Combine Confidential: Inside The QB Throwing Sessions

Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins (QB05) throws a pass during the 2019 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.Photo: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

During the NFL Scouting Combine, a handful of select PFWA members are allowed to observe the QB throwing sessions.

NFL Draft Scout analyst Ric Serritella was on location for the first group of signal-callers, below are his observations:

Atlanta Falcons quarterback coach Greg Knapp conducted the passing drills, which included a variety of different wide receiver routes.

Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State: Did what he had to do in terms of checking off the boxes. Proved to be a natural thrower, handled the curl routes effortlessly and threw some beautiful deep post corner balls. The majority of his downfield passes had nice touch but some had a bit too much air underneath. Demonstrated excellent timing and anticipation on his slant throws. Haskins will be the number one quarterback prospect on many team’s draft boards.

Outlook: A strong-armed pocket passer who makes quick, accurate decisions with the football and shows great anticipation. Able to get rid of the ball extremely quick, plus has the arm strength to make all the throws and shows great poise in the pocket

Drew Lock, Missouri: Flashed nice zip and strong arm velocity, as he fired off several lasers. Footwork appeared to be solid. However, Lock is not your traditional over the top thrower and he’ll vary his arm angles. Would like to see him create some more depth with his footwork. Lock didn’t do anything to hurt his stock and performed well, as expected. The top half of the first round seems like a logical destination.

Outlook: Prototype size and cannon arm measures up with any quarterback in this year’s draft class; you can hear the ball whiz by upon his release. In addition, his quick release and mobility are additional intangibles that make him a match for many of the offenses around the league

Daniel Jones, Duke: Shined in the mechanics department, as his fundamental footwork and throwing motion was on display. Jones has been well-coached and won with his eyes, as he mimicked looking off the safety and was able to turn and fire the out route rapidly. He threw numerous crisp 10-yard out balls and while he managed to deliver the deep ball on time, his velocity was not overly impressive and he had poor post corner throws. Overall, Jones helped his case for the first round today and was arguably the best quarterback of the group today.

Outlook: Shows nice touch and anticipation, has a natural feel for the pass rush in the pocket. Highly accurate in the short-to-intermediate passing game. Demonstrates the ability to be an effective thrower when on the move and is a smart decision-maker.

Tyree Jackson, Buffalo: A raw prospect with immense arm strength and a raw skill-set, Jackson showed various velocity on his deep throws and delivered an impressive 50-yard bomb in stride. He excelled during curl routes but accumulate a handful of inaccurate throws. His footwork was a bit choppy and his throwing motion appears to need some refinement. Jackson projects as a developmental quarterback with upside.

Outlook: Some scouts view Jackson to have the greatest ceiling of any quarterback in this year’s class but because he is so raw, he is the ultimate risk/reward project.

Ryan Finley, North Carolina State: Was very accurate on short-to-intermediate passes, had a quick release and demonstrated sound footwork. Finley had difficulty with accuracy when rolling out to his left and misfired on some of his 10-yard outs. Finley confirmed what we already knew, possessing limited arm strength, as his deep balls were lobbed and off the mark. His makeup could earn him a job as a long-time backup signal-caller at the next level.

Outlook: He processes through his progressions quickly and knows where to go with the football, will take the check down rather than forcing throws. Possesses a smooth throwing motion and compact footwork.

Will Grier, West Virginia: His struggles from the Senior Bowl carried over to the combine, as Grier had very poor accuracy and wobbly passes on the short throws. He did have a few nice deep ball throws, which were probably his best moments of the session. However, he could stand to improve his release and mechanics. Grier is a borderline Day 2 prospect whose recent draft season performances could possibly bump him into Day 3.

Outlook: Shows excellent timing and anticipation, capable of throwing receivers open, along with the necessary arm velocity to thread the needle on a handful of throws. He excels at adapting to plays as they develop and biding time in the pocket

Jake Browning, Washington: Had quick, fluid footwork, along with average arm velocity and a decent release. Browning showed good timing on his out routes and put one deep post route on a rope. His curl routes were crispy but his timing was a bit off. Browning will probably have to fight his way onto a roster as an undrafted free agent.

Outlook: Lack of prototypical size and mediocre arm strength will be the biggest knocks against Browning as he transitions to the next level. However, he has accomplished plenty of good and is worth deeming a look as a backup candidate.

Trace McSorley, Penn State: Did nothing spectacular and owns average arm strength. McSorley did have some air underneath his deep balls, which allowed his wide outs to run to them. If he is to have a shot at making a roster it’ll be due to his intangibles.

Outlook: The dual-threat quarterback can pick up first downs with his feet but his lack of size and average arm strength make it difficult to envision him transitioning to the next level.

Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State: A disappointing performance, as Fitzgerald struggled mightily with accuracy and had the worst deep ball throws of the group. His timing and touch were off the mark. In addition, his lower body was not in sync with his upper body. Fitzgerald may have to settle for playing a hybrid type role at the next level such as Taysom Hill.

Outlook: Fitzgerald proved capable of running an efficient RPO-based offense for the Bulldogs but stepping up another level may be more than he can chew.

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