We get to witness Brock Osweiler starting more games while Peyton Manning is recovering his injuries. Scotty Payne from Mile High Report gathered various draft reports back in 2012, which you can read here. I want to go over some of the analysis and compare to the reports against what we’ve seen so far.
STRENGTHS: Osweiler has a very deliberate, quick-twitched setup which he employs on a consistent basis. His athletic ability allows him to play the position naturally and with ease. He slings the ball naturally, as well, and even though he pats the ball before throwing, his release is so compact and effective he isn’t hindered by this habit in the slightest. His shining asset is his arm strength; he can hit nearly any NFL-caliber throw at this point in his career. He is a good leader and looks in control in the huddle and on the field. He is above average from an accuracy standpoint, and he really has a good grasp on when to add touch to the ball or to zip it. He has the pocket presence of a first-day pick and doesn’t go down easily. He is good to extend plays with his feet.
WEAKNESSES: Osweiler had on-the-field judgment issues throughout his career at ASU and isn’t reliable to protect the ball from turnovers. It seems as if he starts to get rolling in a game, and the more confidence he builds, the more of a gun-slinger mentality he adopts. This severely hinders his play. When under control, early in the game, he is athletic, accurate, and a good game manager. He will need to learn to hone in some of the competitive traits that have helped lead him to success up to this point. He is likely a developmental prospect who could struggle if forced to play early on.
NFL.com provides us a synopsis of all the scouting reports, since they all cover the same points. Most of the positives were obvious throughout the preseason games he has played so far. His throws have a perfect spiral and will typically have a lot of zip with them. However, I’ve noticed that he knows when to float balls (or add touch) when leading receivers.
Here’s a zippy pass to Cody Latimer:
Another zippy pass to Emmanuel Sanders:
And a leading floater to Owen Daniels:
A nice floater to Andre Caldwell:
Unfortunately, it’s been difficult to verify whether or not he’s grown from the weaknesses that NFL.com reports (read: It seems as if he starts to get rolling in a game, and the more confidence he builds, the more of a gun-slinger mentality he adopts). The Broncos haven’t had a large lead when he’s behind the helm, and we didn’t witness a turnover in the Bears game. The one interception during the Chiefs game was slightly under-thrown, but I will definitely give the Chiefs defense credit for this interception than blame Osweiler’s decision-making and throw.
The blocked pass in the Patriots game I will cover later.
While quick under center, there are times where he folds under pressure or when his first target isn’t available. Instead of throwing the ball away, he will attempt to scramble or take a sack.
It does, however, have some benefits:
Mocking the Draft:
Accuracy: Osweiler has the arm strength to accurately place the ball in a tight window when he’s hitting his passes. The trouble is, Osweiler often throws off balance from his back foot losing accuracy. Accuracy was inconsistent throughout his junior season. Threw a lot of slant and swing passes showing good ball placement and touch. When on the move, Osweiler would often throw low.
I feel that Osweiler has been able to fix his back foot passing issues. While I doubt that he’ll be able to deliver a deep pass accurately from his back foot, his short passes haven’t appeared to suffer from these throws:
In this throw he didn’t set his footing properly, but still delivered a great pass:
Arm strength: Has an arm that is exceptionally strong, and maybe the strongest of any quarterback in the draft. He just didn’t get to show it all the time in the Arizona State offense. Drives the ball well to the outside hash. Knows how to take some zip off his ball in the short passing game. Many quarterbacks with the same kind of big arm throw short passes too hard, making them hard to catch.
No arguments here.
Decision making: When the first read isn’t available, Osweiler tends to struggle finding the next option and will force throws. That’s the main reason why he needed more experience in college. He started just more than a year’s worth of games, and isn’t a very savvy player.
Field vision: Has made improvements reading defenses pre-snap as the 2011 season progressed. Benefited from predominantly lining up in the shotgun. Will lock on his targets too much, especially in the short and middle passing areas. Will need to learn how to manipulate safeties with his eyes. Does a nice job of changing his release point to fire the ball through an open area.
