Jeff Driskel and Learning the Bass Line of Footwork


Jeff Driskel has an NFL arm, but David Igono shows us that Driskel needs work on the quarterback’s equivalent of a bass line make it in the NFL.

A quarterback’s footwork is tied to every successful task he completes. Quarterback prospects that show inconsistency attacking downfield typically have issues with timing and footwork. Footwork for a quarterback in an offense is akin to a bass player in a band. The bass player keeps time and allows all the musicians to stay on beat and in rhythm. A quarterback has to be able to do the same. His feet allow for the routes and protection schemes to stay on schedule.

Jeff Driskel has appealing traits at quarterback – although they are short circuited by his inability to keep time in his drops. It’s possible that he can improve this skill, but it’s going to take an overhaul of his footwork and it will take him some time to correct. This is not abnormal, but it takes a physical and mental commitment to correct.

This quote from Green Bay Packers quarterbacks Alex Van Pelt on Brett Hundley’s improvement in this area illustrates its importance:

“I think the feet is probably the biggest thing, have everything time up with your feet in the passing game,” quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt said. “Just becoming comfortable with the footwork with each route and the nuances if it’s an adjusted route, if it’s pressed or you can take a little longer and hold on the back foot.

“Just those little intricacies of each play with the footwork.”

Driskel’s timing is off on certain routes. He is often guilty of taking a snap, making his read, and striding off-tempo into his throw. His play lacks a crispness that only comes from being on beat within the offense.

The lack of rhythm is compounded with his longer throwing motion. There are pass attempts where Driskel sees the passing window open, but he can’t deliver the ball through that window while it’s still open because his off-tempo footwork and long wind-up are too inefficient. These two issues are the reasons he lacks consistent anticipation and downfield accuracy.

Driskel can remedy this with work and develop a better understanding of timing within an offense. He flashes an understanding when to drive the ball and transfer his weight onto his plant leg on rhythm.

Driskel has enough arm talent to make all the throws – when he puts it all together he can beat coverage downfield.

The question is how much Driskel can improve this deficiency while learning a whole new offense and adjusting to the speed of the game. There’s a big difference in making all the throws and understanding when to throw. It always comes back to footwork.

David Igono is a former defensive back who played at West Virginia University and a couple of seasons of arena football. A longtime draft anorak, he considers the 2014 RSP the inspiration for taking the process more intentionally. Follow him at @d1gono.

For analysis of skill players in this year’s draft class, download the 2016 Rookie Scouting Portfolio – early-bird purchase for the April 1 download is available now. Better yet, if you’re a fantasy owner the Post-Draft Add-on comes with the 2012 – 2015 RSPs at no additional charge. Best, yet, 10 percent of every sale is donated to Darkness to Light to combat sexual abuse. You can purchase past editions of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio for just $9.95 apiece.

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