Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Blake Sims - 2015 NFL Draft Scouting Report

With the college football season over, the 2015 NFL Draft season immediately starts up to fill that void. I plan to take a look at all of the top quarterback prospects but will also be willing to take suggestions if there are prospects at other positions that you would like to see analyzed. But my bread and butter is quarterback play (a position that teams should always be drafting). Today, I am taking a look at Blake Sims from the University of Alabama.

Blake Sims came from out of nowhere to surprisingly beat out Jacob Coker for the starting quarterback job for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Once he won the job, he did not disappoint, as he led Alabama to the first College Football Playoff before losing to Ohio State in the semifinals. So is this a guy who will only be known for one nice year with one of the best programs in the nation, or can he carve out a career at the next level? Thanks to Draft Breakdown, I was able to look at his games against LSU and Tennessee.

Blake Sims is a guy with strength, but his biggest strength is his speed, as he is always a threat to do damage running the ball.

On this zone read play, he does a good job of reading the play, finding the seam and then making a nice cut in front of the safety in the open field to get a few extra yards.

Now, although he is fast, his pocket mobility is not an impressive trait. He doesn't know how to take advantage of extra space in the pocket and will not avoid rushers with movement within the pocket.

He has a beautiful pocket with plenty of room to step into, but instead he makes it to the end of his drop and stands there. He has to fall backwards while throwing the ball to avoid the pressure from the single defender who could cause him even the slightest bit of grief. If he steps up, he can complete the pass and keep the ball moving forward. Instead, the pass never has a chance.

Blake Sims was 23rd in the nation in completion percentage. Looking at that, you would say that he was an accurate passer. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as he consistently struggles with accuracy, although the talent around him did do a good job of bailing him out.

This is a very troublesome pass, as he throws a drag route a few yards in front of the line of scrimmage, but he still puts it behind his receiver who has to adjust to catch the ball behind them which slowed their momentum. Now, the receiver was wide open, so he was still able to get quite a bit of yards after the catch, but that is an easy throw with a clean pocket that Sims needs to give his receiver an easy catch to maximize the yards they are able to gain.

This is another example of Blake Sims simply not helping out his receiver by underthrowing a ball that should have led the receiver to the sideline.

His tight end is running to the outside, but has to turn back towards the defender and duck to avoid getting annihilated by the LSU player. If he leads OJ Howard on this route, he not only doesn't have to worry about being concussed, but he can likely gain a decent amount of yards after the catch.

Now, there was a reason he was able to have success this season, and it was not all due to his supporting cast. This may be my favorite throw from him.

He throws a perfect ball all around as it is not only perfectly placed, but it is perfectly timed. Still, the thought I am left with after watching this throw is my own personal experience playing bags (or cornhole for them fancy folk). I am bad at bags. I barely pay attention, as it's pretty boring, and even when I do, I'm still not all that good. Still, I put some in the hole, sometimes I put a few in the hole in a single turn. This doesn't make me a good bags player, but just by throwing them enough, I manage to throw some good ones. This is Blake Sims in a nutshell, as he's not accurate, but much like me finding the hole, even an inaccurate quarterback can make a beautiful throw.

Unfortunately, there just wasn't enough of those throws for me to have any confidence in him having enough accuracy to be a successful quarterback in the NFL. This was a quarterback who was greatly helped by the talent around him, and I just don't see anything on tape that makes me think he could be a successful NFL quarterback. He had a nice year, helped Alabama get to the College Football Playoff, but I think that will be the peak of his football career unless he goes down under to learn the nuances of Aussie Rules.

Quarterback Prospect Rankings:
1. Shane Carden - East Carolina
2. Garrett Grayson - Colorado State
3. Blake Sims - Alabama

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