NFL Draft Scouting Report: Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State

Brandon Weeden“The biggest concern that will build momentum leading into the 2012 NFL Draft for Brandon Weeden, undoubtedly will be his age. As a 28 year old, a perceived inability to develop,  and limited upside bring reason to doubt Weeden’s long term success. Some have even gone as far to say he can only be a one-contract player. With a relatively poor track record of minor league baseball players in the NFL, ranging from Chris Weinke to Drew Henson, it is easy to dismiss Weeden’s pro potential.

However this could not be further from the truth. Weeden’s willingness to stand in line for 2 seasons, learn the Oklahoma State system, develop physically, and learn the game of football should not be so easily overlooked.”

 

 PLAYER COMPARISON
Matt Schaub, Houston Texans
PROJ. DRAFT POSITION
2nd-3rd round
INJURY HISTORY
Tendinitis in right rotator cuff     
Ruptured tendon in right thumb (played thru injury)   

CAREER ACOLADES
2002 2nd round draft pick by the New York Yankees   
2010 1st tm All Big 12, 2011 2nd tm All Big 12   
2010 and 2011 Manning Award finalist

KEY STATS
Career: 8,861 yds, 72 TD, 26 INT   
2010: 66.9 comp %, 4,277 yds, 34 TD, 13 INT   
2011: 72.6 comp %, 4,328 yds, 34 TD, 12 INT   
Completed 737 of 1060 passes (69.5%), 8.4 yds/att.

  
 
Background/Character
An all-state baseball and basketball player in high school, Weeden was drafted in 2002 in the 2nd round by the New York Yankees. Bouncing around in the minor leagues for 4 years, Weeden’s baseball career ended after suffering tendinitis in his right rotator cuff. Brandon chose to not undergo surgery, stopped playing baseball, and decided to walk-on at Oklahoma State to play football. Worked his way through the system, improving his strength and understanding of the game as a reserve until 2001 when he was named the starter. Weeden was a walk-on addition to the 2011 Oklahoma State golf team as well.

Mature, composed, and cool, Weeden handles media with confidence and ease. Living off campus and married, at age 28, Weeden still has money leftover from his initial signing bonus from 2002 which he put into savings. The definitive leader of his team, Weeden leads vocally and by example. Exudes an even keel demeanor, on-field composure, and a sense of confidence in his teammates. Very vocal at the line of scrimmage and very much in control of the high tempo offense. Holds nearly every OSU passing record, despite starting for just 2 seasons.

 
Athleticism
Former professional baseball player and walk-on golf player, Brandon Weeden is extremely coordinated and athletic. Possesses ideal height and size at the quarterback position, weighing slightly under 220 lbs and measuring around 6’4 height-wise. Well built frame, having good bulk in chest area and midsection, and strong armed. Utilizes decent knee flex and bend while settling into his pass drops; similar to Tom Brady in that he bounces in the pocket, with light feet and good balance. Also similar to Brady, is his tendency to get upright in the pocket and be unable to reset his feet thereafter when pressure arises.

Certainly won’t run away from anyone, but does show good movement skills within the pocket and can move outside the pocket. Able to step up or slide out while keeping his balance; has foot speed to set and deliver ball very quickly. At age 28, Weeden is completely matured physically; never had surgery for shoulder injury that ended his baseball career, and simply switched over to football once he finished rehab. Will have to check out healthy at the combine and prove to teams that it won’t be an issue later on in his career. Not much upside athletically but NFL teams know exactly what they are getting with Weeden.

Passing-Ability
Brandon WeedenWeeden has elite arm talent and can make every throw. Equally effective driving the football on intermediate to deep routes, as well as pinpoint ball placement on throws breaking inside or outside the numbers. Weeden is especially effective at driving deep post and deep fade patterns. Has the ability to file the ball over the 2nd level (linebackers) and under the 3rd level (safeties) of the defense on dig, post, and seam throws. Drives the ball into tight windows with authority.

Can change velocities without any lost accuracy, showing fairly good touch on underneath/crossing patterns. At times early in the season, struggled with his accuracy over the middle of the field, throwing behind his receivers or sailing throws; but improved placement and anticipation on throws over the middle of the field. Resets his feet, hips, and shoulders quickly from snap on bubble and screen throws to the outside. Throws with excellent placement in short passing tree, giving his receivers and backs the ability to create yards after the catch. In a limited amount of rollout throws, Weeden has done a nice job scanning the field, locating a target, and aligning his shoulders to the throw.

