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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Andy Dalton Scouting Report

Andy Dalton, QB, TCU, 6'2 215 lbs


Strengths: The consummate winner, Andy Dalton set a TCU record with 42 career victories as opposed to only 7 losses. 6 of those 7 losses were by 7 points or less, an indication of how the Horned Frogs were almost always in a position to win just about EVERY game Andy Dalton quarterbacked from 2007-2010. A four year starter after being redshirted his true freshman season, Dalton improved his completion percentage, yards per attempt, TD/INT ratio, passer rating, and lowered his sack total in each consecutive year as the chart below shows…

Completion Percentage
Yards per Attempt
TD/INT Ratio
QB Passer Rating
Sack Total
0.9 (10-11)
2.2 (11-5)
2.9 (23-8)
4.5 (27-6)

Not only did he just win games though, Dalton also led TCU to a bowl game in every season he started as QB (3-1 record in those games). 

Running for a score in TCU's Rose Bowl win vs Wisconsin
Andy Dalton has good size for an NFL starting quarterback (6'2 215 lbs) and despite being criticized for his lack of physical attributes, Dalton showed mobility and toughness throughout his career. He carried the football more than 400 times and lost zero fumbles. Has ability to make people miss moving from within the pocket as well as out in space, while still maintaining control of the ball. 

He has a nice quick release, does a great job of squaring his shoulder to the target and getting the ball out. This can be seen in TCU's quick passing game which is full of screens, bubble routes, and 3 step passing game routes. Dalton's extraordinary anticipation of throwing windows makes him a very accurate passer. His anticipation, high football IQ, and timing with receivers more than makes up for his lack of elite arm strength and velocity. 

In his March pro day, Dalton was said to have been impeccably accurate with the football; all 50 passes were catchable and his velocity impressed a number of the scouts in attendance. 46 representatives from 26 separate NFL clubs were present for the TCU pro-day.

Devoted work ethic, high character kid, and fearless leader, Andy Dalton has the mental makeup that any team would love to have. He wins ball games, motivates his teammates, throws the football accurately, and cuts down on turnovers.

Very similar to Colt Mccoy in that Andy has a strong will and high character; skill set similarities include accuracy, anticipation, and mobility.

Weaknesses: Albeit Dalton has an excellent mental make-up and other important quarterback qualities, this QB lacks elite arm strength and was rarely called upon to throw deep passes outside the numbers and downfield. I will say he displayed nice touch on his deep balls, I do not see the ability to really drive routes 25-30 yards downfield. This combined with his relatively average velocity, makes me believe his draft placement is limited to a west coast offensive scheme.

This next weakness is more of a quirk than anything, but is hardly recognized in scouting community. At times, Dalton will show a similar delivery to Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick, whom I see as a late 1st round talent, has been largely criticized for his awkward and unconventional delivery that I believe stems from his high school pitching days. Kaepernick will pronate his non-throwing left arm while bringing the ball behind his head, creating a strange illusion to film watchers. In a similar fashion, Dalton will do this very thing. Given he doesn't consistently make this mechanical error, Dalton needs to clean up this part of his throwing motion.

Another problem I find is his upright throwing stance lacking strong knee bend and active feet. As I have noted earlier, Dalton has the ability to get out and run, however Dalton is just beginning to show a comfort level necessary within the passing pocket. Dalton has to improve on being more active with his feet in feeling pressure,  sliding to avoid sacks, and get more stride into his throws. That being said, I have to counter this by stating that Andy does a good job with his feet in relation to the base of his throws in that he doesn't have an issue with over striding. 

Finally, the most talked over weakness of all quarterbacks in this draft class, the spread option system. Andy Dalton at TCU ran a spread-run option system that utilized a gun-option effectively, while spitting the ball out to slot receivers in a short, consistent 3 step timing manner. The occasional deep pass was utilized efficiently, and a strong running attack was prevalent. I will say that there are a number of plays evidencing Dalton's ability to go through a progression, however in most of his throws Dalton would catch the snap, simply rock back, and throw a pre-determined read. The pre-snap part of Dalton's game is a strong suit on one hand, nonetheless a majority of the throws Dalton made were fairly simple and easy completions. The biggest thing going forward is getting Dalton comfortable dropping back from center, making reads in that drop, and learning how to get adequate knee bend and foot-action (no pun intended) in order to drive the football downfield. 


Best fit: First off the team must be a West coast system. That knocks off quite a few teams, but most teams implementing a WCO in the league today are in need of a QB. Those teams include San Francisco, Minnesota, Seattle, and Washington. 

While all of the previously mentioned franchises likely have a strong interest, as will many other teams looking for serviceable backups, I see the Minnesota Vikings as being the best fit for Andy Dalton schematically and in accordance with the player personnel.

In the best season of Brett Favre's career (statistically), Favre was most effective in throwing the short dump-off or screen routes, completing more passes (126) in attempts from 1-10 yards than any other area on the field. From the film I've seen, Dalton as afore mentioned, was equally effective in the short passing game at TCU. In that 2009 season, the Vikings were a stone's throw from making the NFL's Super Bowl; the reason for such a dramatic dropout in 2010 obviously stems from the lethargic play of Brett Favre. After throwing for 14 TDs and zero picks in attempts 11-20 yards in 2009, Favre threw 4 TDs to 8 interceptions in the same attempt range. Moreover, Favre's TD/INT ratio in 2009 for attempts 1-10 yards was 10/2, while in 2010 the ratio fell to a lousy 5/4.

By bringing in Dalton, the Vikings can actually rebuild the state of the franchise from within. They can wait until round 2, trade down right in front of Seattle, and get Dalton for a much lower price than signing another veteran quarterback or trading for Kevin Kolb once a CBA is met. Dalton has less of the major concerns that the top QBs of this class have, and would be a much safer pick in rounds 2 or 3 depending on the vibe around the league. Dalton teamed with Percy Harvin in the quick hitting passing attack, and Adrian Peterson pounding the running game could bring some life back to a dying Minnesota Vikings offense. In round 1 the Vikings can address glaring needs on defense, draft Dalton on day 2, and possibly draft Dalton's go to man Jeremy Kerley late on day 3. 

X-Factor: Can Dalton overcome the "weak arm" and "spread system quarterback" labels placed upon him? How will these West Coast offense teams address their needs at the quarterback? In my mind, there's no time to wait as long as there's no CBA. If teams draft as differently as I think they will, then Dalton could go higher than expected. 

Where will he be drafted: In the middle portion of the 2nd Round

Where should he be drafted: 3rd Round- There's so much depth across the board on the defensive side, talent-wise, to pass up. Dalton will be drafted much earlier than expected by a West Coast Offense desperate for immediate quarterback help.

NFL Comparison: Colt Mccoy, QB, Cleveland Browns

Andy Dalton vs. San Diego State

Andy Dalton highlight tape


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