This year my interest in QB’s is to try to find a developmental back-up for Baker that could be ready to step in for a game or two by Year 2. I only have interest in two of the guys on the list above: Jordan Ta’amu and Gardner Minshew.
Ta’amu has skills VERY similar to Baker, but he has better size. Minshew I did not expect to be reviewing in detail until I heard that the Browns met with him at the Combine. Now I need to dig in a bit more.
Jordan has some length to him compared to Baker but weighs about the same. He seems to be a viable late-round candidate to become that developmental QB to learn and hold clipboards until he might need to step in for a game or two.
GOOD: Has plus accuracy, which is where you always want to start. Drops his deep throws into the bucket effortlessly, simply beautiful to watch. Good velocity on this throws, has NFL caliber arm to all levels. Gets rid of ball quickly. Is a threat to run and can move pretty well. Able to square up and hit a target once he is on the move.
BAD: Below-average ability to escape pocket and still make a play, blitz awareness is poor, really needs work on reading defenses. Too many pump fakes due to indecision and that leads to turnovers and batted passes.
BOTTOM LINE: Ta’amu is a good starting point for a 2nd back up. He has the accuracy you can’t create, good arm strength and velocity. Throwing fundamentals are all solid. It’s what’s upstairs, the mental game that is holding Jordan back. All of that can be improved with good coaching, good reps and a guy like Baker who is advanced in reading and anticipation.
There is a reason Ta’amu will be available in the 5th or 6th Round. He is far from a finished product and likely will never be starter material. His production is concerning in terms of number of starts and the decline in Completion % his second year. Another concern is that his worst performances came against the best teams (LSU, Alabama, Miss St.).
TD’s to INT’s is reasonable, but he just didn’t score a lot of touchdowns. He will need to learn to play from the pocket, improve his sense of pocket collapse and late blitzes. Anticipation and reads are his worst skill set now, and improving that is key to him succeeding. However, if you put this kid in a situation like we have, he should end up a very capable back up by Year 3.
Good lord people…how did this guy play college football this year? He’s fucking 40! And he is the SPITTING IMAGE of Uncle Rico! This absolutely makes me want to draft him, how could we not? But let’s at least find out whether the dude can play, or if he just wins Porn Stache contests…
GOOD: Just when I thought Ta’amu might provide us the perfect back up QB scenario, I am 100% on board with the Browns grabbing this guy instead. His accuracy was insane his senior year, but it was function of the Air Raid offensive system run by the father of the system himself, Mike Leach, at Wash State. Throws with timing, pinpoint spotting, gets the ball out incredibly fast. His deep throw accuracy is even better than Ta’amu. Apparently he also makes back shoulder throws in his sleep that he has become known for.
BAD: On the small side, but still measures bigger than Baker. Considered to have a weak arm, but makes up for it with his accuracy and anticipation. Lacks drive on his throws to the boundaries. Not much of a scrambler. Considered a system QB, but guess what? It’s the same system Todd Monken is bringing here!
BOTTOM LINE: Honestly, I totally get the attraction. He is almost PERFECT for us. Has an incredible story, starting first at Troy, transferring to Northwest Mississippi Community College (won a Championship with them) then he moved to East Carolina for two years before finally getting the call from Mike Leach (Father of the Air Raid system) at Washington State.
At Wash State he blossomed under the Leach Air Raid playbook. His stats below were stunning but also a function of the system. His accuracy is all his though, you can’t teach that (70% in 2018!). Has incredible intangibles as a fiery, excitable leader who people take to really fast. Sound familiar?
Imagine a QB room with Baker, Ryan Fitzpatrick (hoping for a FA pick up from Tampa Bay where Monken was) and Gardner Minshew…that would be the most incredible group in all of the NFL! Browns must be salivating over this guy and I don’t blame them one bit. Baker should love Gardner for his passion, preparation and desire. He has some things to work on, including getting stronger but I am all for spending late round draft capital on this guy. Uncle Rico in the house!!