Ryan Finley, QB
School: NC State | Conference: ACC
College Experience: RS Senior | Age: 24
Height / Weight: 6-4 / 208 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 2nd or 3rd round
NFL Comparison: Josh McCown
Back in 2013 Ryan Finley was a 3-star recruit who had just committed to Boise State. Finley saw some game action behind then starter at QB Grant Hedrick his freshman season. His sophomore season he was supposed to be the starter and he was until he suffered a season ending ankle injury in the third game of the season which eventually led the way for Brett Rypien to take over at Boise State and paved the way for Finley to transfer. He ended up at NC State in large part because his relationship with offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz who was the coordinator at Boise State before he moved on to NC State. Finley was just supposed to be depth at the position but he won the job and has been a huge part of NC State’s offense since. Finley is described by his coach as highly competitive, a guy who hates attention, and someone who is always working improve his craft. Finley should be considered one of the top QBs in college football and a player who could hear his name called very early on day 2 of the draft.
- Very good accuracy. Finley’s passes seem to always be on target, short, medium, deep he can get it there with precision. He has nice touch as well down the field.
- Good arm with good velocity and trajectory as well. I’ve seen him throw it about 50-55 yards down field while maintaining his accuracy its possible he could get to 60ish if he really chucked it.
- Surprisingly mobile. For some reason I didn’t expect a guy of his stature to move well but he does so decently on rollouts, PA’s, maneuvering in the pocket etc. Throws well on the run.
- Pro-style QB with experience calling audibles, changing protections, and moving receivers in motion.
- Composed under pressure and praised for his competitiveness and desire to learn.
- Consistency. There are time throughout Finley’s career when he looks like a 1st round pick and a franchise guy there are other times he looks bad. It was a bad look for him to end his college career with a bad game against Texas A&M he will have to prove he can level out his play despite circumstance and competition at the next level.
- Tall but slightly built, he hasn’t had a major injury since 2015 but he also hasnt been sacked a lot. He was only put down 11 times this season which is the fifth best in all of college football - he may not have the same luxury in the NFL.
- The offense he has played in has always been tailored for him with few plays resulting in more than 1 or 2 progressions. He’ll have to learn how to process things more at the next level perhaps with a team that doesn’t tailor everything to him.
- Unable to take the next step in key games. Finley definitely has some polish and may be a solid option for teams looking for a close to immediate starter but there are concerns about just how much better he can get.
- A little older than typical rookie prospects.
Let’s see his work:
Ryan Finley with great ball placement under pressure. Throws a very catchable ball. pic.twitter.com/iUadK1lZ0j— Fair Shake Football (@FairshakeFB) January 20, 2019
Size (out of 10) | Not just height/weight. Russell Wilson and Baker Mayfield would be a 6 or 7 here because they’re thickly built and take hits well.
Grade: 6 | Has the height teams like at the position but slightly built.
Arm Talent (out of 10) | Arm Talent is mostly raw strength of the arm, but also ability to throw different types of balls (bullets, touch passes, etc.) and from different angles/platforms. Mahomes is a god at this -- 9 or 10 raw strength but also a magician from different arm angles. Pennington couldn’t throw 40 yards.
Grade: 8.5 | Has the arm strength to work all levels of the field has good velocity on throws that he guns and nice touch on passes he throws with finesse. Can adjust his mechanics and throw from different launch points.
Accuracy (out of 15) | Pretty self-explanatory. One of the most important traits of a good QB. Ability to place the ball where they want on the receiver at all levels of the field. Also interception %.
Grade: 12.5 | Very accurate passer who can hit receivers between the numbers and drop dimes but also with the consistency issue someone who turns the ball over way more than you would like with a TD / INT ratio of 2.27 which is ok but not great.
Mobility (out of 10) | Not just straight line speed, but escapability and maneuverability in the pocket.
Grade: 6 | Finley looked good on rollouts and play actions he has decent maneuverability in the pocket but nothing special. You wouldn’t run RPOs or designed runs with him or expect him to be Carson Wentz or Russell Wilson.
Mental Processing (out of 15) | Ability to read defenses, make pre-snap adjustments, and go through progressions after the ball is snapped to make decisions quickly. Peyton and Brady are examples of coaches on the field.
Grade: 9 | Finley mainly worked in an offense with quick reads and more times than not didn’t have to go through more than 2 progression on a play. He showed nice ability to extend plays at times and fire downfield but I haven’t seen much that convinces he is advanced enough to recognize stunts and disguised coverage.
Mechanics (out of 10) | Footwork, delivery, throwing motion, release. Impacts accuracy, arm strength, and ability to throw in a bad pocket. I’d say this is important for longevity and consistency.
Grade: 8 | Finley has good mechanics and footwork and by and large is a polished player. He can throw off his back foot at times under pressure but largely stands tall in the pocket and delivers with good technique.
Leadership (out of 15) | Hard to quantify, but basically, do they make the players around them better? Leadership comes in different styles, not just rah-rah guys, but leadership by example as well. For college evaluation, what do their coaches and teammates say about them, or do they avoid mentioning leadership? What do opposing coaches say about them?
Grade: 9.5 | He was voted team captain. His coach described him as liking to push peoples buttons and being a competitor. I can see how that can be fine for some people and not be fine for others. He did help produce two 1,000+ yard WRs this season so I think if his teammates can get comfortable with his personality they would buy in.
Clutch (out of 15) | Another relatively subjective metric, but extremely important. Do they fold under pressure or can they rally their team to a comeback?
Grade: 7.5 | I give Finley average marks here because he just hasn’t played well against top competition or in key games. Its a tall order to look good against Clemson but Finley hasn’t shown improvement in that key matchup over the years and didn’t perform well in his bowl game. To be fair he did have some nice 4Q comebacks this season against North Carolina and Wake Forest. I think this goes back to the big consistency question he could lead a comeback drive but don’t bet big money on him doing it yet.
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
Are you guys surprised by the grade? I rated Kyle Shurmer 2.5 points higher so I am a bit surprised. I think the grade does highlight the big questions around Finley though. Does he have the intangibles to lead a team and be that franchise player or does he just offer good physical skills? This is just one of the many questions that Finley will have to answer during this draft process. With that said I would MUCH rather roll with Ryan Finley than Colt McCoy or Mark Sanchez. I think its safe to say that Alex Smith won’t be returning for the 2019 season - if ever. That means the Redskins have to look to the future now and while the smart reasonable long play might be to wait until the position has much better talent in 2020 the team very well might reach into their bag of old tricks and get a QB now out of desperation. In fact it would not surprise me if the team traded a decent amount of draft capital to move up and draft a QB. That QB could be a ‘high floor low ceiling guy’ like Finley so the team can attempt to put together a decent season. I think Finley has a lot of good skills, certainly enough to be productive in the NFL for a time I am just not completely sold he can be ‘the guy’. We’ll see.