Utah State may be a small Mountain West program but they have enjoyed some good success and put several players into the NFL Draft over the last fifteen years. But one thing they have lacked is that elite first round talent. But could that change in 2020 as the Aggies have one of the best underclassmen quarterbacks in Jordan Love. Here we’ll take a look at Love’s traits while projecting where he could go whenever he enters the NFL Draft.
While Love may be a junior he’s got four years in the program and that experience shows on the field. Love understands the mental part of the game showing the ability to recognize blitzes and get the ball out to hot reads, go through his progressions and even look off defenders to make his throws. Love still makes a lot of one read throws because of the offense, but he shows he’s much more than a rhythm thrower.
On short to intermediate throws Love is able to get the ball out quickly and accurately allowing his receivers to not only make easy catches but put them in a position to run after the catch. But the issue for Love is on the deeper throws where he struggles with ball placement consistency. While he may hit a receiver on a deep post route hitting him in stride his next couple of throws may too long or off their mark.
Touch and Anticipation
Anticipation is crucial for an NFL quarterback because defensive backs are so fast and smart. Love shows that anticipation by making plenty of throws as the receivers are making their breaks. But if Love wants to take the next step in his development he needs to throw with better touch. This goes along with his ball placement downfield as the ball tends to be off the mark too often as he puts way too much air under his deep throws. He has the arm strength to drive the ball downfield but he needs to find a happy balance between driving the ball and putting some touch on his throws.
As a part of the run game Love has shown that he can make plays with his feet, but here I’m more concerned with how he can slide around the pocket to help him avoid sacks and get to throwing lanes. Love does show that he can make those subtle moves and will climb the pocket. However he does need to improve his awareness of the rush and will take some sacks that he shouldn’t. Part of this may be the offense that stresses getting the ball out quick.
Utah State is far from a talent deprived team but Jordan Love doesn’t necessarily have NFL level talent at the skill positions. Because of this and Love’s nature to want to make plays he can at times force the ball into situations that aren’t the best decisions.
Jordan Love Projection
Blessed with some good physical traits and the ability to see the game mentally, with some continued development it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Jordan Love be taken in the first round. I mean we have seen some much worse quarterbacks taken early. Love has shown the ability to take over games and more than held his own against Michigan State in 2018. Love needs to improve his touch and ball placement down the field if he wants to be taken early, so that will be something to watch. What will also be interesting to see is if Love can continue to have success under new head coach Gary Anderson. Gone is Matt Wells and offensive coordinator David Yost, so will Love still be able to throw the ball as much as he did these last couple of years? I sure hope so.