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 NFL starter throughout their career. After a couple year lull, Brian Lewerke has flashed the traits of an NFL Quarterback. Here we will look at Brian Lewerke NFL Draft potential as he enters his senior season.
Brian Lewerke as a Michigan State 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. But during his junior year Lewerke had to deal with injuries, being benched and inconsistencies lead to an up and down season. Now Lewerke heads into his final year looking to bounce back and repair his draft stock.
Why Brian Lewerke Flashes NFL Potential
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) July 11, 2018
What stood out the most watching Lewerke is his ability to show touch at all three levels. On 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 he goes Lewerke shows the ability to drop the ball over linebackers and in front of safeties. On deeper passes Lewerke is able to make “bucket throws” dropping the ball into the receivers hands as they are streaking down the field.
At times the Spartans go to a quick strike attack as Brian Lewerke is able to get the ball out fast to his receivers with his quick release. Unlike an elongated deliver where defensive backs are not able to pick up the pass and jump routes as easily, Lewerke is able to get the ball out quick and help make up for a lack of good arm strength. 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 to take snaps under center and taking 3 and 5 step 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 and lead to a lot of his struggles in 2018.
Heading into the 2018 season Lewerke was coming off a good season and looked is if he had the potential to be an NFL starter. But a bad junior year that saw him get benched really raised questions if he’ll be able to live up to that potential. If Lewerke is to get back to that consideration 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’ll have a shot to be drafted. He may never been an NFL starter, but there is no reason why Lewerke cannot be viewed as someone who can develop into being a quality backup quarterback.