PITTSBURGH – It was bound to happen ever since the first day Omar Jacobs decided he wanted to play quarterback.
With his Terry Bradshaw-like build, it's assumed he's a runner first, passer second.
"People look at me and that's what they think," Jacobs said.
People at Atlantic Community High School thought that. And they were wrong.
People at Bowling Green thought that at first, too. And they were wrong.
And when the Pittsburgh Steelers took Jacobs in the fifth round of this year's draft, Steelers fans thought that too. And Jacobs hopes to soon prove them wrong, too.
"I like to get the ball in the playmakers' hands and let them make plays," Jacobs said. "If I have to run I will but I try to work to let my guys get open. I like to pass the ball."
"At the combine, he was saying that, 'I'm a passer. I'm looking to make plays,'" Steelers quarterback coach Mark Whipple said. "You're not going to have to tell him to get out of the pocket and look downfield. That's what he's doing naturally."
And that's what he did for two years at Bowling Green in which he rewrote the record books. He completed 66.9 percent of his passes in 2004 and, despite a shoulder injury, 60.7 last season. He threw for 6,593 yards in those two seasons with 67 touchdown passes and just 11 interceptions. He's the Falcons' all-time career leader in touchdown passes with 71 and ranks third in career yards with 6,938. He's also the active NCAA career leader in total offense per game (295.6), passing yards per game (277.5) and passing efficiency (162.5).
In 2004 he was named MAC Offensive Player of the Year and GMAC Bowl MVP after leading college football with 41 TD passes. He completed 309 of 462 passes for 4,002 yards. He also set an NCAA mark for TD-to-interception ratio when he had just four passes picked that season.
And for the running stuff. Last year he ran 40 times for 62 yards. That's it.
"This kid put up some amazing statistics in productivity at Bowling Green," Steelers' Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert said. "We still think he has some improvement that can really come upon him at the pro level."
As a passer, Jacobs has a unique delivery that's a cross between short-arm and side-arm, but it doesn't concern the Steelers.
"I think everybody throws a little bit different," Whipple said. "In our league you have to throw it [from different spots] just to get around some guys. The one thing is that he's getting the ball out there. I thought that where he threw the ball was on time and in a place where the receivers can make a play. A lot of guys may throw it a little behind, but the ball was there where [the receivers] could make something happen."
Jacobs said that no coach has ever tried to mess with his mechanics too severely.
"Not really change it, maybe just change the fundamentals to make me more accurate," Jacobs said. "Like maybe raising it up a little bit, but I've been so accurate and productive that they really tried to change it that much."
Although he has a franchise quarterback and an established backup in front of him, Jacobs believes there's a sense of urgency to learning the playbook. He realizes three quarterbacks were needed last year.
"It is in the back of my mind," Jacobs said. "It's rare to use three quarterbacks in one season, but right now I am trying to soak it all in and be a sponge because you never know what can happen in football. Crazy things have happened before and people have gotten their shots. I want to keep learning and show that I am able to do it and run the offense."