Christian Hackenberg   QB   Penn St

Christian has the size and arm strength of the prototypical NFL quarterback that teams love to see come into the league. He shows on film the velocity and touch to make all the throws and, when given the time in a clean pocket, he has good mechanics. Christian is a passionate football player who wants to win and shows some leadership skills. He looks on film to be a good teammate and works well with his coaching staff. He reminds me a lot of Christian Ponder (see Archives) and although most teams thought very highly of him in the 2011 Draft, Ponder struggles at the NFL level.

Christian Hackenberg has a big problem: heís the type of quarterback who canít see the forest for the trees. He struggles to make decisions quickly, locks on receivers, tries to stick the ball into coverage and has no pre-snap instincts to read mismatches. Add to that, not going to his check downs quickly enough and looking for the big play over the top when receivers and tight ends are running free right in front of his eyes and you have a quarterback that is shell shocked. Heís shell shocked because of a poor offensive line and from Christian not making quick decisions and poor decisions. Christian also struggles to slide or leave the pocket on time to extend plays. Most of this can be overcome with better coaching, but it will take time.

Christian has a lot of talent to work with and if he understands that and has a good work ethic, he can become a starting quarterback in the NFL. The problem for him is mostly in poor decision making and a lack of football instincts. It is true that he did not have a very good offensive line in front of him this year. It is also true that Christian did nothing to help out that offensive line with intelligent pre-snap reads and taking what a defense would give him. His best play this year was throwing out to the sidelines behind the line of scrimmage. Getting rid of the ball vertically and making good decisions that would allow his offensive lineman to get some confidence when pass blocking never really happened all year long. Looking like the prototypical quarterback is all well and good, but at some point you have to produce, lead and adjust to adverse situations to be considered more than just looking like one. For me personally, I would let someone else select Christian and do all the work and see where he is at after his first contract is up. But thatís just me and Iím sure others will think otherwise because he does LOOK like the prototypical NFL quarterback.

Drew Boylhart  JAN.2016