It's hard to make it as a QB in the NFL, that's just a fact. Some of the most talented college signal callers have failed to make an impact at the next level. Ryan Leaf, Tim Tebow, Vince Young, Matt Leinart and Joey Harrington are just a few that come to mind. Making it from a school like Northern Colorado is even more difficult, but don't tell Kyle Sloter that.
I love the draft and I love everything that comes with it. I get a fair few emails now in relation to prospects, and as much as I'd love to cover them all...being a part-timer, it would be impossible. I respond to everyone, but only feature one or two a year. I received an email about Kyle Sloter and it's rare you find a small school QB who you legitimately think has a shot to make it. After looking at his film, I think he has a shot to make it.
He's 6-5 and 220lb's, originally committed to Southern Mississippi, Sloter transferred to Northern Colorado after a frustrating series of events which saw him tumble down the depth chart through no fault of his own. Due to arriving late he was moved to wide receiver to receive snaps. The following year, due to problems with the transfer he needed to spent a big portion of his Spring/Summer away from the team, limiting his ability to compete for the starters role. After the Northern Colorado starter went down with an injury, Sloter well...slotted right in and the rest is history.
I watched a bit of tape on Sloter and came away incredibly impressed. I saw a guy who was comfortable playing from under center or in the gun. I saw a guy who worked through his progressions, who could throw with touch. A guy who had a strong enough arm to make all the throws and the athletic ability to create on the ground. A guy who was willing to stand in the pocket and take a hit and still deliver the ball. A guy who has a good delivery and leads his receivers. At times he throws with anticipation before receivers make their cuts, if he can do this consistently, then watch out.
However the one thing that really impressed me didn't come from game film, it came from interviews he conducted and his grasp and understanding of the game. The responsibility that he had to take on at Northern Colorado. For example, this is from an interview he did with SB Nation's Steelers Blog:
They basically took a pro style system and made it 70 percent gun and 30 percent under center. It's a signal based no huddle system but definitely still uses all the pro style concepts. So it's pretty unique. All of our concepts are straight from the NFL west coast style offenses. We have the same names for almost everything from route concepts to pass protections. I think it really prepared me because I had to learn the pass protections for myself instead of having my center make all the calls and just rolling with it like spread systems do. My center made the calls but I had to know the terminology he was using and who everyone was responsible for in pass protection because it was up to me to Re-ID protections, move the Mike points, identify blitzes and dogs, and switch the play all together if necessary to get us into a play that would work. So I had to understand every concept inside an out right down to the leverages of the linemen blocking the D-line and switching run plays to out leverage the defense with our blocking schemes.
I really do encourage everyone to hear over and check that interview out as they go through some film study with clips, perfectly indicating his football IQ.
He won't be a first round pick come next week, but Kyle Sloter has a ton of talent. He has all the physical traits and it sounds as though the mental side comes easy too. Definitely a name to watch.