Pre-season scouting report:
Arm strength: Lindley’s arm strength is apparent as soon as you see him throw one pass. He has impressive zip on throws to all levels and has the arm strength to throw quality deep balls. He can put touch on passes too though and throws a great fade route thanks to his natural arm strength. When he steps into throws he can put great zip onto his throws, and even when he throws off of his back foot or doesn’t step into his throws he can get the ball where he wants it usually. He can fit the ball into tight windows and make all the NFL throws including deep outs and deep curls that require good zip on the pass because of his arm strength.
Accuracy: Lindley shows impressive accuracy but his accuracy could be better. If I had to grade it right now I would give it a 3.0 or a 3.5 because it is just not where it needs to be yet. He has a talented arm but his ball placement isn’t as consistent as it should be considering his natural ability in his arm. He throws a lot of catchable balls, but he tends to miss high when he does miss and that leads to turnovers in the NFL more often than not.
Mechanics: His throwing motion looks clean to me though it might be a tad elongated, but it is pretty fluid and quick. His footwork needs improvement though. He doesn’t always step into his throws which limits his accuracy on those throws as well as the zip he can put on them, and he will need some coaching up on his drops from center because he does not make drops from center very often, he is usually in shotgun. He will throw without his feet set more than he should, but he does seem to reset his feet pretty quickly after moving to buy more time in the pocket.
Decision Making: His decision making leaves something to be desired at this point. He will regularly take shots on 1st and 2nd down before clamping down on 3rd down to make sure he extends the drive. He will take these shots against double coverage pretty regularly though and that has led to interceptions in the games I have watched him play in. I think he is alright at reading defenses but occasionally he will miss an open man and I think he tends to stare down a receiver on some of his plays. That prevents him from using his eyes to deceive the defense and it allows them to key on the guy he is looking to throw to, which is a serious problem and it resulted in a few nice breaks on his throws by defenders when I watched Lindley play. His decision making is one area where I am looking for significant improvement from him in his senior year.
Pocket Poise: I was happy to see that he is poised in the pocket. He was sacked only once despite regularly being under pressure in this game and that speaks to his quick release, intelligence and his ability to buy time in the pocket without leaving the pocket. He has a good feel for where the rush is coming from pre-snap and he can feel the rush without looking at it which is critical, and he is comfortable stepping up or sliding either direction to buy more time, find a throwing lane and deliver a pass. He isn’t afraid to take a hit to deliver a pass either, so he seems to be quite poised in the pocket. As I said earlier he also resets his feet pretty well after moving to buy more time in the pocket.
Athletic Ability: Lindley isn’t an all-world athlete but he can extend plays with his legs. He isn’t a burner by any means but he can get outside the pocket and pick up yards with his legs if necessary, though he always looks to throw when he extends plays. His athletic ability will not be a hindrance to him in the NFL like it could be for a quarterback that has heavy feet or is very immobile.
Intangibles: I like his intangibles quite a bit which is one of the reasons I like him so much as a prospect despite some of his current shortcomings. Having arm strength is well and good, but too many players have arm strength but not much else these days. Lindley strikes me as a smart player, a leader and a guy with mental and physical toughness. As a QB you have to have a short memory and you have to be able to bounce back from interceptions and mistakes and Lindley demonstrates the ability to do this frequently. He almost seems to have a bit of a gunslinger mentality which combined with his arm strength and “small school” experience might draw some comparisons to Brett Favre. Not only does he have toughness, but he is also very reliable in pressure situations. He made a mistake at the end of a game when his team was down four points by forcing a throw into the end zone, but he was just trying to will his team to victory at that point in my opinion. He was unbelievably good on 3rd down in the tape that I watched of him and only threw two or three incomplete passes of at least 10 or 15 attempts on 3rd down, many of which were 3rd and 8 or longer. He converted all of them except for the incomplete passes he threw and that is incredibly impressive. I have not watched nearly enough of him to determine if he plays like this in every game obviously, but that was quite a first impression for him to make. I look forward to seeing if he lives up to the lofty expectations I have for him after watching some of his tape as a junior.
Overall: Lindley has a lot of ability even though he is not at a Division I powerhouse and with his arm strength and intangible qualities he is going to get a lot of long looks from NFL teams this season. I am really looking forward to watching him this year to see if he develops from what I just saw of him when I watched the junior tape I have of him. I am particularly looking for an improvement in his decision making and in his footwork. Namely, I don’t want to see so many deep shots against double coverage or forced passes without his feet set, and I don’t want to see him throw off of his back foot as often as he does. If he steps into many more of his throws as a senior than he did as a junior then I will be very happy with his progression. One element of maturity that I have yet to see from him is the willingness to throw the ball out of bounds. It will be interesting to see if he starts to do this as a senior or if he continues to try to make/force plays downfield.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Arm Strength: 4.0
Athletic Ability: 3.0
Decision Making: 3.0
Pocket Poise: 4.0
Thanks for reading, there will be more scouting reports to come as I have more opportunities to watch film from last season. Hope you enjoyed my first one!