The Mental Game

One of the most important and least explored – at least in terms of mainstream draft coverage – areas of quarterback play is the ability to be effective mentally post-snap. Quarterbacks who struggle with processing through reads are prone to struggle against the blitz and suffer from mental errors which can kill drives and swing games. This is not something that can be easily judged from tape alone, especially for players like Anderson who have spent their college careers in simplistic offenses which rarely asked him to make the kinds of progressive reads that most NFL teams will ask them to perform on a weekly basis. However, without being able to interview these players in detail, tape is all that we have to go on, and there is still a reasonable amount of information that can be gathered from tape alone.

On tape, Anderson showed some ability to work through reads using both sides of the field:


Though this did sometimes verge on ‘hero ball’:


He also showed the ability to identify open receivers against zone with a reasonable speed:


And little things, like the ability to manipulate the corner on the following play, are always nice to see:


Though it would be foolish not to mention the occasional plays where it’s hard to work out what he was going for:


The only other real clue as to Anderson’s mastery of an offense come in the form of his ability to anticipate routes. This wasn’t something he showed a huge amount of on tape, largely because the simplicity of the reads made this hard, but there were times where he showed an ability to deliver the ball as the receiver made his break:


The mental side of Anderson’s game is very much a question mark. He rarely made bad reads on tape and didn’t look to stare down receivers, but he also was rarely asked to go beyond his second read and much of what he was asked to run both at Buffalo and Murray State was highly simplistic and made it hard to be overly bullish about his processing ability.

In short, a team would be foolish to spend significant draft capital on Anderson based on tape alone – but given how simplistic most college offenses are, this puts him in the same category as most of the quarterbacks in this draft class.


Up Next: Draft Grade And Comp


Vincent Richardson on Twitter
Vincent Richardson
Analyst at Riot Report
Astrochemist, bartender and jazz drummer; I also watch a lot of football. Areas of interest include play design, player evaluation and data-driven analytics. Twitter: @vrichardson444
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