Combine Session Report: Quarterbacks

Sunday at the combine is one of the most anticipated days of the week. After the stopwatches are put away, the quarterbacks throw the football, trying to prove they can make all the passes. Occasionally a quarterback will make a huge leap up draft boards with a good showing.

The Good, the Bad and the really Ugly!

Ben Roethlisberger by far had the strongest arm and looked the most imposing of any passer on the field Sunday. He would always look off the imaginary safety and threw with terrific fundamentals. When throwing crossing routes he was right on the money, leading receivers over the middle of the field or hitting them in stride. He also threw terrific corner routes and put a lot of air under his passes. Roethlisberger easily got the pass downfield and overthrew many of his deep routes; partly due to inaccuracy but also because the receivers were just damn slow. The biggest problem he had was tossing the outs; Roethlisberger was inaccurate and very late on this pass. He seemed to prefer floating the ball to the sidelines rather then zipping the outs and it cost him. In the overall view of things Roethlisberger was solid but by no means spectacular. This was not a performance equal to Joey Harrington two years ago when the former Duck grabbed hold of a top five pick after throwing at the combine or even similar to Dave Ragone last February, when the Louisville quarterback salvaged a terrible senior season with a good session. This will give the San Diego Chargers something to think about assuming they hold onto the top pick but it by no means sealed the deal for Roethlisberger.

J.P. Losman started off with a terrible session; he lacked touch, timing and was very wild early in the proceedings. The wide outs were reaching all over the place to grab his errant throws and Losman was terribly inaccurate with the outs. Yet the further downfield he threw the ball the more impressive Losman was. He long passes were perfect spirals and right on the money. He threw the best deep outs of quarterback in attendance and by the end of the session was actually the best-looking signal caller. Yet the inconsistency early on, especially in the short game, looms large and may keep him from the first round.

John Navarre threw the ball reasonably well on Sunday. Passing with a good sense of timing he was accurate and nicely placed the ball into the targets hand. His lack of arm strength was apparent and Navarre threw some of the worst deep outs of the day.

Luke McCown, who was used in practiced every day throwing to the running backs, wide outs and tight ends. Showing velocity on the shorter throws, he was very accurate tossing the crossing patterns and also timed the outs very well. McCown must have been working on his throwing motion since the Blue Gray Game, as it seemed more compact and crisper in contrast to the elongated release he previously threw with. A deep arm McCown does not possess as his downfield throws floated and were inaccurate. He was good but did not do enough to lock up a first day pick.

Bradlee Van Pelt threw some strikes down the field and displayed a big league arm. While accurate in the short field he was wild on his long passes and showed marginal accuracy down the field.

Jeff Smoker had a solid session. He timed both the outs and intermediate passes nicely, putting the throw in front of receivers and letting them run to the ball. Smoker did not show much arm strength and could not drive the ball downfield, which resulted in a lot of receivers slowing almost to a halt and bending backwards in order to catch the ball.

The knock on Matt Schaub is he lacks the big arm and he did not show a rifle during the workout yet to his credit threw the deep out well and displayed a great sense of timing. This was especially true on the crossing routes over the middle. After a rough Senior Bowl this may move Schaub back into the fourth or fifth round area.

Rod Rutherford surprised us in two areas; he threw the ball with better accuracy yet did not possess the arm strength many thought he had.

While Cody Pickett threw some beautiful deep passes and led receivers across the field, for the most part he was wild with his throws throughout the afternoon. Showing a lot of inconsistency, Pickett was late on the outs and overall did not show a sense of timing.

Continuing a downward trend, Josh Harris was almost as unimpressive here as he was at the Senior Bowl. While he has a big arm Harris was not accurate and his passes were all over the place. Worse, he tired to ease the pass into receivers and had them contorting like pretzels to try and catch the errant throws.

Craig Krenzel was another who sprayed his throws. Late on both the timing and crossing patterns, Krenzel rarely put his throws in front of wide outs and showed marginal arm strength.

Likewise Casey Clausen struggled getting zip on his passes and the long ball tended to float. On several occasions he tired to force the issue and really zing the ball into wide outs. The end result had passes sailing over receiver's heads.

Tomorrow Night: The Passers who surprises the most!

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