Ryan Finley was a late addition to my scouting list because I’ve seen a lot of interest in the NC State passer. He’s had an interesting journey in his football career. He grad transferred from Boise State after he lost his starting job to Brett Rypien while recovering from injury. He’s an older prospect because he gained a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA so he actually has game tape from as far back as 2014, and will enter the NFL at 24-years old.
Finley started 36 for the Wolfpack and finishes his career there with 10,501 yards, 60 touchdowns and 25 interceptions to his name. He completed 64.5% of his passes for his career.
-Strong pre-snap, but NFL coordinators will be able to confuse him.
-Shows the ability to make full field reads.
-Too often he locks onto his primary target or is slow to get through progressions.
-Some of his decisions are just baffling.
-Has moments where he is very accurate, but more general accuracy than pin point ball placement.
-Displays anticipation. Should improve at this with time.
-Does a decent job throwing on the move.
-Not a special athlete, but has some escapability if things go bad.
-NFL arm, but nothing special.
What I’ve heard/read
While Finley’s accuracy, production and mode of operation has been static over the last three years, his ability to improve in all areas has been impressive. He works well in a controlled environment, reads alignments and knows where the ball should go, but he failed to elevate his production against the best in-game competition and then again at the Senior Bowl. His intelligence and accuracy could find him work as a quality backup with the potential to find some future starts.
So, NFL scouts have a QB that’s shown aptitude for reading defenses and fitting the ball into tight windows, but whose upside elsewhere is unclear. And when Finley had to rely on more traditional matchups, the reading advantage he had with Samuels seemed to be lesser.
For now, scouts can hope for the best and assume that in a system with a good flex TE or run game, he’ll be able to get a good bead on defenses and fire off anticipatory passes. Much of what Finley does well is subtle and relates to his ability to move through progressions and set his feet to throw accurate balls to the second or third read. But at the college level, that skill isn’t always that valuable.
Finley lacks high-end arm talent, but is a consistent passer with outstanding accuracy and touch as a dink-and-dunk specialist. The N.C. State star could thrive in a quick-rhythm offense that features explosive playmakers on the perimeter.
QBASE looks at Finley and likes that three years of starting experience. But QBASE is not accounting for the fact that Finley is significantly older than this year’s other quarterback prospects. He’s older than even the usual prospects with three years of starting experience. At the age of 24, he theoretically has less room for growth before he hits his athletic peak, especially when compared to someone like Kyler Murray who won’t turn 22 until August.
Statistically, Finley’s best attribute is his completion rate, a robust 67.4 percent last season. He is docked a bit for having the second-worst schedule strength among these seven prospects and for playing with a lot of draftable talent, including receivers Kelvin Harmon and Jakobi Myers as well as center Garrett Bradbury.
Finley is a tall kid with lots of experience and plus accuracy. He absolutely looks the part on the field, when he doesn’t have to throw deep anyway, standing tall as bullets fly around him to deliver catchable balls. He’s got just enough wiggle in him to stay clean and keep the defense honest, and he takes his accuracy with him on the move.
Why he fits
His mobility and accuracy would fit into the Broncos play action bootleg passing game quite well. He doesn’t have a special arm but should be able to do enough to keep the playbook open. The short and intermediate game would still function and the receivers would usually get chances to make more out of their receptions. Finley is good enough as a bucket thrower that Courtland Sutton could still make hay on 9 routes if he had to step into action.
Why he doesn’t
He reads the field decently at college but will also make some pretty bad decisions at times. Like all rookies he’ll need to get better at this part of his game. Will need to pull the trigger quicker when something is there, but also get a better feel for when it’s time to give up on his primary read and find the outlet.
Finley’s arm will never be special. His release is a wee bit slower than Grier’s and I don’t see anything he does that others in this class won’t do better. If you like them tall though, I get the hype. He ceiling looks like a career 2 who will step in as an average backup. With a talented supporting cast he could put forth a couple strong performances. If he’s more than a spot starter, I’d bet his team winds up with a top 10 pick.
Would you want the Broncos to draft Ryan Finley?
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