2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report


Spencer Rattler

June 15, 2021 1:00 PM EST


Spencer Rattler Scouting Report picture

School: Oklahoma

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 209

Eligibility: RSo

Uniform: #7

Position: QB


Evaluated by: Austin Smith
Smith.Austinj14@gmail.com
Twitter: NFLDraftAustin
November 12, 2020

Prospect Overview


2019: 3 G, 7-11 (63.6%), 81 yards, 1/0 (TD/INT), 3 rush, 23 yards
2020: 11 G, 214-317 (67.5%), 3,031 yards, 28/7 (TD/INT), 81 rush, 160 yards, 6 TD

A five-star recruit that holds the state record in Arizona for passing yards with 11,083. Rattler sat behind Jalen Hurts as a true freshman, only seeing action in three games. Had his coming-out party as a red-shirt freshman leading Oklahoma to eight straight wins after starting the season 1-2.


Spencer Rattler Scouting Report image 1

Rattler and the Sooners' offense ranked 14th in the nation is passing, and his 3,031 passing yards ranked tenth while his 172.6 passer rating was 11th. He also ranked eighth in touchdown passes, and these numbers led to him being named a Freshman All-American and National Freshman of the Year by CBS Sports.

Heading into his third year on campus, Rattler should be in store for big things considering he's got a ton of talented pass-catchers returning. Oklahoma also has several quality running backs that can keep defenses from focusing on the passing game.

It also doesn't hurt to have Lincoln Riley grooming him and calling plays, which should put him in the Heisman conversation heading into this year. A Heisman-caliber season would also improve his draft stock considering each of the last four top-overall picks finished either first or second in the Heisman voting in their final year.

Positives

It's hard not to notice Rattler's arm talent from the get-go. He has a smooth, effortless motion that makes it hard to believe some of his throws are traveling as far as 50-60 yards in the air. This also allows him to throw from different platforms without balls coming up short.


Spencer Rattler Scouting Report image 2

Throwing from poor platforms isn't always a good thing, but it's sometimes necessary given the amount of pressure quarterbacks get in this pass-happy era. The key is not getting complacent with your footwork that way, it only happens when it's absolutely necessary. Rattler does a good job of that more often than not.

In general, his feet are very light and active, allowing Rattler to maximize his athleticism with quick bursts that allow him to maneuver in the pocket or escape it. The footwork and short-area-quickness show up when he takes off as well.

He's not going to impress us with his long speed, but those traits allow him to be somewhat elusive in the open field. Rattler may not juke anyone out of their socks like Kyler Murray, but he can occasionally make people miss in the open field, and most importantly, it's good enough to keep him from taking solid shots.

The combination of his athleticism and arm both show up when he makes throws on the move. Another contributing factor is his ability to keep his eyes downfield. As the season went on, we saw this ability show up more often, whether in the pocket or on the move, and it's an advanced trait for a collegiate quarterback.

In addition to that, it’s also important to point out that Rattler shows a knack for creating time against pressure. Not just escaping the pocket, but even to buy an extra fraction of a second with a subtle shift within the pocket. That's a credit to his awareness that helps him play with an internal clock based on what he sees in his peripheral vision or senses going on around him.

Another area that improved throughout 2020 was his ability to throw with timing. Early on, we saw it with his designed bootlegs and roll outs when his option in the flat was open immediately. He'd get the ball out and give his guy a chance to catch and turn upfield before the defense had closed in on him.

As the season went on, it started showing up on some of the hitch routes and RPO's as well, and by the time Oklahoma was on the home stretch, his timing was even improving his deep ball. No matter how strong your arm is, a speedy receiver can outrun your arm strength in a hurry.

Timing is key to deep-ball accuracy in order to let the receiver run to the ball as opposed to battle a defender in a 50-50 scenario because the throw slowed him down. In both the Big-12 Championship and Cotton Bowl at the end of the year, Rattler was throwing the deep ball extremely well. Not just because of the timing, but the depth and arc were excellent, as was his ball placement.

Areas for Improvement

My biggest concern based on his 2020 tape was what I perceived to be a bit of complacency. Often, it came when the offense was having a fair amount of success, and that is when we saw some mistakes occur.

On several occasions, he chose to throw off his back foot without any pressure bearing down him. It didn't always affect whether or not the ball was caught because he has the arm to get away with it.

