As college football season is rapidly approaching, it’s time to continue looking at 2015 NFL Draft prospects. Today, I want to take a look at Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner, who is coming off a foot injury in November of last year.
Gardner completed just over 60 percent of his passes in 2013, a figure he will most certainly have to improve on if he wants to get in the discussion for day one or two of the draft, but this is a very gifted athlete with size and speed, as well as an ability to make all the throws.
It’s not often NFL scouts are going to look at a quarterback who wears number 98, but against Notre Dame last year, you got a really good look at what Gardner brings to the table as a passer, a runner, under pressure, and in a high pressure environment.
This is a really good cutup of Gardner from the folks at Draft Breakdown, showing off his versatility as a signal caller. You’ll see throughout that tape how Gardner is able to run a pro-style offense as well as an option-read style offense, and how he can sling the ball around the field as well as run with it effectively.
Gardner’s final performance of the 2013 season was a masterful one, albeit in defeat. He completed over 71 percent of his passes against the Ohio State Buckeyes with four touchdowns through the air and another on the ground to go along with 451 passing yards in total.
Scouts seem to be lukewarm on Gardner at this point, grading him out as a top 10 senior in this class but not really considering him a possible first round pick yet. He has the frame that NFL teams covet at 6’4″ 210 pounds, and he’s a phenomenal athlete. If he’s able to show improved accuracy in 2014, I see no reason why he won’t at least enter into the day two discussion at the 2015 NFL Draft. He has a ton of talent and just needs some refining of the rough edges of his game. With a couple of seasons of significant experience under his belt, I look for a big improvement from Gardner this season.