Rookie Scouting Portfolio contributor David Igono does his best Christopher Walken to informs us that, much like the Saturday Night Live skit, if 2019 NFL Draft quarterback prospect Manny Wilkins is the cowbell in the Arizona State offense, then the Sun Devils need more cowbell.
One of the reasons why college football is fun and compelling from a prospect point of view is the excitement of any given player’s upside potential. Quarterback prospects seemingly have an aura and mystique about them that is directly linked to hope –— the hope that a player can be a franchise savior or take an organization to the next level.
This jackpot mentality is neither good or bad. It can, however, make us subtlely view certain plays or skillsets in a light that is more subjective instead of objective. The “signature” play is usually hard to come by. It’s rare for a single play to fully display the complete skill set and profile of a prospect.
Manny Wilkins Jr. of Arizona State is a quarterback prospect who is capable of the spectacular. The arm talent is obvious yet his profile is crying out for more intermediate to short game fluency. Taking what the defense gives you is a quarterback’s oxygen in the pocket.
Wilkins needs to weave in more targets that take advantage of what’s in front of him. In the following clip Wilkins, who has a knack for making quick decisions, attacks a void in coverage that belies his arm talent and ability to diagnose coverages.
Wilkins’ ability to be accurate in tight windows is a talent that is amplified as with the difficulty of certain throws. The ensuing throw beats a dropping linebacker while keeping the receiver out of harm’s way to complete the reception.
Wilkins has the arm talent to make completions downfield, in tight windows. The next exposure illustrates an opposite hash, 40-yard throw that is caught in full stride.
This last clip reveals a few points about Wilkins’ profile that are promising. Wilkins confidently presses the pocket while scanning the coverage downfield before making an attacking decision downfield. The speed in his decision combined with the quality of the throw is impressive.
Much like the Saturday Night Live skit an offense that has Wilkins needs more Wilkins in it. His downfield accuracy and decision making is an asset. However, his short-to-intermediate game is where his profile has the most room to grow. Being able to take advantage of opportunities underneath will only augment his ability to attack defenses over the top.
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