However, it did affect the accuracy and ball placement on his passes. A five-yard completion on a crossing route is a positive play, but when there is so much open space, and the throw takes a receiver to the ground or brings him to a halt, that's leaving a lot of yards on the field. Football can often come down to those inches that you don't get.

A few other scenarios were on fumbles in which he held onto the ball too long. I get the playmaker in him doesn't want to give up on the play, but it can be a game-changing detriment when it results in a turnover.

Rattler was temporarily benched for two series in the Texas game following a fumble like that. In a Florida game, where Oklahoma got off to a great start, the fumble he lost could have been the spark that got them back into the contest.

The other area I seemed to see an issue involved pre-snap awareness. He threw an interception against Iowa State where he clearly didn't identify the single-high safety. I say he didn't identify him and not that he didn't lose track of him because the safety was lined up in a single-high alignment from the get-go.

There was no disguise or rotation. Rattler either didn't identify him pre-snap, or he just thought it was a good idea to throw up a 50-50 ball to his target down the seam in which the safety had easily established the advantage over the top.

There were a few other instances where things like this popped up, but the truth is, things like that improve with experience at he was a redshirt freshman last year. So I will really be interested to see how he picks things up pre-snap in 2021.


Spencer Rattler Scouting Report image 3

Draft Stock

Rattler has the kind of skill set that has proven to be successful in the NFL. He's got the arm and the mobility that can be a terrific combination. He doesn't have impressive size for the position, but that is proving to be less vital with the game spreading out and the rules that protect passers.

I'll add that he's a bit stocky, so that should help ease some concerns in that regard. Having already displayed some advanced traits at the position heading into his third collegiate season, Rattler has a chance to be the first quarterback off the board with a strong 2021 campaign.

He does have a kind of swagger about him that can sometimes come off as a bit cocky, but given the amount of success he's had at the high school and collegiate level, there appears to be a work ethic behind it.

Work ethic is never an easy thing to evaluate unless you've been around the locker room or spoken to reliable sources that have been around him. I'll add that his status as an Academic All-Big 12 honoree makes me feel more confident in my evaluation of his work ethic. That should garner the respect of his coaches and teammates, and that's really all that matters in the end.

With another strong year and more development in a few key areas, I wouldn't be shocked to see him declare following this season. Not only would further development likely put his name in the top-ten category, but he could be a candidate to be a number-one overall pick.


Spencer Rattler Scouting Report image 4

Player Comparison

There are definitely some similarities between him and Zach Wilson. Both have effortless arm strength, good mobility, and a bit of swagger to their game. I think Rattler is certainly ahead of where Wilson was entering the 2020 season, and we saw similar growth with his timing and deep ball that Wilson displayed in his breakout campaign.

Rattler will probably not come in at six feet, two inches like Wilson did, but I wouldn't be shocked to see him come in at 210-215 pounds. Just going by my gut, I'd say Rattler comes in between six feet and six feet, one inch.

There is also a playmaker mentality that I think both share. I also think Rattler's deep-ball accuracy is well on its way to being a strength like it was for Wilson.

It's not inconceivable to say that he bears some resemblance to Baker Mayfield either. Coming out of the same system, there are bound to be similarities that connect the two based on being groomed by Lincoln Riley. Also, the measurements I listed above are right around where Mayfield came in prior to the 2018 NFL Draft.

Games Evaluated

  • at Iowa State (10-3-20)
  • vs Texas (10-10-20)
  • at TCU (10-24-20)
  • vs Oklahoma State (11-21-20)
  • vs Iowa State (12-19-20)
  • vs Florida (12-30-20)

