As we near the Draft, there are prospects that get covered 24/7 and those who get none. Those who get labeled as a “franchise changing superstar” and those who get labeled “bust”. We here at Student Union–where there is no agenda–will be covering all of that and everything in between, and give the players a proper and fair label instead of the Mel Kiper buzz words that every analyst likes to use.

Today I will be covering Kyle Shurmur. A three-year starter at Vanderbilt who has made huge strides over his career. He broke or came close to breaking a lot of Vanderbilt school records, surpassing the great ‘Smoking Jay’ in a lot of them. Reading his scouting report I felt as if he was really being undersold–even disrespected. So I decided to breakdown some of his film and decided for myself what his potential could be.

Measurables:

Height: 6’4″

Weight: 230 lbs

Arms: 32 3/4″

Hands: 8 7/8″

Games Reviewed

at Notre Dame: 26-43, 326 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception

at Georgia: 14-28, 169 yards, 0 touchdown, 0 interceptions

vs Ole Miss: 22-34, 191 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception

vs Tennessee: 31-35, 367 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions

Pros

  • From a mental aspect his fundamentals are very sound. Shurmur is very consistent when making his second and third reads when his first read isn’t there. He really sells his fake on play action plays. He hardly ever makes the wrong decision, and takes what is given–check downs, flats, curls, etc.–more times than not when there’s nothing downfield. This QB takes care of the ball and doesn’t take many “bad sacks”.
  • Repetition and muscle memory is also a strong part of his game. He has solid timing and anticipation on his throws. Has great chemistry with his skilled players. Play-action drop backs look identical no matter what game you watch. His throwing motion is the same for the most part. He also doesn’t shy away from pressure and stands tall in the pocket to deliver the pass. Shurmur has good spin on the ball–which you can make the point is more important than throwing power.
  • He is good in both pre and post snap. More times than not, when the play doesn’t work, it has more to due with execution than play call. That’s a credit to Andy Ludwig–their former Offensive Coordinator–but also a credit to Shurmur. For pre-snap, they ran a lot of motion plays and Shurmur was able to see the defense react, in which he can kill the first play and run the second play called or go back to the first if he called the audible. So more times than not they ran the better of the two plays called. As for post-snap, again he makes the correct decision more times than not and kept the ball out of harms way.
  • While he doesn’t possess elite throwing power he still can sling it into tight windows. Several times–and by several I mean 12-18 of the 140 throws that I broke down–with tight man coverage or several defenders in zone closing that I saw Shurmur fit it where it needed to be and with authority.
  • Very accurate on his short to intermediate throws. Again, he has great timing and anticipation when making these throws. And again doesn’t try to force many passes that have a very low chance of being completed. Both his accuracy and power are NFL-quality when throwing on the run.
  • One thing that I would like to point out his ability under pressure. I watched these games in order to see if he progressed in any areas that I thought he could improve in. The one thing I noticed was his ability under pressure. Watching him against Notre Dame and Georgia was a lot different than watching him against Ole Miss and Tennessee. Granted, the competition was not as strong, but I think we should give credit where it’s due. While it still stands for improvement I’d say he is well on his way.

Cons

  • While he is getting better throwing under pressure he can still improve on sensing the pressure. His o-line at Vandy was less than stellar at pass protection as they failed to pick up the blitz more than occasionally, or were beaten straight up after the snap. Nevertheless, keeping your head on a swivel is never a bad thing. If he ends up going to a team with a sub-par o-line, he could definitely use that ability.
  • He could stand for more consistency with his lower body. While he has good footwork, his base and transferring his weight when throwing could be more consistent. As from time to time, he completely sails throws that he normally makes. It’s not necessarily a bad habit or something I saw at an alarming rate, but more than enough to make a note of it.
  • One thing that really seems to ding him in today’s NFL is his lack of mobility. In very few cases where he identified the pressure early was where he was able to escape and run. That’s not knocking on his roll out or throw on the run, that’s about avoiding pressure with his legs. Even in today’s NFL, the younger QB’s who aren’t as mobile can still move a bit more than the traditional pocket passer–which is Shurmur if you couldn’t tell.
  • This one is kind of a weird one, but I am going to say it. His placement in the pocket can stand for improvement. I say this because for someone who is 6’4″–which is a good height for a QB–and has high release point, he has had quite a few balls batted down. At least in the games I watched. Most times the case was a defensive lineman rushing free or had good push at the line of scrimmage. Obviously, better protection could help with that, but that’s also something Shurmur can work on. Whether it be film studying a defenders tendencies when rushing, or sliding in the pocket. I think he can figure that out.

Overview

I think he has been knocked lower than he should for arbitrary reasons. Things like “weak arm strength” or “lack of arm talent” (whatever that means) is something that he can equip with in the NFL. People like Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady were labeled as weaker arms. More recently Deshaun Watson was scouted saying he didn’t have an NFL arm and couldn’t make all the NFL throws. If you’re saying those guys can’t make every throw, then you’re wrong. I am going to the extremes, but the point is that the QB’s probably see a dramatic increase in arm strength as their workouts in the NFL are probably a lot more intense than college.

I am also sure people are labeling him a “system quarterback”. Which is applicable to every QB as you probably won’t expect Tom Brady to run the triple option or Lamar Jackson to run a system that requires him to be a pocket passer. So that point is moot.

Overall, I think Shurmur has the potential to be a solid starting quarterback. Not necessarily a Day 1 starter, but after a year I think you could plug him in. He’s projected to be a Day Three player, but I think he should could even be a Day Two draft pick. Anywhere between the third or fourth round is probably where you could get him without reaching. He should be in some variation of a pro-style offense. That’s what he knows and what best utilizes his skill set.

Potential Suitors:
  • New England Patriots
  • New York Giants
  • Miami Dolphins
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • Washington Redskins

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