Saturday, June 12, 2021

Scout Despatched: Dwayne Haskins (QB)

It’s not very often an NFL team will seriously consider spending a high draft pick on a quarterback with little more than a year as a college starter. The likes of Trevor Siemian, a 7th round pick out of Northwestern, is where you’d expect an inexperienced college starter to feature come the Draft weekend.

Every now and then a player will come along and put up unbelievable numbers, just like Dwayne Haskins has done in 2018.

Originally out of Highland Park, New Jersey the Sophomore redshirt holds both the Ohio State and Big-10 records for passing and touchdowns as he threw for 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns (he even ran in another 4 for good measure).

Usually when looking at numbers that high you’d expect a good number of interceptions as well, Haskins somehow, only managed to throw eight. He does have a talented supporting cast around him but nobody that would be able to explain these monster stats, quite simply Haskins has unfathomable talent as a quarterback.

As a player, Dwayne Haskins is a quick-rhythm passer who tends to always make the correct decision. Not only is his ability to read a defence already at an NFL level but he also possesses the natural ability to throw defenders off.

Haskins is the only prospect I’ve seen this year consistently go through all of his reads before making his decision, the fact he can do it so quickly with such inexperience tells me this guy is ready for the big time.

To give this some perspective, 2017 first-round pick Baker Mayfield would often stare down his primary read before looking to a check down if the play wasn’t there.

Dwayne Haskins has great potential

In a game vs Texas Christian University, Haskins torched the opposing defence by taking advantage of quick passes and slant combination routes, his ability to read the linebackers play allowed to fit the ball into tight windows for easy first downs all game long.

His ability to pass in the intermediate game is quite possibly his most accurate asset, and landing in a team with a pass-catching back (*cough* Barkley *cough*), an effective slot guy and passing-catching tight ends will do wonders for helping him pass the fans eye-test.

His deep ball is phenomenal and many do argue that his accuracy in deep routes is what separates him from every other quarterback in 2018. According to PFF, Haskins threw 17 touchdowns over 20+ yards and has a passer rating of 115.7 in his deep game.

His arm talent is unquestionable and although it isn’t on the level of a Josh Allen or Jay Cutler, it is certainly more than capable of torching defenses and consistently stretching the field.

His passes fly with a real zip which gives defenders very little time to react whilst he also throws with touch reminiscent of Drew Brees.

In all honesty watching Dwayne Haskins makes you think you can be a Quarterback, his play looks effortless and his ability to consistently hit his targets between the numbers is unbelievable.

As you’d expect from his deep ball numbers he needs to be able to extend the play, but unlike many modern day quarterbacks Haskins extends the play with his brilliant pocket awareness that I would liken to CBS Analyst and former Cowboys QB, Tony Romo. His timing to step up into the pocket would make you think he’s been slinging the rock in the pros for years.

But, this doesn’t mean Haskins is without flaws. His biggest flaw is something that will make teams think twice before drafting him. He is incredibly careless with the ball when the protection falls apart. This season alone he fumbled the ball 4 times in 14 games.

Occasionally his confidence as a playmaker will get the better of him and he’ll make poor decisions trying to force a play and ultimately will throw when he has nothing available to him (ala Sam Darnold) – in college he can get away with this but it’s something that must change if he’s to define himself as an NFL Franchise QB.

On occasions where his pocket breaks down quickly he panics and his footwork disintegrates as a result relating in poor throws. Luckily, this is an issue most college QBs enter the NFL with and any QB coach worth his wage will knock that out of him in no time at all.

Outside of the pocket Dwayne Haskins has a respectable ability to scramble although I certainly wouldn’t consider him to dual-threat quarterback. He’s less Russell Wilson and more Case Keenum in that regard.

He certainly has the ability to scramble for a first down but he’d much rather find a pass than have to use his legs. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Dwayne Haskins is solely a pocket passer.

In fact, it’s his insistence on remaining in the pocket and stepping up which could be considered a weakness. Unfortunately due to the stubborness in his play he often misses easy opportunities to pick up yards where he instead forces a throw instead of taking off.

In terms of his size he stands at 6’3 and 220lbs, a more than acceptable build for an NFL QB, his durability isn’t something which should or is being questioned unlike with other NFL QB prospects.

Dwayne Haskins in considered by many to be the top prospect in this years draft, I can certainly see why. His all round game is miles ahead of any other Quarterback coming out in 2018.

His ability to read defences accompanied by his top level arm-strength allow him to throw the ball into incredibly tight windows much like Pat Mahomes.

Haskins football IQ appears to be off the charts at such a young age and he’ll have no problem whatsoever changing plays at the line of scrimmage and making pre-snap adjustments.

He may not have tons of football experience under his belt but he’s shown the world what he can do when he’s given the opportunity. Whilst I don’t expect Dwayne Haskins to go in the top 5… In fact I fully expect the Giants to take him at 6. However, given the way the modern day NFL works I wouldn’t be surprised to see Arizona trade back so somebody can secure Haskins at 1.1 – a wrong move in my opinion.

In the NFL Dwayne Haskins most reminds me of Ryan Tannehill with less run dependency or a pre 2014 Eli Manning. He’s a talent and whoever ends up with him will have a Franchise QB for years to come.

Strengths:

  • Strong pocket awareness
  • Ability to read defences
  • Goes through all reads quickly
  • Decisive with his passes
  • Has great touch
  • Can throw the entire route tree

Weaknesses:

  • Sloppy footwork
  • Falls apart under pressure
  • Only one year as a starting QB
  • Forces the football when nothing is open
  • Poor ball protection

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Jordan Lombard
Living and breathing the Denver Broncos, Boise State and the Colorado Buffs. Jordan is a former Sports Entrepreneur and content creator. In the editorial world, Jordan has won plaudits from Superbowl winner Byron Chamberlain & Bryan Harsin. In recent years Jordan has worked with the likes of Real Sport, FNV, Business Insider and Forbes.

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