Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room examines Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson’s game and discovers a potential issue with recognizing ancillary coverage.
Ancillary coverage is not an official coaching term. It’s something I use to describe coverage that reads the quarterback’s eyes and is in position to react to what he’s reading. Ancillary coverage may not be assigned to the targeted receiver, but it’s a factor that veteran quarterbacks take into account when working a zone.
Thorson is recovering from an ACL injury that he suffered at the Music City Bowl on January 1. He may not be ready to return at the beginning of the season, which could permanently cost the quarterback his starting job.
Considered a late-round prospect before the injury, failure to account for ancillary coverage is a common issue even for top prospects. Sam Darnold repeatedly failed to account for it on scripted and unscripted plays.
Thorson has the size, arm talent, mobility, and budding pocket skills of an NFL player. How well he develops his strategic mind for the game will be a significant factor in his development. At this point, he’s too reckless. However, he has the physical goods that will earn him a lot of phone calls at the end of the 2019 NFL Draft if a team doesn’t select him.
This analysis of Thorson 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.