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Armchair GM: Top Five 2018 Draft Steelers QB Candidates – #4, Jake Browning

October 10, 2017
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Armchair GM: Top Five 2018 Draft Steelers QB Candidates – #4, Jake Browning

Washington is racking up blowout victories on the arm of Jake Browning, running totals as high 63 points. Browning has all the elements you like to see in an NFL starting Quarterback. Good vision, arm talent and leadership.

The only knock about Browning physically may be his 6′-2″ height but I think there’s way too much emphasis put on height recently. Russell Wilson, Drew Brees and Case Keenum, of late, point out the fallacy of that mindset. Though Browning takes few snaps under center, Washington runs a predominantly pro style offense which makes it easier to see how his game would translate at the next level.

At Folsom High School Browning set many state and national passing records and emerged as a 4 star recruit. He signed with Washington, no doubt because of their long history as a QB friendly program. He became the second only true Freshman to start for the Huskies. In his sophomore year Browning broke out with 43 touchdowns against only 9 interceptions.

In the 2016 season Browning injured his throwing shoulder against Arizona and played the remaining two games before having surgery during the off season. His performance thus far in 2017 shows no lingering signs and no diminishment in performance.

Browning is a Junior this year so it remains to be seen if he will declare for the Draft. If Washington gets in and wins a big bowl game and it seems at #5 and undefeated so far, they’re headed in that direction, it will be difficult for him not to make the jump.

If I was going to compare Jake Browning to some NFL players it would have to be Cincy’s Andy  Dalton and  Kansas City Chiefs’ QB, Alex Smith. I’m talking about this year’s edition, fighting off Patrick Mahomes, Alex Smith. Browning has the same even high quality to his game and they share a number of physical traits.

Washington’s season opener against Rutger’s gives a good representative sample of Browning’s play.

Jake Browning, Quarterback – Washington – 6′-2″ 215#  – Projected Rd – 1st – 2nd

Year    Class G         Cmp    Att       Pct      Yds     Y/A      AY/A   TD       Int        Rate

*2015  FR       12        233     369     63.1    2955   8.0       7.7       16        10        139.3

*2016  SO      14        243     391     62.1    3430   8.8       9.9       43        9          167.5

2017   JR       6          122     173     70.5    1466   8.5       9.3       14        3          164.9

OA                  32        598     933     64.1    7851   8.4       8.9       73        22        155.9

Arm Talent – I wouldn’t call Browning’s arm elite but he can make all the throws. Washington’s passing game is very much like the NFL’s so Jake’s transition should be easier than most. Throwing shoulder surgery is always a concern but Browning has shown no loss of snap on his passes. His accuracy is very good and he doesn’t make a lot bad decisions, opting to throw the ball away rather than risking the interception. Excellent ball placement. Knows exactly where and how to deliver the ball so only his receiver can make the catch. Great at ‘dropping it in the bucket’ or hitting the back shoulder fade on long throws.

Leadership/Intangibles – Browning is a clear team leader. Doesn’t get rattled under pressure. Always seems in control of the huddle, the team and the game. Very even temperament doesn’t get overly up or down. Always plays a very smart game. Coaches have spoken highly of Browing’s leadership since he was in High school. All business in post game interviews and very even keel.

Mobility – Nobody is going to mistake Browing for Lamar Jackson but he does have the ability run and Washington does design plays for him to do so. Very elusive in the pocket and knows how to step up or to the side to avoid the rush. Can make things happen if he’s flushed out of the pocket. Uses his ability to run to draw in defenders so he can make the pass.

Under Pressure – Browing seems very cool when things breakdown. He feels pressure well and keeps himself clean on most plays. Doesn’t get happy feet and is always looking to make the throw down the field. Throws very well on the run.

Concerns/Areas Needing Work – There’s nothing really spectacular about Browning’s play when compared to Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen but he doesn’t make those player’s mistakes, either. Shoulder surgery a worry even with no diminished skill. Doesn’t have a real big arm but as Kurt Warner has remarked that’s overrated. And there’s the height thing but at 6′-2″ Browning is hardly a midget.

Bottom line: Jake Browning is a very solid prospect. He is better prepared than most college players to make the next step. He has a good arm and the accuracy you want to see from a pro quarterback. Has the intangibles to lead teams in big games.

Go Stillers!!!

Jeffrey Burton

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