+Strongest arm of the draft class
+Escapability in the pocket
+Keen sense of the blitz
+Makes solid pre-snap reads
-Remarkably heavy feet
-Struggles to repeat his mechanics
-Constantly locks onto receivers
-Never done a 3 step drop
-When he misses, he misses high (more likely to cause interceptions)
Southern Utah quarterback Brad Sorensen (transfer from BYU) is one of the more underrated prospects of this draft class. I want to start off by admitting I’ve only seen him play one game. In most cases, I don’t feel comfortable writing a scouting report on a player unless I see him play two or three times, but I have to make exceptions for FCS prospects, because it isn’t easy for me to get game film on them. But let me tell you, against Northern Arizona, he looked pretty good, and he looked like he had the potential to be excellent in the NFL, although he may be a high risk/high reward prospect.
Sorensen has good size but poor speed. At 6’4, he has solid height (although he looks a bit closer to 6’2 on film), he has ideal bulk at 235lbs (big enough to avoid injury, but not excessive), but he has very poor speed, evidence by his film as well as his 4.96 40 yard dash. Sorensen has a solid body for an NFL quarterback.
Sorensen has excellent stats. In 2011, he completed 67.8% of his passes while throwing for 3143 yards in only 11 games (short schedule in the FCS), while throwing 17 touchdowns but 11 interceptions. 3143 yards in only 11 games is terrific, but the 11 interceptions are reason for concern. On the other hand, he got stronger as the season went on, having a quarterback rating of 146 in his last 3 games (compared to 137 on the season), and he was clearly a bit unlucky from a touchdown standpoint last season. In the FBS, no quarterback threw for over 3100 yards, had less than 14 interceptions, yet still had less than 23 touchdowns. But Sorensen only had 17 touchdowns, so the numbers were clearly unusual. Sorensen has solid stats.
Sorensen has phenomenal throw power, probably the best throw power of any quarterback in this year’s draft class. There was one play against Northern Arizona that really stood out from a throw power stand point. In the first drive of the game, on 3rd and at least 20, Sorensen dropped back to pass, ducked right under a potential sack from a defensive end, scrambled forward to evade the pressure, and, at the last second, hurled the ball to a receiver deep down field. The throw sailed 53 yards. It may not sound all too impressive, but his FEET WEREN’T SET when he made the throw. There is no quarterback in this draft class who can hurl the football 53 yards while throwing on the run. The pass wasn’t caught (hit his receivers fingertips but he couldn’t reel it in), but it was still quite impressive. Sorensen also puts excellent zip on his passes, and he makes sure to have a nice touch on his deep ball. Sorensen has a cannon for an arm and is really the only gunslinger in this draft class.
Sorensen has excellent accuracy. There are times when he has very poor mechanics, but he can be surprisingly accurate even when his mechanics are poor. He throws a beautiful deep ball, he has a keen instinct for knowing how much zip he should put on his passes, and he rarely misses his targets. He also is remarkably accurate on the run and during roll outs. On the downside, when he misses, he misses high, which is a major red flag, since throwing above your target (especially over the middle) can lead to lots and lots of interceptions. He also has a tendency to throw behind receivers that are running horizontal routes, the result of a footwork problem I will delve into later.
Something I can’t help but love with Sorensen is his coolness and composure with every aspect of playing quarterback. Something I’ve always hated are quarterbacks who “play like their hair is on fire,” i.e. Kyle Boller, Blaine Gabbert, etc. These quarterbacks usually make crazy decisions when faced with the blitz, often string lots of interceptions consecutively, are very inconsistent, pull their hands out too early when taking the snap under center, drop lots of snaps when in the shotgun, and really rush their dropbacks, causing bad footwork in the pocket. Sorensen doesn’t match any of these descriptions. He doesn’t allow pressure to influence him to make crazy decisions, he has a short memory when it comes to interceptions, he is very relaxed and comfortable in the pocket, he constantly catches inaccurate snaps, and his dropbacks always keep him in a good position to make a throw. Speaking of which, he has a nice front shoulder drop at the end of his dropback, which can stabilize his shoulders heading into the throw.
