Case Keenum

by Tommy Lawlor  –

Here’s an interesting article on Houston QB Case Keenum and his goal to shed the label of “system QB”.  Bad news.  Case is absolutely a system QB.  Put him in a pro style offense and his production would drop greatly.  He simply lacks the dynamic physical skills to thrive in an offense that throws the ball more than 10 yards on a regular basis.

Houston’s offense lives and dies with RAC yards.  They throw short passes or screens a vast majority of the time.  It works great and has led to lots of yards, points, and wins.  That’s good for the Cougars, but won’t help Keenum when it comes to dealing with NFL scouts.  They’ll watch his tape and see very few NFL throws.  When Keenum does have intermediate routes, his passes lack ideal accuracy.  He doesn’t have the kind of arm that puts the ball 14-20 yards downfield on the money with zip.    

Does he have pro potential?  I do think so.  He reminds me of Northwestern QB Mike Kafka, who the Eagles took in the 4th round.  Kafka didn’t make many pro throws last year at NW.  He got coached up in draft preparation and had a very good showing at his Pro Day.  Good form makes a difference.  Also, using your lower body can really help throws.  There’s a lot of power in the legs.  Still, there are limitations.  Kafka threw 3 passes over 30 yards in his first preseason game and all were underthrown.  There’s a reason he lasted to the 4th round.

Keenum might go a bit earlier than Kafka (pick 122 overall, late 4th round).  He’s very experienced (will have started all 4 years).  Keenum is athletic and scrambles pretty well.  He is extremely productive.  He’s accurate on screen and swing passes.  His guys wouldn’t pile up all those RAC yards if Case didn’t get the ball out quickly and accurately.  I can’t definitively say much about his intangibles, but he sure seems like a guy that is made to play QB.  He lacks ideal size (approx 6’1, 210), but the NFL will give some smaller guys a chance thanks to Drew Brees.

The article features a lot of positive talk from Tony Dungy and that’s all well and good, but I don’t think NFL teams are going to see Keenum in quite the same light.  Case lacks ideal size, an ideal arm, and plays in the spread.  Guys like that need help to go in the Top 100.  Brees played in the Big Ten and led Purdue to a Rose Bowl.  That’s different than being a good C-USA team.  Let’s hope Case gets an invitation to the Senior Bowl so we can see him play in a pro setting and get a better feel for whether he’s got what it takes to succeed in a conventional offense.

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