Matt Waldman’s Rookie Scouting Portfolio examines 2019 NFL Draft Prospect Will Grier and an off-platform throw versus pressure that demonstrates a lot about his technical prowess as a thrower.
Prior to the 2012 NFL Draft, Dan Marino told the media that if he could construct a Pro Day format, he’d force quarterbacks to workout in an environment where they have to make off-platform throws under pressure because that’s what separates the best NFL quarterbacks from the pack. Although not the only important facet of quarterbacking, there’s validity to Marino’s statement.
Talented quarterbacks can play on- and off-script and on- and off-platform. Against Kansas last year, Will Grier delivers an off-platform touchdown pass against pressure from the defensive tackle.
In the video, I describe the movement of his feet as a display of footwork fundamentals. I described it as a fundamental because Grier’s decision to move his feet as he did was rooted in a core understanding of where his feet needed to be in order to deliver an accurate pass.
Advanced skills — especially improvisational reactions like the one above — require self-awareness of body, technique, and surrounding stimuli. In this context, fundamentals is a broader idea than simply a technique. Quarterback coach Rich Bartel, a recent RSP Cast guest, argues that off-platform throwing isn’t the product of a rigid technique
As a former performer and budding improviser as a musician, I agree with Bartel. In many instances like the clip above, a quarterback’s initial motivation to avoid pressure is survival.
However, as Bartel says in the final tweet, teaching passers to move effectively in these situations and still deliver an accurate pass requires a loose set of boundaries rather than a highly prescribed movement pattern — which underscores my original point. While there isn’t one technique for delivering off-platform, there are several to access.
The quarterback who is practiced in these techniques and situations will have enough technically-sound ideas to draw from, combine, and build on. That’s what Grier does here.
Evaluation and coaching have a prescriptive element but if you’re not open to seeing what the players can create based on their own strengths and limitations, you’ll be inadvertently taking a narrow approach to the craft. On this play, Grier fuses technique, adaptability, and creativity to transform a survival situation into a touchdown.
Successful quarterbacking is about fusing disparate elements creatively and productively.
This analysis of Grier is only the beginning of what you’ll find in the Rookie Scouting Portfolio publication. For most in-depth analysis of skill players available, get the 2018 Rookie Scouting Portfolio. If you’re a fantasy owner the Post-Draft Add-on comes with the 2012 – 2018 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 each. You can pre-order the 2019 RSP beginning in December.