2015 QB Class: Sleepers, small schoolers

The 2015 QB Class is an interesting group and, some would say, a loaded pack of intriguing talent. That includes a couple of a sleepers and small-college players that will likely trend sharply upward in the public's eye before the 2015 NFL Draft.

SUPER SLEEPERS


Jacob Coker: University of Alabama Crimson Tide, 6:04.4-230
For Alabama fans, they have to be encouraged by what they're hearing, as most know that Nick Saban is a master at unearthing talent and getting the most out of his players. The quarterback has impressive size, standing just under 6-5 and at 230 pounds with 4.78-second speed. He is the prototypical pocket passer. The Florida State transfer might not have had the luxury of playing much in a pass-happy scheme where he is winging it all over the field, but he demonstrates the footwork, balance and body control driving back from center to be a true drop-back passer.

Coker demonstrates the ability to fire the ball out quickly, taking a three-step retreat to unleash short passes, as well as the mobility needed on play-action that easily allows him to throw on the move when flushed out of the pocket. He shows flashes of really being able to drive the ball into tight spots and gets the ball out quickly. He has more than enough arm strength to make throws off balance when on the move and derive power across his body when throwing to his left on intermediate range throws (drag routes and comebacks). The quarterback also shows good touch on the vertical and fade routes and has the arm and upside to develop into a quality deep-ball passer.

Nate Sudfeld: Indiana University Hoosiers, 6:04.2-232
Prediction: By the time the 2014 season ends, most analysts will recognize what The NFL Draft Report sees in Sudfeld – one of the best pure passers this draft class has to offer. He has impressive size and outstanding arm strength, along with a smooth and quick release. He has experience working under center, from the shotgun and in a multiple spread scheme.

He shows a lively arm, and even with average speed (4.86), he is efficient on the roll-out and can throw to his right and left with no loss in accuracy while on the move. He is not the type that will win any foot races if he is flushed out of the pocket, but he keeps his feet under him to make all the throws, showing good balance and body control stepping up in the pocket.

Sudfeld shows impressive overall touch, timing and accuracy. He puts very good velocity on the deep-out route and is very capable trying to fit the ball into tight spots. He also possesses a very smooth and relaxed throwing motion. He keeps the ball high while dropping back from center and shows a compact, quick delivery. His mechanics are very consistent, and he is a confident passer, standing tall stepping into his throws and is well-balanced, seeing the field well as he gets the ball out quickly under duress.

SMALL COLLEGE SLEEPERS


Andrew Manley: Eastern Illinois University Panthers, 6:02.5-225
Manley has good set-up fundamentals with adequate foot quickness to drive back from center and get to his pass point. He has an over-the-top release, but also displays a powerful arm, as he is not the type that needs to rear back when he puts extra oomph behind his long tosses.

Manley has also demonstrated the ability to be a functional touch passer, but when needed he shows confidence in his arm to know he has more than enough velocity to throw into windows. He plays with good football instincts and awareness, making good decisions with the ball when under pressure but is not fluid moving his feet and throwing on the move when flushed out of the pocket.

Manley stands tall in the pocket and keeps his eyes down field, showing the toughness to take shots and make throws when facing a fierce pass rush (better absorbing hits in the pocket rather than rolling out and executing the pass). He does a nice job of hitting his receivers in stride on underneath and intermediate routes, showing the touch and timing to get the ball into the receiver's hands without his target having to adjust.

Where Manley has shown the most improvement is with his ability to go through progressions and scan the field to locate his secondary receivers. He delivers the ball on time when firing long and those throws demonstrate good zip, especially with his ability to consistently connect on fades and streaks.

Jerry Lovelocke: Prairie View A&M University Panthers, 6:04.4-244
With 5.0-second speed, he is not really a fast ball-carrier, but he has valid foot quickness driving from under center and moves around the pocket quite well, getting to his pass-throwing point with good urgency. He possesses above-average throwing mechanics and you can see on game films that his motion is smooth, compact and quick, as he displays a loose and fluid arm.

Much like the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger, Lovelocke has outstanding arm strength with good rotation and weight transfer unleashing the ball. He can rifle the intermediate tosses on a line and toss it deep with little effort. Even his off-balance attempts display good velocity. He has completed 65.33 percent of his passes as a sophomore and 66.43 percent in 2013, thanks to his ability to flash pinpoint accuracy.

Lovelocke continues to mature, as he stands tall under pressure and plays with quick reactions when the pocket is compromised. Even though he won't win too many foot races, his nine touchdowns on the ground last season are the result of his ability to lower his pads, keep his legs churning and power through arm tackles.


Dave-Te' Thomas has more than 40 years of experience scouting for the NFL. With the NFL Draft Report, Thomas handles a staff that evaluates and tests college players before the draft and prepares the NFL's official Draft Packet, which is distributed to all 32 teams prior to the draft. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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