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Quarterback mobility takes on greater focus at Scouting Combine

Griffin AP

Whether it’s a fad or a trend or a new reality of the NFL, mobile quarterbacks have generated unprecedented interest for scouts and General Managers and coaches.

Which means, obviously, that the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis will feature unprecedented obsession with the way that quarterbacks move.

The 40-yard dash, the 20-yard shuttle run, the 60-yard shuttle run, and the three-cone drill are the major indicators of speed and quickness and agility.  The vertical jump and the broad jump add to the total package of physical ability unrelated to the throwing of a football.

The proliferation of designed quarterback runs now means that, even if a quarterback didn’t execute such plays at the college level, NFL teams will want to know whether and to what extent they have the ability to do it at the next level, even if only as a scout-team option.

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32 Responses to “Quarterback mobility takes on greater focus at Scouting Combine”
  1. EJ says: Feb 14, 2013 8:31 AM

    EJ Manuel seems to be the most athletic QB coming out in the draft this year. Barkley seems to be the least athletic.

  2. stigman2012 says: Feb 14, 2013 8:34 AM

    Good plan considering that the most successful and longest lasting quarterbacks in today’s NFL are predominantly pocket passers that can read defenses.

  3. fuglyflorio says: Feb 14, 2013 8:43 AM

    This is all cap related. Teams can’t wait to develop QBs any longer only to watch them hit the free agent market. And if you do retain them it’s a $20 million cap hit. One way around it is replaceable, plug-in QBs. But they have to be able to move, and you have to play a simplified college offense so there’s a minimal learning curve. Get 5 years out of them and move on. Use your cap dollars elsewhere.

  4. kayakattack says: Feb 14, 2013 8:55 AM

    If you can’t throw then it won’t matter if you can run.. See Mike Vick, Tyrod Taylor, Pat White, Brad Smith, Antwan Randel El, Tim Tebow, Kordell Stewart, Reggie McNeil

    You can run all day but if you can’t throw at some point, you have nothing still

    Mobil QB’s will always be coveted, It’s not like there have not been great mobile QB’s before, it’s not a new concept. Steve Young, Brett Favre, Mark Brunell, Fran Tarkenton, Bobby Douglass, Randall Cunningham, Donavan McNabb to name a few, but all those guys were better known to throw

    Mobility goes away after a few years, maybe not completely but it tappers off and don’t think defenses won’t be ready

  5. mountaindont says: Feb 14, 2013 8:58 AM

    Seems to me almost every running qb I can think of spends a lot of time on the bench due to injuries. Who was the last running qb to win a Superbowl ? Steve Young ? Unless you want to stretch it and call Elway a running QB Young was the only one to do it. I`ll take a pocket qb anytime over a runner

  6. mrstinkypants says: Feb 14, 2013 8:58 AM

    Had Tom Brady gone thru the combine now, he wouldn’t have even been drafted. This is crazy.

  7. wrenches2pipes says: Feb 14, 2013 8:59 AM

    No runner QB has ever won a championship. Why would teams now start changing draft strategies for something that hasn’t worked ? Doesn’t make sense.

  8. mizzousooner says: Feb 14, 2013 9:05 AM

    Well, if you’re going to intentionally put your QB in harms way you had best have about 3 of them who can run the same offense.

    Watching RG3 last year was entertaining no doubt, but how long can he survive playing that style of ball? In one season he roached a knee and had at least one serious concussion.

    It would surprise me if his career spans over 5 years if he keeps running the read option. And at the end of that 5 years his body will be a train wreck.

    Look at the investment Washington has in Griffen, and then tell me it’s smart to have LB’ers bouncing off him on nearly every play.

  9. Beezo-Doo-doo-Zippity-Bop-bop-bop says: Feb 14, 2013 9:14 AM

    Had Tom Brady gone thru the combine now, he wouldn’t have even been drafted. This is crazy.

    He was barely drafted as it was.

