Scouting the NFL Draft: QB Cody Kessler | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Scouting the NFL Draft: QB Cody Kessler

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    Quarterback Cody Kessler of the USC Trojans throws a pass against the Idaho Vandals at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Sept. 12, 2015. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

    Cody Kessler, QB, USC
    Ht. 6'1¼", Wt. 220, Arm: 32 ⅝", Hand: 10 ⅞", Bench: -
    40 yd: 4.89, 10 yd.: 1.69, 3 Cone: 7.32, Vertical: 29.5", Broad: 8'8"
    Games Watched: Washington, Arkansas St., Stanford

    If you think other games better reflect this player’s ability or you want to request a profile on a specific player, email me or hit me up on Twitter.

    After redshirting in 2011, Cody Kessler competed with Max Wittek to be Matt Barkley's backup quarterback for USC in 2012. In 2013, he and Wittek battled to be the Trojans' starter, with Kessler eventually winning the job and starting 14 games.

    In 2014, Kessler took a big leap forward under new head coach Steve Sarkisian, finishing second nationally in yards per attempt, third nationally in completion percentage and fourth nationally in passer rating and TDs. Set school records for completion percentage, passer rating and interception rate. He went into 2015 with lofty expectations and disappointed somewhat, but still finished near the top of USC's career lists in most passing categories.

    Strengths

    • Polish - Maybe most pro-ready draftable QB
    • Feet - Consistent footwork
    • In-Pocket - Stands in, reads, feels pressure
    • Hands - Gigantic, ball security
    • Smart - Attacks defenses intelligently
    • Accuracy - Consistent ball placement, even on move
    • Anticipation - Mastered his system

    Weaknesses

    • Ceiling - Limited upside
    • Arm Strength - Inconsistent weight transfer limits velocity
    • Size - Good frame, but short

    Verdict: Fifth-Round Pick

    Kessler gives off a strong Matt Flynn vibe, as a stocky, shorter quarterback with decent mechanics and mediocre arm strength. His polish is evident, boosting his chances to earn a roster spot early, but he does not "create" offense like Paxton Lynch or even Carson Wentz. Kessler's best chance for success will be in an offense with playmakers where he can distribute the ball. 

    Kessler is a classic low-risk, low-reward quarterback. If the Cowboys fail to lure a respectable option via free agency or land one of the top quarterbacks on the first two days of the draft, Kessler will probably be the best option available. He could step in and manage the offense if Tony Romo misses any time, but he doesn't have the look of a future starter.