I’m a big advocate of drafting a quarterback early. Finding a guy to be a franchise quarterback isn’t easy and I’d prefer that the Jaguars draft a guy in the first two rounds of the draft, where the most premium talent will be. Even if that does happen, it doesn’t necessarily mean the Jaguars wouldn’t draft another quarterback later in the draft. While that seems like a crazy idea to draft two quarterbacks, the Jaguars haven’t shied away from drafting multiple players at a position they feel they need to address.
In 2009, they drafted two offensive tackles with consecutive picks. Then three wide receivers in the later rounds. In 2010, they drafted two consecutive defensive tackles, followed by two consecutive defensive ends, followed by two consecutive return specialists. So why is it outlandish to think that they could do the same at the quarterback position and help establish youthful depth at football’s most important position?
Among the quarterbacks candidates to be a mid-to-late round draft pick in April is Idaho quarterback Nathan Enderle.
Enderle certainly looks the part of an NFL quarterback. The 23 year old has a 6’4, 240 pound frame that is perfect for an NFL quarterback. He’s got plenty of collegiate experience, starting in 35 games at Idaho after being named starter his freshman year. The only thing left to analyze is his play on the field.
Watching him play, you can tell that he is smart and understands what is going on in his offense. He makes the correct reads and gets the ball off at the right times. A reporter asked Enderle at the scouting combine about how well he would be able to disgest an NFL playbook and he said it would be a strength for him.
“I’m a smart cat” – Nathan Enderle
He has shown very good accuracy in the Idaho pro-style offense, despite seeing very little separation from his receivers. For that reason, his completion percentage and interception numbers aren’t going to look as good as a spread quarterback’s numbers. Enderle’s arm was good enough to be accurate in underneath passes and intermediate passes.
Unfortunately, what’s going to hurt Enderle most is his arm strength which is average, at best. His ability to throw the deep ball is less than ideal and will cause him to slip to the third day of the draft. Also hurting him is the lack of top notch defenses faced in the WAC. While his competition was probably better than Pat Devlin of Delaware he didn’t see the kind of defensive speed that Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert or Jake Locker did during their year’s in the SEC, Big XII and Pac-10, respectively.
What he did see was a lot of pressure and very tight windows to throw in. His ability to stand tall in a pocket and keep his eyes downfield while still evading pass rushers was nothing short of impressive. He also has the strength to shake off the defensive ends that only get an arm out and grab jersey.
I do believe that Nathan Enderle has the smarts and enough arm to be a starter in the NFL. If Gene Smith were to draft Enderle, I would be very happy because he has the potential to be a very good quarterback for a long period of time; however, I would only want Gene to do so if he drafted another quarterback earlier. While I believe Enderle could be a franchise quarterback I’d feel much more comfortable investing in a guy like Ponder or Locker earlier. Enderle offers the perfect draft selection to compliment another quarterback drafted earlier.