  10. Patskrieg dot com says: Feb 14, 2013 9:14 AM

    It’s a well known fact that Tom Brady would be out of a job if it wasn’t for that shake n’ bake move in the open field he perfected a couple years ago. 32 rushing yards in a single season doesn’ t happen without elite agility.

  11. vikesfan320 says: Feb 14, 2013 9:25 AM

    Mobility should be a focal point. Mobility doesn’t mean a QB who’s going to take off and run, but you gotta be able to move the pocket and buy time to stay in the game longer. When I think of mobility, I think of a guy like Aaron Rodgers who can move the pocket and buy time to throw downfield… I don’t know why that hasn’t been a focal point for years.

  12. kingpel says: Feb 14, 2013 9:29 AM

    It may be a good year to draft a couple of fast linebackers just to bring out in a “holster” package. All those kids need to be trained to do is read and react to the pistol offense while playing special teams.

  13. kingpel says: Feb 14, 2013 9:30 AM

    Patskrieg dot com says:Feb 14, 2013 9:14 AM

    It’s a well known fact that Tom Brady would be out of a job if it wasn’t for that shake n’ bake move in the open field he perfected a couple years ago. 32 rushing yards in a single season doesn’ t happen without elite agility.

    Tom Brady has been quoted saying that if he played in Chip Kelly’s offense, he could run for 52 yards.

  14. apwarrior250 says: Feb 14, 2013 9:44 AM

    RG3 is already cooked,one year into his career and he needs knee surgery.

  15. eaglesnoles05 says: Feb 14, 2013 9:45 AM

    I love how “being able to run” logically eliminates your chances to win a superbowl as a quarterback in peoples minds. You think maybe it was other things that kept the example qb’s from winning superbowls other than their supreme athletic talent?

  16. mogogo1 says: Feb 14, 2013 10:00 AM

    Always nice to have a QB with some mobility. But the underlying issue this year, namely more teams looking at zone read offenses, is that it’s really tough to keep your QB healthy running that scheme. I wonder if somebody will take the logical route and sign two similar running QBs fully knowing they’ll need them both because one will always be hurt?

  17. crushfan says: Feb 14, 2013 10:15 AM

    Didn’t we read yesterday that Blaine Gabbert would be top of this draft class for QBs.. then why would it matter if they are mobile or not? I don’t see mobile Blaine Gabbert do better than non-mobile Blaine Gabbert i guess..

  18. wvuraven says: Feb 14, 2013 10:24 AM

    I think Gino is gonna suprise some people with how mobile he is. In college he never really had to run so he didn’t but I bet he runs 4.5 or so

  19. mullman76 says: Feb 14, 2013 10:37 AM

    Brady constantly throws it away and rarely gets flagged for intentional grounding. He never gets touched and if it’s getting tight he grounds it and gets the benefit.

    It’s laughable.

  20. zengreaser says: Feb 14, 2013 11:03 AM

    vikesfan320 says: Feb 14, 2013 9:25 AM

    Mobility should be a focal point. Mobility doesn’t mean a QB who’s going to take off and run, but you gotta be able to move the pocket and buy time to stay in the game longer. When I think of mobility, I think of a guy like Aaron Rodgers who can move the pocket and buy time to throw downfield… I don’t know why that hasn’t been a focal point for years.

    Funny thing: it has been a focal point for years. The best (P. Manning, Brady, Brees) know how to move within the pocket to stay protected all while keeping their eyes downfield. QBs win with their arms, not their legs. It amuses me how much significance is put on a QB & yet teams, the media, and fans become enthralled with a guy who, instead of throwing the ball away and living to play another down or series, scrambles for yardage and risks being knocked out of the game or season. Give me the pocket passer with good decision making any day of the week.

  21. jprcox says: Feb 14, 2013 11:50 AM

    I am surprised everyone doesn’t see that even though the current young QB class can run, its their passing that is MOST important. Out of 3 QBs noted for their run/pass ability (Colin, R. Wilson, and RG3), only 1 of those QB’s made it through a a full season to the end. RG3 was hurt going into the playoffs, Colin K. came in mid way through season, and R Wilson is known for his smarts in sliding.

