Positives: Solid size, arm strength, accuracy and athletic ability. Yates has a lot of experience as a starter in a pro-style offense and had his best statistical season of his career as a senior and has shown considerable improvement since he was first inserted into the starting line-up. He has pretty good mechanics, solid footwork on his drops and because he plays in a pro-style offense his transition from college to the NFL will not be as difficult because he has had to go through reads, progressions and take his drops from center already. He has matured a lot and will throw the ball away and check down when he doesn’t see anything promising downfield to pick up some yardage.
Negatives: Yates has questionable decision making ability and I don’t think he has much upside as a NFL QB. He has some arm strength but he doesn’t have a rocket by any means, and the only time he ever successfully completes deep passes are when there is no safety help over the top and he can just float the ball in the air and let his receiver beat one on one coverage and run under the ball. Otherwise not only does he not complete it if he throws it, he rarely has the confidence to even attempt to do so. I don’t know if he’s scared to challenge downfield or if he just doesn’t read coverages that well, but neither is a particularly encouraging sign. It’s a positive sign that he checks down consistently but he checks down far too often and sometimes far too early in his progression. Many times I have seen him check down to a RB in the flat or in the middle of the field during a two minute drill near the end of a half or at the end of a game and it is just maddening. His accuracy is also not consistent and he will throw off of his back foot in the face of pressure, and generally is unreliable in the face of any kind of pressure whether it be from the defensive line, from a 3rd down situation or from a crucial drive late in a game. He just doesn’t have much mental toughness from what I can tell.
Overall: I think Yates has the potential to be a #2 quarterback at some point but I don’t think he will ever be more than a stop-gap starter. He has some ability in his arm and some athleticism but he really just doesn’t have any upside to make him a high draft pick. I don’t think he has the mental toughness to be a quarterback and I don’t think he would be able to handle being a starting quarterback in the NFL.
Projection: 5th/6th round. Because he might be a solid back-up at some point he warrants consideration late in the draft, but his limited upside prevents him from warranting earlier selection in my opinion.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Arm Strength: 3.0
Decision Making: 2.5
Pocket Awareness: 2.5
Thanks for reading!