Cody Kessler, QB
School: USC | Conference: PAC 12
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-1 / 220 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 5th or 6th Round
NFL Comparison: Chad Henne
There is a lot to like and a lot to dislike about Cody Kessler. Opinions on him are split. Some think he's trash. Another USC QB that's "terrible", one who lacks ideal size, and arm strength and makes bad decisions. Others think he is a quarterback that has a solid foundation of tools to work with and that he just need continuity to fulfill his potential. I linked a tweet below that I hope was trying to be sarcastic in nature but it says "Cody Kessler was 27-14 as a starting QB. How did the Trojans lose that many games in that span? I hope it's sarcastic, because Kessler and the entire Trojans team has had to deal with a considerable amount of turmoil over the past few seasons limiting the ability of the team to establish continuity and recruit quality players. USC has gone through five head coaches during Kessler's time there. Additionally the team was sanctioned by the NCAA losing 30 scholarships over the past three years. Circumstances like that would affect the entire team but especially the quarterback position.
Kessler has starter quality accuracy on this throws. He played in a pro-style offense at USC and has experience taking snaps from under center and in the shotgun. For the most part, Kessler takes what the defense gives him making safe, high percentage throws. The ball comes out with a nice zip in the 15 through 25-yard range. He's not really a mobile quarterback but he can maneuver within the pocket and USC called a lot of rollouts and bootlegs for him.
Consistency is Kessler's problem. One game he'll do a good job of looking off defenders and throwing his receivers open or he'll deliver a pass quickly to avoid pressure the next he'll stare down throws all the way leading to picks or hold onto the ball too long leading to sacks. He's a conservative QB and probably the definition of dink-and-dunk in this QB class. Sometimes he'll attempt throws he has no business attempting. Though Kessler has fine arm strength, his deep ball accuracy is spotty at best and he'll almost always chose the dump-off over the home run.
With all that, I think Kessler is a good late-round option for teams who run a West Coast offense and are looking to develop a backup or 3rd-string QB.
- Very good throwing accuracy also good with delivering the ball on time.
- Makes safe high percentage throws and rarely takes chances.
- Knows how to play within the pocket but can also roll out and throw on the move.
- Not a runner by any means, but has good pocket mobility and awareness.
- Rarely takes chances down the field outside of a few plays he's not one to launch it 40 yards.
- The offensive line didn't help him this year but too many sacks and negative yards plays, holds onto the ball longer than he needs to.
- Mechanics, footwork, and other fundamentals decline when under pressure.
- Inconsistent player.
Let's see his work:
Went back and re watched Cody Kessler on advice from a scout. May be underrating him. Would be a perfect fit in Washington.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) March 4, 2016
Serious Cody Kessler is my fav value QB pick, he could be an incredible fit for a west coast offense. Throws in rhythm, accurate and poised— NFL Draft Board (@NFL_Draft_Board) February 27, 2016
Cody Kessler ltd by arm strength, but grt timing/accuracy/ball placement/toughness/leadership. At worst, very reliable & capable backup. 5th— Mike Margittai NFL (@DraftMaverick) February 27, 2016
Move over Paxton Lynch. Dak Prescott won the largest QB hands at the combine, tied with Cody Kessler.— John Bielski (@JohnRBielski) February 26, 2016
Accuracy % on passes thrown 1-10 yds:— PFF College (@PFF_College) February 18, 2016
Cody Kessler 88.4%
Tanner Mangum 87.2%
Deshaun Watson 85.3%
Brandon Doughty 85.3%
What a throw under pressure by Cody Kessler... pic.twitter.com/Tmo0tSI3kg— John Miceli (@JohnMiceli15) February 18, 2016
Sifting through some NFL Draft stuff. USC's Cody Kessler was 27-14 as a starting QB. How did the Trojans lose that many games in that span?— Dave Miller (@Miller_Dave) February 13, 2016
Certainly some deficiencies in USC QB Cody Kessler's game, but, his pocket maneuvering is not among them pic.twitter.com/yyJY1YjUxN— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) February 2, 2016
I didn't notice Cody Kessler all week, but he is making things happen right now in the game. He feels the rush.— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) January 30, 2016
When studying Cody Kessler, it was almost all flats/perimeter throws. One game he was 2-9 with an INT when throwing anywhere else— Ryan Booher (@bootang25) January 28, 2016
How He Would Fit on the Redskins
I do think Kessler's best fit is going to be in a West Coast offense, but I don't think it will be Jay Gruden's West Coast offense. While Gruden's play designs feature one or two "safe" reads as we saw to our delight last season deep in that playbook are plays asking the QB to push the ball downfield. Kessler's velocity and arm strength waiver on deep throws and it's something he's really going to have to work on going to the next level. I think it would benefit Kessler to go to a team with a track record of continuity (in other words a consistent winner) where the offensive coaching staff has remained largely intact and he has a couple years to learn the offense. If the stars align for Kessler, he could be a quality backup in the league for a long time. He's a very efficient quarterback, but I struggle to see him as anything more than a game manager. I mean no disrespect by saying that either guys who can come in and not lose the game are valued backups in the NFL and Kessler has a shot to carve out that role for himself, though maybe not with the Redskins.