By John Westenhaver
This section provides a virtual “check the box” on the various ball skills that are so important when evaluating a quarterback’s pro potential. A deficiency in any one of the areas addressed could spell long term failure or, at least, provide guidelines to determine how the player should be used, in what type of system he fits best. Of all graded categories, this one will demonstrate a quarterback’s limitations.
[By the very nature of this subject area, the degree of functional ball skills will be presented in the form of questions]
The ability of the quarterback to put the ball in an area where the receiver has a legitimate chance to catch the ball.
Is he Accurate:
- From the pocket
- When forced to move within the pocket
- When forced outside the pocket
- In the “downhill delivery” (on the move and facing the intended receiver)
- From alternative platforms (describe his limitations)
- When in pressure situations
- Deep Downfield Accuracy – Consistency –Look for the following: 1. Over Stride, 2. Tightened Grip, 3. Elongated Stroke, 4. Failure to get his hips into the delivery
- Does his body mechanics (failure to throw within the cylinder of his body) prevent him from throwing on a straight line to the target?
- Anticipation – Does he throw prior to, at the receiver’s break or does he wait for the receiver to get open
A degree of skill above accuracy. Placing the ball in the desired location for a specific route or situation.
Route & Location:
- Out- Waist high in front of the receiver
- Squared-Up (hitch, curl, comeback) – Directly between the numbers
- Slant – Waist high at the front hip
- Post – Shoulder high and slightly in front
- Fade – Over the front shoulder and descending – ball turnover while maintaining rotation
- Back Shoulder Fade – Behind and descending
- Swing – Chest high and slightly in front
- Seam – High over the front shoulder
- Conventional Screen – Face high and slightly in front
- Vs. Tight Coverage – Adjusted according to the position of the defender relative to the receiver and the route
DELIVERY OF VARIOUS PASSES
- 5 & 10 Yd. Out: Low-in front-descending trajectory
- 5, 10, 15 Yd. Squared-Up: Descending trajectory –between the numbers
- 1- 5 Yd. Slant: Descending trajectory – waist or mid-numbers high – on the front side of the receiver’s cylinder
- 18 Yd. Comeback: Flat or descending trajectory – between the receiver’s numbers
- 20 plus yard Post: Minimal arc – shoulder high in front of the receiver
- Touch: Change the tempo of the ball to fit appropriate situations
- Down field range: Before noticeable arc is required
(Sprint outs, force outs, outside the pocket on the run)
- To his dominant side
- To his opposite side
- Accuracy/ Ball Location
- Downhill Delivery – When possible, does he turn his run directly in line with his intended receiver? Does he deliver the ball with his opposite foot in front and with the stroke and arm slot consistent with a normal stationary delivery?
(Throwing to a route crossing the field [slant, dig, out, post etc.]. 3 factors – 1. Ball speed, 2. Angle to the target, and 3. Knowledge of each receiver) See Appendix A
- Is he consistently getting the ball in front of the target?
- Does he consistently throw behind the receiver?
- If behind, is it the result of a low arm slot?
- Does he have a working knowledge of each individual receiver’s speed?
PASSING INSIDE THE CYLINDER OF HIS BODY
- Are his feet under his pads or spread out? How wide is his throwing base?
- Are his arms and legs within the cylinder (long, low, or extended stroke, excessive dominant leg swing)?
- If they are outside, how does it affect his accuracy/ball locations?
- On deep passes, does his dominant arm (abnormally extend to the back side) and/or leg depart from the cylinder (abnormally big leg swing) and does he over stride in the delivery?
- Is he ready to throw the ball when it needs to be thrown? Can and does he throw without the laces?
- On timing passes (1, 3 and 5 step drops) is the ball in the delivery position on the final step of the drop?
- Read and Decision Quickness – Note his ability as the offense gets closer to the End Zone (20 ydl in)
- Is there a consistent rhythm to his passing?
- What instances causes him to get out of rhythm?
- Determine which eye is dominant. (It is desirable if opposite of his throwing hand this can determine his ability to see the opposite side of the field). For example a right handed quarterback is best suited if he is left eye dominant.
- Two areas for consideration- 1. Peripheral Vision 2. Depth Perception
- Quick Eyes – Does he scan the field quickly and go from one target to the next without hesitation?
- Are his eyes and feet in sync so as to be ready to throw the ball without and delay in his delivery?
Chart the field distribution of all observed passes both horizontally and vertically. Determine if there are any tendencies, favorites, or most successful. Are they are simply within the structure of the offense, at the discretion of the quarterback or as a result of reading the coverage presented?
- Left to right-5 underneath Zones (outside the numbers , normal TE alignment to the numbers  and between the normal OT alignment 
- Left to right-3 deep zones (1/3s)
- Distance from the LOS
Up Next – Scouting College Quarterbacks – Pocket Passing