The race for QB3 in the 2023 NFL Draft is on. And in a year where five quarterbacks could be coveted in Round 1, everyone knows what the stakes are. With his 2023 NFL Draft scouting report, can Miami QB Tyler Van Dyke outlast others like Will Levis and Anthony Richardson for his claim to the QB3 mantle?
Tyler Van Dyke NFL draft profile
Every year at the collegiate level, we’re introduced to new stars. Last season, one of those new stars was Van Dyke. Van Dyke came to Miami as a four-star recruit, compared favorably by recruiting scouts to NFL starters. The talent was clearly visible, and it didn’t take long for that talent to earn Van Dyke playing time for the Hurricanes.
After throwing just two passes in 2020 and redshirting, Van Dyke returned to the fold as a redshirt freshman in 2021. He at first started the season behind CFB veteran D’Eriq King. But when King was forced out of the lineup with a season-ending shoulder injury in early October, Van Dyke was thrust into the starting role.
What Van Dyke did in the ensuing nine games would earn him ACC Rookie of the Year honors at the end of the campaign. In his nine starts, Van Dyke completed 202 of 323 passes for 2,931 yards, 25 touchdowns, and just six interceptions. As a former standout pitcher in baseball, his natural throwing talent shined through and helped take the Miami passing offense to new heights.
Van Dyke is back in 2022, but he’s no longer backing up a veteran or fighting for a starting opportunity. The role is his. He’s entrenched in it, and with another strong year, he could play himself into a starting opportunity at the highest level.
- Position: Quarterback
- School: Miami
- Current Year: Redshirt Sophomore
- Height/Weight: 6’4″, 224 pounds
Tyler Van Dyke scouting report
Every prospect exists on a spectrum, and there are countless potential outcomes to consider. But eventually, every quarterback becomes either a starter or a backup. Starting potential is what can lift some QBs up the board. Does Van Dyke have that?
Van Dyke’s positives
A common juxtaposition for big-bodied quarterbacks with serviceable mobility is that of a young Ben Roethlisberger. With his tall, strong frame and above-average mobility for his size, Van Dyke is not dissimilar to this mold. Van Dyke has decent speed in the open field when he can open up his strides and accelerate, and he has enough mobility to sidestep rushers and extend plays to the sideline.
Van Dyke’s creation ability isn’t what will earn him early-round consideration, however. That honor goes to his arm. Van Dyke has high-level composite arm talent. He possesses a strong arm that easily generates high-level velocity. The Miami QB sports a crisp, fluid release and consistently delivers tight spirals. Passes launch off Van Dyke’s hand, and his velocity can carry passes into the deep range, past the far numbers. In the short range, that velocity carries extremely quickly, allowing for timely completions.
Beyond simple strength, Van Dyke has also proven to have definite elasticity with his arm. The Miami QB can generate impressive velocity from different arm angles. He can use obtuse arm angles to maximize throwing windows and tuck passes into tight seams. Moreover, Van Dyke is relatively effortless in his adjustment of throwing angles. He has a loose and flexible release and can naturally mix touch and pace on his throws.
While Van Dyke has decent mobility, the brunt of his creation capacity comes from his arm elasticity. The Miami QB can uncork sidearm throws off-platform and sustain velocity with the aid of his base. He can also dish out quick passes off-platform in the short range and lead receivers for run-after-catch yards while on the move.
Van Dyke is a young quarterback, but he’s actively building up the operational part of his game. He’s shown he can keep his eyes forward on the dropback and reset quickly. He can then identify ideal matchups pre-snap and capitalize on those chances. Going further, Van Dyke has shown he can anticipate placement, throwing to a spot and letting his WRs run under passes. He’s proven capable of anticipating and timing breaks effectively, especially in the short range.
Expanding on Van Dyke’s mental work, the Miami QB flashes the requisite processing capacity to succeed. He can read progressions high to low and land on his checkdown in rhythm. He can also process intermediate digs against Cover 2 and lead WRs into the open field with velocity. On designed rollouts, he’s shown he can think on the fly, holding off on swing routes and diverting to layered outs in the intermediate third.
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In the pocket, Van Dyke has a great feel for pressure. Even with his eyes upfield, he can sense interior rushers stacking toward him and sidestep congestion, then sneak upfield through gaps. He can sense rushers looping around the blind side and seep out to the flats, buying himself time. Furthermore, Van Dyke can keep his eyes up and alert while stepping up to the line of scrimmage, and he’s flashed adaptability in surveying the field while roaming.
Mechanically, Van Dyke is a work in progress, but there are some redeeming observations early. Van Dyke can land in phase at the top of his drop and roll his base forward on release to maximize velocity. His back foot snaps into place at the top of his drop, and he’s not too slow or lumbering with his movements. Van Dyke can also place his front foot accurately and uncork his hips to maximize rotation.
