Career Recap: The 2020 pandemic football season was a challenging year for players, coaches, and NFL evaluators. The Big Ten and Pac-12 mistakenly shortened their seasons, while the SEC and Big XII played close to full seasons to help their student-athletes. Shough was one of the Pac-12 players who flashed but was held back by a lack of playing opportunity to gain experience and develop. After backing up Justin Herbert, Shough became the Ducks' starting quarterback in 2020. He could have had a huge year under normal circumstances, and across seven games, Shough completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,559 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. He added a few touchdowns on the ground and showed some running ability against Stanford and Washington State.
Shough went the graduate-transfer route after the 2020 season and ended up at Texas Tech. With players not losing eligibility in 2020, Shough technically has three years of eligibility to play with the Red Raiders even though he will be eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft.
2021 Season Outlook: Shough should take advantage of the Big XII's high-scoring games with passing offenses moving up and down the field. His toughest opponent will probably be Oklahoma on October 30th. The Sooners have some NFL talent on their defense that could test Shough. Texas, TCU and Oklahoma State are other games that may be challenging for Shough.
Skill-Set Summary: Despite the departure of Justin Herbert, Shough provided Oregon with a sense familiarity, and right away that tells an evaluator that Shough has a good skill set. Over his years with the Ducks, Herbert showed off a big arm, size, athleticism, and running ability. With Herbert off to the Los Angeles Chargers, the Ducks' offense looked similar with Shough in 2020 in terms of a big, strong-armed quarterback who could make some things happen with his feet. Shough, however, was streakier than Herbert, illustrating that Shough is raw and needs development.
As a passer, Shough stands tall in the pocket and has the arm to throw the ball to all levels of the field. Shough can lay out some beautiful deep balls that beat tight coverage with good placement downfield. He is willing to throw in the face of the rush, and his size to make him tough to tackle. Shough displays some accuracy at times, but he go through bouts in which his location is off, and he can have a tendency to underthrow receivers rather than lead them downfield. Shough also shows inconsistent feet and will not follow through on throws from time to time.
Along with his fundamentals and mechanics, there are a lot of points of improvement for Shough in his first season with Texas Tech. He has to display more consistent field vision and work through his progressions. Those are not all his fault because the Ducks predetermined a lot of his throws in 2020. Still for the next level, it would help Shough to speed up the process to work through reads and make the correct decision on where to throw the ball. Improving his footwork will help his accuracy, and getting more consistent from the ground up will lead to Shough becoming a more deadly passer.
As an athlete, Shough is a willing runner who can hurt defenses on some designed runs. He also will buy time with his feet and is a threat to take off on the ground. Shough, however, is not fast by NFL standards, so his running ability at the next level will be diminished by the speed of pro defenders.
Shough looks like Justin Herbert on good plays, but there are some ugly plays on which Shough looks like another Blake Bortles. Shough needs to make strides in his development, but he has plenty of time to do it with three years of eligibility available to gain experience and improve.
2022 NFL Draft Expectations: Shough has an early-round skill set but a wide range of grades heading into the 2021 season. He needs to prove his abilities on the field with Texas Tech in order to be a potential franchise quarterback prospect for the NFL.