Finding Broncos: Scouting Quarterback Christian Hackenberg

MHH Analyst Erick Trickel continues his focus on scouting quarterbacks, this time with a Penn State prospect.

Combine Results

40-YARD DASH: 4.78 seconds

VERTICAL JUMP: 31.0 inches

BROAD JUMP: 114.0 inches

3-CONE DRILL: 7.04 seconds


  • Has the build and height that teams want in a quarterback
  • Effortless thrower with good, but not ideal arm strength for NFL level
  • Has quick feet
  • Can slide and move in the pocket to avoid pressure
  • Proven he can take a beating
  • Solid footwork in his 3-, 5-, and 7- step drops
  • Durable and didn’t ever miss a start
  • Plenty of college experience with three seasons of starting
  • Has the leadership qualities teams want from their quarterback
  • Has experience under center


  • While he can move in the pocket to avoid pressure, it is pressure he sees. No pressure awareness in the pocket
  • Bad vision
  • Inconsistent reads, as well as slow through progressions
  • Forced throws to his first read because there is no trust in his eyes after that
  • Stares down receivers nearly every play
  • Lacks confidence
  • Plays with little-to-no intensity and urgency
  • Awful ball placement
  • Doesn’t understand touch
  • Doesn’t keep his body in sync
  • When blitzed he doesn’t know what to do and freezes
  • Got worse each year
  • Awful ball security
  • Doesn’t like to be hit

Overall Thoughts

There isn’t much to work with for Hackenberg. He looks like an NFL quarterback off the field or just throwing on the sidelines/in practice, but once a game starts, he looks like he has no place out on the grid-iron. That is especially true when it comes to playing on Sundays. He reminds me so much of Blaine Gabbert, but all on the negative side of things.

Gabbert feared pressure and froze when he was faced with it, which Hackenberg does often. When he does take a hit, it rattles him some and often follows up with a rushed, inaccurate throw, something we saw a lot of from Gabbert early in his career. I doubt, very much, that the Denver Broncos will look towards to Penn State prospect in the upcoming draft.

Broncos Round Projection: Undrafted free agent

Where He Goes: He should go late 6th at the earliest, but will be taken rounds 3-4

Per sources, very few teams have Hackenberg on their draft boards. His negatives have many scouts and coaches thinking/feeling he just can’t play football at the NFL level, even as a second or third string player. Of those few teams, most of them feel he is a multiple-year project to shape into an adequate backup, which they feel is his ceiling.

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Erick Trickel in an Analyst for MileHighHuddle. You can find him on Twitter @Alaskan_Bronco. And be sure to like MileHighHuddle on Facebook

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