Gardner Minshew

Gardner Minshew

Scouting Report done by Mark Jarvis. See all his work at What’s on Draft. Support his work on Patreon.  See the full Gardner Minshew report here.

Comps – Low/Medium/High

David Fales (Low) – Nick Mullens (Medium) – Colt McCoy (High)


Minshew’s growth under the tutelage of Washington State’s Mike Leach has been stunning. His East Carolina tape was downright atrocious at times, leading to a summer ranking where he sat comfortably in the 30s out of my senior quarterback rankings. He has taken a massive leap forward in terms of processing ability, although his physical limitations are still on display. Minshew does not have the arm talent to drive the football through tough conditions, and will have his passes die halfway to the target when he tries to extend the field. The limitations that he places on an offense will likely prevent him from earning a long term starter job, but his release speed and fast eyes are going to guarantee him a job at the next level. There will be some concerns about Minshew coming out of a spread offense that asked him to work screens, but he worked more in the middle of the field than his predecessor Luke Falk. Minshew understands the requirements of accuracy and ball placement that will be necessary at the pro level, and although he isn’t always able to put the ball on the money, he has shown he can throw his guys open. Unstable lower body mechanics and a reliance on his arm over his footwork creates some bouts of inaccuracy, but he throws a catchable ball on most occasions. Minshew’s setup may not always be beautiful, but it’s incredibly effective as long as his passes don’t get batted down at the line of scrimmage. His release is one of the fastest I’ve ever seen, and he brings the ball up and out at phenomenal speeds. His ability to go through progressions and find checkdowns is serviceable, but he’ll need to show more comfort taking shots downfield into tight coverages as a pro, something that may expose his lack of physical gifts even further. As a pocket mover, he doesn’t own the space, but he’ll hold his ground and ride out storms. His movements are moreso to avoid pass rushers than to create throwing lanes, which is something he will need to improve given his height and low release point. He’s no scrambler though, and won’t use his legs to pick up easy yardage. His odds of becoming a long term solution at quarterback are slim, but Minshew could become a placeholder as a franchise searches for a long term solution to the position. At worst he should be a decent backup throughout his time in the league.

Reads & Decisions

Willing to throw it away if nothing is available; won’t force dangerous passes. Snap and throw decision-maker who doesn’t hesitate when he sees an opportunity. Took a tremendous leap forward mentally following transfer from ECU. Throws with anticipation and gets his release started as his man begins to hit his route stem. Got plenty of freebies in Mike Leach’s slice and dice passing attack. Worked through progressions on many plays; comfortable finding and capitalizing on a secondary option. Works back to the checkdown like a second contract veteran; has his outlets labeled in the back of his head at all times. Fearless with throwing into tight windows if he knows the opening is there. Skates the line between anticipating and pre-determined throws. Point guard control of the offense.

Accuracy & Ball Placement

Throws to the spot rather than to the receiver, and seems to understand ball placement requisites. Leads his man with more than enough room to work after the catch. Size and mechanics often force his passes too low, making his receivers work extra hard to make grabs in traffic. Delivers his throws through even as he gets hit. Second read gets a lesser ball than his first. Accuracy may have been artificially improved by timing and scheming of Cougar offense. Lack of arm talent means everything has to be a heater or it won’t get there; unable to switch up to touch passes. Wheels fell off late against USC as he started mistiming throws. Seem too concerned with protecting his receivers from hits. Unable to give his receivers vertical lead. Random accuracy fluctuations in the middle of the field.

Pocket Awareness & Scrambling

Unintimidated by a collapsing pocket as long as he’s standing in the hole; stays focused on what’s happening downfield. Could end up coming in just barely over 6-foot tall at the combine. Clearly undersized for the position and certainly won’t meet benchmarks for some teams. Seems cozy in the pocket despite being a smaller guy. NFL caliber feel for pressure; slips out the back side and gets rolling when interior leaks through. Unphased by anything that has been thrown at him; just slides away to safety. Climbs the pocket only when outside pressure forces him upwards. Won’t manipulate throwing lanes by taking pre-emptive steps. Does not back down with a free rusher in his face. Lacks the athleticism to take off for rushes. Capable of playing backyard ball as a scrambler.

Mechanics & Throwing Motion

Properly angles his feet towards the target before ripping it; quick lower body adjustments make his throwing process go faster. Compact throwing motion that comes out snapping. Entire setup could be described as both controlled and near instant. Comfortable altering footwork to account for being rushed on his throws. Arm thrower who must learn to incorporate his whole body on throws. Tightness of release to his body results in batted passes considering his stature. Likely has the fastest release in all of college football; ball comes out like lightning. Decent at altering arm angles to get around pass rushers. Goes between standing flat-footed to having great bounce in his feet; inconsistent with his approach even in similar situations. Uses pumps to draw off defenders.

Arm Strength

Passes can start to float as they get going down the field; does not have the arm strength necessary to make up for any mental mistakes he’ll make. Will have trouble cutting the ball through tough conditions; will have throws pulled off course on windy days. Passes drop around the 45-50 yard mark like they’ve been shot out of the sky; distance passing is atrocious. Relies too much on his arm to create velocity rather than driving off of his base. Will have turnover rate increase as a pro due to increase in defensive speed. Attempts to the boundary will be in danger of getting swiped by aggressive defensive backs. 25 yard outs to the far side of the field are going to be impossible or get his receiver killed. Seems to have maximized his torque. Wobbles are common on off-platform throws.



Categories: 2019, QB, Scouting report