2022 NFL Draft First Look: Kedon Slovis

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Today we are analyzing USC’s star quarterback, 6’3″ 215 lb. passer Kedon Slovis. Slovis was named First Team All-Pac-12 in 2020 and is regarded as one of the top quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft class. Let’s take a look at his game!

Strengths: Slovis is an excellent distributor of the football. He is a very accurate quarterback and ball placement is perhaps his best trait. Slovis’s accuracy to the short and intermediate levels of the field is terrific and his deep ball accuracy improved in 2020 and certainly shows the flashes to inspire confidence in future progression. His ability to perfectly place the ball on sideline throws on a consistent basis is very impressive, and he also shows he can throw into tight windows with a lot of zip and proper placement. Slovis layers the ball over second-level defenders well. He often hits his receivers in stride, leading them to positive yards after the catch. There are a lot of instances on contested throws where Slovis places the ball in the only place where it can be caught by his receiver. Slovis also possesses terrific vision of the field. He goes through his progressions remarkably well for a young QB, scanning the field until he finds his open man. This remains true even against pressure. This is where Slovis’s improvisational ability comes in: He is not the most athletic quarterback, but he has enough twitchiness to escape pressure at times and then excels at locating a receiver to get a completion when other quarterbacks would get sacked. Slovis can make every NFL throw, and do so accurately, even against pressure. Slovis is not a special athlete by any means, as previously stated, but he has some quickness to him and could be better as a runner than his low usage in this area suggests. Regardless, Slovis has shown he can pick up yards with his legs when they are there, at the very least. He is also very capable of comfortably and accurately throwing on the run. Slovis has several game-winning drives on his resume, including against Arizona State and UCLA in 2020. He is an experienced, battle-tested quarterback who has proven he can be a high-volume passer. 

Weaknesses: My primary concern with Slovis is his regression in certain areas in 2020. Slovis’s per-game interception rate was higher in 2021, and some were plainly bizarre and uncharacteristic. He rarely makes an off-target throw, but in 2021 those rare misses were too often interceptions. Slovis will need to eliminate these turnovers from his game. His accuracy also took a dip in 2020, and while it was still good he needs to return to his 2019 level of accuracy. Slovis’s regression wasn’t drastic at all, but still puzzling. One of Slovis’s weaknesses is sensing blindside pressure, which can lead to strip sacks when he does not realize a pass rusher is closing in on him. Slovis flashes a beautiful deep ball and improved throwing deep in 2020, but he is still a bit inconsistent with some misses downfield. Although he may be an underrated and underused athlete, Slovis clearly has limitations as a runner and his legs will never be something a coach can rely on to extend plays. 

Bottom Line: I am still undecided on Slovis’s chances of success at the NFL level, given that he regressed a bit in 2020, throwing interceptions at a higher rate and seeing a dip in accuracy. His NFL projection will be dictated by how he bounces back in 2021. My realistic hope is that he shines and shows that his slump in 2020 was the excusable product of a strange, shortened season. If he manages to do so, I believe he projects to the next level as a franchise quarterback because of his accuracy, ball placement, and ability to read the field, even if his lack of top-notch athleticism lowers his ceiling. 2021 is as important a year for Slovis as any other quarterback in this class. 

Sources:

  1. Cover Image: https://www.latimes.com/sports/usc/story/2019-12-27/usc-quarterback-kedon-slovis-elbow-injury-ruins-his-holiday-plans

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