The final day of the draft weekend is full of prospects who are more often than not labeled as “developmental” or “project” players. Quarterback is one of the few positions where that label isn’t necessarily a detriment. It does, however, start the clock on how soon a backup quarterback can be trusted to deputize the offense.
Roster-caliber signal callers have to not only have an array of skills but be able to assemble these traits in a consistent manner. One such quarterback that shows promise is Indiana University prospect Richard Lagow. Lagow is a prospect who has ideal measurables but somewhat limited tape.
What is apparent while watching Lagow’s film is his ability to stack three important elements smoothly when he drops back to pass. The first trait is footwork. Footwork for a quarterback is vital. It doesn’t need to be world class every play but a quarterback should be able to get the job done in the context of the play.
The last exposure illustrates a fluid but precise drop that allows Lagow to be primed to get the ball to his intended as efficiently as possible. Good footwork sets the table for poise in the pocket, which is the second component of an efficient drop back passer. Inevitably the pocket will break down and test a quarterback’s grasp of what is going on around him and what solutions he can come up with.
Lagow is competent in this regard. In the following clip, Lagow is mobile enough to create time. Creating time is crucial because it allows time for the best solution to be found. In this case, it’s simply finding his check-down and not forcing the ball down the field.
When you have a competent signal caller who has solid footwork and doesn’t melt in the pocket it allows a play caller to dial up plays for a quarterback that can exploit a defense. The third layer in a competent passer is getting the ball out quickly. Being decisive in reads opens up a measure of aggressiveness that can make a quarterback difficult to contain.
Lagow has a knack for attacking quickly. Once his back foot hits the last step of his drop Lagow has decided where he’s going with the football. If he makes a favorable read downfield he smells blood and attacks with conviction. He has the requisite arm strength and placement awareness to complete the type of pass is commonplace at the next level.
A quarterback prospect that shows consistency in his footwork exhibits poise in the pocket and get the ball out quickly gives himself a chance to make a roster. Lagow has other aspects of his profile that he will need to fine tune going forward. He’s an intriguing prospect who gives himself a platform to succeed by virtue of combining different skills to make sound decisions with the football.
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.