#1 best-selling author Mark Schofield reveals his list of the top quarterback prospects for the 2016 NFL Draft. Schofield, who wrote 17 Drives – a chronicle of the 2015 college football season – has ranked Josh Woodrum as his 13th ranked prospect. Click here to look at all of his work on the 2016 QB class.
Josh Woodrum continues to fly under the radar during this draft cycle. The QB took over the starting position early in his freshman career and started 46 games during his career for Liberty University, an FCS school in southwestern Virginia. In each of his first three seasons, he helped the Flames win a share of the Big South title; however, in his senior year Liberty stumbled and the team finished with a 6-5 record. But in his final collegiate start, he engineered a comeback victory over Coastal Carolina, then the fourth ranked FCS school in the country. Woodrum’s experience and traits were enough to earn him an all-star game invite, as well as a spot in the 2016 Scouting Combine.
Woodrum displays the arm talent that is needed at the next level, with the ability to drive the football into narrow throwing windows with zip and precise ball-placement. He has the arm strength to execute throws to all levels of the field, and can deliver the deep out pattern from one hashmark to the opposite sideline, as well as the deep comeback routes with precision, timing, and velocity. This play is a great example of him challenging a narrow window on a Bang-8 route, and in a critical moment to boot:
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This is very impressive ball-placement on 4th and 8 against Coastal Carolina with the game on the line. The throw is delivered to the upfield shoulder of the wide receiver, into a pretty narrow throwing window. Not only is the cornerback 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.
In the vertical passing game, Woodrum is an aggressive thrower but backs up his aggression with the ability to drop in passses with touch, accuracy, and timing.
In the shorter and more intermediate passing game, he displays sufficient play speed and makes quick enough decisions to keep plays on structure, and his accuracy is more than sufficient on these throws. The offensive scheme at Liberty asked him to make a majority of throws within ten yards of the line of scrimmage, and he was adept at timing his throws with these routes and placing the football on the appropriate shoulder.
Woodrum also displays the ability to make anticipation throws, and is confident enough to stay in the pocket in the face of pressure to deliver throws under duress for big plays. He handles the blitz fairly well, and is not prone to panicking in the face of manufactured pressure. He is athletic enough to extend the pay with his feet, and is capable when throwing on the move.
Woodrum’s footwork in the pocket needs work, both in terms of his dropbacks and how he moves around and responds to pressure. He’s not afraid to stay in there and take a shot, but there are times when he needs to be more efficient with his pocket movement and evade pressure, rather than letting it come to him. Even dropping into a clean pocket, he rarely displays the sound footwork on his drops you would expect from a quarterback with his level of experience. Many drops are flawed, either rounded off or cut short. This is more than a cosmetic concern, as route structures and designs, as well as protection schemes, are designed around a quarterback reaching a certain depth in his drop at a certain time.
There are also moments where Woodrum missed opportunities in the pre-snap phase for a big play, when he failed to notice single coverage or in some cases, uncovered receivers before the snap. While he is generally an accurate passer, his throws tend to dip in terms of ball placement when he is moving to his left.
Another area that he needs to fix is his ball security and ball carriage in the pocket. At the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl he fumbled twice in the pocket, likely due in part to the fact he keeps the ball lower on his body while moving around in the pocket. He’ll need to work on keeping the football up a little bit more toward his chest to improve in this area.
This is a tricky area to evaluate with Woodrum, coming from an offense with the majority of throws in the shorter area of the field. In my opinion, Woodrum displays the arm talent, velocity, and touch to thrive in a more downfield passing game, and would fit best in a Coryell / Arians style of offense.
This play against West Virginia from 2015 shows Woodrum near his best, despite the loss to the Mountaineers. Here he shows patience in the pocket, as well as the ability to slide forward and create enough space to make a throw (one of the areas of concerns highlighted earlier). In addition, he drops this pass in between two defenders in a soft area of the zone coverage on a deep over route, with great touch:
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The play goes for a touchdown and shows some of the promise of Woodrum – as well as one of the flaws. On the replay angle you can see how he drops the ball down on his body as he evades pressure, keeping it lower as he moves. This is an issue he must address during his transition. But there is a quarterback here that can make plays at the next level.
One- to Three-Year Projection
Make no mistake, Woodrum is a developmental project at the next level, and one that I’m certain I am higher on than most evaluators of this class. He needs refinement to be sure, and a year or two to work out some of the flaws in his game and bring out the best elements of what he can do, which is thrive in the deeper passing game in a system better suited for his skill-set. While likely a practice squad / third-string quarterback in his first season or two, Woodrum has the potential to be a solid backup / spot starter in this league, with perhaps the tools to be a lower-tier starter in the NFL. This is a bet on potential and a higher ceiling, but one I would be comfortable making.