Primarily in shotgun; rarely took snaps from under center
Will need to continue to develop his footwork
Summary: If Weeden were six or seven years younger, he could easily be a top-10 pick. The reality is that he will be a 29-year old rookie. By the time his rookie contract is over, his physical skill set will likely be declining. Therefore, Weeden has a big red flag attached to him.
After three seasons as a backup, Weeden became the starter as a junior in 2010. He hit the ground running as he completed 67 percent of his passes for 4,277 yards with 34 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. Weeden did a fabulous job of getting the ball to his playmakers, and Weeden set up Justin Blackmon to have a 100-yard receiving game in every outing the receiver played in 2010. Weeden then completed 72 percent of his passes for 4,727 yards for 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2011. He and Blackmon became one of the most prolific quarterback-receiver duos in college football history. Weeden led some nice comeback wins over Texas A&M and Stanford. He was 3-0 last year going against Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Ryan Tannehill, the three quarterbacks who are expected to be selected ahead of him.
Weeden played well at the Senior Bowl and had a solid showing at the Combine. He showed that he was a little more athletic than previously thought in Indianapolis. Since then, Weeden has tried to convince teams that his age won't be an issue.
There is no doubt that Weeden has the arm strength and pure passing ability to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. He needs to develop his field vision to work through his reads quicker and get a look at other options. There were times when he would stare down his primary receiver, mostly Blackmon. However, field vision and footwork are two things that every quarterback needs to improve entering the NFL. Weeden is a good decision-maker and is accurate. He can stand in the pocket and pick a defense apart if he isn't pressured. Weeden has the capacity to play faster and better than most rookie quarterbacks.
Most projections have Weeden going in the top half of the second round with a selection in the top 50. Some believe he could go in Round 1. Weeden is more mature and ready to to assimilate into the NFL faster than typical rookies. However, he played in college football's version of arena football. The defenses he battled on a weekly basis were awful. He's seen nothing like the Steelers, Ravens, Giants, Texans or 49ers. He will have a lot to learn and by the time he has an offense down with an advanced knowledge of NFL defenses, he will be well into his 30s. Because of that, it is hard to project him being a first-round pick.
If Weeden does indeed get selected on Thursday, that team better play him almost immediately to get some kind of return on their investment of a premium draft pick. The same thing could be said for even a second-round pick.
Player Comparison: Chris Weinke. It is hard to pick another quarterback. Weinke had a tremendous career at Florida State. His pro career could have been more productive, but he came to the Panthers when they were in some rebuilding years. Weeden and Weinke were both big-armed pocket passers who did a lot of winning in college. They have a similar style of play beyond the age similarity entering the NFL. Weinke was a fourth-round pick, but Weeden is expected to go much higher.
NFL Matches: Cleveland, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Buffalo
The Browns could consider Weeden with their No. 22 overall selection or their second-round pick. He would provide instant competition for Colt McCoy and it wouldn't be surprising if he replaces McCoy. Cleveland could gamble that Weeden falls to the third round because of the age issue, but that would be risky.
The Chiefs could consider Weeden to back up Matt Cassel. They could transition to Weeden in 2013. Both the Eagles and Bills could use a quarterback as a reserve; someone to push their starters if they disappoint next season.
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