No NFL draft in recent memory has featured a Quarterback class in which the consensus top player at the position, Geno Smith, may have more detractors than admirers. This corps of gunslingers lacks top talent such as that of Andrew Luck or an Robert Griffin III, and looking for a franchise quarterback via the draft this year will be an immense challenge.
However, the Philadelphia Eagles are trying to do just that.
There are doubts surrounding Nick Foles, whom many believe will not be able to run a fast paced offense, and Michael Vick, whose cocktail of old age, average performance and recurring injury has Philadelphia searching for another Quarterback in the draft. But big name prospects like Smith, USC's Matt Barkley, Florida State's EJ Manuel, and Syracuse's Ryan Nassib have garnered a mix of both high praise and damning negativity.
But one guy who has flown under the radar on both ends of the spectrum is Zac Dysert, who certainly has a chance to have a long and prosperous NFL career. A three star prospect out of high school (according to Rivals.com), Dysert decided to stay in his home state of Ohio to attend the University of Miami (OH), despite offers from Michigan State, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati, among many others. He redshirted his freshman year, but was a four year starter and became the first three year captain and school history.
Yet the obstacles he had to overcome at Miami-Ohio make it incredible that he has achieved any notoriety whatsoever. Dysert played under three head coaches, as well as three different offensive coordinators. Couple that with minimal talent at Wide Receiver and Running Back, as well as an Offensive Line made of tissue paper (they allowed 40 sacks last season), the odds were stacked against the now 23 year old.
But the numbers Dysert were able to turn in would be extraordinary at any D-1 program. He threw for a four year total of 12,016 yards, 73 TDs and 51 INTs. All three of those major stats are somewhat inflated due to the fact he played in a pass heavy offense, but his career completion percentage of 63.8% and QB rating 131.9 proves that although he may be a volume passer, he's an accurate one.
Two games where I thought he shined in his Senior season were against Ohio State and Boise State, both of which were on the road. Against his instate opponent, Dysert completed 31 of 53 passes for 303 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTS. At Boise, he was 20 of 27 for 176 yards. While the numbers on your screen may not be overly impressive, he shines on film.
He possesses a smooth and compact release, and gets rid of the ball quickly. At 6'4", 228 lbs., Dysert stands tall and composed in the pocket, despite a poor offensive line that would usually have quarterbacks running for their lives. Although he's a solid pocket passer, his ability to throw on the run is what makes him so intriguing. Typically ranging to his right, Dysert gets his full body into throws, displaying decent accuracy. He's a surprisingly good runner too, as he clocked in at 4.83 seconds in the 40 yard dash. While Dysert is able to take off and run he typically makes that his last resort, signs of QB confident in his ability to deliver a good pass.
There's certainly aspects of his game that need some work. For one, he has to improve his foot work and body positioning. He has a tendency to throw off his back foot and opens up his shoulders from time to time, causing the ball to sail on him. He'll also have to work on handoffs, something he did little in college, and would be expected to do a lot of in Philadelphia. Making pre-snap reads will also be part of the learning curve for Dysert, as he did little of that while at Miami (OH).
And while most would say Dysert will struggle transitioning to the NFL because he played in a shotgun heavy offense, that should be should not be something that scares Chip Kelly away. Miami (OH) ran a short to intermediate passing game that utilized a plethora of screens, similar to what Kelly ran at Oregon, and Kelly will likely bring a variation of his Oregon spread offense to the pros. Granted, Dysert will still see time under center, but has experience from doing that in 2011, and is seemingly comfortable throwing in a three step drop.
Another reason for Kelly to draft Dysert would be of his ability to run an up-tempo offense. Dysert had no issues working fast at Miami (OH), and certainly has the mobility that running a fast paced game requires.
The fit seems pretty perfect, and it's possible the Eagles see it too. Philadelphia had a private workout with Dysert on April 12th, according to Adam Caplan. Furthermore, CBS's Mike Freeman reported he met mostly with Bill Lazor, the team's Quarterback coach, and ran plays with five Eagles. He's just the third QB Philadelphia has worked out, with Manuel and Smith being the other two.
The consensus is that Dysert is a 4th or 5th round talent, but could go as early as the 3rd. It's plausible Philadelphia would grab him very early in day three if still on the board, but day two might be pushing it. Arizona's Matt Scott, another spread offense quarterback who they've shown interest in, will certainly be there in the latter portions of the draft, and could be the target if the team deems Dysert is not worthy of an earlier pick.
However, under the tutelage of Chip Kelly, Zac Dysert could have the chance make a big impact down the road.