Quarterback is arguably the most talked about position in sports. Whether it’s at the collegiate or professional level, the quarterback gets the lion’s share of the credit when a team is playing well. Conversely, they get the brunt of the blame when a team is playing poorly. Your team’s fortunes can turn on a dime when the right quarterback is brought into the fold and developed correctly.
Every year it seems like the draft community focuses most of their attention on the quarterback class, and for good reason. No other position touches the ball on every play. It’s imperative to get it right at the position. Just ask teams that are consistently picking at the top of the draft. This year’s quarterback class is certainly no exception to the rule. The draft community has been abuzz with talk of Baker Mayfield vs. Lamar Jackson, Sam Darnold vs. Josh Rosen, and if Josh Allen is a top-10 pick or not even a first-round talent.
With all the talk of the top talent available, it’s easy for some really good players to fall through the cracks and not get the national attention they deserve. One of those quarterbacks who has fallen through the cracks is North Carolina State’s Ryan Finley. Finley is a prototypical pocket-passing quarterback who should be generating a lot more buzz than he is. He doesn’t have the star-power that Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, and Baker Mayfield have. He’s not as strong-armed as Josh Allen, and he’s not as athletic as Lamar Jackson. He’s not going to be picked on the first day of the NFL draft. So why talk about him at all?
RELATED: Ryan Finley Scouting Report
He just might be the most consistent of all the quarterbacks available in this draft, and that’s not something that should so easily be overlooked. The top quarterbacks in this draft all have star-power, but all have some significant flaws that should give evaluators pause. Finley doesn’t have the top-end talent of those other guys, but what he also doesn’t have is the valleys that they do. Finley is consistently above average.
Look at this throw by Ryan Finley. That’s a NFL throw. pic.twitter.com/O4MOlDomJf
— ❌ isaiah! ❌ (@Almanac_Jones) November 4, 2017
Finley has a chance to introduce himself to the draft community at large this Saturday. Finley and the NC State Wolfpack go on the road to face Boston College. Boston College isn’t a power-house on the national stage. They aren’t even ranked in the AP top 25. But what the Golden Eagles do have is one of the best passing defenses in the nation. If Finley can put up solid numbers against this unit, he should generate a bit more buzz for himself.
Finley is going to have his hands full with the Boston College defense. They come into Saturday’s game ranked as the 35th overall defense in terms of passing yards allowed. More impressive; however, is that they are 7th in the nation in terms of interceptions and the second-best team in terms of passing touchdowns allowed. Finley may be able to rack up some yards against Boston College, but putting the ball in the end zone is going to be the true test.
This isn’t the first tough defense that Finley has faced this season, with the Wolfpack playing games against Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Florida State, and Clemson. Finley had his struggles in the first three of those games, but last week against the Clemson Tigers, Finley put up one of the best games of the season. Against arguably the best defense in the nation, Finley amassed 338 yards and 3 touchdowns. Another performance like that should be enough to vault Finley into the national discussion in a talented, but flawed, quarterback class.
As we come down the stretch run of the college football season, we’re going to be jam-packed with star-studded match-ups. While it’s great to keep your eyes on all the top-flight talent that’s out there, it’s just as important to keep yourself aware of guys who might otherwise be overlooked. Guys like Ryan Finley.