Moving to his upper body, Van Dyke is able to tilt his front shoulder up slightly on demand to add loft to boundary passes. He’s shown glimpses of control with his release and can actively manipulate shoulder alignment to adjust throw trajectories. On top of that, Van Dyke can keep his off arm tight to his body to maintain efficiency with rotation in the short range.
While Van Dyke isn’t the most accurate passer, he can effectively place passes to the outside shoulder on throws outside the numbers. He also has the ability to lead WRs upfield for RAC in the short range. He’s reasonably poised, as he can keep his eyes upfield even with impending contact and give his WRs chances in 1-on-1 situations.
Among other things, Van Dyke has shown he has the wherewithal to throw the ball away when worked against the sideline with no options. In a similar vein, he shows glimpses of discretion as a passer. A large chunk of his throws are schemed, but he’s shown he can pass up schemed targets when they’re covered up and adapt.
Van Dyke’s areas for improvement
Van Dyke’s arm talent is superb, but his arm strength is a tick below the elite tier. His passes sometimes stall in the deep third, and his strength can’t consistently offset faulty mechanics. There are also notable creation limitations. Van Dyke isn’t a great lateral athlete and lacks high-end agility and change of direction. In space, he’s somewhat leggy as a mover and struggles to keep his shoulders level on the move.
Van Dyke’s most pressing flaw, however, rests with his mechanics. His lower-body mechanics need considerable improvement. Van Dyke sometimes only steps up with his front foot while his back foot remains idle. This widens his base, locks out his hips, and can cause misalignment in the shoulders, contributing to inaccuracy. His passes sail high at times as a result, and this misalignment can also drain velocity.
Going further, Van Dyke sometimes has scissor feet on the dropback, which can tie him up when he needs to adapt quickly. He sometimes jolts into place when resetting his alignment, and he can be smoother and more controlled with phase mechanics. Van Dyke’s incongruent and unstable mechanics can cause his front shoulder to dip as well, which can send passes short and low. Additionally, the Miami QB’s release can be concave, which can cause variance in launch point and trajectory.
Unsurprisingly, there are accuracy issues that stem from Van Dyke’s mechanics. His placement can be much better on deep throws. He’s very much an area thrower and consistently fails to play to WR leverage. The Miami QB sometimes puts too much arc on boundary throws, allowing DBs to get under passes.
In general, Van Dyke too often forces small adjustments from WRs on RAC throws. His short passes orbit the wheelhouse but don’t always allow for smooth transitions. His precision can improve at all levels, but imprecision can undermine RAC opportunities, especially in the short and intermediate ranges. Farther downfield, Van Dyke can better manage his arm, as he sometimes pushes throws past WRs with too much linear velocity.
As a decision-maker, Van Dyke’s eyes sometimes lock onto targets early, keying in defenders. He can prematurely commit to risky, contested throws. He trusts his arm too much at times, and will attempt to force dangerous passes. The Miami QB can be trigger-happy by default when moving from his first to second read.
In the pocket, Van Dyke can be more consistent anticipating quick throws. The Miami QB sometimes hesitates and loses valuable time in the pocket. In fact, his overall processing quickness and response to stimulus can be inconsistent. Bouts of hesitation can disrupt his rhythm and erase fleeting opportunities. Moreover, slight delays can limit RAC potential on short throws and invite contact.
Finally, Van Dyke doesn’t independently use his eyes to manage and manipulate spacing on the back end consistently. He also bails from suitable pockets a bit too prematurely at times. Pressure can spook him into clutching his release.
Current draft projection for Miami QB Tyler Van Dyke
Van Dyke has been a popular selection in early-round mocks this summer. It’s widely agreed upon that he has first-round upside. He has a long way to go before he locks in early-round status. Right now, he’s more of a Day 2 value. But it’s also understood that he was a redshirt freshman last year. With more time and more growth, Van Dyke has the tools to be coveted as a potential starter.
It’s also important to note that the opposite is just as reasonable a possibility. We’ve seen passers produce early in their collegiate careers, only to fizzle and fade out in the years that follow. Van Dyke has the high-level arm talent to avoid that fate. But he still needs a lot of progression in operational categories like mechanics, processing, and accuracy before he takes the next step.
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Van Dyke’s lower-body mechanics are fairly inconsistent at the moment. And that lower-body inconsistency can cause a lot of problems, working up from his base all the way to his shoulders. The Miami QB needs to be more refined and more controlled with his footwork. He needs to be more accurate and precise as a situational thrower. And he needs to be more consistent and disciplined with his progression work and decision-making.
None of these flaws are unexpected for a young QB. But now that there’s an expectation for Van Dyke to produce, he can’t delay in ironing out these issues. If he succeeds in doing so, Van Dyke has the arm strength, arm elasticity, functional mobility, and size to be an eventual starting-level talent in the NFL.
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