes were "Bruce Arians" throws, between 11-20 yards in the air, and he completed over 60% of them.
When you watch Nassib work in the pocket against a four-man rush he looks very comfortable. His feet are always moving, allowing him to be mobile within the pocket, move up to avoid the rush and get the ball out.
When he's right, Nassib generally is hitting the last step in his drop and getting the ball out to his receiver, taking pressure off of his offensive line to hold their blocks for an extended period.
Nassib can become a little too deliberate at times with his reads, but he keeps his eyes downfield and feels pressure (even if it isn't always there), moving in the pocket and not just standing still.
Working through reads
This may be a West Coast Frankenstein Offense he comes from, but Nassib generally is not working off multiple reads, and instead goes to read one or two and gets rid of the ball.
When I talked about his ability within the pocket, I noted that he can be deliberate at times and that generally was when he was working deeper into his route progressions -- at least that's how it appeared to me.
Nassib gets a little ahead of himself at times and misses open men in an effort to get rid of the ball instead of moving to his next read, leaving a lot of the "chunk" plays on the field in favor of living to play another day.
This may be a good thing in a West Coast Offense, but in Bruce Arians' vertical attack, this won't work.
I've noted that Nassib showcases a strong arm and a comfort working in the intermediate range of the passing game, but when he tries to get vertical, something happens.
You watch Nassib throw on short routes and his arm strength looks like it would lend itself to getting the ball deep and being a weapon in a vertical passing attack, but when he's asked to push the ball down the field into tight windows his velocity drops and his accuracy goes away.
When he tries to put something behind his deep throws it looks more like he is shot putting the ball down the field, rather than throwing it.
Nassib is an interesting quarterback prospect, and one that is so divisive because of his unique shortcomings.
Are these flaws mechanical? If so, his other abilities would definitely lead me to believe he could be an option in the Arians offense.
He needs to learn to throw with a change in velocity/trajectory to different planes of the field, but his ability to put zip on those 15-yard passes in tight windows makes you think he'll be a weapon.
The term "lacks functional arm strength" is what worries me the most about Nassib.
Can he become not just competent, but effective throwing into those deep windows consistently? If not, I don't think he'd be a fit in Arizona, but with Carson Palmer in place for at least one season -- and I am saying he will be the man for two -- that means Nassib will have time to work with Arians and Tom Moore to figure those things out.
He'll likely come off the board at the bottom of round one or top of round two, and could be the "stash" type of QB talent that Arians will be looking for in order to transition from the Palmer era.
Seth Cox/The Sports Headquarters, Editor-in-chief of The Sports Headquarters
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