While the 2013 NFL Draft class isn't anything like last seasons in terms of talent at the quarterback position, there's still plenty of quarterbacks to be had, especially in the later rounds. One such quarterback is former Miami University (Ohio) quarterback Zac Dysert. Not as big of a name as Geno Smith or Matt Barkley, Dysert has built up a respected reputation while playing in the Mid-American Conference and has some teams intrigued in him as a potential starter.
Dysert is a former Ohio high school Player of the Year and still ranks second all-time on Ohio's prep leader board for career passing yards. He lit up the MAC during his four years at Oxford, Ohio, routinely having big games like this one against Akron this past season where he threw for 516 yards and six touchdowns. He ranks second on the MAC all-time career passing yards list, ahead of Byron Leftwhich, Chad Pennington and a certain two-time Super Bowl champion and Miami alumnus.
That alone warranted him some attention, but what's getting the late-round pick more looks is his natural talent and ability and intangibles. A three-time captain (the only one in Miami history) Dysert has the leadership qualities that many teams are looking for. He has a powerful arm and at 6-foot-3, 231-pounds he has an elite NFL quarterback frame. His size and athleticism are what allowed him to throw for 12,013 yards and 73 touchdowns in his college career.
Dysert has the physical skills to develop into a good NFL quarterback With experience under both spread, shotgun style offenses (he played under three different head coaches and five different quarterbacks coaches and offensive coordinators while at Miami) and more traditional NFL style schemes he's shown that he can succeed in a variety of offenses. But at the same time, his lack of a consistent offense has some people around the league worried that he might have translation problems including former Super Bowl winning head coach Jon Gruden.
"Here's a guy who's seen way too much ... That can derail the best of them. Dysert is like a guy who has been allowed to listen to the first hour of five different language tutorial tapes. He might know a bunch of offensive concepts, but he has never truly been able to maintain any continuity with what he's learning. We talk about NFL quarterbacks like Sam Bradford and Jason Campbell and wonder if having too many offensive coordinators has hurt them. Is that too many voices, too few chances to truly become an expert within an offense and know how to freelance effectively within a scheme? I tend to think so. And those guys were first-round picks," Gruden wrote.
Gruden recently broke Dysert down on his Quarterback Camp series for ESPN and also brought up some other issues with Dysert's play.
Overall Dyserts biggest weakness tends to be his pocket poise. It's something reiterated across the net in scouting reports. He was sacked 159 times during his four-year career, and often times it was due to just bad decision making in the pocket. That lack of poise when the pocket broke down also led to inconsistency in his accuracy (he completed 63.8 percent of his passes for his career). He was intercepted 51 times in his career.
But even with those questions, Dysert, who missed the combine due to a slight hamstring tear, has seen his stock rise recently. The private workouts he's had with various teams have led to an increase in buzz for the quarterback who already received a higher grade (83.5) by NFL scouts than Barkley (82) or projected top-10 pick Ryan Nassib (78.7). He's been impressive in interviews, showing off his smarts and has been making the NFL level throws that some scouts were worried his time in spread offenses might have left him ill-equipped for.
Despite his shortcomings some think he's the most pro-ready option in the draft. One NFL scout even said he could see Dysert becoming an everyday NFL starter, comparing him to Matt Hasselbeck. The New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders are just a few of the teams who have been linked to having interest in drafting him.
Off the field, Dysert's about as good as they come. A devout christian, he's built up a reputation as one of the nicer players in the MAC. He even donated his long locks to a charity earlier this year. He'd be a great locker room addition for many teams around the league. If he get's the right shot and time to develop, Dysert could become a decent NFL starting quarterback.