Blake Sims wasn’t just a caretaker quarterback for Alabama in 2014. He led Bama to a 12-2 record, a berth in the inaugural College Football Playoff, and was most valuable player as he propeled the Crimson Tide to the Southeastern Conference championship. Along the way he set Alabama records by completing 252 of 391 passes (64.5 per cent) for 3,487 yards and 28 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions.
Still, almost everyone considers Sims an unlikely pro quarterback. He was, however, taking part in Pro Day in Tuscaloosa Wednesday, throwing passes to a sure first round draft choice, his teammate Amari Cooper, and seeming to have a good performance for the NFL scouts.
"It was good to play catch with my teammates,” Sims said following his workout. “All of us get the opportunity to show what we can do, and I think all the scouts like what we did today. We did pretty good.”
Sims knew what he had to show the scouts. “Accuracy,” he said. “I have the ability to hit any route that’s called. And my footwork.
“I think I did pretty good. Probably could have done better in some areas, but there's always room for improvement.”
Sims said he thinks he has improved since the scouts first watched him at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. He said, “I think throwing, my accuracy has gotten a lot better. I had a lot of coaches tell me my footwork has gotten a lot better too. Just really had a good time out there.”
He said, “I don't think I'm doing anything differently. Really just trying to get the ball out of my hands as fast as I can. That's what I try to do with my height, my speed, I try to get the ball out of my hands as quick as I can, get it to the playmakers.”
Sims said the only advice he got from Coach Nick Saban was “to go out and have fun, don’t try to put too much weight on yourself. Just try to do what you can do.”
Sims said it was important to play with players who were drafted. It was pointed out that the year before Saban arrived, Alabama didn’t have a player drafted. Since Saban has been at Bama there have been 41 drafted.
Sims said, “When I came in, Greg McElroy was the starting quarterback, just came off winning the national championship.” Sims said as a young quarterback he tried to pick McElroy’s mind. McElroy, who works to the SEC Network, was among those interviewing Sims Wednesday.
Although Sims is coming off a year of quarterback play, his time in Tuscaloosa saw him getting a look as a running back and even a wide receiver in his scout team days. The pros also want to see what Sims can do as a potential pass receiver.
He said that pro scouts had asked him to go through the receiver drills. “I said I would do it,” Sims said. “It’s just another opportunity to get into the NFL, reach a dream of mine. I’m trying to take every advantage.”
Well, maybe not every opportunity. “Just offense,” he said.
“It was kind of different,” Sims said of his time working receiver drills. “Six weeks ago I was throwing touchdowns, and now I'm running routes. It was good, thanks to T.J. (tailback T.J. Yeldon). He taught me some things. I’m no Amari Cooper, but I’m pretty nice. I think I am.”
He said he’d do anything to help his team win.
Sims said he had been told that he reminds teams of players like Russell Wilson and “a little bit of Michael Vick” and Randall Cobb “becaue he played wildcat in college and also ran a couple of routes.”
Sims’ first college exposure was as a wildcat and he said he could see himself as a “running back slash slot. Try to get the ball in my hands the best way I can.
“But I’m a quarterback first.”