Redskins Draft Prospect: Fordham QB John Skelton

via fordhamsportsnet

John Skelton
Height: 6'5" | Weight: 243 lbs.
Arm Length: 32 in.
Hand Size: 9 3/4 in.
College: Fordham
Conference: Patriot League (I-AA)
Top 10 performer for QBs in: 40-yard dash | Vertical jump | Broad jump | 20-yard shuttle
View his full combine workout (Video)

Back in August of 2009, Fordham QB John Slekton was already drawing some eyes, including Redskins' then Head Coach Jim Zorn, who were one 1 of several teams that sent representatives to scout the kid last summer. With his size and arm strength, he is getting comparisons to Joe Flacco, but it ends pretty much right there. Flacco left the combine creating a HUGE buzz drawing praise as the combine's best passer, but Skelton wasn't able to accomplish that. 

Michael Schottey of DraftTek.com attended his combine:

The second intrigue about Skelton is his arm. In the words of Danny Vermin, the ball "goes through armor. And through the victim, through the wall, through a tree outside..."

No doubt Skelton can sling it. Where the ball ends up is a bit of a question mark.

During his NFL Combine workout, I was privileged to attend the session live as a (brand new) member of the Pro Football Writers of America. It was hard not to watch the train wreck.

Skelton messed up almost every wide receiver during the "gauntlet" drill with throws wildly off the mark. Golden Tate was, arguably, his biggest victim when Skelton's buck shot altered Tate's timing on both run throws. During route running, things went mostly downhill.

In route running, the crowd learned that Skelton can make every throw, but almost certainly won't with any consistency. Try grading a receiver when the QB throwing to him is doing his best Jamarcus Russell impersonation. It isn't easy.

What is worse for the small school prospect, is the utter lack of tape on many of his games. Scouts and personnel people won't have much to go on other than the throws his displayed at the combine.

The easy out is calling Skelton a project-albeit one of epic proportions. The problem is that no QB coach has ever figured out how to teach accuracy.

More scouts' analysis and game footage after the jump:


Stats Overview Passing
YEAR CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT
2006 74 167 960 44.3 5.75 0 6 8 0 94.88
2007 216 383 2650 56.4 6.92 44 22 11 15 127.73
2008 228 372 2605 61.3 7.00 66 15 7 13 129.66
2009 284 441 3713 64.4 8.42 98 26 10 29 150.05

Scout.com's Adam Caplan calls Fordham QB John Skelton "clearly" the strongest-armed quarterback at the Combine.

"Skelton can make any throw, and he can make it look easy," Caplan wrote after observing Skelton in Indianapolis and at a pre-draft all-star event. Skelton's downfalls are his sense of timing -- typical for D-IAA QBs -- and accuracy. Skelton is a project, but with upside to someday start in the NFL.

NFL.com analysis:

Skelton is a good-sized quarterback with a major league arm. The problem is that he does not know how to use his arm to his advantage. He tends to rely on arm strength alone, when throwing the ball and does not do a good job of getting his feet set under him when throwing from the pocket. He can throw on the move, but his accuracy suffers a lot. He will need a ton of work when it comes to reading NFL coverages and going through his progressions as he looks for the best target. Teams may get too enamored with his arm strength and overlook how much development it will take before he is ready to play.

Tom Robinson of Virgina Pilot:

"One quarterback who is all too happy to throw for scouts at the NFL combine is John Skelton. I humbly submit I'm one of the very few media members in Indianapolis who have actually seen this 6-foot-5, 243 pound (!) righthander chuck it around the yard. Skelton played for Fordham and practically beat Old Dominion in the Bronx on Oct. 3, 34-29, by himself. Skelton threw for 402 yards that day; the first of four 400-yard efforts the native Texan turned in last season. "We tried to keep it balanced, run-pass, but we found ourselves behind in a lot of games and found out we couldn't establish the run so we ended up throwing a little more than we would have liked," Skelton recalled. "In that game we ended up having to throw, and our passing game kept their offense off the field and allowed us to win that game."

Skelton, whose name keeps turning up as another Joe Flacco-type - the small-school quarterback who started for the Baltimore Ravens as a rookie - said he doesn't get why quarterbacks like Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy aren't going to throw here. But hey, that's not his problem. The combine "is a great opportunity; you've got coaches and GMs, owners - why you wouldn't want to throw, I can't understand. It's a great opportunity to show what you've got. They're here to watch someone, so it might as well be me, I guess." 

On what it takes to be a leader:  

Skelton: It is just being on the same page with everyone.  Right now guys aren't too excited to come to practice because we are losing.  It is my job to motivate them and make them work harder.  

He could be a good QB to gamble on in the late round while the Redskins build up the OLine this year.

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