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Cody Kessler Scouting Report, QB, USC, 2016 NFL Draft

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Cody will need to overcome the stigma of being a game manager, however he has enough talent to stick in the NFL, despite lacking ideal size and arm strength.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Introduction


Hometown: Bakersfield, California
High School: Bakersfield Centennial
Recruitment: 3-Star Recruit by ESPN, 4-Star recruit by Rivals
Injuries/Discipline: Nothing notable

Awards

Las Vegas Bowl MVP (2013)

Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Finalist (2015)

Measurables


Height: 6'1"
Weight: 215
Class: Senior
Projected 40 Time: 4.9

Stats


2015: 446 Attempts, 298 completions, 66.8%, 3536 yards, 29 TD's 7 INT
2014: 452 Attempts, 315 completions, 69.7%, 3826 yards, 39 TD's, 5 INT
2013: 361 Attempts, 236 completions, 65.4%, 2968 yards, 20 TD's, 7 INT
2012: 2 Attempts, 2 Completions, 100%, 9 yards, 4.5 yard average, 0 TD, 0 INT

Positives


• Accuracy on short/intermediate routes is very good.
• Doesn't turn the ball over very often
• Played in a pro-style offense in college
• Intelligent QB who uses his eyes well
• Works through his reads like a pro
• Throws well on the move.
• Stands in and delivers the ball under pressure.
• Good anticipation and timing with receivers.
• Good athleticism in the open field
• Very quick release on efficient throwing motion
• Reads defences well, sees the whole field

Negatives


• Lacks the ideal size for the position
• Doesn't have great arm strength
• Loses velocity on throws outside the hashes.
• Deep ball accuracy is very spotty.
• Always takes the easy completion.
• Is he limited to being a game manager?

Conclusion

There is a lot to like and lot to dislike about Cody Kessler, but his college career has been a turbulent journey that made continuity impossible. Most players will play for one, maybe two coaches during their college career, Kessler has played for five. He never quite lived up to his lofty expectations but he finished his college career with 10,339 yards with 88 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. Not a bad overall stat line.


Don't forget that USC were also sanctioned by the NCAA which resulted in 30 scholarship losses in three years, forcing the team to put players in positions they are not ready for. Lane Kiffin spoke out about the resiliency of Cody to come through all the problems at USC over the last few years, and still perform to a decent standard.


Do I love Cody's tape? No, I don't. He's a very conservative QB, there are times where he had open receivers down field, and he elected to throw a 2-3 yard pass to the flat. His arm strength is also something to be concerned about; he has a noticeable drop in velocity on throws to the outside and his deep ball accuracy is spotty at best, and that's when he does finally push the ball down field.


However it's not all bad. He played in a pro-style offense in college, and he uses his eyes and smarts to bait defensive backs to where he wants them. He works through his reads quickly and shows a great deal of awareness and timing with his receivers. He's certainly not a running QB, but he has some wiggle and is a good athlete in the open field. He often shows good awareness in the pocket and slides away from pressure. Throwing on the run is also no problem at all.

I doubt Kessler goes early, he'll likely hear his name called around the 4th or 5th round, but there is enough there for him to stick on an NFL roster and develop, people love these strong armed QB's, but there is something to being able to develop a very smart QB who shows excellent anticipation on film. The talent at USC helped him, but he had a fantastic 2014 season which showed off some real talent.

Drafting USC QB's hasn't been a smart move recently, see Barkley, Sanchez and Leinart, maybe Cody breaks that

.

Draft Grade: 69


90-100 = Exceptional Talent
80-90 = Impact Player
70-80 = NFL Starter
60-70 = Solid NFL Potential
50-60 = Draftable - Lot of work needed
>50 = Undraftable, - Long Shot To Stick