Scouting The Combine Quarterbacks

Jevan Snead

We're taking a look inside the performances of the quarterbacks who participated in the NFL combine.

Indianapolis, IND.--

Note: Heights and weights are the official measurements taken at the NFL combine. Players are ranked based on their throwing performance only.


1) Jarrett Brown/West Virginia/6027/224 - Just like he performed during Senior Bowl week practices, Brown wowed scouts with his big arm and accuracy. He throws the ball so effortlessly that you wonder why he hadn't been a starter at West Virginia for a longer period of time. He has outstanding arm strength and surprisingly good touch. What you also see is a young quarterback that throws with tremendous confidence. You can tell he knows he's good, but he backs it up with almost flawless accuracy and execution. No quarterback has helped himself more from late-January through late February. I can't see how Brown makes it out of the third round based on his upside alone.


2) Jevan Snead/Mississippi/6030/219 - If there was one quarterback at the workout who needed to make a positive impression in front of scouts, it was Snead. He is coming off a poor final season at Mississippi, so this could be his last chance to impress the important decision makers in the NFL in an organized setting. Snead didn't disappoint and showed what his 2008 tape showed, he has a world of talent. Snead did something consistently that other other quarterbacks didn't show much of during their workouts--a sense of timing. Snead did a very nice job of getting the ball out his hands quickly. He also tended to put his passes to an area where only his receiver could get the ball. You can tell he has been coached well for his throwing session. I usually don't mention the less integral facets of a quarterback's game, but I liked his enthusiasm. Snead seemed to be encouraging the players there on virtually every play. That showed some good leadership, even if his pass went awry. What Snead's performance here will do is get the scouts and high-ranking officials to reevaluate his tape from the past two seasons--as they should already be doing anyway.


3) Levi Brown/Troy St./6034/229 - Having seen a few of his games on tape, I knew the way he threw the ball. I thought NFL Films' Greg Cosell made a good point when I discussed Brown's future after his workout. Cosell basically said those who have a problem with him pushing the ball a bit won't like him that much. Those who can get past that and see his overall talent will still like him. I think that's what Brown's session showed. He threw with very solid accuracy, save for a few throws. He has what you look for in a signal caller. He has a compact delivery, has a better than average arm, and throws with a decent sense of timing--rare for a small school quarterback. While he's still a little raw and has a big learning curve to make because of the lower level of competition he went up against in college, Brown really helped himself.


4) John Skelton/Fordham/6053/243 - Having seen him throw live in person twice, I knew Skelton had a big-time arm. Nothing that I saw during the throwing session changed that. He clearly has the strongest arm of any of the quarterbacks that worked out here, and perhaps any available for this year's draft. Skelton can make any throw and he can make it look easy. In fact, he made some throws that most others couldn't make. But what he needs to improve on is his sense of timing. That's one thing that you normally see with small school quarterbacks--they don't get the ball out quick enough. He also needs to do a better job of putting the ball where only his intended receiver can get it. Big-armed passers here generally overthrow a bit here--that's what happened on more than one occasion with him. Still, this was a strong session for Skelton. The fact that he could get in front of many of the high-ranking decision makers can only help his draft value.


5) Mike Kafka/Northwestern/6031/225 - As Scout.com noted earlier last week, Kafka has drawn the attention of teams that run a West Coast offense. You can see it in the way he throws. Even on the limited throws he made, Kafka threw with a good sense of timing. While he certainly doesn't possess an elite arm, Kafka can make the kinds of throws that are necessary in a timing based offensive scheme. He also threw with good touch. He certainly helped himself gain the confidence of scouts and personnel evaluators.