Passing-Technique
Fundamentally sound from separation to release, Brandon Weeden does an excellent job of setting his feet to the throw, transferring his weight while staying balanced, and finishing his throws. Weeden’s light feet, constant balance, and bounce at the end of his pass drops, enable him to quickly reset his feet and deliver the football when he feels pressure. More specifically, he points his shoulders and elbow to his target and torques his left upper body all the way thru the throw. Really follows thru with his throwing hand exceptionally well, and remains balanced throughout his motion.

Throws with a ¾’s delivery and arm slot. Has quickened up his footwork and dropback, and also developed a sense of urgency within the pocket; though largely immobile, Weeden does show the ability to slide to either side or step up in a clean pocket. Though his mechanics are rock solid, Weeden does struggle with avoiding blitz pressure. Has developed tendency to force ball at his current read whenever blitz pressure gets to him; has quick enough release to get ball out before hit, but doesn’t always see where his throw is going. Pressure, especially thru the two A-gaps by stunting backers, adversely affects Weeden’s decision making and, more importantly, his accuracy.

Passing-Instincts
Weeden deciphers post snap information quickly and decisively; able to progress through multiple reads with efficiency and always knows where his check down is. Displays a high football intelligence, and has already evidenced the ability to make full field reads. Recognizes coverages presnap, and interceptions usually come from a lack of anticipation; has to see where he’s throwing. Very determined to push the ball downfield and hesitates to go straight to his checkdown receiver. 

Tends to stare down his primary. Shows confidence in his receivers to win every one-on-one matchup, and will throw the football up for grabs in single man coverage. Will take chances with the football because he trusts his throwing skills and receivers so much; still improving as a progression passer and must learn to take the checkdown when its there. Has short term memory and quickly recovers from mistakes; isn’t afraid to look down the barrel and take the big hit. Very underrated in terms of pocket presence and ability to feel the rush, Weeden has taken just 19 sacks in over 1000 pass attempts as a starter. Communicates very well at the line of scrimmage, and has veteran-like composure.

Summary
The biggest concern that will build momentum leading into the 2012 NFL Draft for Brandon Weeden, undoubtedly will be his age. As a 28 year old, a perceived inability to develop,  and limited upside bring reason to doubt Weeden’s long term success. Some have even gone as far to say he can only be a one-contract player. With a relatively poor track record of minor league baseball players in the NFL, ranging from Chris Weinke to Drew Henson, it is easy to dismiss Weeden’s pro potential. However this could not be further from the truth. Weeden’s willingness to stand in line for 2 seasons, learn the Oklahoma State system, develop physically, and learn the game of football should not be so easily overlooked. The former professional baseball player, has a rocket arm and throws the football as well as anyone in the country. Even more impressive than his arm talent, are Weeden’s ideal throwing mechanics. The age factor in many ways, should be looked at as a positive attribute by teams in need of an immediate starter at quarterback. Married and having dealt with the rigors of the professional sporting life already, Brandon Weeden has the maturity of a seasoned veteran and the spotlight of the NFL will not be too much for him. He understands how to handle his money, will stay out of trouble, and gives a good face to any franchise looking for a solution.

Oklahoma State built the entire offense to fit Weeden’s skillset -that is, pushing the ball vertically downfield, utilizing an up tempo style, and allowing Weeden full reign to toss the ball across the yard. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken said on ESPN’s Year of the Quarterback special covering OSU’s quarterbacks, “He can make every throw. There’s not one throw he can’t make. [...] He has touch to dump the ball down underneath. He can make intermediate throws with authority. He can throw the ball deep downfield, very accurately. It’s really amazing how accurate he is at all the different throws he has to make.” As stated previously Weeden has the skill set and mental makeup to be an immediate starter. Whichever team decides to take Weeden must adjust their offense to fit his skillset by utilizing a heavy dose of shotgun pass formations. Weeden rarely, if ever took snaps from under center snaps at Oklahoma State and will have to prove that he can transition to a pro style system. I do not see this as being a major cause for concern, and Brandon Weeden currently deserves early to mid 2nd round draft consideration.

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