QB Prospect: Ryan Finley, QB, NC State by Steve Hamner
Breakdown: In Finley’s three full seasons as a starter at N.C. State, he has improved each season, with his best season coming this past year. This past season he set a career high in yards by over 400, a career high in completion percentage by close to 2.5%, and a career high in touchdown passes by 7. This bodes well as it shows his ability to improve and get better over time, as well as someone who can take coaching and apply it to the field. While some may look at his interceptions also being a career high, I don’t necessarily look at that as a bad thing as Finley was relied on to make plays for his team and was forced to take risks at times.
Coming into the season, a knock on Finley was a lack of touchdown passes thrown. This year he threw a career high, as previously stated, with 25 touchdown passes in 13 games. It is worth noting that in the two games that he did not throw for touchdowns, there were two passes dropped that had the potential to be touchdowns. Finley is an extremely accurate QB who throws a very catchable ball with the ability to throw his guys open. He is a much better athlete than given credit for and throws well on the run when he needs to escape the pocket. It is not his running ability that makes him dangerous outside the pocket, but him keeping his eyes downfield and taking what the defense gives him.
When Finley would get in trouble this year, it was usually due to a pre-determined read or simply not seeing a defender in coverage. Something for him to continue to improve on is reacting quickly to the coverage during the play when his pre-snap read is wrong. I would also like to see Finley drive on the ball more at times against tight coverage. He has average arm strength, which some scouts at the NFL level will hold against him. With that said, if you are smart and accurate with the ball, you do not have to have a cannon for an arm.
Below are a few clips of Finley that help show the strengths of his game. The first clip is an example of Finley knowing the situation, throwing his receiver open before he even breaks, and beating the pressure that Syracuse sent his way.
This next clip is a pass against Clemson this year that should have been caught for a touchdown, but was ultimately dropped. Good play-action by Finley and throws an accurate ball. If this is caught, it could have led to a much more competitive game.
The last clip of Finley is something he did through-out the entire season. He demonstrates his athletic ability to escape the pocket, keep his eyes downfield, and throw a good ball for a first down.
Overall, I came away impressed with Finely. I am not sure what his ceiling is at the next level, but I do not think his floor is low either. He is a guy that I think will stick around in the league and may even be a potential starter at some point down the road. I think a team will like what he brings to the table and may surprise people and take him higher than a few quarterbacks that are projected to be taken before him.
- Great touch
- Throws his receivers open
- Mechanically sound
- Keeps his eyes downfield
- Good in and out of pocket, better athlete than people will think
- Efficient QB
- When he makes mistakes, it is largely due to a pre-determined throw
- Would like to see him drive down on the ball a bit more at times
- How will he do against constant tight coverage? Throws a good deep ball, but it is when he has to drive it in on a short-mid range throw on a consistent basis that may have some people question him.
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