Brad Kaaya started right away as a true freshman for the Miami Hurricanes. Although he struggled in his first season as a starter, he improved drastically in his sophomore season. Kaaya completed 61.2 percent of his passes in 2015 and threw for 3,238 yards with 16 touchdowns and five interceptions. In 2016, Kaaya completed 62 percent of his passes and threw for 3,532 yards with 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Pittsburgh Steelers Should Draft Brad Kaaya
Kaaya is a bit raw and will need to develop more in the NFL. NFL.com compared Kaaya to Cody Kessler, but he also has some similar traits as Sam Bradford with a physical frame comparable to Geno Smith.
Quarterback of the Future
Ben Roethlisberger is nearing the end of his career and even had to take some time to think about whether he would return and play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, he recently announced via Twitter that he would be returning. Landry Jones has shown some sparks of good quarterback play, but he’s not the answer. Jones could be a dependable long-term backup, but he isn’t the franchise quarterback of the future.
Kaaya’s biggest weaknesses are Roethlisberger’s strengths. Kaaya struggles dealing with pressure, making plays happen outside of the pocket and throwing on the run. Roethlisberger excels at all those things, and ideally, Kaaya could learn from Roethlisberger until he is ready to take the reins.
Kaaya has a big physical frame at 6 foot 4 inches tall and weighing 215 pounds. He throws a beautiful corner fade in the end-zone and throws a soft ball that drops into his receivers’ hands nose-down. Kaaya has an accurate short-passing game and can throw into tight windows. He’s decisive with his throws, but still takes the time to scan the entire field. Kaaya hardly ever throws off his back foot and has good footwork in the pocket and overall pocket presence. He has experience playing in a pro-style offense and is comfortable under center and in play-action.
While Kaaya has a very accurate short-passing game and a nice, soft deep-passing game, he struggles on intermediate work. In 2016, Kaaya completed just 38 percent of his passes between eleven and 20 yards according to NFL.com. Also, while his deep-passing game is soft and smooth, Kaaya lacks elite arm strength and underthrows some of his deep balls. Kaaya has a very mechanical approach as a passer, causing him to lack some creativity and improvisational skills. Kaaya also lacks mobility outside of the pocket and struggles with pressure as mentioned earlier. Roethlisberger could help Kaaya improve his creativity and mobility.
Kaaya can learn from Roethlisberger and can also gain experience from one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, Antonio Brown. Kaaya could play soon if he is needed because of all the weapons the Steelers would have around him, but he’d likely sit and watch to develop for the future. Re-signing Jones allows the Steelers to potentially draft a quarterback and essentially “redshirt” him for the 2017 season, allowing him to simply learn the system. All of this makes Kaaya a viable option for the Steelers in the 2017 NFL Draft.