While much of the discussion surrounding the quarterbacks in the 2024 NFL Draft class and, subsequently, the Las Vegas Raiders’ next signal-caller has been centered around Caleb Williams and Drake Maye, Texas’ Quinn Ewers could easily climb up draft boards this season.
Coming out of high school, Ewers was just the sixth recruit ever to receive a perfect rating from 247Sports. He even reclassified and skipped his senior year of high school to enroll at Ohio State and was viewed as a potential threat to take C.J. Stroud’s job.
However, Stroud ended up winning the position battle and Ewers transferred back home to Texas where he shined for the Longhorns last season. His numbers were modest with just a 58.1 completion percentage, 2,177 yards and 15 touchdowns to six interceptions, but that was partially due to an early-season injury that caused him to leave one game early and miss three others.
It was pretty clear that the Longhorn’s offense was different without him under center and the tape below speaks for itself.
Quinn Ewers with great anticipation on this throw pic.twitter.com/vUJa3tixEH— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) May 23, 2023
In my opinion, one of Ewers’ biggest strengths and what could be his biggest competitive advantage over the rest of the quarterbacks in this class is he’s excellent at throwing with anticipation, especially for someone with limited starting experience.
In the clip above, Alabama is running Cover 3 where the cornerback at the bottom of the screen—No. 6—is going to be one-on-one with the outside receiver running the out route. The corner has outside leverage initially but toward the top of the route, he tries to cheat inside and turns his shoulders to protect against a post route.
Once Ewers sees the corner’s shoulders turn, he starts his throwing motion and the ball is out of his hands before the receiver has even finished his break. On top of that, this pass is perfectly placed on the sideline for an easy pitch and catch that goes for over a 20-yard gain.
This is an NFL-level throw.
Quinn Ewers with a dime down the field pic.twitter.com/vw64fXdFNz— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) May 23, 2023
This next clip highlights Ewers’ arm talent well. Alabama is running a version of Cover 3 where they’re pattern matching, which is similar to man coverage and why the curl-to-flat defender—No. 14 at the bottom of the screen—works for depth and carries the outside slot receiver down the field on the seam route.
Meanwhile, Ewers is reading the safety—No. 2—and sees that the safety is playing over the center and isn’t cheating to the three-receiver side, so he knows the seam route will be open. That’s when he rears back and drops a dime that travels about 50 yards in the air to give his guy a chance to make a play and put six points on the board.
Unfortunately, the receiver doesn’t survive the ground, but this is one hell of a throw that looked almost effortless.
Don’t know if you can throw a better go ball than Quinn Ewers does right here pic.twitter.com/g0gmgMoKCQ— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) May 23, 2023
How about another 10-cent throw from Ewers?
This time, the corner at the bottom of the screen is going to be maned up with the outside receiver running a go route. With the single-high coverage/safety in the middle of the field, the quarterback knows he’ll have a one-on-one matchup on the outside. So, he trusts his teammate to win and drops another ball in the bucket nearly 50 yards down the field.
While he doesn’t get hit until after the ball is released, Ewers also has Will Anderson Jr. barrelling down on him which would give a lot of quarterbacks happy feet in the pocket. This is a good example of him trusting his teammates to make the block and the catch, as well as another beautiful ball down the field.
Quinn Ewers buys some time in the pocket and finds his man pic.twitter.com/l22KCY0xAE— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) May 23, 2023
I hinted at this in the clip above but another part of Ewers’ game that I admire is his ability to stay calm in the pocket when the pressure starts coming. Here, Texas runs play-action while Alabama gives its linebacker—No. 10—the freedom to rush the passer if the tight end working across the formation stays in to block.
That’s significant because it means Ewers is going to have his back to the defense and won’t see the rusher coming until a second or two into the play. Also, the Longhorns are running a two-man route where they’re trying to push the ball down the field, so he has to give the play time to develop.
As expected, the linebacker starts to get pressure but the quarterback does a great job of feeling it and moving in the pocket to buy some time. That gives the receiver at the top of the screen, who is working to sell the drag or over route across the field and then plant to work back toward the sideline, enough time to get open.
Finally, Ewers delivers a great ball with enough velocity to reach his target right before the pass rush can hit home. That’s excellent pocket management and poise to push the ball across the 50-yard line on third down.
Quinn Ewers takes a shot and still throws a strike for a hell of a 3rd down conversion pic.twitter.com/6CUQizOYXy— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) May 23, 2023
We’ll end with a rep where Ewers ends up taking a shot as he gets rid of the ball.
It’s third and long as Iowa State rushes five defenders and drops six into man coverage. The Cyclones do a good job of getting pressure as the quarterback has to step up in the pocket, funneling him into the blitzing linebacker who is playing as a spy—No. 23. This is exactly what the defense is hoping for with this type of pressure.
However, Ewers is able to find his receiver open on the curl route and delivers a strike while taking a shot. Instead of punting from inside their 20-yard line, the Longhorns convert and the drive stays alive.
One thing is clear about Ewers’ tape, the guy is tough as hell.