The Bills are going into the 2016 season with starting Quarterback Tyrod Taylor entering the final year of his contract. Having only started one year in the NFL, the organization is facing probably their most critical decision in many years. Whether or not to sign him to a lucrative, long term extension… The price tag is high, but if the Bills want to win consistently solidifying that position has to be priority number one. By the end of this coming season the Bills must know what they have, but at the same time they must have a plan B. Plan B for Doug Whaley comes in the form of this draft.
A player that the Bills are very high on is Dak Prescott of Mississippi State. He had a very productive college career and showed improvement operating as a true signal caller, not a run first QB. He finished his career completing 734/1169 passes with a 62.8% completion rate, 9,376 yards passing, 70 passing touchdowns, 23 interceptions and even pitched in 536 carries, 2,521 rushing yards and 41 rushing touchdowns. Check out his measureables below.
In 2015, he threw for 3,796 yards, 29 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. The season was solid all around as he completed passes at a really good clip of 66%. But like many QBs in college football nowadays, he played primarily out of the shotgun and in a spread system. The offenses best wide receiver was De’Runnya Wilson so the Bulldogs loved to line up in 3×1 wide receiver sets with Wilson as the lone WR. This allowed Dak to read the defense easier and pre-determine where he was going with the ball. If he liked the match-up with Wilson he would take it, if not the other wide receivers ran simple route concepts versus the expected coverage. Does that sound familiar? Roman and Taylor used a lot of similar ideas running the passing game through Sammy Watkins to dictate the coverage. That allowed Woods, Hogan and others to work versus the zone coverages on the backside.
The similarities in the passing scheme run at Mississippi State isn’t the only reason the Bills are seriously interested in this QB, his arm strength is another.
The Bills offensive line allowed their fair share of QB pressures in 2015, and having a quarterback that can escape the pocket like Dak but still have the arm strength to make throws like this could really open up the offense. Taylor doesn’t have this arm strength but he is more accurate in my opinion.
What I like about Prescott more than Hogan, is his trigger. Dak goes from setting his feet to release much quicker than Hogan. On this play he runs play-action then looks deep, something the Bills utilized a lot last season. Although the ball is incomplete, just watch how he looks left to right and when he makes his decision the ball flies off his hand.
His mechanics are of course a work in progress but watching some film from 2014 then some from 2015, I noticed an improvement. Prior to last season, one of his knocks was his 3/4 delivery. That throwing motion will lead to passes deflected at the line of scrimmage in the NFL. Look at his delivery vs. Alabama.
Look at what the delivery on this play led to.
Fast forward to 2015 and I saw a tighter release.
He also improved his footowork from 2014 to 2015, but at times in my opinion he seemed a little mechanical. More and more reps will make him more comfortable. On this play he hits the top of his drop, turns to throw, that back foot plants he takes a “crow hop” like step with his lead foot. The movement to me seems very mechanical and I almost feel him thinking about it. That movement may have given the defensive back just enough time to make a play on the ball. He should have his feet ready to throw as he turns and points his shoulder.
But his footwork is solid on the next play. Dak climbs the pocket and delivers a pretty accurate ball but it falls incomplete. He throws a decent deep ball which should translate into the Bills system. He completed 21/46 passes over 21 yards for a total of 801 yards. His 43% completion percentage was well above the nation’s average of 33%. Of those deep shots he threw 6 touchdowns and only 1 interception. Hogan completed 17/50 which is a 34% completion percentage, 661 yards, 6 touchdowns and 1 interception. Dak can push the ball deep better than Hogan.
A part of a quarterback’s game that not many people talk about are balls skills. How well do they handle the ball on play-action, zone read plays etc. I was really impressed with Prescott’s ball skills. It is an important skill in Greg Roman’s offense. He holds the ball in the gut of the back for as long as he can then delivers unleashes a rocket.
Another smooth display of ball skills on this shovel pass.
He does have the ability to put some touch on his deep balls. I love how he trusts his WR to make the play. He puts just the right amount of air under the ball versus the sticky man coverage.
Although I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bills take Paxton Lynch at 19, I believe they would trade out of it with Denver or a team looking to find their QB. The Bills will most likely look to the mid rounds to find their quarterback. Only Tyrod’s play will determine if the QB selected this year is the QB of the future. I do like the tools that Prescott brings. He has really good arm strength, the ball comes off his hand quickly. He has the trigger that Roman liked in Kap while in San Francisco. Dak has the ability to extend plays with his legs but also affords Roman the option to scheme runs and play-action passes off of his skill set. I think that Whaley plans on drafting this guy in the 4th round. If he isn’t on the board I think Doug is more than comfortable enough taking Hogan in round 5 or 6. Hogan and Dak are very similar in stature and style of play. One of the main differences between the two are Dak’s arm versus Hogans football IQ having played in an NFL style offense. Both have mechanical issues to work on and both aren’t ready to start day one. So which one do you prefer?
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