49ers.com’s pre-draft series continues with a profile on one of the tallest quarterback prospects to stand out in this year’s draft process.
Standing 6-foot-7, 242 pounds, Brock Osweiler represents one of the biggest quarterbacks to enter the NFL Draft in recent memory.
And if you watched Arizona State play over the past three seasons, there’s a good chance you’ve heard all about his stature, too.
Osweiler’s height and overall talents were especially discussed by broadcasters in 2011, a year in which the Sun Devils’ signal caller became the first passer in school history to surpass the 4,000-yard mark in a single season.
And after a March 30th pro day in which Osweiler completed 66 of 72 throws according to multiple reports, the ASU quarterback could very well be climbing up draft boards from a mid-round pick to a potential first or second-round selection. At least that’s the assessment of longtime draft analyst Gil Brandt of NFL.com, who felt Osweiler “vaulted himself into the first round” after an impressive workout.
It was certainly a big performance for the junior quarterback who went 7-8 in 15 career starts for the Sun Devils.
Because Osweiler was still in the process of rehabbing a mid-foot sprain eight weeks after suffering the injury in ASU’s Las Vegas Bowl defeat to Boise State, Osweiler missed out on the chance to throw at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine.
Last week, however, Osweiler made good use of his extra preparation time when performing in front of NFL scouts gathered for his pro day in Tempe, Ariz.
“Coming out of the bowl game with my mid-foot sprain, I never really experienced an injury like that,” Osweiler told ASUDevils.com. “It took me two months to get healthy… As a competitor, it was very hard to sit back and wait but I think it was well worth it.”
Osweiler, who led ASU to a 6-2 start this year with wins over Missouri, USC and Utah, wanted to display a wide array of difficult throws in the workout. In order to put together his best performance, Osweiler trained for his pro day with former ASU offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, who currently holds the same role at UCLA.
“We wanted to show everybody everything I had,” said Osweiler, who’s quick throwing motion has been compared by some to San Diego Chargers Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers. “We wanted to make all the difficult throws and that’s what we did today.”
In addition, Osweiler wanted to quiet concerns about his mobility and of course, silence questions regarding his injured foot. The Sun Devils quarterback believed he accomplished those goals by posting a 4.9-second, 40-yard dash.
In his mind, athleticism is not something Osweiler lacks by any means.
A one-time Gonzaga basketball recruit, who even entertained joining ASU’s struggling basketball program before he became a full-time starter at quarterback, shouldn’t have to answer questions about footwork or avoiding rushers.
But that’s the world Osweiler lives in. With only a few starting NFL quarterbacks standing over 6-foot-5 currently, Osweiler will have to demonstrate his athleticism and big arm translating to success at the professional level.
Height and athleticism in Osweiler’s mind, gives him a leg up over every draft eligible quarterback. Literally.
“Basketball, as far as the footwork, has definitely transitioned over to my football game as well as my vision,” Osweiler explained at the combine. “On the basketball court, you can be pushing the ball up the court, maybe bringing it up on the side and you’ve got to see somebody off in the corner, make a throw down the lane. Same thing as a quarterback. You’re sliding in the pocket, trying to find alleys to get the ball down field.”
In leading Mazzone’s quick-throw spread attack, Osweiler had to instantly read and react to Pac-12 defenses.
As a result, Osweiler showed he could handle a high-volume passing attack by throwing 26 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. He also finished second in the conference with 4,036 passing yards, ahead of Stanford’s all-but-assured No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck.
If only thing ended for Osweiler and ASU as well it began, perhaps Osweiler would be discussed as a first-round pick like his Stanford counterpart.
Instead, ASU suffered five consecutive defeats to end the year which led to the dismissal of head coach Dennis Erickson.
Osweiler could have returned to school for another year of development, but felt he was best served to join the professional ranks.
“It was a very difficult decision,” Osweiler admitted. “I spent about two weeks after our bowl game, discussing it every day with my family.”
Osweiler even reached out to former teammates, sending text messages asking for guidance to a group that included current 49ers wide receiver
“Really, when it came down to that final decision, it just came upon that I felt I had done everything I could in my time at ASU,” Osweiler said. “I had absolutely no regrets in my three years. I gave everything I had every single day to our football program, and I just felt like I was at a time and a place where I was ready to take my game to the next level and take on new challenges.”
Confident in what he can offer an NFL club, Osweiler sees his ascent into the league as a chance to prove quarterback’s with his kind of physique can excel at the highest level of football.
“I don’t feel like there has ever been a quarterback who is 6-7, 240 pounds and has the athleticism I do and can make every throw on the football field.”