David Igonos’ RSP Scouting Lens QB Ryan Finley (NC State): Pole vaulters, Slingshots, ​and In-Laws

RSP writer David Igono examines the footwork and rhythm of N.C. State quarterback Ryan Finley

Mechanics at the quarterback position are like in-laws – everybody thinks that theirs are unique but in actuality, they are quite common. Just like there is a normal cast of characters in an extended family, there are baseline efficiencies and technique that promote consistency in any quarterback’s game. Let’s start at the bottom. The plant foot in a throwing motion is vital.

The plant foot allows a point of resistance for the quarterback to utilize for creating torque, or turning power, in his throw. This torque provides the velocity for passes to hit windows accurately. No two quarterbacks are going to use their plant foots’ exactly the same way. The point is you want consistent, rhythmic execution overlaid on the context of adapting to scenarios in the pocket.

Ryan Finley of North Carolina State is proficient at staying in rhythm and executing on the timing of routes. In the following clip, Finley is able to generate enough power on this throw without much of a “plant”. High precision targets, like this example, are the byproduct of a technical understanding of how to throw the ball with practically no wasted movement.


Finley needed to be efficient and timely to take advantage of this receiver running up the seam. This is more of a rock and slingshot approach than a pole vaulting, formulaic approach. When you put a rock in a slingshot you just pull back and aim at the target. Conversely, a pole vaulter has to have an idea of how many steps he has to get up to speed, how fast he’s running and the timing of when he plants the pole to catapult him over the desired height. Context is king; technique analyzed outside of its in-game application often leads to a clash of preferences and opinions. More often than not, the most consistent quarterbacks tend to calculate less and attack more.

For the most in-depth analysis of offensive skill players available (QB, RB, WR, and TE), get the 2019  Rookie Scouting Portfolio. If you’re a fantasy owner the Post-Draft Add-on comes with the 2012 – 2018 RSPs at no additional charge.

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