If you take a look at the starting quarterbacks in the National Football League, it’s close to a 50-50 split on quarterbacks that were selected in the first round to quarterbacks selected beyond the opening frame. And while drafting a potential franchise quarterback in the first round is still a popular decision for NFL teams, there’s always talent to be had later in the draft.
The 2009 draft class of quarterbacks was considered one of the worst in recent memory, although there were some intriguing prospects. As the ’10 class starts to shake out, the senior class doesn’t have much star power beyond Texas’ Colt McCoy and Florida’s Tim Tebow. But if you’re looking for a steal in the third or fourth round, Western Michigan’s Tim Hiller will generate a lot of attention, and the attention has already begun.
Scout.com has confirmed that representatives from the Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions made the trek to Kalamazoo to scout Hiller. There were two teams that sent scouting executives to watch the Broncos practice; the 49ers sent their Director of Player Personnel Trent Baalke, and the Lions dispatched Assistant Director of College Scouting Lance Newmark.
The Lions selected former Georgia signal caller Matthew Stafford with the first pick in the ’09 draft, and it’s highly unlikely that they will use a high draft pick next year on another quarterback. Anything is possible, but this appears to be a case of a team doing its due diligence on a local prospect. However, the Niners desperately need a young quarterback that they can build their franchise around after their former No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith has failed to live up to his potential and incumbent starter Shaun Hill is merely a serviceable option.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Hiller is a viable alternative for the Niners, as well as any other team in search of a quarterback with a high upside in next year’s draft. Hiller had a breakout junior campaign where he completed 64.9-percent of his passes for 3,725 yards, 36 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions. He possesses prototypical size, a strong arm and the intelligence to play in most offenses. He primarily works out of the shotgun, shows patience in the pocket and delivers a quick, catchable ball that arrives on time for the receiver. He goes through his progressions nicely and takes what the defense gives him. He doesn’t force many throws, although when he’s forced out of the pocket he has a tendency to turn over the ball. He has good mobility, but isn’t a threat to hurt a defense with his legs. He’s a hard worker who prepares himself extremely well for the task at hand and is a leader that others look up too.Hiller is currently the 3rd rated quarterback (78th overall) in Scout.com’s 2010 NFL Draft Rankings.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.