Ryan Finley 2019 NFL Draft Profile

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Ryan Finley
JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 31: Ryan Finley #15 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack in action against the Texas A&M Aggies during the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl at TIAA Bank Field on December 31, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Overview
Position: Quarterback
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 213 pounds
School: NC State Wolfpack

Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash
: 4.73 seconds
Vertical jump: 30.5 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 8 inches (tied for fourth-best among quarterbacks)
Three-cone drill: 7.20 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.20 seconds (fourth-best among quarterbacks)

Ryan Finley 2019 NFL Draft Profile

Throughout high school and college, Ryan Finley demonstrated an impressive combination of on-field exploits and academic excellence. A native of Phoenix, AZ, Finley was named the Arizona Division III co-offensive player of the year as a senior. He threw for 3,442 yards that year which led the state in addition to tallying 35 touchdown passes. His work in the classroom was also recognized as he was one of 33 finalists for the National Football Foundation High School Scholar-Athlete Award.

Finley was lightly recruited, though. He received just one scholarship offer from Boise State whom he ultimately committed to in March of 2013. After sitting out a year, Finley contributed minimally as a redshirt freshman. The following year, he finally broke through as the Broncos starting quarterback but suffered a season-ending ankle injury three games into the season. Fellow 2019 draft prospect Brett Rypien replaced him in the starting lineup and proceeded to enjoy an impressive campaign. Combined with Finley earning his undergraduate degree in three years, it led to him transferring to NC State.

As a grad transfer, Finley gained immediate eligibility and subsequently won the starting job in 2016. He would go on to throw for 3,059 yards, a Wolfpack record for a redshirt sophomore. One year later, he put together an impressive streak of 339 straight passes without an interception, the second-best total in school history behind only Russell Wilson‘s 379 which is the FBS record. In both of his seasons as an upperclassman, Finley led the Wolfpack to nine wins including one of the ACC’s better campaigns in 2018. His 3,928 passing yards, 326 completions, 67.4 percent completion rate, and 37.2 attempts per game were all 10th or better among FBS quarterbacks.

Strengths

  • played in a pro-style offense in college;
  • should have a smaller learning curve adapting to an NFL playbook;
  • stays poised and has┬áthe awareness to evade pressure;
  • effectively drops the ball into the holes in zone coverage;
  • not much of a dropoff in accuracy when throwing on the run;
  • confidently slings it to receivers in stride;
  • can put the ball where only his receiver can get it on back shoulder fades;
  • capable of scrambling out of danger if the play breaks down;
  • seems to have the work ethic necessary to play in the league.

Weaknesses

  • though his height is prototypical, he might need to add more functional muscle mass;
  • touchdown production doesn’t match yardage production;
  • arm strength is a bit of a concern;
  • tends to force the issue when the pocket collapses;
  • needs to improve decision-making in pressure situations;
  • too quick to resort to check-downs;
  • sometimes puts the ball in places that force his receivers to work extra;
  • can get overly flustered in hostile environments.

NFL Comparison: Connor Cook

Teams With Need at Position: Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Washington Redskins

Projection: Early day three selection

Bottom Line

Finley’s college career was certainly an adventure. An injury gave him a medical redshirt which, combined with sitting out his freshman year, means it lasted six years. While he was never able to catch on at Boise State, he enjoyed a hugely successful three-year stint in Raleigh. That much is fairly clear considering his 10,501 yards passing is second in school history to Philip Rivers.

Among Finley’s more noteworthy traits are his across the board accuracy in a variety of throwing situations and his overall intelligence. The fact he earned his undergraduate degree in three years while working on his master’s degree later on indicates he’s willing to put in the requisite work to succeed at the next level. He’s also mobile when he needs to be, able to take the ball and run himself if options downfield aren’t available.

But Finley might need to convince scouts and talent evaluators that he’s not a game manager. Last year, he ranked sixth nationally in yardage while he was tied for 26th in touchdowns. Dwayne Haskins finished with twice as many touchdown passes, albeit his production was on a historic level. Another concern is that Finley has a tendency to put up ordinary efforts in big games. Against Clemson and in the TaxSlayer Bowl against Texas A&M this season, Finley combined for 295 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions.

Overall, there’s much to suggest that Finley can contribute in some capacity at the next level. Whether that’s as a backup or a starter remains to be seen and is contingent on his development.

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