Mobile Minutes: South QBs, Day 1

Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden, Arizona's Nick Foles and San Diego State's Ryan Lindley were on display Monday at Senior Bowl workouts. Who did well for himself? Who needs to step it up?

Brandon Weeden

A 6-3, 219-pounder, Weeden completed 72.3 percent of his passes for 4,727 yards with 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2011, as Oklahoma State went 12-1, won the Big 12 and also defeated Stanford 41-38 in the Fiesta Bowl.

Weeden looked to be the best of the bunch Monday for the South team at the game's most important position, at least in terms of throwing the ball on time and on target. During positional drills, the former Cowboy put some real zip on the ball delivering the skinny post, and then in 7-on-7 action he was finding his way through some fairly tight windows and giving his receivers an opportunity to make a play after the catch. While he's never going to impress anyone as a runner either in or out of the pocket, he appears to be a good enough athlete to succeed in the NFL and exhibited a calmness about his game that suggests he can handle pressure situations.

One hurdle Weeden simply won't be able to jump is the fact that he's already 28 years old due to his previous career in the minor leagues as a baseball player, so even if he develops into a starter relatively quickly, he might only have five years or so to give the franchise that drafts him.

Nick Foles

A 6-5, 244-pounder, Foles completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 4,334 yards with 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 2011, as Arizona stumbled its way to a 4-8 mark that resulted in coach Mike Stoops being fired midseason.

Scouts will love Foles in terms of his size and arm strength, as there little doubt he can stand tall in the pocket and fire bullets from every platform across the entire field, but he is limited athletically and won't have much of a chance unless he has a plus offensive line in front of him. In positional drills Monday, he put plenty of zip on the ball and did so with a quick release, yet he looked a bit tentative in full-squad work and couldn't make up his mind what to do with it -- those are sacks in the NFL. Although most talent evaluators currently have Foles rated higher than Weeden on their draft boards, it wouldn't be a surprise to see a flip-flop come April.

Foles is a bit of a throwback signal caller, conjuring up images of a Dan Marino or a Drew Bledsoe as a classic drop-back passer, even if he did spend a sizable portion of his time with the Wildcats operating out of a spread-based system.

Ryan Lindley

A 6-4, 229-pounder, Lindley completed 53.0 percent of his passes for 3,153 yards with 23 touchdowns and 8 interceptions in 2011, as San Diego State went 8-5 and lost to Louisiana-Lafayette 32-30 in the New Orleans Bowl.

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While he came to Mobile carrying a reputation as a gunslinging QB with a live arm, Lindley didn't throw the ball particularly well on Day 1 and looked to be outclassed by the competition he faced from Weeden and Foles. Not only did he fail to impress with pure RPMs, but Lindley was wildly inaccurate more often than not and threw many more wobbly ducks than tight spirals. At one point, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan felt the need to get on Lindley's case for not calling the cadence with enough authority at the line of scrimmage, so it's fair to wonder just how well he was coached in college.

Weeden and Foles likely got back to their hotels feeling pretty satisfied with what they were able to accomplish Monday, but Lindley has to walk a much longer path to prove he belongs in the NFL.


John Crist is the editor-in-chief of NoleDigest.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


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