Blake Sims is an outstanding athlete for his position. He might not have the blazing speed of a Michael Vick or the size of Vince Young, but his feet and strong throwing arm make him a viable threat to score on the ground or throwing the ball. He has good foot quickness and agility to throw on the move, showing the body control and balance to break tackles or avoid the defender with his explosive second gear to accelerate into the second level.
Sims displays good athleticism and quick feet for the position. He runs well and is quick moving out of the pocket, showing above average change of direction agility. He has good running strength and shows awareness when heading up field. His quick feet and fluid change of direction agility allows him to escape the pass rush quite a bit.
You can see a little bit of Russell Wilson in his game, as he is always looking for ways to move the chains, within reason, rather than attempt to make that one flashy play that is more often going to get you in trouble. He's a good athlete who plays fast in tight quarters and is a strong QB who accelerates well once he gains a step and can certainly create with his legs once he gets into the open field. He isn't an elite athlete running the football, but certainly offers enough short area quickness, power and speed to hurt NFL defenses once he gets into the open field.
Do not let his ten interceptions fool you, as four of those tosses bounced off his targets into hands of the opponents. Actually, he is a very smart field general who is rarely fooled by coverage. Under the guidance of Lane Kiffin, he learned to make strong pre-snap reads and demonstrated improvement as a senior in manipulating the defense with his eyes and legs. Sims continued to show good poise stepping up to avoid the rush and challenging linebackers to either commit to stopping him from scrambling or dropping off to cover receivers behind them.
While Sims might be moved to tailback in the pros, it could be because of his lack of size being the issue. But as a ball carrier, he is more than willing to scramble, but he also does a nice job of keeping his eyes downfield until the last possible second before bolting. Still, his future at the quarterback position will be predicated upon how badly he wants to remain there and what NFL team chooses him.
If he is going to play in the spread, than he will more than likely stay at quarterback, where he could flourish like Russell Wilson has, but if not, he will probably move to another skill position as either a tailback or slot wide receiver. Most will agree that he has below average size for a quarterback, but adequate-to-good size for a skill position player. He is a very productive player in the Alabama offense. He displays solid accuracy in the short-to-intermediate passing game and fundamentally is very consistent with his mechanics.
If Sims did not have the arm strength, shifting him from quarterback would be obvious, but it is arguably one of his most impressive trait, especially considering he threw for a school record 3,487 yards with 28 touchdowns vs. ten interceptions and completed 64.45% of his attempts. If teams can be confident those numbers will translate to the next level, a position change is not needed.
I feel that Sims can easily make every NFL throw, as he’s shown both at Alabama and during Senior Bowl week that he has that ability to drive the football to the sideline on a line from the opposite hash. If you look at the success receiver Amari Cooper had this year in becoming a Heisman Trophy finalist, it was because Sims was consistently able to send the ball 40-50 yards downfield with a flick of his wrist.
Sims has an efficient set-up and delivery of the ball. Thanks to Lane Kiffin, he also became experienced in taking snaps from under center and in the shotgun. He has that nimble footwork that lets him drop back quickly and he shows good rhythm and timing despite limited experience playing with the first unit until 2014 (did not have the opportunity to spend years developing chemistry with his targets like other long-term starters).
Sims has a quick, over the top release and does an excellent job of finding clear passing lanes from which to throw. He also shows a quick delivery and generally gets rid of the ball on time and appears to have a nice grasp of the scheme. He possesses very good feet and his drop speed and set up is solid. He also displays good ball handling skills on play action and is dangerous when he breaks contain on bootlegs and “nakeds” where he can be a dual-threat and throw on the run which he does a nice job of.
As for some areas that need to be worked on, Sims' arm strength is adequate, but not rare or elite. He must have his feet set and follow through to get as much power as he can and this will make him an adequate-to-good consistent thrower up to the intermediate levels, but driving the ball vertically probably isn't his strength.
Sims can throw on the move and buy time with his athleticism, but he can be a bit straight-lined as a runner at times. Mechanically, he is consistent, but he throws with some tension in his upper body and can be a little rigid in his mechanics and release.
Blake Sims NFL Scouting Combine measurables
5-11/218 (4.57 forty)
31 1/2-inch arm length
> 30.5-inch vertical jump
115-inch broad jump
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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