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Nick Whalen
Nick Whalen’s QB rankings: #9 and #8

Nick Whalen breaks down the NFL futures of Ryan Finley and Jarrett Stidham.

Mar 6th

We struggled to find a creative title for Ryan Finley and Jarrett Stidham; both of which project as career backups based on Nick Whalen’s scouting reports. If you’d like to continue reading, detailed analysis is below or watch our video analysis on the slightly more hyped Jarrett Stidham.

#9 Ryan Finley – NC State

Throwing vs Pressure
Middle of the field passes
Staring down 1st read

NFL Comp: Cody Kessler

Finley started his career at Boise State before transferring to North Carolina State. He has good size at 6’4” and started for three seasons at NC State. He continually improved his game and the statistics reflectived it. More hope exists with development when a player with significant starting experience improves their game each season. In 2018, Finley posted the most touchdowns, yards per attempt, yards, completion percentage, and QB rating in his college career.

Finley has below average arm strength. However, due to his timing, he’s able to complete passes outside of the numbers regularly. By throwing the football with anticipation and on time, he’s able to overcome his deficiency in arm strength. He shows good timing and accuracy on passes along with touch. Finley rarely lets it rip, but he does show good touch to his receivers, which make his passes much more likely to get caught. While he can buy time outside of the pocket, Finley isn’t much of a scrambler. He knows his limitations and doesn’t attempt to do too much. He avoids contact from defenders when scrambling by sliding early and does decent job of throwing on the run.

While throwing the football outside the numbers is normally viewed as a strength for quarterbacks, it’s the majority of Finley’s passing game. Bubble screens, slants, and throwing outside the numbers are his comfort zone. The negative comes into play when watching him throw the football between the hashes in the intermediate to deep part of the field. Despite rarely throwing to this area of the field, this is where Finley has most of his interceptions. Safeties and the underneath zone defenders have benefitted often from Finley’s passes. He shows poor accuracy in this area too. A few reasons exist for why the middle of the field is such an area of concern for Finley. First, he stares down his initial target. It’s rare to see Finley progress from one receiver to the next. More rare is Finley reading both sides of the field during a play. Therefore, defenders read his eyes and it leads them right to the football.

When he gets rid of the football in the quick game, it’s more difficult for multiple defenders to get in the area, but when plays take longer and passes travel to the intermediate to deep part of the field, they have more time to react to his eyes.

Finley loathes contact from defenders. I know, I know, all quarterbacks don’t like to get hit. But some will endure a hit to stand in the pocket to deliver a strike to a receiver. Others are calm with pressure around them. Finley possesses neither of these traits. He rushes his decision process and will generally throw off his back foot.

Lastly, previously it has been mentioned Finley doesn’t possess good arm strength. When throwing longer distances over the middle of the field, the football is in the air longer with a weaker armed player. Now add in throwing off his back foot and you can see how many outcomes haven’t been favorable.

Finley has some limitations, but has a base skill set and can run an offense. If he develops to become a complete quarterback, he would still be a fringe starter in the NFL.

#8 Jarrett Stidham – Auburn

1 ball arm strength
Pocket presence
Throwing vs pressure
Deep ball mechanics/accuracy

NFL Comp: Mark Sanchez

Stidham was a big time recruit out of High School, who ended up going to the Baylor Bears. After an injury to starter Seth Russell, Stidham became the starter as a true freshman and was very successful. After an injury, Stidham was shut down for the season. He decided to transfer after the scandal at Baylor and eventually decided on Auburn.

He’s a solid athlete at the quarterback position who can buy time by rolling out of the pocket or gains yards by running. Stidham’s pocket presence is lacking. If his initial read isn’t there, he tends to make poor decisions. Many times, Stidham will scramble out of a clean pocket or run into pressure. Other times he will quickly throw the football away.

If the defense provides some pressure, Stidham’s accuracy goes down dramatically. One of the reasons is Stidham decides to leave his feet while delivering many of these passes (jump pass), which leaves him throwing from different platforms and different angles with pressure. He can make some very poor decisions throwing the football when the defense provides some heat on him too. With that said, Stidham does have plays of climbing the pocket to avoid edge pressure and delivering the football. Overall, he’s simply not comfortable in a pocket that’s not clean. He needs to slide to protect his body more and appears too confident in his athletic ability versus defenders.

Stidham has three very distinct throwing motions. If he throws a 1 ball(on a line with very little loft), it’s a short and compact with a lot of zip on it. He shows the arm strength to throw a deep out before a cornerback can get there. It’s nice to see him place this football high and outside, which only allows his receiver to make a play on it. Stidham’s 2 ball(some loft, but not a deep ball) he shows good touch and placement. However, this motion is more elongated. He throws a good fade ball in terms of location and timing with receivers. When he needs to throw a deep ball, 3 ball, Stidham doesn’t stay on top of the football as much. Instead he drops his shoulder and the results are more sporadic with a longer throwing motion.

The Auburn offense was designed for many short passes and screens. Most of the time Stidham would scan through two progressions and then decide to run or buy time. Not many plays did he read both sides of the field. His preference is to throw short passes and likes throwing crossing routes. He would locate check downs, but it wouldn’t be in rhythm. he needs to improve on anticipation and throwing to receivers out of their break. Stidham’s footballs tend to be high, which led to some poor results over the middle of the field.

Insight by
Nick Whalen