The more I seawthe Wolf Pack quarterback play, the more I am convinced that Cody Fajardo can provide New Orleans with a seamless transition process for the day that Drew Brees finally retires. Playing with a mediocre cast has not helped him in the won/lost column, but coincidentally, the master of the pistol offense joins former Nevada star, Colin Kaepernick, as the only players in major college history to throw for over 9,000 yards and run for over 3,000 yards in a career.
Among active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision players, Fajardo ranks sixth in pass attempts (1,319) and pass completions (864), placing eighth within that group for yards passing (9,535). He also ranks fifth overall and second among active quarterbacks with 44 touchdown runs, topped by Keenan Reynolds of Navy (sixth overall with 61). His 3,433 yards rushing placed fifth overall and first among quarterbacks.
The Nevada senior has outstanding foot quickness and balance driving away from center, showing impressive body control to throw on the move. He is equally effective passing off the sprint or from drop-back action. He has very quick wrist delivery and the body control needed so he does not have to plant to unleash the long ball.
He is not the type that will get “happy feet” when the pocket is compromised, but when forced to run, he is the type that needs to be accounted for, evident by his 44 touchdowns rushing. He not only has confidence in his rifle-arm, but also shows very good mechanics, as he consistently keeps receivers in their routes in the short-area passing game and can really lay the ball up and hit his targets when he has to uncork the long bombs.
Fajardo shows above average elusiveness on the run and has enough change of direction agility and quickness to slide and move around the pocket. Do not be confused about his high amount of rushing yardage - he is not the type that will look to run at the first sign of pressure, but he can make plays with his feet, as he doer a solid job of running with a normal stride and good balance.
Things come naturally for him with the ball in his hands, but despite that ability, he still considers himself to be a student of the game, as he will put in the extra hours and effort to improve in every aspect of his game. He has the ability and intelligence to recognize coverage on his pre-snap scan of the field and in his pass drop. Based on his test score (36) and production, he has no problem taking plays from the chalkboard to the playing field.
The thing you see on film is his ability to keep his feet under him while maintaining that balance. Fajardo can reach his throwing point with a normal stride and has the body control and agility needed to drive back from center quickly. He excels at anticipating the route’s progression and has a knack for hitting his receivers in stride.
The Nevada quarterback has a nice shoulder pump fake to get the deep secondary to bite and much like Troy Aikman, he does a fine job making pre-snap adjustments. He does a nice job with his timing and touch, especially when attempting to get the ball over the coverage. He has no problem taking a sack or throwing it away rather than trying to force the ball into tight areas.
While Fajardo has the athletic ability to rely strictly on his strong arm, he has learned how to make proper reads and stay within the frame-work of the offensive scheme. When he steps into his throws, he is ready to unleash in an instant, doing a nice job sliding in and out of the pocket. He is quite effective pushing away from the line of scrimmage in his drops than most young quarterbacks, thanks to his excellent body mechanics, athleticism and ease-of-movement skills.
Fajardo sets his feet well and throws with a tight spiral, displaying a fluid, natural motion. He has the quick feet to get to his throwing point, which is evident by his ability to almost instantly get to the area he needs to be ready to unleash the sphere. He can carry the ball medium/high and flick it out either with a high ¾ delivery or over the head.
His long ball accuracy is evident by the way he can lead the receivers by putting the ball on the outside shoulder of his targets. In the short passing game, Fajardo excels at putting the ball where the receiver can catch it. He throws a catchable ball with zip or touch and does a nice job of keeping the receiver in the route. He can drop the ball over the top and knows how to take something off his attempts on crossing patterns and shows good flare when he airs it out on his deep throws.
While some NFL teams might want Fajardo to be more of a drop-back passer than one who can easily roll out and throw, he has no problem making plays on the move – in fact, some of his best passes have come when under pressure and forced to improvise. He has excellent ball carrying skills and he has the vision and strength to make things happen with his feet. He can slide and avoid pocket pressure, doing a nice job of escaping and buying time.
With his above average body control, he is one of the best on the move when it comes to avoiding contact. He is not the type that will just pull down and take off, but he has the balance and footwork to make all his throws on the move and do it with great accuracy.
You can see on game films that Fajardo has the bend-&-weave, along with the steady acceleration to escape second level defenders consistently. In the open, his loose hips and change of direction agility leaves most defenders grasping at air. He is also surprisingly strong, evident more so this season.
Cody Fajardo NFL Scouting Combine measurable
6-1/223 (4.63 forty)
31 3/8-inch arm length
9 1/2-inch hands
32.5-inch vertical jump
118-inch broad jump
6.95 3 cone drill
4.10 20 yard shuttle
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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