Thursday, 7 January 2010

Thoughts on Dan LeFevour

One quarterback I get a lot of emails about is Dan LeFevour (QB, Central Michigan). Ranked as the third best senior signal caller by Mel Kiper, only one prospect has put up more total yards than LeFevour in their college football career - Timmy Chang of Hawaii. LeFevour eclipsed Graham Harrell during the season to move into second place. The numbers are impressive, but it's perhaps telling that the two guys flanking LeFevour never made it at the next level.

So what about his pro-prospects? I've just watched the tape from this week's bowl game against Troy. Let's start with the positives. Le Fevour does a very good job under pressure. He was never fazed when rushers were in his face, managing to consistently get the ball out in a composed manner or when needed, scrambling away to find space. He keeps his eyes down field at all times. Mechanics are sound generally, he throws off his front foot and puts his body into passes. There's a nice quick release with a relatively high delivery. He made a range of passes - screen, slant, deep out - he was comfortable throwing the ball down the middle of the field. In a short range he throws a very catchable ball.

He made one brilliant pass with 1:39 left in the fourth quarter, threading between two defensive backs to nail the receiver in step for a thirty yard gain. Nice zip on the pass and very, very accurate.

However, there are things to temper those positives. He throws exclusively out of the shotgun in a spread offense not dissimilar to that seen at Texas Tech and Hawaii. He won't be able to take snaps from center and that cost Harrell greatly at the senior bowl. We've seen the Chang's and Harrell's wrack up the stats in those schemes and you have to wonder, as talented as LeFevour is, whether the scheme has helped fluctuate those big numbers. There's a lot of five receiver sets, reads are made from the sideline and it's a very pass friendly system. Arm strength isn't great. He under threw on all his deep throws, alarming because in every case his receiver had beaten coverage and pulled away, only to be forced to check and wait for the ball.

LeFevour eyes up his targets a lot and it's something he'll have to work on. The interception he threw with 14:03 left in the third quarter was a classic example of this. Under pressure, LeFevour did a good job initially getting away from pressure and moving up into the pocket and then scrambling right. However, he was locked onto one target throughout - a receiver by the right touchline. He might as well have explained the play call to the defense pre-snap, his head was planted directly at the receiver. A defensive back waited for the delivery and stepped in front of the pass with ease. There were a few other occasions where LeFevour looked to the sideline for the call and immediately from the snap was looking at the target. It suggests he could struggle with pro reads and might be a bit predictable.

LeFevour scored a rushing touchdown and took a lot of QB keepers. He's not the most agile runner and is more of a 'take what is given' type than someone who can make things happen in that sense. I don't think he'll surprise anyone as a rusher.

Overall he hasn't got a great arm, he's from a pass friendly scheme similar to those that helped create a buzz around Chang and Harrell, but didn't end up with a pro-career. I'm hesitant to throw LeFevour in the same equation as those two, but I think the same questions will be asked and ultimately need to be answered. He did make some 'NFL type throws' against Troy and he's worth closer inspection. I fear his biggest challenge will be proving to scouts he can work in a pro-system and make the required reads from a position behind center. Few people have as much to gain or lose from a solid Senior Bowl performance. It could be the difference between going in the fourth round as a project QB or going undrafted.


Mike Kelly said...

From my rough count 29% of the QBs starting in the league were non-first-round or late round pick ups and 37% of the qbs in the playoffs were late round or free agent pick ups. I cannot think of any other position with a "close your eyes and swing" success rate. Why is it so difficult to draft a QB? I realize that over the last 6 years there have been less 1st round busts but still...,,

Why don't teams just draft a QB every year in the 2nd-5th rounds just to increase the chance of getting a Brady or Warner or Riomo? Why is it so difficult to get right given the importance to success?

Anonymous said...

First rounders 2009-10 playoffs


Second rounders

Brees (32 overall)
Favre (33 overall)

First rounders 2008-09 playoffs

Manning, Eli

The last 2 years, 18 of the 24 teams had 1st or high 2nd round pick QBs. And by my loose count, about 20 starting NFL QBs are either first or second round picks. For every Tom Brady there are a TON of guys who can't make a roster let alone become a starting QB.

That said, I really have little confidence in this QB class.

Anonymous said...

The biggest issue, is that first round picks in general face much more scrutiny. No position drafted in the first round is fool proof. Heck, even RBs are no sure thing for a position with the smallest transition (Darren McFadden comes to mind). QBs just stick out like sore thumbs whether they are successes or failures. They get too much credit and too much blame, just depends how the chips fall.

Rob Staton said...

Some great points raised here so far. I'll add that I think Brady has benefited playing for a coach who is frankly, a genius. Matt Cassell took NE to 11 wins last year. Brady has been a steal, but he's been in the perfect system throwing to great receivers. Most QB's in round one don't get that luxury, let alone guys in the later rounds. Seattle will never find 'the next Brady' with the offense they currently own.

You're always taking a risk drafting QB's high but as mentioned the scrutiny is so much bigger. You need to find a mentally strong prospect to match the physical qualities. I think that's one thing Seattle liked when they took Mike Teel last year - a guy who wasn't expected in most quarters to get drafted.

Anonymous said...


Jim Mora was just fired.


1stHill said...

Troy's QB was more impressive than LeFevour. I forget his name, but he had a more compact throwing motion, was pretty accurate, and did a very good job of going through his progressions.

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The chap is completely right, and there's no skepticism. said...

It can't truly work, I think this way.

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