QB observations: Haskins up-and-down, Lock flaunts talent
INDIANAPOLIS — A small sample size of throws against air — made while wearing shorts and T-shirts and targeting unfamiliar receivers — is not going to make or break any player’s draft status, nor should it.
With those disclaimers acknowledged, scouts take every bit of available evidence into account in their evaluations, including Saturday’s quarterback throwing session. Here’s what stood out from the first group, which included upper-tier prospects Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State, Drew Lock of Missouri and Daniel Jones of Duke, to take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.
1. With Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray not working out in Indy, the spotlight was mostly on Haskins, the most prototypical, big-armed pocket passer in the class. That skill set normally shines when throwing routes against air, but he ran a bit hot and cold.
Haskins showed good touch in college, but he struggled some with those throws on Saturday. When going up the seam and down the sideline on deep throws, he left some hanging in the air and short. At times, he looked like he was trying to throw with a bit too much ease. There were also a few misses on digs and deep outs, though lack of chemistry and timing with receivers can be a factor there.
Haskins still made plenty of great throws, especially back-to-back post-corner routes — dropping them perfectly over the receiver’s shoulder and softly into the hands — to end his day.
He met with New York Giants offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Shula for a brief workout before the session began, and there are plenty of reasons to think the Giants will be eyeing him closely up until draft day.
2. Lock and his arm came as advertised, with the ball popping out of his three-quarters delivery. He didn’t hum the ball throw after throw, but he got it there with plenty of zip despite rarely putting much oomph into it, even deep down the field.
Known for being scattershot at times in college, Lock showed inconsistency with a few misses. On the plus side, his feet looked comfortable and light underneath him, as he mostly stayed on balance and delivered with ease.
Showing polished mechanics is important for Lock given how wild he got at times at Missouri. He’ll need those improved habits to take hold when he’s back on the field and facing a live rush, which often caused him to drift and fade away in college.
3. Most have Daniel Jones as the third or fourth quarterback off the board, and likely in Round 1, but his tools are a step below the upper tier. That showed Saturday, as he needed to use extra power from his base when driving the ball downfield, and his deep throws came off his hand inconsistently.
He sailed a few throws high early on, and his placement was sporadic on dig routes, but he was sharper on the deep outs, showing good placement and touch.
Jones also looked comfortable and on balance in his footwork and was disciplined in his drops, consistently holding his eyes straight downfield before turning to target his receiver.
4. Buffalo’s Tyree Jackson might have the most raw talent in the class, as the 6-foot-7, 247 pounder showed by running the 40-yard dash in 4.59 seconds earlier Saturday. His power arm certainly wowed, as you could practically feel the heat coming off the ball, but the lack of polish was equally as glaring.
Jackson has been overhauling his throwing motion with personal QB coach Jordan Palmer — younger brother of Carson Palmer — and the changes are still taking hold. At times, he looked like a golfer who just finished a lesson and was trying to repeat the new motions he just learned, looking mechanical and almost self-conscious. He flashed a funky hitch atop his drop and a looping motion while gathering to throw.
There were plenty of positives, as Jackson’s feet looked nimble, and he delivered several lasers with power and precision. But it’s clear he will be a massive project for whoever drafts him, and it might always be difficult to get each of his long levers moving precisely in concert together.
5. West Virginia’s Will Grier might have had the worst session of any quarterback, missing too many throws for a guy whose arm is less than elite. He often looked like he was trying to aim the ball rather than let it fly, and he missed in a variety of ways (high, short, behind, out in front).
He got a bit sharper late, and his footwork looked relatively comfortable as he dropped from under center, but that wasn’t enough to balance out the accuracy issues that plagued him much of the day.
Of the other quarterbacks, Penn State’s Trace McSorley started a bit slowly but came on strong with several sharp deliveries down the field. Washington’s Jake Browning doesn’t have a big arm, but he excelled on post-corner routes, dropping a pair of dimes to end his day.
North Carolina State’s Ryan Finley had his moments but didn’t show much zip and missed several throws. Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald struggled at times, often looking like he was trying too hard to power the ball to his target.
–By David DeChant, Field Level Media