One play can say a lot about a player: What he can do, what he can’t, and what might be possible 2-3 seasons from now. Today’s single-play analysis comes from ECU QB Shane Carden’s tape.
The mission of the Boiler Room is to illustrate the pivotal areas of a prospect’s game and distill these areas into a few plays, at most.
Today’s subject, ECU quarterback Shane Carden, offers a lot of developmental potential for a pro team. He’s a pocket-savvy passer who makes a lot of quality reads and admire his touch and anticipation–especially with deep throws.
There’s one pivotal component of Carden’s game that’s missing. I’m talking about velocity. If he can develop more arm power, he might have a shot at developing into a first-tier backup on an NFL depth chart
Here’s a throw that stretches the limits of Carden’s arm strength. The play begins with a second left in the third quarter from a 2×1 receiver, 20 personnel pistol. The ball is at the right hash of the ECU 14 and the offense faces a 3-3-5 look. All three receivers face off coverage within 3-5 yards of the line of scrimmage.
Carden takes a three-step drop from the right hash after a play fake to the runner and looks left after determining the right is well covered. Delivering the ball from the five, Carden connects with the receiver at the 26 for a first down and a gain of 12.
I’d like to say that Carden intentionally delivers a low throw so the receiver is the only player with a chance to earn pass, but the true reason is a lack of arm strength. An opposite hash throw that covers 21 yards from pitch to catch isn’t an easy pass, it’s on the low-end of the range for a starter-level talent.
The bigger question is are there physical or technical enhancements Carden can make to improve his arm strength? After Carden pivots left, he takes a short hop before he plants his front foot for the delivery. It could be an adjustment step, but I think it was more of a hesitation that didn’t need to be there and it might have reduced some of the power he could have accessed to deliver this pass.
Watch the play again in half speed and you’ll notice that Carden begins his trunk rotation during this hesitation step and before his front leg is in the ground. This prevents Carden from generating a rotation through his trunk with the same explosion that was possible if he had that front foot in the ground a split-second earlier.
I think his upper body looks pretty good. From what I can tell, Carden doesn’t open his chest too early and he delivers the ball with enough of a whip-like motion in the upper body to get the job. done.
Quarterback coaches, scouts, and personnel managers will need to determine whether there’s enough opportunity to tweak Carden’s mechanics while he’s in an NFL conditioning program to improve his velocity.
My project is “some,” but not enough to make Carden a developmental candidate for a starting role. However, it’s a close enough call that I could be playing it too safe. If 2-3 years from now, Carden develops the velocity to hit opposite hash throws of 25-30 yards from pitch-to-catch, you might be hearing his name more often in connection with an NFL team’s depth chart.
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