6) Zac Robinson/Oklahoma St./6024/214 - After a dreadful set off practices during Senior Bowl week, it appeared that Robinson might have put himself out of this year's seven-round draft. Robinson clearly looked lost and was very inaccurate in Mobile that week. However, it appears that Robinson has been working hard because he had a really solid throwing session inside Lucas Oil Stadium. During Senior Bowl week, Robinson almost looked lost and disinterested. In Indianapolis, he looked like a different quarterback. He threw with passion, accuracy, and surprisingly good power. Robinson was easily one of the best performers from the 14 that decided to throw. He really helped himself get attention from the teams that will be picking in rounds 5-6 during April's draft.


7) Tim Hiller/Western Michigan/6040/229 - The right-handed thrower was one of the small school surprises out of the 14 signal callers who threw. Hiller had little problem driving the ball down field, which was a surprise because he hadn't shown that power on tape, according to several personnel evaluators Scout.com talked to. His accuracy on the shorter throws was a bit inconsistent. Still, Hiller helped himself garner some attention from the scouts who hadn't seem him throw the ball live.


8) Tony Pike/Cincinnati/6056/223 - After a very solid set of practice performances during Senior Bowl week, much was expected from Pike during the throwing session at the NFL combine. Unfortunately, he didn't deliver. Pike was all over the place with his accuracy and his throwing mechanics were poor. Quarterbacks who have poor or inconsistent mechanics will take power off their throws. Pike seemed to be changing his delivery for some reason on some of his passes. Scout.com talked to several personnel evaluators during and after the workout who said Pike lost some draft value because of his disappointing workout. But as one scout added, at the very least, decision makers will have to go back and look at his coaching tape to see if his combine performance is just an aberration. After the Senior Bowl, Pike looked to be a sure-fire second-round pick, but it's a bit unclear where he stands now. A solid Pro Day and good private workouts could really help him, however.


9) Max Hall/BYU/6005/209 - Hall was somewhat of a small surprise. While he doesn't possess anywhere close to a strong arm, Hall was fairly accurate during the throwing session. Hall's problem was that he simply couldn't drive the ball down field. He'll fit in best in a West Coast offensive system at the next level.


10) Riley Skinner/Wake Forest/6000/214 - Skinner is another undersized signal caller who opened some eyes with some good throws. However, his accuracy was all over the place during the session. He appeared to have a slightly above average arm. He was able to drive the ball to the sidelines, but had trouble throwing in that area accurately.


11) Sean Canfield/Oregon St./6036/223 - He looked pretty much like he did during Senior Bowl week practices. Canfield made accurate throws, but the passes took too long to get there most of the time. Because of that, the receivers had to adjust to the ball way too much.


12) Thaddeus Lewis/Duke/6004/215 - Lewis showed to have average arm strength, but his mechanics weren't good enough. Lewis has an over-the-top release point which causes the ball to come out a bit high at times. His throwing mechanics need work.


13) Daryll Clark/Penn St./6017/235 - Arm strength isn't the problem with Clark, accuracy is. Clark started spraying the ball all over the place and he just couldn't consistently enough make accurate throws. He clearly needs to have his mechanics worked on. His touch on most of his throws wasn't good enough, either.


14) Armanti Edwards/Appalachian St./5017/187 - Because of his size, it's likely that Edwards will have to play another position if he wants to continue his playing career at the professional level. He showed to have good feet in pocket movement drills, but his lack of arm strength was apparent through most of his workout.


Not Graded

- Sam Bradford/Oklahoma/6042/236 - He didn't participate because of shoulder surgery.

- Jimmy Clausen/Notre Dame/6025/222 - He didn't participate because of toe surgery.

- Dan LeFevour/Central Michigan/6032/230 - He only took part in some of the drills. This was his decision.

- Colt McCoy/Texas/6011/216 - He didn't throw because of shoulder surgery.

- Tim Tebow/Florida/6026/236 - Because he's undergone a radical change in how he's throwing the ball, Tebow decided not to throw. A source with knowledge of his recent workouts said Tebow's transformation has been going quite well. In fact, so well that he almost looks like a different thrower. Still, until he has someone coming at him, it's hard to really gauge where he's at with the adjustment in his throwing motion and mechanics.

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