Today we are analyzing my preliminary QB1 in the 2022 NFL Draft class and a prospect I am extremely excited about: Oklahoma’s 6’1″ 205 lb. passer Spencer Rattler. Rattler burst onto the scene in 2020 as a redshirt freshman, becoming a Big 12 Champion and earning First-Team All-Big 12 honors. Let’s dive into the tape of a real candidate for the first overall pick in 2022!
Strengths: Rattler is an extremely talented and creative thrower of the football. His throwing motion is very quick and effortless, as he gets the ball out in the blink of an eye. Rattler’s arm strength is elite. Rattler is accurate to all levels of the field and has an especially impressive deep ball, which he throws with admirable velocity, touch, and anticipation, throwing his receivers open. His arm strength also allows him to put a lot of zip on the ball and make tight window throws. The most impressive part of Rattler’s game, which makes him a rare talent at the position, is his ability to extend the play and create off-schedule. He is a very twitchy athlete who is adept at maneuvering inside and outside the pocket to evade pressure. His ability to climb the pocket against pressure and throw with this forward momentum is valuable. Rattler truly shines when forced out of the pocket, as he throws on the run with remarkable ease and accuracy, capable of fitting the ball into a tight window along the sideline despite being on the run and without resetting his base. His ability to throw accurately from a variety of platforms and arm angles, inside or outside the pocket, when needed gives him another dimension as a passer that few quarterbacks have. Rattler’s tape is full of jaw-dropping throws, including great touch throws deep, perfectly placed tight window throws, and drive-saving plays on the run. He is also capable of making these throws through an incoming hit. As a runner, Rattler also has a lot of value, as he is athletic and elusive, and his legs are really useful near the goal line. His mental game is in a good place this early in his career, as he smartly resorts to his checkdown when needed and already shows the ability to manipulate safeties downfield. Just from watching his film, it is clear that Rattler plays with a lot of passion and desire. His toughness and competitiveness was clear when he went back in the game and played through a lot of pain with a hip injury against Kansas despite already being up 24-0. Rattler improved a lot as the season went on and matured as a player, making less ill-advised throws, sensing pressure better, and reading coverages better later in the season.
Weaknesses/ Areas to Improve: Rattler is listed at 6’1” but might be a shade under that, which results in more batted passes than for taller passers. Rattler’s elusiveness is a real strength, but in the NFL he will have to choose to throw the ball away against pressure more than he currently does to avoid taking too many hits. His improvisational ability is tantalizing but he will have to realize that certain hero plays can be too risky to attempt in the NFL. Rattler’s ability to sense pressure is improving but can still get better, especially regarding his blind side. His grip on the football is too loose in the pocket and currently poses a fumble threat, so he must rectify this. Rattler failed to see underneath defenders and threw into double coverage too often last season, although he got much better at avoiding this later in the season. He also gets in trouble when he locks onto his first read for too long and takes a sack because he didn’t move through his progressions early enough.
Bottom Line: Rattler has the potential to be a truly special quarterback. His effortless throwing motion and arm strength combined with his unique improvisational ability make him a really rare talent at the position, which he supports with good accuracy and placement throwing the football. Rattler is the early Heisman Trophy favorite for 2021, and his improvement over the course of the 2020 season leads me to believe that he may very well be on track to fulfill the lofty expectations being placed upon him. Along with Sam Howell, Rattler has a serious chance at becoming the first quarterback selected in the 2022 NFL Draft and to be in the running for the first overall pick. Rattler is already a better natural passer than fellow former Sooner QBs and top picks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, which really speaks to his immense NFL potential.
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