Rookie Scouting Portfolio contributor David Igono delivers his first impression of Nebraska QB and 2018 NFL Draft prospect Tanner Lee.
Most viable NFL QB prospects have an assortment of requisite tools to fight for at least a roster spot if given the opportunity. In a vacuum, quarterbacks at this level can execute throws and make good decisions. The flaws arise when quarterbacks need to make decisions faster.
Initial viewings of Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee have me conflicted on who Lee is as a prospect. I don’t know if he understands passing windows and anticipation. I’m skeptical about his ability to quickly process coverages. He may have a hero complex that drives him to take an extra risk when better options present themselves.
I do know Lee falls prey to tunnel vision. He can get locked in on a receiver or a route concept and bad things happen. Tunnel vision for a quarterback distorts his perception of time and space and forces him into decisions that lead to batted balls, interceptions, strip sacks, etc.
Tunnel vision essentially delays a quarterback from making a decision that he should have made or declined sooner. Lee has the profile to make many next level throws and decisions however he doesn’t regularly afford that opportunity.
When a passer doesn’t actively scan coverage post snap he allows the defensive line to shadow his throwing lanes and deflect pass attempts. In the clip above Lee doesn’t disguise his intentions or speed up his diagnosis of the coverage. This permits the defensive lineman to orient himself in a manner that can get his hands up to swat the pass attempt.
When you lock in on receivers as a quarterback you limit where you can put the ball because the coverage is actively closing down options. Even if you have a target to throw to you have to be mindful of where you place the pass. Lee turns the ball over on the next clip seemingly because he didn’t make up his mind sooner.
In general, Lee would benefit from getting the ball out faster. His eyes get fixated on his targets and it allows the defense to sit on routes in coverages and pressure to pin their ears back and attack his spot in the pocket. It’s similar to a basketball player who can’t drive with his left hand to the basket. A good defender will set up on the dribbler’s right hand and force him to go left.
Lee has to improve his ability to scan coverage and use his eyes to open up coverages. At this point in time, his eyes are forcing him into binary decisions – which leads to binary results that are either all good or all bad.
Holding the ball an extra beat or two often indicates a passer who is waiting for certainty instead of creating. That half second waiting for a target to uncover leads to strip sacks.
The speed of the pocket collapsing is a side effect of a passer who deliberates more than he decides. Lee often times puts himself in a predicament where the pressure is closing in on him faster than his ability to decide where to go with the football.
My first impressions of Lee are limited. I do think he exhibits a profile worth monitoring as the draft approaches. That being said a key detail for him going forward will be his ability to scan coverage effectively and get the ball out faster. It’s a facet of his game that can either propel him upward or derail his effectiveness as a prospect.
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