Penn State’s Prototype

Nittany Lions Quarterback fits the mold of a superstar

by Justin Day | @JDayErrday21 | mail@3PSMag.com

It seems like every year we call a prospect or sometimes a group of prospects, “can’t miss”. Which indicates that no matter what team or situation may acquire them in the draft, the player is so talented that he can dig them out of whatever hole they have dug for themselves, seemingly all on his own.
I have been scouting and giving my evaluations on players since 2012 and I have given that “cant’ miss” label to a few guys over the past few drafts. That list includes: Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill, Jameis Winston, Jeremy Hill, Odell Beckham Jr., Eric Fisher, Trent Richardson, Eric Reid, Eddie Lacy, Khalil Mack, etc. Some of these names work out and some do not.
Well, you can go ahead and add Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg to that list.
Franchise quarterback, your team either has one, or they’re looking for one. Most teams fall into the searching category. Most teams are looking for what we call the “Prototypical NFL Quarterback”. They’re looking for someone like a Tom Brady, Andrew Luck, Drew Brees, or Peyton Manning. The reason most teams are searching for one of those guys, they’re extremely hard to find.
There are several things that make up a franchise quarterback; arm strength, size, footwork, decision making, & accuracy. I’ll take a look at Hackenberg in all of these categories and rate him on a scale of 1-5 and give you the prototype for that category.
Christian Hackenberg
Arm Strength:
I do think in terms of importance, we as a society overvalue arm strength in terms of the talent level of a quarterback. Some of the guys that I would rate as having 5+ arm strength such as Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford don’t tend to have the most successful careers. On the other end of the spectrum guys like Brees, Brady, or Manning who have a good amount of arm strength but nothing insane, tend to have very successful careers. Hackenberg has enough arm strength to make any throw on an NFL field.
Prototype: Matthew Stafford 5+ / Hackenberg 5
 
Size: 
In my opinion, size is very important for a quarterback. You need your quarterback to be able to see over the offensive line and down the field with ease. Now of course guys like Drew Brees and Russell Wilson have found ways around their lack of size. Brees is one of the most accurate quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen & Wilson has the mobility to make throws from outside the pocket. Hackenberg is a pure pocket passer and his size (6’4) allows him to stick in the pocket and pick defenses apart.
Prototype: Tom Brady 5 / Hackenberg 5
 
Footwork: 
When I am scouting college quarterbacks the very first think I look at are their feet. Most people look at the arm and where the ball goes, I look at the feet. Footwork is the hardest thing to refine at the next level, in my opinion, you either have it or you don’t. Guys can make themselves better but it never is as fluid as a guy who has those soft feet, if you’ve seen it then you know what I’m talking about. Watch Hackenberg and watch his feet, his fluid with his movements, rarely throws of his back foot. He’s not where Luck & Winston were in college but he’s very close.
Prototype: Aaron Rodgers 5+ / Hackenberg 4
 
Decision Making:
This is the part of Hackenberg’s game that will need the most improvement next season and the NFL. He tends to trust his arm and size a little to much, which caused a rise in his interception totals from his freshman and sophomore year. I think that the root of some of those problems was the change at coach which saw Bill O’Brien head to the Texans and the lack of receiving talent at Penn State. In an NFL scheme with some NFL coaches, I think his decision making ability will increase.
Prototype: Aaron Rodgers 5+ / Hackenberg 3
 
Accuracy:
This is another area that will need some improvement for Hackenberg at the next level, but I think it has more to do with the lack of talent around him, than it has to do with his lack of talent. We see this a lot with top tier college quarterbacks, their completion percentage goes up and their interceptions go down in the NFL because they have better talent around them to make him better as well. His completion numbers aren’t terrible in college but they could and will improve his junior season and more as he gets into the NFL.
Prototype: Drew Brees 5+ / Hackenberg 4
 
Since the beginning of last Christian+Hackenberg+New+Era+Pinstripe+Bowl+KmEJ0DLbkVklseason I had Hackenberg as the number one overall college quarterback, and despite his numbers taking a dip, he never was moved from that top spot. All things considered I do not foresee him moving out of that spot any time this season, regardless of his numbers. This isn’t the Penn State of old, they have an overvalued coach, and a lack of talent at the skill positions. Hackenberg is that team.
In terms of being molded, Hackenberg is a fine piece of clay waiting to be molded into the perfect prototype that he is destined to become. All the skills and pre requisites are there and I am excited to see his growth and watch him continue to progress and become that top 5 NFL quarterback that I think he will become.
Get used to the name Christian Hackenberg folks, I think the way we debate Manning or Brady, we will be debating Luck and Hackenberg in 10 years. He is the prototype and should be the first player selected in the 2016 NFL Draft.
***Editors Note*** We at Three Point Stance Magazine are all-in on the ability of Hackenberg ,and if James Franklin is willing to take the training wheels off of the offense, fully believe Christian could be the top QB taken in the 2016 NFL Draft.
So much so, we started the #HackItUp4Hackenberg hashtag, and even have a shirt sporting it!

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