2019 Contextualized Quarterbacking: NC State QB Ryan Finley

Contextualized Quarterbacking is a charting method that helps break down what to expect from the Draft-eligible quarterbacks. By tracking things like ball placement, depth of target, progressions, and throws into tight windows, the CQ can answer questions about which systems helps certain quarterbacks in certain ways. Next up, NC State's Ryan Finley.

Teams will have the strengths and weaknesses of these players in mind over the course of Senior Bowl week, and we will too, as we put them under the microscope to see if they have what it takes to improve on their deficiencies.

Biggest Strength: Uncovering His Wideouts

It's very worth noting: Finley had the best wideouts of any quarterback in this year's Senior Bowl -- headlined by future first-rounder Kelvin Harmon and fellow senior Bowl attendee Jakobi Meyers. At times, Finley relied on them too heavily: he threw up faith throws into double coverage and or ill-advised back shoulder shots when he had preferable check down options.

That said, Finley knew he had receivers who could win in man coverage and attacked it accordingly. Generally a strong placement quarterback to the short and intermediate areas, Finley regularly zipped slants, in-cuts, and curls into tight windows, protecting the football from being played on by closing DBs and LBs.

Check out those tight window numbers. The effect of attacking a small space was essentially negligible for Finley, in terms of his accuracy and ball placement. And even though his interception numbers jumped, we expect that on tight window throws -- as a DB is inherently closer. Finley threw more interceptable balls than you'd like to see from a supposed point guard/distrubitor type, but it isn't too big of a weakness.

Rather, that weakness is Finley's handed-ness.

Biggest Weakness: The Left

Check out the target map; the yardage map. Look at the different of production as compared to the left and right sides of the field.

Finley does not like throwing the football to his left. His accuracy and placement drop-off as well when you move down the field.

Now, why does that happen? Often, it has to do with the footwork: when you throw to your left, as a right handed quarterback, you have to be sure you get your hips around and pointed in to your target -- whereas, when you're throwing to your right, you can often leave your hips open a little bit. It's an easier process because you're more open to the target to begin with.

This isn't an unsolvable problem, but it's worth noting for sure. Finley runs a heavy RPO/play-action offense that can force him open to the right initially, and you'd be smart to skew your offense to that expectation if/when Finley's forced into starting reps for you. 

Goal for Mobile: NFL Arm Strength

I don't think Ryan Finley has the arm strength of a starter, but more importantly: I don't think anyone thinks Ryan Finley hast the arm strength of a starter. That ship has to have sailed by now.

So the question is: does he have at least the arm strength of a servicable back up? He won't be making nearly as many far hash, outside breaking throws in the NFL -- the hashes aren't nearly as wide -- but you still need him to be able to plant and drive into tight NFL windows. I'm not sure he can do that just yet.

Red flagging the arm strength will leave Finley as a potentially unrosterable player, given taht he simply can't play at NFL speeds. It'd be a shame, because he has other positive qualities: post-snap processing, pocket management, and of course, that ball placement. But I'm worried he won't clear the bar.

Written By:

Benjamin Solak

NFL Draft Analyst

NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Deputy Editor of Bleeding Green Nation. Undergrad at UChicago.

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