Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2008 – Round 1 #3 – Atlanta Falcons – QB Matt Ryan

NFL Draft 2008 Logo The Atlanta Falcons have selected Boston College QB Matt Ryan, finally moving past the Michael Vick era.

Scouts, Inc.: 5th

Strengths: Absolutely looks the part of an NFL quarterback. Is tall enough to scan the entire field from within the pocket and is sturdy enough to withstand the pounding at the next level. Is extremely intelligent and has a tremendous work ethic. Picked up new scheme as a senior very quickly. Displays excellent footwork and delivery. Shows good touch and timing as a passer. takes something off underneath passes and can lead receiver when throwing underneath. Overall accuracy is good and shows the ability to throw accurately on the run. Puts good touch on downfield passes and flashes the ability to drop the ball in over coverage. Displays very good presence in the pocket and is capable of avoiding the rush with his quick thinking and feet. Possesses ideal intangibles. Shows great poise, is a leader on-and-off the field and wants the ball in hands late in games.

Weaknesses: He will force some throws when the protection breaks down. Field vision is a bit inconsistent still. He has failed to find the open receiver a few too many times as a senior. Isn’t going to make defenders miss, doesn’t have great top-end speed and isn’t a dangerous open field runner that can consistently pick up yards with feet. He has eased concerns regarding durability but it’s still a minor issue; he sustained a high-ankle spring during the 2006 season opener, broke bone in left foot during 2006 Virginia Tech game and underwent foot surgery in January, 2007.

Overall: Ryan was redshirted for the 2003 season. In his four-year college career (2004-07), Ryan played in 45 games (32 starts), completing 807 passes on 1,347 attempts (59.9 percent) for 9,313 yards, 56 touchdowns and 37 interceptions. As a senior, he attracted attention as a Heisman Trophy candidate and finished the season ranked ninth in the nation in total offense (4,509 yards). Ryan missed one game in 2006 (Buffalo) after breaking a bone in his left foot.As expected, Ryan thrived in a more wide open system as a senior. He also proved to be more mobile and accurate than in 2006, when he was clearly bothered by a broken bone in his left foot. While he will never be a running threat, Ryan displays the feet and pocket presence to buy second-chance passing opportunities. He will still occasionally miss an open receiver and he also is forcing more throws as a senior, but part of that can be attributed to him being asked to shoulder the offense due to a sputtering running attack. Regardless, Ryan has the best combination of intelligence, leadership, size, accuracy, arm strength and competitiveness in this year’s quarterback class. Hence, Ryan earns our highest grade at the position and one of the highest grades in the entire 2008 class.

Rick Gosselin: 6th

Mel Kiper had him ranked 3rd: “He has the size and arm to wow the NFL brass during testing.”

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