Vernon Adams Jr., QB, Oregon
Ht. 5'11¼", Wt. 200, Arm: 30 ¼", Hand: 9 ⅛", Bench: -
40 yd: 4.83, 10 yd.: 1.68, 3 Cone: 6.82, Vertical: 29.5", Broad: 9'6"
Games Watched: Washington, Stanford, Oregon St.
After redshirting his first season, Vernon Adams Jr. spent the next three years quarterbacking Eastern
Washington to the FCS playoffs. He was twice a finalist for the Walter Payton Award (best offensive FCS player) and led the Eagles to an upset win over No. 25 Oregon State. He decided to transfer to Oregon for his senior season, leaving the FCS ranking 10th on the career TD list with 110.
Adams was tasked with replacing Oregon legend Marcus Mariota, and he made his debut by leading the Ducks to 61 points in a win against his former school. A finger injury and learning a new offense (relatively) slowed him early, but he finished strong and ended the season ranked first in the Pac 12 and second in the FBS in yards per attempt and passer rating. After the season, he played in the East-West Shrine Game and earned the praise of June Jones.
"Vernon, I think, has impressed me more than anyone in the game that we've had," he said. "I was thinking he wasn't good enough as a passer to play in the NFL, but there is no question he has it."
• Polish - Understands his strengths, positional demands
• Accuracy - Consistent ball placement
• Elusiveness - Potential Russell Wilson-esque escapability
• Progressions - Works through reads quickly
• Eyes Up - Doesn't drop v. pressure
• Delivery - Quick, consistent
• On Move - Runs, throws well on run
• Throwing Lanes - Uses eyes, feet to create space
• Quick Learner - Mastered Oregon's system in weeks
• Creates Offense - Effective when play breaks down
• Size - History works against smaller QBs
• Hands - Barely meets threshold, could lead to fumbles
• Awareness - Must feel pressure better
• Anticipation - Needs to see openings sooner
• Durability - History of nagging injuries
• Arm Slot - Lowers elbow to drive ball
Verdict: Second-Round Pick*
It's easy to look at Adams and see a small "system" QB, but I see a Jeff Garcia-like jitterbug who makes plays because he learned how to play with the deficiencies the NFL will knock him for. If he were three inches taller with slightly larger hands, I think he would be in the mix in the first round. I gave Russell Wilson a third-round grade in 2012 and Adams' profile is very similar.
The quarterback depth the 2016 NFL Draft appeared to have is dwindling the more I watch, but Adams stands out as a potential late-round gem. He might be my favorite QB prospect for the Cowboys because he's what they need — capable backup now with starter's potential — without the cost of a top-60 pick. If I'm Dallas, I'd draft the best player available in the first two rounds and pick up Adams in the third.
*An interesting point was brought up about my initial third-round grade and my confidence in Adams' ability to be a starting QB. He has first-round ability, but his size concerns me enough to not want to spend a first rounder on him. Bottom line: I'd be fine spending a second rounder on Adams.