Please note that this ranking of Ferguson is subject to change and that if he is injured or under-performs in 2017, he will be ranked lower than this for me. That also means that if he has a Mitch Trubisky kind of pre-draft climb, he will be ranked higher than this. I do like to take note of the developmental process, thus 2017 tape holds more value than 2016 tape from me because it shows how the player is most currently. With that being said, enjoy the report.
Games Watched: 2016 vs Kansas, Bowling Green State, Ole Miss, Navy, SMU, Cincinnati, Tulsa, South Florida, Western Kentucky, and Houston
Bio: Ferguson played at Butler High School, where he threw for over 8,000 yards in his three years as the starter. Was the state championship MVP in 2012 after a 301 yard and five touchdown performance and was a U.S. Army All-American Bowl participant. Enrolled at the University of Tennessee, but a leg injury kept him out for his freshman season, and he redshirted. Went to JUCO Coffeyville Community College and passed for 2,942 yards and 35 touchdowns, winning multiple accolades with his performance. Ferguson then transferred to Memphis, where there was a big hole left behind by new Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch in the offense after he was drafted in the 1st round. Ferguson came in and mastered the offense, starting all 13 games and passing for 3,698 yards with 32 touchdowns compared to 10 interceptions. He enters his senior season with top target Anthony Miller returning and an opportunity to boost his draft stock into the Day 3 conversation in the weakened American Athletic Conference.
Arm Strength: Ferguson has ample arm strength in order to fit passes into tight windows and on deep passes without issue. He doesn’t need much time to wind up his throws and is able to put good velocity and zip on throws with little power behind it. There isn’t much of a dip when he is forced to move around the pocket or throw on the run which is something that helps him create explosive plays.
Arm Accuracy: Ferguson misses some throws deep and doesn’t always put the best trajectory on the long throws. However, his short-to-intermediate passing is a non-issue and he can fit passes into tight windows, threading the needle between defenders. His throwing on the run is surprisingly good as he is able to manipulate and move around the pocket well while keeping his eyes focused downfield, which will be touched on more in a moment.
Ferguson rolls out & trusts his receiver, despite two defenders in the area, to make the play. Excellent placement where only he can get it. pic.twitter.com/tofnupqOYP
— Riley Auman (@junioraumanac) May 17, 2017
Decision Making: Ferguson can, at times, adopt a “hero ball” mentality and attempt to force passes or take unnecessary sacks, but overall he is smart with the ball in his hands. He understands when it is good to be taking chances and when it’s better to just live to fight another down, which is something some quarterbacks just cannot adopt to translate to the next level. He was able to commit limited turnovers in his one year of starting at the Division I level with 10 interceptions, several of which weren’t necessarily his fault.
Grade: 12/15 P
ocket Presence: This might be Ferguson’s best area. In his game, there isn’t much of a difference between when he is forced to move around the pocket, which helps him manipulate defenders and create explosive plays. He does some of the nuanced things in quarterback play extremely well, such as moving defenders with his eyes or throwing on the run with sound footwork. In fact, Ferguson’s eye discipline helps him multi-task and keep his eyes downfield while moving around. Overall, this is an area is already above league average in, even if it may need some refinement down the line.
Trait Grade: 12/15
Anticipation: An area in which Ferguson struggles is his anticipation and touch on intermediate and deep passes. Ferguson is more of a “thread the needle” style of passer and doesn’t do best when he needs to put some touch on a deep pass. However, he allows his playmakers to get under the ball with plenty of room to go and break away from defenders on crossing and slant routes. This will be something else he refines for the next level as it is clear he isn’t a player you would be starting year one.
Trait Grade: 8/15
Mechanics/Footwork: Ferguson a machine when it comes to being consistent with his dropbacks, progressions, and rolling out or moving around the pocket to make throws. His mechanics are fine overall, as a quick windup and release allow him to throw in tight windows, both for himself and his receivers. Something that won’t need to be worked on much for him to be pro-ready.
Trait Grade: 11/15
Overall Grade: 73/100 (Early-to-Mid Fourth Round)
The Bottom Line
While Ferguson may not be a player that the NFL covets, he reminds me of Jerod Evans with a lesser “hero ball” mentality, better mechanics and decision making. His ability to make multiple reads on the run and manipulate the pocket are at least worth taking a chance on with a Day 3 selection. Watch out for Ferguson to turn some heads this year with Anthony Miller and Co. on offense, as a weakened American Athletic Conference has seen its best three coaches in Matt Rhule, Tom Herman, and Willie Taggart depart for bigger jobs.