Mechanics: Has worked a lot to shorten up and quicken his delivery. Coming out of high school, Osweiler had a long release over the top windup. Before his junior season with the Sun Devils, he worked diligently to shorten his release. The three-quarters, Philip Rivers-style release was more successful for Osweiler, though it has lowered his release point. Because of his height, it’s not a major concern. He’ll on occasion revert to his old motion, especially when he has to drive the ball deep.
One observation throughout all of his passes I couldn’t avoid was how long he stared down his first target. He will eventually check all other receivers, but he stares at the first receiver for about 2-3 seconds. The ball needs to be out by 3 seconds at latest, so by the time he will check for additional targets it may be too late. This is another factor on why he’s suffered from 10 sacks, although a couple of them are attributed to poor pass blocking. I saw much improvement in the Patriots game compared to the Bears game. I feel confident that this will evolve as he earns more reps.
The announcers kept talking about how low Osweiler is throwing the ball throughout the Bears game. It surprised the announcer because of Osweiler’s height. However, I was not observing that same issue. Take this throw for example:
Yes, it’s low. However, it was in a perfect position for Vernon Davis to grab it and not allow anyone else near it. Personally, I think this throw was a great decision.
This throw is heading down, but it was delivered right to the chest of Bennie Fowler:
I firmly believe that his throws are aimed lower due to his height. However, I do think that he could release at a higher point. The low release point can cause issues, such as this:
The release point in this pass could’ve been higher, but since it was lower it resulted in a blocked pass, and in return an interception. This comes down to situational awareness, which will come over time.
Pocket awareness: Still learning line adjustments to better protect himself against blitzes. Clearly struggled in this area against Illinois. In that game, Osweiler was forced to forced to speed up his game, which led to some poor ball placement. Isn’t a statue in the pocket. A former high school basketball player, Osweiler has nimble feet and is quick enough to elude pressure.
I can’t refute the nimble feet (see above) as he will often scramble when necessary to gain some yards. Recognizing blitzes is something he’ll learn throughout experience. These blitzes would’ve been picked up by most pro-starters:
However, he made some great checks during the Patriots game and I can’t attribute any sack due to his lack of inexperience recognizing the blitz.
The National Football Post:
Osweiler would have been much better served to stay for his senior year and develop his overall feel for the game. Because of as now he struggles to decipher defenses and honestly didn’t display a great feel for his own offense either.
The guy has some talent and can sling the football. However, much like Ryan Mallett last season, he’s going to need to play in an offense where he can throw the football down the field and isn’t going to be forced to make many quick throws underneath, where he struggles with timing, footwork and ball placement.
While I would agree that he should’ve stayed at ASU to develop, ending up behind Peyton Manning with the Broncos was a better scenario. Learning from one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time has allowed him to develop unique traits and skills. He’s learned to read the defenses and what to expect from them, and he’s learned how to command the huddle and make changes at the line of scrimmage. Unlike Ryan Mallett, however, he’s taken full advantage of the situation. Don’t take my word for it. Below is what Walter football had say about him:
Osweiler has real arm strength and the gun to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. He is very raw and needs some work. If he goes to a good coaching staff that can develop him for a few years, he could turn into a starter. If Osweiler had returned to Arizona State and had a good season featuring some improvements, he could have been in contention to be a first-round pick in 2013. Right now, he looks like a second-day pick and the fifth-rated quarterback.
My final thoughts are that he has closed the gap on a lot of his weaknesses, but he’s not an elite starter yet. He still needs to work on reading the field, recognizing pressure, and knowing when to get rid of the ball. He’s been in the perfect situation in Denver, and now it’s time he takes the last four years of learning experience and apply them to the game.
Is he our best chance at winning the Super Bowl now? Maybe. Is he the future of the franchise? I believe so.