Matt Waldman’s Rookie Scouting Portfolio examines an area of Carson Strong’s quarterbacking that lacks advanced processing of the defense relative to his target — a common area where NFL Draft prospects at the position struggle.
The term “processing” for quarterbacking is as vague and broad as “vision” or “decision-making’ for running backs. A quick definition is the passer’s act of identifying obstacles and solutions.
When and how a quarterback spots obstacles can be the difference between an NFL prospect who fails to develop into a long-term starter of note and a veteran professional that teams can count on weekly. This week’s RSP Boiler Room shows Carson Strong missing an opportunity to correctly process the defense.
This is an advanced scenario for a college quarterback because Strong encounters the obstacle on his third read — a situation where the receiver is adjusting his route to an open zone after his initial break — when the solution to the obstacle presents itself pre-snap.
A lot happens in 3-5 seconds after the snap, which is why a young quarterback to not only remember the position of defenders not directly covering his intended target, but also adjust this throw to beat them is a stiff challenge for most college players. Even so, this is the difference between college and NFL quarterbacking and the best passers make this play look easy.
I’ll have a lot more on Strong in the coming months. He’s an adept pocket passer with good feel for pressure and excellent moments in the quick game and vertical arena. His next task is to improve his intermediate game. If he can do this, he’ll create more binds for opposing defenses that will carry over to his NFL opportunity — and there’s good reason to believe he’ll earn one.
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