Notes from Film

  • Adequate height with slightly above average frame and terrific mobility. Teams have to respect his ability to pull it and run or scramble.
  • Effortless arm strength without much of a wind up. Can sometimes wind up a bit when he really wants to put some zip on it, but the ball pops off his fingertips and travels well because of the consistent spirals he puts out.
  • Certainly has the ability to throw off of different platforms and with multiple arm angles. What I like is that he doesn't do this unless he's got a wide-open target where he can put air under it. It's one thing to do it when you've got what you want but you don't have the throwing lane or were flushed in the wrong direction. It's another to do it in a tight windows where accuracy is vital. He knows when he can get away with it and not.
  • One thing that is noticeable early is his ability to stay balanced because of his active feet. His weight is always under him and he's ready to pull the trigger or shift up or out of the pocket. His feet are light, he doesn't let his weight get too heavy on one foot or the other.
  • A couple good examples in their first matchup with Iowa State of him using subtle movement in the pocket to buy time against a free blitzer to give receiver a chance to get head around. Good example of poise in the face of pressure but he's had some mistakes too. The late interception was against the blitz and he had no clue that the safety was in the deep middle which is unfortunate because that’s where he was initially lined up. No reason to throw that ball.
  • Does a good job manipulating defenses with his eyes, which is trait we see often out of Lincoln Riley's quarterbacks. Sells it well with his eyes and posture and also displays good timing coming off of it to make a rhythm throw as opposed to having to hurry it.
  • Early on, I love his willingness to take what the defense gives him. Has no problem dumping it off to the flat on bootlegs and rollouts. There are times he doesn't even look down field, which is a mature approach considering that quick peak can be the difference the flat player getting time to turn upfield and not.
  • Locked on to the single-receiver side against Texas and threw a pick because linebacker saw it and undercut the route. Had a blitz read from the slot of the four-receiver side and would have been wise to come off and throw it to the receiver in the flat. Was taken out after second poor turnover where he held onto the ball too long. Out for two series then back in.
  • Can sometimes get a little too caught up trying to hit the receiver in stride with a dart on the deep ball as opposed to putting more air under his pass and pushing it deeper to let the receiver run under it. There were a few dimes from him in the TCU game where he did a great job of letting his man run under the ball as opposed to trying to fire it on a rope.
  • Has to keep the ball tight to his body when he steps up into the pocket. There are times he steps up into the chaos and the ball gets away from his frame and even drops around his waist.
  • Needs to be careful about throwing off poor platforms when it's not necessary. Against Oklahoma State, a lot of things were going right and we started to see him get a little complacent with his throws. He was throwing off his back foot and drifting back and the accuracy suffered. He still completed some of them, but they brought the receiver to a stop or forced him to go to the ground for it. In a blowout, the completion is a win, but in a tighter game, losing out on a receiver's chance to run after catch would sting far more.
  • Deep ball accuracy was also very poor in the Oklahoma State game. There were examples where he didn't even give his receiver a chance, or didn't see the safety in coverage. Some of these were designed shots deep too, which makes me question why he didn't know the coverage prior to the snap, and read the safety to ensure he knew where he needed to put the ball to give his receiver the best chance.
  • Having said that, his deep balls were gorgeous in the final two games of the year against Iowa State and Florida. Great loft and depth. Good ball placement to allow receiver to separate away from defender. If consistently throws the ball downfield like this, he may follow in the footsteps of Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray as a Heisman winner and number-one overall draft pick.
  • Terrific job throwing the football in the Big-12 Championship. Threw the ball with good timing. Great ball placement and touch on various throws downfield. Had a few issues maneuvering in the pocket against some pressure but other than that, it was his most consistent performance so far. Even some of his incompletions were well thrown.
  • Gorgeous throw on second pass of the Cotton Bowl. Pressure was coming unblocked right up the middle and he stayed in and threw a beautiful deep ball with loft and depth that the receiver could run under for the first score of the game.
  • In the Texas game he was pulled after holding onto the ball too long and losing the ball on a sack. We saw that again against Florida. Rattler had a good year, and at times, success came pretty easy. However, he can't get complacent. Against top competition, turnovers are game changers and he has to trust his internal clock as opposed to letting his success sway his decision making. Not to mention as a slightly undersized quarterback, he needs to limit the shots he takes.
  • At this point, his accuracy and ball placement are good, but the complacency sometimes showed up in his footwork too. He settled for throwing off his backfoot and it cost him in this area. Once again, it can be easy to get this way when a lot of things are going in Oklahoma's favor. Still, against top competition blowouts are far less likely and he can't let these bad habits persist.
  • One area he is a bit advanced is in his ability to keep his eyes downfield. Oklahoma doesn't ask their quarterbacks to go through multiple progressions a lot, but when you see Rattler continue to keep his eyes downfield throughout the play and even when he is escaping the pocket and evading pressure, its encouraging.


Scouting Video Courtesy of JustBombs Productions




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