Before we take a look at Drew Anderson, an intriguing option late in the 2019 Draft, we’ve been exploring all of the QBs in this year’s class all week – check out my Quarterback Big Board or have a look at my favorite of the late-round QBs, Boise State’s Brett Rypien – and take a listen to our offseason mini-series detailing the Panthers’ roster as myself and Dan Kreso go position-by-position to look at what the Panthers might need and who they may draft in 2019 – while you’re exploring, don’t forget to check out one of the most low-floor/high-ceiling QBs in the draft, Ole Miss’ Jordan Ta’amu.
Ron Rivera’s comments at the scouting combine are yet another signal that the Panthers might be looking to end their drought of selections at the quarterback position. While this is likely as much due to cap limitations as anything else, there is now at least a reasonable likelihood that the Panthers look to take a quarterback in the upcoming draft. However, given their other needs, this is likely going to have to wait for the final day of the draft; with that in mind, it is almost certainly worth Panthers fans getting to know some of the late round quarterback options in this class.
Enter Murray State’s Drew Anderson.
Arm Strength And Accuracy
Drew Anderson seems to have played for most of the colleges in the US en route to the NFL having spent time at San Diego State, Diablo State, Buffalo and finally, Murray State; while there are obvious red flags associated with that, the thing that has allowed him to keep getting shots is his arm. This was shown not only in his ability to push the ball down the field:
But also in the velocity he was able to get on the ball:
Sometimes too much velocity in fact:
It also meant that he was able to make throws that his footwork and body position should have made impossible:
This is something we’ll come back to later, but from a pure arm talent perspective, Anderson is in the rarefied ‘elite’ category – while there are an awfully large number of very arm-talented busts in NFL history, if a team like the Panthers are going to spend time and money trying to develop a late round quarterback, they will want to know that there is the talent there to make that pursuit worthwhile.
Of course, arm strength alone is pretty useless – for this to be worth something, the quarterback also has to be able to get the ball to the right place; this is where accuracy comes in. The very lowest level of accuracy teams look for in a quarterback is the ability to consistently hit targets at short range, this is a box that Anderson checks:
Though as similar to much of what he does, this is usually despite – rather than because of – his footwork:
However, even at these short distances, it is good to see him show the ability to do more than just hit a point in space. On both of the following plays, Anderson is able to place the ball in a way which leads the receiver away from the defender and, in so doing, makes it easier for him to run after the catch:
He also was able to show this same accuracy when working further down the field, such as on throws like the following:
And again, he showed the awareness to go beyond simply hitting the target, such as on this next play where he uses the ball to hold the receiver, thereby allowing him to make the catch before the safety is able to get there:
Though, as always, this wasn’t always due to an ideal throwing motion:
When asked to throw outside the numbers, he showed an ability to be highly accurate:
Though the final throw would probably have benefitted from the receiver not taking a two-footed jump out of bounds prior to catching the ball…
And once again, Anderson showed the ability to use the throw to benefit the receiver, such as on this back shoulder touchdown:
And on this third down, where the throw forces the receiver past the first down marker:
There were also a few throws he made on tape that show the kind of elite accuracy that the best quarterbacks possess. On both of the next plays, Anderson reads to the backside seam and is able to throw the receiver open down the field against tight coverage, the second of which the receiver even manages to hold onto:
And I don’t think any play quite sums up Anderson’s season as well as the next one where, despite his footwork being something of a mess, he is able to deliver the ball on a rope thirty yards down the field off his back foot to a point where only the receiver can make a play on the ball against tight coverage…only for the pass to be dropped:
There is no quarterback in the NFL who wouldn’t be very happy with that pass. Of course, there is more to accuracy than simply being able to hit a target in a straight line; it is important for quarterbacks to be able to also make throws over defenders and to drop the ball into tight depth windows down the field.
Anderson showed the ability to make these short touch passes, most notably fades:
And consistently showed the ability to weight deep passes so that the defender wasn’t forced to break stride:
Though that didn’t prevent the Murray State receivers from coming down with a few drops on these throws:
To continue the theme of Anderson being effective despite his footwork, there are also throws like this on tape:
Anderson’s poor footwork is a concern, as it will be important for any team considering drafting him to thoroughly assess how capable of improving in this area, but any quarterback who lasts until the final day of the draft likely has some combination of red flags, poor mechanics being possibly the least disqualifying of which. As it stands right now, Anderson is capable of some great plays and some painful misses, but none of that is due to a lack of talent.
Up Next: So He’s Got The Arm, But What About The Brain?