Gardner Minshew set passing records at Washington State last year, but NFL teams were not overly impressed, which is why he didn’t go off the board until the sixth round of the draft, when the Jaguars picked him. Washington State coach Mike Leach thinks that says more about NFL scouts than it says about Minshew.
Leach told Andrew Siciliano on NFL Network that he had conversations with NFL teams before the draft in which he found himself dismayed by how little they seemed to understand about what made Minshew such a productive college quarterback.
“He’s one of those guys who uplifts the entire team,” Leach said of Minshew. “The funny thing is, people would call me about him and they’d ask, ‘How’s his arm?’ His arm is good. ‘Is he accurate?’ I mean, I’m wondering if they’re real scouts if they start asking me if he’s accurate. And then, ‘How strong is his arm?’ And it’s running through my mind, Did you really watch his film? And then his pocket presence? He’s got great pocket presence, that’s probably what he does best — he doesn’t take negative plays. And then they’d say, ‘How tall is he?’ I’d say, ‘Well, he’s exactly as tall as the all-time leading passer in the history of the NFL, Drew Brees.’ So then there’s this long, long, long pause, just really long. Because scouts have the ability to scrutinize and perceive life at a much higher level than you or I, mere mortals can.”
Leach has been the head coach at Washington State for seven years, and he was the head coach at Texas Tech for 10 years before that. And although he’s often had productive passing offenses, so far, none of his quarterbacks have amounted to anything in the NFL. So it would be easy to understand if NFL scouts believe Minshew’s passing numbers were a product of the system. But Leach thinks Minshew can prove them wrong.