Today we are analyzing one of the most interesting and puzzling quarterbacks in college football, Texas Tech’s 6’5″ 220 lb. passer Tyler Shough. Shough sat two years at Oregon behind Justin Herbert, then started all seven games in 2020 in an up and down season that saw him split time with teammate Anthony Brown. Let’s dive into the tape and see if Shough has a breakout year in store for him!
Strengths: Shough possesses all the desired physical tools of the modern NFL franchise quarterback. He has great size that allows him to see over the offensive and defensive lines and throw over defenders with ease. Shough’s arm strength is on the higher end and he has shown he can make all the NFL throws. In addition, Shough adds athleticism to this ideal physical profile, which makes him a true dual threat quarterback who is a constant threat to pick up yards with his legs. As a runner, he has great burst, quickness, and elusiveness, which also gives him great escapability out of the pocket. Shough’s ability to gather himself and make defenders miss at his size is impressive. His instant burst allows him to escape muddied pockets often. There are many instances of Shough gaining 5-10 yards when other quarterbacks would be sacked. Shough is reliable and effective at throwing short. His release is quick and he gets a lot of zip on the ball, which equates to a fast delivery on intermediate throws over the middle of the field. His intermediate accuracy is good, and he has flashed perfect ball placement, be it to tight windows over the middle or on touch throws to the sideline. Shough often hits his receivers in stride. Shough is comfortable and accurate throwing on the run, both when he resets himself and when he doesn’t. Combined with his escapability and running threat, this gives him valuable improvisational ability. Shough does not drop his eyes against pressure, instead keeping his eyes downfield and delivering through a hit. Given his inexperience, Shough already has a decent feel for incoming pressure.
Weaknesses: Shough won the QB1 job in training camp over Boston College transfer Anthony Brown, but did not keep a stronghold on the job throughout the season, losing a lot of in-game reps late in the season and playing the minority of snaps in Oregon’s bowl game. It is concerning that Shough could not hold off Brown, who is not spectacular by any means. This may have been due to his one glaring, recurring weakness that surely gave his coaches headaches: his tendency to throw interceptions to second-level defenders when he failed to see them. This lack of field vision and understanding of coverages is not surprising for such an inexperienced quarterback, but it must be corrected in 2021 so that Shough can first establish himself as a top college quarterback before aiming to be a high NFL Draft pick. Shough’s deep ball accuracy is still a work in progress. His flawed mechanics prevent him from getting as much strength on the ball as his arm can muster, and often his deep balls are 50/50. Shough is inconsistent going through progressions, although this improved late in the season. He is also too jittery in the pocket and needs to make his footwork cleaner and calmer. There are a few details for Shough to fix as a runner too. To begin, Shough tries to break through a defender’s grasp in vain too often, and should go down in these situations rather than risking getting hit again or allowing a second defender a chance at stripping him of the ball. He also should make better decisions of when and where to run, as he often runs right into traffic. Lastly, Shough won’t be able to elude defenders as consistently in the backfield in the NFL as he does in college, so he will have to learn to get the ball out quicker.
Bottom Line: Shough is one of the most puzzling quarterback prospects and has such a wide range of potential outcomes in his career. Given that he possesses all the natural talent and flashes of brilliance to become a future NFL franchise quarterback but is highly inexperienced and has yet to establish himself as a full-time QB1 in college, Shough could become a future top 10 pick or fail to ever be an undisputed college QB1, or anything in between. However, given the immense talent he possesses combined with his impressive flashes and Oregon’s track record of holding back quarterbacks from realizing their fullest potential in Eugene (first Herbert, and most recently Shough), I believe Shough will benefit greatly from the change of scenery he is getting by arriving at Texas Tech. I think Shough will fend off his competition for the QB1 job and produce a breakout year in an Air Raid offense that could benefit him if he improves on his weaknesses. I am not sure his running ability will be utilized as much as it could be at Tech, but NFL teams will be aware of the athleticism he possesses and this could just preserve his body until he gets to the next level. It is important to note that Shough has three years of eligibility remaining despite being a graduate transfer, having graduated in three years from Oregon and due to an extra year of eligibility from redshirting and due to Covid-19, respectively. It is highly possible that he stays two years at Texas Tech given his current level of inexperience, but I believe that when Shough does declare for the NFL Draft, be it in 2022 or 2023, he will do so as a first round talent and his mediocre passage at Oregon will be just an asterisk on his resume. There is no guarantee I will be correct, and it is certain that Shough’s 2021 season and how quickly he adapts at Texas Tech and improves his game will be interesting and important to follow.
- Cover Image: https://texastech.com/sports/football/roster/tyler–shough/11454