A project quarterback in football is a football prospect that has the potential to be your franchise quarterback yet needs a lot of work to get there.
Each NFL draft you will likely hear of several project qbs. These quarterbacks tend to have the traits of elite prospects but haven’t quite managed to get their game together.
These players often don’t have great stats throughout college but often have made several highlight-reel plays that get scouts attention.
Project quarterbacks tend to fall in the draft due to their less than stellar statistics. Though on some occasions NFL GMs will see the potential in these players and select them high in the draft order.
When a project quarterback is selected you can expect a few years of less than perfect play before the player reaches their true potential.
Project Quarterback Strengths
One factor that is found in almost every project quarterback is arm strength. Unless you have incredible football IQ and decision making a quarterback is going to have a very hard time making it in the NFL without elite arm strength.
GMs and coaches know this is a trait that cannot be taught. This makes prospects with this trait all the more enticing.
If they have arm strength and have found success in college you are likely looking at a high first round pick.
If the prospect has great arm strength but failed to perform well in college you are likely looking at a project quarterback.
Another common strength of project quarterbacks is their frame. NFL brass seem to fall in love with quarterbacks that “fit the bill”. These players with larger frames and good arm strength often allow the scouts to look past their poor performances.
Additionally with a larger frame comes an easier ability to see over your offensive line. A larger frame also contributes to increased hands size making it easier to grip and throw the ball.
The final strength that almost every project quarterback has is raw talent. If you look back over the years at project qbs taken in the draft you will see these players are almost always talented.
Though they do not show it every play in college there are almost always a few clips that wow the scouts and earn the player a position on an NFL franchise.
Project Quarterback Weaknesses
Typically the largest weakness in a project quarterbacks game is their consistency. They may be able to hit a receiver in stride fifty yards down the field on one play. But on the next three, they will throw incomplete passes.
It is this trait that often puts the project in project quarterback. Teams often spend years trying to build on these quarterbacks talents in order to make them consistent.
Accuracy is another weakness that is often present in these quarterbacks. If there is one thing that these qbs will struggle with it is hitting their receivers accurately.
When coming in the league these players tend to have the skills to do it all they just haven’t found the accuracy to use these physical tools to their fullest potential.
One of the most common things to work on for these qbs is their footwork and mechanics. Oftentimes project quarterbacks come from smaller schools that do not have the coaching ability to get these players NFL ready.
Once getting to the league a large amount of time is spent working with quarterbacks coaches working on figuring out their footwork and throwing mechanics.
This can often pay massive dividends as it is common for these players to change their entire throwing motion once in the NFL.
Examples Of Project Quarterbacks
Now that you know the main strengths and weaknesses of these quarterbacks lets get into some real-world examples.
Josh Allen is the most recent example of a project quarterback gone right. Drafted out of Wyoming he never reached a sixty percent completion percentage at any point through his collegiate career.
Though despite the stats Allen, has 6’5 245 pound frame and a rocket of an arm. After spending his first two seasons in the NFL at a mediocre level Allen took massive strides in his third season.
After finally honing in his skills Allen ended the season second in MVP voting.
After showing an example of a project qb working out it is now time to show the other side of the coin. Chrisitan Hackenberg was a quarterback at Penn State and was selected in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft.
Just like Allen, Hackenberg had a large frame standing at 6’4 228 pounds. Hackenberg also possessed great arm strength which he showed off several times throughout college.
Unfortunately, Hackenberg never found his stride in the NFL and never was able to get in an NFL game.
He lasted two years on the Jets before being traded and ultimately leaving the NFL after just three seasons.