The NFL Lens: The Mechanics And Elegance Of A Pump Fake


Matt Waldman’s RSP profiles Derek Carr’s manipulation of the Cowboys Cover 2 defense with a pump fake that sets the standard for evaluating college prospects. 

The Rookie Scouting Portfolio evaluation process is based on defined criteria for the positions that I evaluate. The standard for that criteria is the NFL game. This includes processes as detailed (and minor) as the pump fake.

On its own, a pump fake won’t be the difference in a player getting drafted. There are several skills that contribute to a player’s success and a variety of combinations of these tools in a player’s toolbox that can get the job done. The pump fake is one of the best ways to dress up a quarterback’s manipulation of a defense.

The RSP’s criteria for a pump fake includes its range of motion, violence, and fluid incorporation into the rest of the passer’s mechanics. Derek Carr’s fake on this touchdown pass to Amari Cooper against Dallas in the 2017 preseason dress rehearsal is an excellent example of motion and incorporation. If a quarterback possesses these two skills with his pump fakes, the violence of the fake is not as important.

Mechanics of an effective pump fake: Derek Carr

A post shared by Matt Waldman (@mattwaldmanrsp) on

For those who can’t listen to the video, note the full fluid motion of the fake and the quick pivot of the feet that is incorporated into the fake so that he’s facing Cooper as he finishes his follow-through of the fake. A good fake like this also underscores the overall mechanics of a player’s footwork to drop, set, and throw. Carr sets a strong base at the end of the drop with a shoulder-width stance and when he delivers the fake, he doesn’t fully open his hips. Instead, he uses that motion of his hips to pivot from right to left so that he’s set up to fire immediately to Cooper.

This is quarterback choreography that takes practice to refine these moves. Carr obviously has worked at his craft. Young quarterbacks looking to improve their pump fakes should take note. Football writers looking to improve their craft of evaluation should do the same. Find more NFL Lens videos at the Rookie Scouting Portfolio site.

For analysis of skill players in the 2017 draft class, pre-order a login for the 2017 Rookie Scouting Portfolio – for April 1 download  Better yet, if you’re a fantasy owner the Post-Draft Add-on comes with the 2012 – 2017 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.

Categories: Matt Waldman, Players, Quarterback, The NFL LensTags: , , , , , ,

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