Like any good researcher, Mark Schofield despises a small sample size. Unfortunately, prospect evaluation is almost always too early, or without all the information necessary. Thus, we have our series: On Two, in which Inside The Pylon examines two plays from a quarterback that address traits that scouts are talking about.
The search for draftable NFL talent carries scouts far and wide. One of the places off the beaten path scouts are looking to this season is Liberty University, featuring quarterback Josh Woodrum. The FCS school located in Lynchburg, Virginia finished with a 6-5 record in the Big South conference, but scored a huge upset win in their season finale. They knocked off the then-number four team in FCS, Coastal Carolina, on a late touchdown pass from their senior quarterback. During the game, as well as throughout the game-winning drive, Woodrum displayed some traits that evaluators look for in a potential NFL signal callers, including arm talent
The Liberty Flames face 1st and 10 on the Chanticleers’ 46-yard line, with 21 offensive personnel, Josh Woodrum under center, and an i-formation behind him. The offense deploys the X receiver split right and the Z receiver in a pro alignment with the tight end on the left side of the offense Meanwhile, Coastal Carolina has their base 4-3 defense in the game showing Cover 2:
The defense sticks with Cover 2 as Woodrum executes a solid five-step drop from center. The safeties widen to compensate for the deep patterns outside, opening up the middle for the tight end:
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This is a very impressive throw, and decision, from Woodrum. The underneath linebacker is trailing Smith, so the throw needs to carry over the defender but not sail over the head of the receiver. The QB drops this in the bucket perfectly, with great location and touch on the pass, yet enough zip to allow the receiver to maintain his stride and run after the catch.
The decision is very sound as well. As we have outlined before the inside post, or seam route, against Cover 2 is a very fruitful read and decision for a QB, especially when the safeties widen in response to outside vertical threats. Finding the soft area of the coverage requires patience, and Woodrum plays it perfectly.
On their game-winning drive, Liberty faced 4th and 8 on their own 32-yard line, with 2:32 remaining on the clock. Woodrum lined up in the shotgun with 10 offensive personnel in a 2X2 alignment, with dual inverted slot formations on each side of the offense. Coastal Carolina sends out a 4-1-6 dime sub package with the secondary showing 2 man underneath:
To the offensive left Woodrum has a choice between slant or curl routes, while on the right both receivers release vertically. The slot receiver, Darrin Peterson (#13) releases to the inside and runs a skinny post:
Peterson’s route attacks the middle of the Cover 2 scheme. But being fourth down, Woodrum must make a play, so even though the slot WR has a corner draped on him, the QB squeezes the ball in:
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This is very impressive ball placement. The throw is delivered to the upfield shoulder of the WR, into a pretty narrow throwing window. Not only is the CB draped on the receiver’s back, but both safeties are collapsing on the route as well. So the throw needs to be made with velocity as well. Woodrum delivers a strike. The rotation of the football, illustrating the zip of the throw, as well as the mechanics from the QB, is on display during the replay view.
On Two (Leftovers)
The game-winning touchdown throw is another example of Woodrum’s arm talent, and his confidence to challenge a narrow throwing window in a high-leverage situation:
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What would Thanksgiving be without a totally unnecessary serving of leftovers, showing you the same great arm talent you already saw? Consider this the turkey sandwich for this On Two.
Scouts and evaluators are just beginning to dig into the film on Woodrum. But there are some draftable traits present with this quarterback. Players from FCS and other smaller FBS schools have an uphill battle to getting attention from evaluators, who question the level of competition. But we’ve seen with Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke, it pays to watch all the film available.
Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkSchofield.
Mark Schofield has always loved football. He breaks down film, scouts prospects, and explains the passing game for Inside the Pylon.
All video and images courtesy of ESPN.