Thanks in part to the partnership with Pro Football Network and the East-West Shrine Bowl, readers can now go beyond the games on Saturdays and obtain a virtual look at the scouting process for the 2023 NFL Draft.
For some, the draft takes place in April. For those initiated, the 2023 NFL Draft has already begun with preparation, film study, analysis, and now live looks at some of the top players as Week 4 has come and gone.
Below are observations and analysis from Shrine Bowl Director Eric Galko from the previous week of action.
A scout’s eye: 2023 NFL Draft quarterbacks
As conference play begins, the schedule for the top quarterbacks will only get stronger, especially as they play teams that may be more familiar with their offensive styles and supporting casts.
This week, we saw shootouts and big numbers from guys like Sam Hartman and Jaren Hall, while also seeing impressively efficient performances from Hendon Hooker, a new staple of these MMQB pieces. Plus, a look at the Division II level in Tyson Bagent, who should be one of the highest D2 quarterbacks drafted in a long time.
Sam Hartman, Wake Forest (vs. Clemson)
Hartman was this week’s Monday Morning Quarterback for the Shrine Bowl and was a clear choice after a six-touchdown performance in a near victory against Clemson in one of the best quarterback duals of the season. Hartman utilized all of his extremely talented receivers in this game, with underclassman Jahmal Banks stepping up especially.
As a passer, Hartman showcased outstanding footwork, timing, and composure. In a heavy RPO offense that will need extra examination for teams projecting him to the NFL, Hartman still displayed the ability to be calm, stepped up in muddled pockets, and finished with touch and accuracy downfield.
Hartman’s patience in the pocket and when under pressure in the A/B gaps stood out. And his projection as a reliable, consistent pocket passer who can finish under pressure draws some comparisons to Case Keenum. He’ll only get stronger with performances like this.
Tyson Bagent, Shepherd (vs. Kutztown)
In what ended up as a narrow victory against a prolific scoring offense in Kutztown, Shepherd’s Tyson Bagent needed to put up big numbers to keep his team undefeated on the season. Bagent showcased his plus arm and perimeter ball placement throughout the game and took advantage of defenses with clear pre-snap reads that highlight his ability to adjust to the next level.
Particularly against Kutztown, he showed the craftiness and overall athleticism as a pocket mover, dealing with pressure all game long. And while he had to take two sacks (and didn’t force throws all game), he displayed the balance, adjustment, and subtle elusiveness to break the pocket and win as a runner too. Bagent’s mobility, accuracy, arm strength, and touch along the perimeter combine to make him one of the 2023 NFL Draft’s senior class’ most intriguing quarterbacks for NFL teams.
Jaren Hall, BYU (vs. Wyoming)
BYU struggled a bit early against Wyoming, but Hall and the offense picked it up towards the end of the first half and really began to show the firepower he and the receiving corps has. Hall impressed with active and efficient feet in the pocket as he adjusts and works downfield.
He and his receivers consistently display outstanding timing and placement on back-shoulder throws. Hall was especially effective on third downs against Wyoming, converting third and mediums with ease and remaining aggressive downfield. Hall continues to showcase a natural throwing style, placement and aggressiveness downfield, and remains firmly on NFL radars.
Ben Bryant, Cincinnati (vs. Indiana)
As a transfer who returned to Cincinnati after starting at Eastern Michigan the last two seasons, Ben Bryant has had big shoes to fill after Desmond Ridder led the team to a College Football Playoff berth a year ago. But after four games, Bryant is starting to showcase the downfield ability and athleticism as a pocket maneuvering passer in Cincinnati’s offense.
Bryant showcased multiple downfield finishing throws and displays a clean, quick release with plus velocity on perimeter routes and red-zone throws, as well as downfield touch. Bryant’s 34-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Scott in the middle of the field showcased his ability to step up and remain balanced to finish a touch throw. Bryant had a lot of excitement from area scouts preseason, and now that the AAC schedule ramps up, he has a great chance to impress the rest of the way.
Hendon Hooker, Tennessee (vs. Florida)
Another week, another highly impressive performance from one of the 2023 NFL Draft class’ best passers in Hendon Hooker. Similar to two weeks ago against Pittsburgh, Hooker had to outduel an offense led by a premier QB — this time in Anthony Richardson — and was able to do so with consistent big plays, and of course, zero turnovers.
With no turnovers and even no turnover-worthy plays, it’s remarkable how accurate and aggressive Hooker has played. He’s not a conservative, checkdown passer, and against Florida, he was 3 for 3 on throws 20+ yards, including a 43-yard pass to Ramel Keyton on the right side. Hooker’s accuracy, especially downfield, and carryover from 2021 with so few risky throws continue to make him one of — if not the — top senior quarterback on the season.
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