It took me less than a minute of watching Tanner McKee’s game film to see that he’s got it.
Actually, 59 seconds to be exact.
The rest of the game film from that point forward only served as further confirmation about the Stanford quarterback.
McKee has greatness written all over him.
A consensus third-round pick at this point by nflmockdraftdatabase.com, I frankly don’t know what anyone is looking at, that doesn’t have him in the first-round.
Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud still has the early QB1 spot on my 2023 NFL Draft Board, but McKee has moved into the QB2 spot.
I counted maybe four “bad” throws by McKee in three games. He is a classic big-frame pro-style QB who is as smooth as butter throwing the football.
McKee wears jersey #18, and there is some of that to him. There is some Peyton Manning to this young gunslinger. I saw it in McKee’s body language.
He also has some Mac Jones in his game. McKee reminds me of Jones in respect to the fact he has phenomenal downfield ball placement.
That is the first thing that stood out to me about Jones when I studied him pre-Draft 2021, his downfield ball placement was right on point, just like it is with McKee.
Downfield ball placement is one of the most undervalued characteristics in scouting. It is the ability of quarterbacks to fit the ball into tight throwing windows. It is the ability to put the ball where receivers can catch it and easily extend plays and pick up additional yardage after the catch.
McKee has an uncanny knack for putting the ball right where it needs to be.
Will the Jets be in the market to go franchise QB shopping next spring?
That is a question this season will answer, but one thing is for sure, whichever team lands McKee will be set at QB.
Grading Tanner McKee
6-foot-6, 228 pounds
2021 Stanford game film reviewed: USC, Washington and ASU
2021 stats: 206/315 (65.4%) 2,327 yards (7.4 average) 15 TD, 7 INT.
Grade: First-Round (15-32)
NFL Comparable: Mac Jones
Has look and feel of a franchise QB who stands tall in the pocket and has excellent downfield focus and ball placement. Pure pocket passer with limited mobility. Dinosaur in the pocket. Decent mechanics, but a non-convincing play-action fake. Takes sacks and doesn’t throw it away. Excellent poise when surveying the field. Will stare down the barrel of the pass rush and fire. Tough as nails. Strong big-league bazooka, but can also take something off his passes and finesse it when necessary. Top shelf short to intermediate placement. It is like watching someone throw bullseyes with darts in a bar. Great on slants, up the seams and working the sidelines. Throws an easy ball to catch and can lay it in there. Protects ball well. Will need to clean up strong tendency to lock in with receivers at the next level. Deep ball accuracy leaves something to be desired. Intriguing prospect with strong upside and intangibles.
The big thing with McKee is he makes it look easy and there is no greater indication of greatness.
I really want to see him throw the ball away more under pressure, and I want to see him get away from locking in with his receivers.
Quarterbacks can get away with that at the college level, but they can’t make a living doing that in the NFL.
That is going to be the biggest transitional piece to this. That and the speed of the NFL game.
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