DJ Uiagalelei 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report
- No. 2 high school recruit in the country at the time of commitment to Clemson
- 127:11 touchdown-to-interception ratio in high school
- Two-time USA TODAY high school All-American
- Scheme tendencies: High volume of RPO quick game to complement vertical shot plays. QB draw layer infused into the run game, which features mostly shotgun. TIming-based pass progressions.
- 2022 projected role: Starting QB
Pros: DJ Uiagalelei offers prototypical size, arm strength, and athleticism for the quarterback position. His history as a top-flight recruit is backed by seeing his athletic profile, and if he continues to grow, his raw gifts will give him a good opportunity for success. Uiagalelei’s arm pops best on vertical throws down the field and on out-breaking routes to the perimeter, as he has the arms strength to push those throws on a line and ensure timeliness to the field. Uiagalelei also offers effective ability in the run game; Clemson embraced the quarterback run game in 2021 with him behind center and unlocked some added dynamics to their RPO game and counter action. His power and acceleration through the line of scrimmage made him a difficult chore to tackle in one-on-one scenarios and he is typically good for a cut off a tackler to pick up additional yardage. With just one season as a starter under his belt, you’re obviously hopeful for continued growth and development—although the coaching staff changes at Clemson (Tony Elliott left as OC to become the head man at Virginia) and some turnover in the skill group will provide barriers to that development. If Uiagalelei makes a significant leap amid those dynamics, it could be the needed vote of confidence evaluators can cling to in order to bet on his traits
Cons: This past season was rough from start to finish. DJ Uiagalelei struggled to find consistent rhythm in just about every level of playing the position in 2021, from his anticipation of pressure and knowing how to pivot and adjust his pre-snap to post-snap plans to feeling and sensing pressure to throwing with touch and accuracy and more. It was a stark contrast from the performance Uiagalelei put on display versus Notre Dame in a high-profile matchup in 2020 with Trevor Lawrence unavailable. Accuracy and ball placement issues were persistent and I thought there were way too many times where Uiagalelei was slow to process through reads and it appeared as though his eyes were not starting in the right spot to work progressions. Even in the running game, his vision and ability to process defensive flow and react accordingly were inconsistent with him leaving yards on the field with his ability to read the point of attack. In all, his play last season was not NFL-caliber. But with such high-profile tools and several clear pathways to success, I’m not ruling out his potential as a pro player just yet.
DJ Uiagalelei NFL Draft Scouting Report by Kyle Crabbs