Throwing session: Winston, Mariota, the field

Assessing the Saturday throwing sessions of Winston, Mariota and, oh yeah, the others.

Saturday’s throwing session at the NFL Scouting Combine was dominated by interest in the big two, but they shared the throws with others. From the perch in a suite (not as glamorous as it sounds) at Lucas Oil Stadium, here is one man’s view of what went down at the two throwing sessions: NFL Combine Coverage
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Jameis Winston, Florida State
Many are bothered by the number of interceptions Winston threw at Florida State, but without a defense presenting any challenges at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday, his impressive set of skills shined bright during the throwing session at the NFL Scouting Combine. His first throw on a go route was flat but accurate, and then the trajectory looked normal and the accuracy continued after that. He threw a little inside on the out routes, but nothing the receivers couldn’t handle. He was tremendous throwing go routes, but not quite as stellar on the post fades.

Marcus Mariota, Oregon
He was sure and accurate on the slant throws and has plenty of zip on his passes, but he left the ball inside on several out routes. He connected on several go routes and usually gave his receivers a chance on those throws, but he also didn’t have typical height on those throws that is often needed to allow the receiver to run under the ball. The same was true with his fade throws – flatter than most but accurate. His post-corner throws got continually higher as he made more of them. Maybe just to prove it can be done, he overthrew one of the top deep threats in this receiver class, Kevin White, on a go route. Mariota has a nice compact delivery and by all accounts has great character off the field and insatiable competitiveness on it.

Brett Hundley, UCLA
Hundley won the weaker first session of throwing, the one without Mariota or Winston. Showing a little sidearm action at times, Hundley put a lot of body into his throws early in the session. He was very accurate in the gauntlet drill, essentially a crossing route from the quarterbacks’ perspective, and put the ball in the right spot during his short slant throws, too, leading the receiver just enough. However, on his out routes, he left the ball too far inside too often. He started the deep inside routes nicely, but missed two of them high as the session progressed. All four of his deep go routes were solid, missing on only one of them that was only inches away from a completion. He was also solid in the post-corner routes, with his only misses going outside.

Brandon Bridge, South Alabama
Bridge was impressive in his media interview on Thursday and was equally good in his on-field work on Saturday. “Air Canada” was the tallest of the quarterbacks in the first session and has a whip of an arm. He won’t go in the early rounds, but he is worth a developmental investment with a late-round grab because of his raw physical skills. He has a quick flick of the wrist that generates a lot of power in his throws, but he was also one of the most accurate in the first group on his deep throws, including go routes and post-corner routes. He missed a couple of out routes high and has footwork issues, but that’s why we term him a developmental project.

Bryce Petty, Baylor
Petty has good size and good arm strength, but he was a little wild on several different routes. He was often short on slants and all over the place on out routes. He has the look of an NFL quarterback, but he admitted at the Senior Bowl that he will need to learn to play under center after building his résumé in Baylor’s offense.

Cody Fajardo, Nevada
Fajardo threw with accuracy on his go routes, but he doesn’t have the strongest arm, which could be a problem for out routes that cornerbacks might be able to undercut at the next level since he tends to lean into his throws.

Garrett Grayson, Colorado State
He was probably the best quarterback at the Senior Bowl, but we didn’t notice him much at Saturday’s throwing session. Still, he has the size, arm and appears to have the pocket presence to intrigue as a potential mid-round pick.

Sean Mannion, Oregon State
He has incredible size for the position, but with slow feet and a wind-up delivery, he could have some work ahead of him before he is NFL-ready. He had a nice throw on a go route, so he has enough arm, but he puts a lot of body in his throws.

Nick Marshall, Auburn
He opted to make a last-minute change at the Senior Bowl and work at cornerback instead of quarterback, and his throwing session at the Scouting Combine showed why. He simply isn’t accurate enough to make it in the NFL.

Blake Sims, Alabama
Sims looked like he did at the Senior Bowl: simply not a quarterback worth drafting. Not much stands out about him – arm strength or accuracy.

Anthony Boone, Duke
After a couple of bad underthrows on basic routes and generally being off the mark on slants, we stopped watching Boone, except when his go-route throws floated so high that it was unavoidable.


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