    Every other time a QB has been known to “run” they end up getting hurt. Colin K plays behind one of the the best lines in the NFL – so does Wilson. YOU CANNOT STICK in a QB you think can run in just any situation and expect it to work.

  22. weepingjebus says: Feb 14, 2013 12:04 PM

    If there’s anything I want to spend a first round draft pick on, it’s a mobile scrambling QB who seems good for about 18 months before disintegrating into a permanent heap of torn ligaments, concussions, and cracked ribs.

  23. simonsoccerstar says: Feb 14, 2013 1:03 PM

    Everyone that says that drafting mobile qbs is a recipe for disaster bc they will all will eventually get hurt are pretty naive to the fact Russel Wilson, Cam Newton, and kaepernick did not miss one game due to injury, but are quick to jump to a conclusion bc Vick and rg3 got hurt.

  24. wmelch says: Feb 14, 2013 1:14 PM

    Hey Mullman-Tom Brady is not mentioned in the article. Try to focus.

  25. cwroses1983 says: Feb 14, 2013 1:37 PM

    Um thats why Denard Robinson aka Shoelaces is going to be the first pick by the eagles. Hello he is better than RG3. Hes way faster and has just as good of an arm. He does need to get taller but he could even play the role of the black Mamba. He runs a 4.1 40. Thats silly. But all this emphasis on running QBs is overrated. When they play good defenses they get shutdown. RG3 vs seattle and BAlT. Cappernick had one run vs atl and none vs balt. Thats why brady is so good

  26. randallflagg52 says: Feb 14, 2013 2:06 PM

    Out of all these running QBs in the NFL today, I’d take Wilson over the lot of them. Kap and RG3 run like sprinters, very upright. Never see a RB run like that because it leads to injury.

    Also Wilson uses his mobility to buy time, Kap and RG3 go the “one read then run down field” route. Wilson made tons of plays out of nothing by staying back, eluding rushers, and waiting for a WR to get open. The Fran Tarkenten comparisons are very accurate IMO.

    Better passer than Kap and RG3 and will last a lot longer.

  27. ilovefoolsball says: Feb 14, 2013 2:35 PM

    Running Quarterbacks are so 1990

  28. jprcox says: Feb 14, 2013 2:41 PM

    randallflagg52: I agree.

    Overall it will be interesting to see what happens when a QB is supposed to “run” like Wilson/Kap/RG3 – and how long they are able to play that way. QB’s aren’t designed to run – everything from their pads and equipment being different, to the fact they aren’t preparing their bodies to be hit like a RB or WR.

    This experiment is not going to work over the long run – better to have pocket passers.

  29. judsonjr says: Feb 14, 2013 3:32 PM

    I think they also need to look at how the QB runs. For instance, Russell Wilson looks to me looks somewhat like a running back when he runs, and seems to have pretty good awareness of how not to get decked.

    On the other hand Kaepernick runs very upright and to me looks like he could get absolutely destroyed by a big hit. For an example, go back to the SF game versus Buffalo and watch him get lit up on a reverse. His speed gives him some protection, but I’d be wary of him lasting long with his running style.

  30. jhj888 says: Feb 14, 2013 3:36 PM

    Everyone wants a mobile QB why?? Every year a non mobile QB win the Super Bowl, Flaco, Manning, Brees etc…

  31. warhammer420 says: Feb 14, 2013 3:48 PM

    And teams will continue to draft players that lack the intelligence to read an NFL defense. But WOW, look at his 40 time!

  32. rgwheeee says: Feb 14, 2013 3:51 PM

    Jury still out on new crop of running QBs as legitimate franchise QBs and I’d still take Luck over all of them (yes, that includes the 3) for being big and already schooled in a pro-style offense and RG3 over all the other running QBs for his combination of accuracy, arm strength and pure blazing speed with his relative size. Wilson too small to throw regularly from the pocket, Kapernick yet to prove he’s accurate and can read defenses.

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