David Igonos’ RSP Boiler Room QB KJ Costello (Stanford): Contextual Agility

Rookie Scouting Portfolio writer David Igono examines the work of 2019 NFL Draft prospect, Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello and shows how quarterbacking boils down to leveraging baseline athletic ability with contextual conflict resolution.

Much is made about measurables and intangibles in quarterback prospect discussion. They obviously have their place and merit in evaluating or projecting ceilings for prospects. What becomes apparent and what quarterbacks are eventually judged on are their deliverables. Postgame analysis tends to focus on the plays Joe Flacco did or did not make rather than his arm strength and six foot five frame

Mobility, in general, does not always project seamlessly at the quarterback position. With added layers of speed on defense and more information to process, most quarterback prospects must completely overhaul their fight or flight instincts. There are certain traits of mobility that are directly transferable when applied in context.

At first glance, KJ Costello of Stanford employs a move in the following clip that seems mundane given the result of the play.


On closer examination, a few details become apparent. Costello has good feet in the pocket. Playing quarterback oftentimes boils down to leveraging baseline athleticism with contextual conflict resolution. You can’t just take off and scramble every time nor can you always wait for your ideal receiver to get open.

At the point of danger, Costello is able to reduce his shoulder and avoid the defender. This shoulder dip and subsequent sidestep are necessary and vital tools to have at the next level.


Note how Costello’s movement is climbing up the pocket. This verticality keeps the pass rush honest long enough for the best decision to be made. Is Costello going to have the best three-cone drill time for the quarterbacks next spring? Probably not. However, his ability to maneuver in context is a desirable skill that unlocks other parts of his profile to be fully utilized.

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