Draft season never ends. Teams are already setting their scouting assignments for next season. With that in mind, Mark Schofield has an early look at the top QBs in the 2016 NFL draft, continuing with Christian Hackenberg.
Christian Hackenberg – Penn State
Hackenberg was one of the nation’s top quarterback recruits in 2012, ranked as the top pro-style quarterback by ESPN and the second-best pro-style quarterback by Rivals.com. With offers from multiple schools including Alabama, Florida and Tennessee, he chose to commit to Penn State – prior to the upheaval of the scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Even though the school faced severe sanctions, he honored his commitment and enrolled, learning an offense designed by former Patriots offensive coordinator and current Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien.
Hackenberg became the school’s starting quarterback as a freshman, and completed 59% of his passes for 2,995 yards and 20 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. However, he endured a bit of a sophomore slump in 2014, completing just 56% of his passes for 2,977 yards and just 12 TDs, against 15 interceptions. He enters 2015 looking to rebound under coach James Franklin, and deliver more plays like this:
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Facing 3rd and 25, Hackenberg stands tall in the pocket before delivering a perfect throw on the corner route against Cover 2 for a big conversion. As evidenced by this play, he has ideal size and arm strength for the position, with years of experience in an NFL-style system. A solid junior campaign could propel him to the top of many draft boards next season.
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Mark Schofield knows play action, the free release, spectacular plays and how to throw on Cover 2, Cover 3 and Cover 6.