Source: Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Name: Shane Carden
School: East Carolina
Shane Carden is a fairly mobile quarterback. He ran a 4.94 40 yard dash at the combine, which would certainly lead you to believe otherwise. However, when watching him you can see his mobility. In college he was forced to roll out a lot due to the lack of a good offensive line, but Carden can throw with both accuracy and velocity when on the run. The only problem about his tendency to roll out, is that he will never move to the left, making it predictable and easier for defenses to stop. Perhaps a bad product of his tendency, or necessity to throw on the run most of the time, is the fact that he never really seems to get his feet set when throwing.
He gets happy feet and throws without the support of his lower body, making it harder to get zip on the ball. When you see his happy feet get going, you will notice that there is a direct correspondence to his decision making, and it’s drastic. When Carden sees pressure, he tends to throw it into tight windows, sometimes getting picked off, but more on that later. When given proper time, Carden will make the most of it. You will rarely see Carden miss a throw when given proper time, and you will also be able to see his full potential when it comes to arm strength. This is something that may be hidden when watching some tape, because most of the time he will never step into his throws and demonstrate his full power. Because of this, he does not fit well into a vertical offense.
His deep passes don’t tend to make it all the way to the receiver, and I have yet to see a play where Carden leads the receiver over the top as opposed to throwing it up as a jump ball. Just like in his lower body, his upper body technique could use some tweaking. He has a very noticeable windup, similar to the windup that ended up hurting Tim Tebow in the NFL. He starts his motion with a clear lane to step into, but by the time the ball is leaving his hands, he is being mauled by a giant defensive lineman, and this could also be contributing to his tendency to throw off of his back foot.
What Carden lacks in technique, he makes up for in intangibles. Sure he makes some bad decisions under pressure, but with time and coaching that can be remedied. What’s more impressive is his tremendous ability to make his reads quickly and correctly. You will always see him scanning the field, looking for the receiver that he wants to throw to. Another bonus is how well he looks off defenders. He will keep his head pointed to the left throughout the whole play, then suddenly snap it back to the right and throw a dart of a pass.
Carden is also great at making sure he doesn’t get sacked. Once pressure starts coming, he will roll out of the pocket and use his underrated athleticism to either extend the play and find a receiver while he continues to make his reads, or throw the ball away should he not find anyone.
Lastly, something he could work on, is making sure to read each and every play before letting it fly. Carden is a smart player, but sometimes trusts his coaches too much and ends up throwing the ball before even reading the play, resulting in bad passes or interceptions. Luckily, he has the accuracy and adequate arm strength to make some of those ill advised throws.
How does he fit in the NFL?:
Carden projects to be a 7th round pick in the upcoming 2015 NFL Draft, but if he does manage to slip that far in the draft, he’ll end up being a steal. He has the intangibles that many coaches look for in a quarterback, and luckily for him, technique is something that can be coached. He’s the type of player that will accept his backup role and learn from whoever he needs to learn from in order to be the best that he can be. He looks to be nothing more than a backup right now considering how much his technique will hurt him at the NFL level, but should he fix his throwing motion and subsequently learn to set his feet more, he could actually end up being a low end starter for any team looking for a fill in in whilst in search of a franchise quarterback. Look for Carden’s stock to rise as the draft approaches, because although he’s not the best QB (Cough *Mariota* Cough) in the draft, he could certainly fill some team’s needs.