NFL Draft analyst John Vogel breaks down Oklahoma redshirt sophomore quarterback Spencer Rattler. Here’s why you should expect him to be the first overall pick in 2022.
In the last four NFL Drafts, we have witnessed two Oklahoma quarterbacks go first overall. In 2018, Baker Mayfield, the walk-on, was taken by the Cleveland Browns, where he has been a significant piece in the change of culture on the team. The next season, in 2019, transfer quarterback Kyler Murray was selected by the Arizona Cardinals. To go a step further, transfer Jalen Hurts was selected in the second round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2020 and is primed for a breakout season in 2021.
Now, redshirt sophomore quarterback Spencer Rattler appears ready to make a run for the Heisman Trophy, where Oklahoma quarterbacks under head coach Lincoln Riley have all thrived. Mayfield and Murray both won the award before they were selected, while Hurts was a runner-up.
Since taking the head spot in Norman, Oklahoma, the question surrounding Riley has been about his ability to develop in-grown talent. All three of his star quarterbacks were transfers into the school. He inherited Mayfield, a walk-on transfer from Texas Tech, where he had walked onto their team. Murray came from Texas A&M, where he had flashed but struggled under Kevin Sumlin. Hurts, of course, was the diminished star at Alabama who had been benched for Tua Tagovailoa, who went fifth overall to the Miami Dolphins in 2020 and is on the verge of a spectacular season in 2021.
Not scouting the helmet, but assessing Spencer Rattler himself
We do not want to fall into the trap of helmet scouting itself, especially with Spencer Rattler. Just because of the recent history of Oklahoma quarterbacks, we do have to ask if the scheme does play a factor in the collegiate success of the quarterbacks.
|Player (Year) YR||Comp%||Yards Per Game||Adjusted Yards Per Attempt||Efficiency Rating|
|Baker Mayfield (2017) RS-SR||70.5||330.5||12.9||198.9|
|Kyler Murray (2018) RS-JR||69.0||311.5||13.0||199.2|
|Jalen Hurts (2019) SR||69.7||275.1||12.2||191.2|
|Spencer Rattler (2020) RS-FR||67.5||275.5||10.3||172.6|
Lincoln Riley’s scheme and the overall talent level at Oklahoma are astounding. Judging by the similar numbers that the four quarterbacks have posted, I would say that the scheme does play into it a little bit. As you can see in the table above, Rattler’s numbers are subpar to the others who have come through, but on track considering that he entered this season with just 7 passing attempts to his name.
It wasn’t easy for Rattler immediately either, who was benched briefly following some poor play against Texas. However, he rebounded and led the team to a victory over their rivals and didn’t lose another game down the stretch.
Arm talent and accuracy
The first part of Spencer Rattler’s game that stands out is his arm talent. Rattler was a five-star prospect entering college in 2019 due to his natural talent. He has a cannon for an arm and is capable of throwing to any point on the field.
It’s not simply being able to throw well. His strength is purely in his arm, which is a rare trait as well. Typically, quarterbacks step into the throw and twist their hips more to “sling” the football from their arm. Spencer Rattler can throw from different angles and platforms – regardless of whether he is set.
If you watched these two clips, there is another thing that stands out from the throws, not only his arm talent. His placement and accuracy are incredible. He knows where to lay the football and how to deliver it to make it a good catch. We call that “touch ability.” His arm talent is ridiculous, to say the least.
The last thing that stands out on film is his release. It’s very tight, compact, and quick. This will be intriguing at the next level.
While Oklahoma has recently seen some incredible mobile quarterbacks between Murray and Hurts, Rattler’s mobility stands out as another big bonus to his game. He’s not quite on the level of either of the aforementioned players, but he’s effective at keeping plays alive and has the speed to gash defenses if needed.
The most important part of his game is that he is looking to throw first before he takes off running. His mobility is used as an extension to his passing ability. However, when he has to run, he has some serious athletic ability to maneuver through traffic.
Spencer Rattler’s natural playmaking skills
Playmaking skill is now a huge part of being a quarterback. Gone are the days where average traditional drop back quarterbacks thrive in the NFL. The right system and team is very difficult to create for that style of quarterback. Instead, playmaking has become a huge part of the quarterback position. Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, and Dak Prescott are all renown for their ability to make things happen when the play falls apart.
Playmaking is the ability that the quarterbacks shows to keep the play alive in or out of structure when things go poorly. The two plays in the video clip below show just how natural Rattler does this, and how effortless he makes it look.
The rest of the class compared to Rattler
To me, there isn’t a player in this class who has the combination of elite skills that Rattler possesses. Matt Corral at Ole Miss is a personal favorite of mine, but his athleticism isn’t nearly as dynamic as Rattler’s. Some analysts have also named players like Malik Willis at Liberty, Carson Strong at Nevada, and Sam Howell at North Carolina. Again, these guys have good things going for them but do not have the skill set that matches Rattler.
The Oklahoma quarterback needs to take a step up this season, which is anticipated by any quarterback with a season starting under his belt. With a full offseason to prepare, that step could be extraordinary.Embed from Getty Images