While the Spartans have never had a quarterback selected in the first round, they have a several quarterbacks on NFL rosters as key back ups (Nick Foles Super Bowl Winning Quarterback) and in the case of Kirk Cousins a highly paid starter. Guys like Drew Stanton, Brian Hoyer and Connor Cook have all seen time as a starter throughout their career. After a couple year lull, Brian Lewerke has shown the traits of an NFL Quarterback. We’ll take a look at Lewerke traits and try to project what his future is.
Is Brian Lewerke the Next Michigan State NFL Quarterback?
As a redshirt freshman Lewerke came in for an ineffective Tyler O’Conner and looked to jump start the Spartans offense, but a broken fibula ended his season after just three starts. Lewerke entered the 2017 season as the starter and help lead the Spartans to bounce back and win 10 games and finish 2nd in the vaunted Big Ten West. Now Lewerke didn’t set any records but showed many traits and a lot of promise of being a very good NFL Draft prospect.
What Brian Lewerke Does Well
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) July 11, 2018
What stood out the most watching Lewerke is his ability to drop the ball to his receivers showing good touch at all three levels. The short throws he’s able to lead running backs on screens and not rifle the ball into receivers running short crossing type routes. The further down the field his throws go Lewerke shows the ability to drop the ball over linebackers and in front of safeties. On longer passes he’s able to make those “bucket throws” dropping the ball into the receivers hands as they are streaking down the field.
In the Spartans quick strike plays Brian Lewerke is able to get the ball out fast to his receivers with a quick release. This is two fold. First it helps with completions as unlike an elongated deliver defensive backs are not able to pick up the pass and jump routes as easily. But the big advantage is when Lewerke has pressure he can get the ball out fast and still make completions rather than being hit as he throws.
Pro Style Offense
Playing in the Spartans Pro Style offense Lewerke spends most of his time under center and is very involved in play action looks turning his back on the defense, similar practices that most NFL offenses do and college spread quarterbacks don’t have. Having this experience allows Lewerke a better transition and he won’t have to spend much time in OTA’s or Camp learning drops.
Concerns About Brian Lewerke
While Lewerke shows good touch with his throws this doesn’t always mean he has good ball placement. A big part of this is he doesn’t have a big arm that would allow him to drive the ball which leads him to having to try and always drop the ball to his receivers. Lewerke often looks like he’s trying to guide the ball too much which leaves the ball too short or off the mark to either of the sides. This can be frustrating as one play Lewerke throws a perfect ball that makes you say “wow” but then the next throw is short and is nearly picked off.
There is a lot to like about Lewerke where his traits show that he has the chance to be a good NFL starter. But for him to do that he’ll need to improve on his consistency with his ball placement. One area that Lewerke needs to also improve on is his anticipation skills. Because he lacks that arm strength to drive the ball he’ll need to see receivers getting open before they make their cuts and make his throws there. He shows this at times at Michigan State, but too often he stares down receivers. If he can fix those areas he can be an NFL starter. He’ll likely never been seen as elite, but there is no reason why Lewerke cannot be the type of quarterback Alex Smith or even Kirk Cousins (lazy comparison?) is right now.