Sorensen is a solid decision maker, but there are flaws here. He never really makes bad decisions or forces his throws, but, at the same time, he has a tendency to lock onto receivers. Although he makes excellent pre-snap reads, considering the offense he plays in, he needs to do a better job of not locking onto those reads as soon as he gets the ball. Most plays that Southern Utah runs take a long time to develop, because they don’t incorporate any kind of West Coast offense like quick passing game, and routes like the dig, post, and fly take a long time to be completed. For example, on the dig route, it generally takes a receiver about 3 seconds to get 12 yards downfield and then make a sharp cut inside and get open. But, in the NFL, if a quarterback stares down a receiver for 3 seconds waiting for him to get open, someone on the defense in going to notice the QB staring at him and make sure the receiver can’t get the ball. Luckily, if he realizes his primary receiver isn’t open, Sorensen is smart enough to not force the throw, but he still needs to do a better job of hiding his intentions. Again, Sorensen never forces throws, but he needs to learn not to lock onto receivers.
Sorensen has pretty good mechanics, but there are flaws here. The biggest flaw is that he struggles to repeat his delivery (a phrase usually seen in the scouting reports of baseball pitchers), especially on the follow through. When the ball is out of the quarterback’s hands, his hips should be facing the target, his back foot should be dragging toward the target, and his front foot should be pointed toward the target. Sorensen has a tendency not to open up his hips enough on the follow through, which often causes passes to be thrown to far to the right and be thrown a bit too low. The funny thing is that his arm and feet have adjusted to this flaw in his mechanics. On many throws, Sorensen’s feet are angled in a way where the ball should theoretically go to the left of the target, but problems with his follow through make the ball go to the right of the target, and, on most plays (especially over the middle), these flaws cancel each other out resulting in a perfect throw. The problem is that, on all throw to receivers running routes that aren’t completely vertical and are 12 to 30 yards down the field (the post is a good example), Sorensen has to follow through just to get enough zip on his passes so no one can jump the route. Again, his footwork and his arm mechanics are adjusted so that he is accurate when he doesn’t follow through enough. When he does follow through, the ball sails high and to the left, and it is often an interception. There aren’t a lot of quarterbacks that have perfect mechanics, and these throws, though not uncommon, don’t need to be made on every play in the NFL, but it is still a reason for concern. Normally, the lack of a follow through also results in slow passes, but Sorensen’s arm is strong enough that he can get away with it on most passes. He also has a quick release. Sorensen has solid, although no perfect, mechanics.
Sorensen has some incredibly heavy feet. I’m pretty sure he has cinder blocks tied around his cleats that make it hard for him to pick up his feet on most throws. His feet are so heavy that much of Southern Utah’s offense is designed around his heavy, heavy feet. They don’t allow him to make 3 step drops or throw quick passes, simply because he can’t adjust his feet to the position of the receiver in a short time. His heavy feet make it nearly impossible for him to make throws to receivers who are at an angle <30 degrees relative to the line of scrimmage, so hitch routes and outs are nearly out of the question (when they are used, he consistently throws it behind the receiver). To be frank he can’t “make all the throws” because of his heavy feet. But, if he goes to an offense similar to that of Southern Utah, he could still have success in the NFL.
It’s rare that you see the phrases “heavy feet” and “lots of escapability in the pocket” used in the same sentence, but that’s honestly a good description of Sorensen. Sorensen can really evade the blitz well in the pocket, namely because he is fantastic at ducking under tacklers when under pressure (he ducks under guys all the time. It never stops. I don’t know how he does it), plus I’m 99% sure he has eyes in the back of his head that tell him when pressure is coming from his blindside. He seems to put himself in the only position in the pocket not surrounded by penetrating pass rushers, he stays low and ducks under potential tacklers better than any quarterback I have ever seen, he is very poised under pressure, and he seems to know where every defensive linemen is on the field as the play is going on. I can’t help but wonder if offensive linemen on Southern Utah are told to yell something when someone is penetrating their block, because Sorensen seems to have an unbelievable knowledge of where pass rushers are coming from, and he always finds a way to buy some time in the pocket and make a throw right before getting sacked. It’s truly spectacular.
Ultimately, I like Sorensen. I think his combination of throw power, accuracy, and good decision making will take him very far in the NFL
NFL Comparison: John Skelton, except he is a much better decision maker and he gets high marks on everything mentioned in paragraph 6 (composure, calmness, etc.).
Grade: 80 (worthy of a mid to early second round pick)
Projection: 72 (will be a late third round pick)