Draft season never ends. Although the lights have turned off at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago and the lectern has been put away, teams are already setting their boards. With that in mind, Mark Schofield has an early look at the top QBs in the 2016 NFL draft. In this edition, he takes a look at a small-school quarterback with experience and talent.
Matt Pawlowski – Guilford College
Unless you are a long-time reader of Inside the Pylon or live in the Greensboro area, Pawlowski is an unfamiliar name. That should change in 2015. A Wing-T quarterback in high school, Pawlowski turned down a few preferred walk-on offers from bigger schools to stay close to home and play for Division III Guilford College. Despite being listed as the fifth-string quarterback in preseason camp as a freshman, Pawlowski won the starting job and has started every game for the Quakers while in school. The 2014 campaign was his best yet, as he completed 68% of his passes for 3,476 yards and 38 touchdowns with only three interceptions. For his efforts Pawlowski was named a semifinalist for the Gagliardi Trophy, Division III’s version of the Heisman Trophy. For his career the rising senior has completed 63% of his passes for 8,292 yards and 77 TDs with only 14 INTs while operating in an offense that uses both pro-style and spread option elements. He is an athletic quarterback with a strong arm who throws very well on the move:
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On this play, the Quakers face 1st and 10 and have their 20 personnel on the field with Pawlowski under center. Southern Virginia brings a nickel package, showing Cover 3 in the secondary. The Quakers execute a run fake and Pawlowski looks to go deep. His protection breaks down quickly, but the quarterback keeps this play alive using his footwork, executing a nifty spin move on a defender at his ankles. He then delivers an accurate throw on the run that travels over 30 yards, indicative of his arm strength.
With the recent success of smaller school players in the NFL, Pawlowski has an outside chance to be the next small school athlete to make a splash on the sport’s biggest stage.
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