My Top 2008 Offensive Player

In total, former scout Tom Marino has viewed over four hundred senior players on the season; taking notes and in many cases writing detailed reports, based on his exposure. Today he gives opinion on the player he has deemed the very best college football player he saw during the 2008 season.

When evaluating a college QB, one of the most important question one can ask is; Is the perspective player a difference maker? Does he have the ability to change or alter a football game? Case in point – In both the 1970 and 1971 Rose Bowl, a far superior Ohio State squad was defeated by a Stanford squads led by Jim Plunkett, the 1970 Heisman Trophy. In both cases, Plunkett clearly proved to be the difference maker. A top quarterback (Montana, Namath and Elway), can win games they shouldn't win, and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

No: 6 Name: Graham Harrell

School: Texas Tech University

Ht: 6021v Wt: 208v Speed: 4.91v

Exposure: Oklahoma St / U of Texas / Oklahoma U

2005 – 55 – 37 – 67.3 – 422 – 3 – 0

2006 – 617 – 412 – 66.8 – 4555 – 38 – 11

2007 – 713 – 512 – 71.8 – 5705 – 48 – 14

2008 – 568 – 406 – 71.5 – 4747 – 41 – 7

Strong Points – Production / throwing accuracy (short medium, and deep) / throwing release and delivery (really liked his stroke) / Keeps the ball up and cocked to throw / vision / decision making skills / concentration / Ability to look off defender / playing experience / throwing ability on the move / pocket presence and composure / gets the ball out quick and didn't get caught with the football / flair action and touch / can makes plays under duress / consistently finds check down and outlet receiver / very smart with excellent football instincts (sees the whole picture) / Doesn't have exceptional foot speed and body quickness, but was able to make time in the pocket / rush sense and feel in the pocket / Will hand in there, but I didn't think he took needless sacks / can throw from awkward position / Deadly red zone passer (fades and stop routes).

Weak Points – Will fall off too many throws (didn't think he stepped into his throws consistently – pedestrian arm strength and size stature / needs to become more consistent squaring his shoulders when throwing on the move / A little too bouncy in the pocket / very limited three, five and seven step throwing experience.

Potential – I really liked this prospects playing demeanor, particularly with the game in the balance (see final 1:30 seconds of the U of Texas contest). Is tough minded, a very efficient passer (particularly on short and intermediate routes) and wasn't afraid to look down the barrel of a gun. I saw him as a gunslinger, who wanted the football in all critical football situations. Was deadly accurate and transfers confidence to his teammates by his actions on the football field.

He has been highly successful as a college player, but one must keep in mind the fact that the last five quarterbacks to play in this system have also been among the nations leaders in passing efficiency.

Would like to see him in Senior Bowl practices before making a final determination with this player, but I believe he has a good skill set, he made excellent throwing decisions, utilized all of his receivers and was in every sense of the word a play maker.

Is going to require some additional nurturing and coaching in a conventional professional system, but I believe Graham has the learning capacity you look for at the position and temperament one looks for at the position. I see him as having the ability of becoming an eventual starter within the league. I would consider him in the mid to late first or top of the second round. I like his chances.


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