Tuesday, August 16, 2011

So, You Want to Know More About That John Beck Guy?

(What do Scouts Think of John Beck? Answers Below. AP Photo/ Evan Vucci via)
 Ask and you shall receive. Anyway, with the announcement/arm wringing of Mike Shanahan, we know that John Beck will be getting the start on Friday against the Colts.

By now, you know about Beck's NFL career and that he hasn't started or taken an actual regular season game snap since 2007. But let's go back a bit, back before Beck was even drafted. What did scouts think of him then?

This is kind of cool if you didn't know about this site. I do my draft research each year using various sites (along with my TV /film watching abilities) and one that I rather like is NFLDraftScout.com (aka: CBSSportsline). They do a good analysis on individual players and have reports on many players that you can't find on other sites. Anyway, they don't discard they're evaluations of players. So, say you want to learn more about some of the new Redskins like Barry Cofield or Chris Chester and want to see if they play like their scouting reports indicate. This is a nice tool to compare and contrast the player's college history, to his evaluation as a draft prospect and eventually his NFL career.

Since we don't have much to go on with John Beck's career, let's look at his college scouting report:

For content purposes, we'll look at a few excerpts:

Has good balance and adequate body control throwing on the move … Has decent foot quickness in his pass set and shows good quick-twitch muscle fibers … Very intelligent player who has no problem executing a complicated game plan … Student of the game who breaks down opposing film and does a good job of making adjustments on the field … Plays through pain and shows very good poise in the pocket and confidence in his protection, as it is rare to see him bolt too early, as he will stand tall and take some shots under pressure … Has good throwing mechanics and sets his feet with agility and solid base …Displays awareness to anticipate when the receiver is coming out of the breaks … With his three-quarters delivery and natural hands, Beck is very effective at getting the ball out quickly …Demonstrates the ability to hit his targets in stride working in the short areas … Has better timing underneath than when airing the ball out, as he shows a good feel for route progression … Does a good job of maintaining good accuracy on his throws along the perimeter … Good at making pre-snap judgment calls … 
Has good timing and touch working in the intermediate area and has the ability to adjust on the move, thanks to his good field vision … Gutsy field general
Effective at rolling out to locate his receivers, showing good accuracy throwing on the move … 
Ok, so John Beck is a smart guy who is more quick than fast. He's mobile and can roll out and throw passes well. He's got a quick release and is good in short and intermediate ranges. He tough and wants to be a leader. Sounds like the Beck I'm reading about at camp and during the player mini-camps during the lockout. So where does he struggle?

...he is no threat running with the ball … Has good arm strength for the short-to-intermediate area, but realizes that he lacks the raw power to air the ball out consistently, keeping the game plan within his athletic talents … Lacks ideal height and valid speed, but makes up for it with good short-area avoid skills and a quick release to unleash the ball on time … 
 Ok, understandable...but there's more.
Will sometimes revert to locking on to his primary target, resulting in him throwing into double coverage...
 That's not good to read.
...will show a bit of a wind-up when he releases the ball over the top rather than his normal, three-quarters delivery … When he attempts to air it out, the ball tends to float and fall off, causing the receivers to break off their routes … Needs to do a better job of dropping the deep ball in over the outside shoulder of the receiver, as the ball floats too much on fade and long throws (deep passes will come off his hands too high, as it floats and lofts) …
This has been a problem at camp. From what the beat reporters (John Keim and Rich Campbell in particular) have written, Beck had been inconsistent especially with his deep passes. The good news is that the scouting report has more good things to say about Beck (although many items are repeated like he's good throwing on the move) than bad. Also, based on this report, I can see why Shanahan likes him. Except for some deep routes, Beck fits what Shanahan is looking for in a QB for his scheme. Will Beck be the guy? I have no clue and neither does the scouting report. That said, the report does give us some things to look at and focus on when we watch the Skins play the Colts on Friday.

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