With the college football season finally underway, we get a look at how some of the most interesting draft prospects will perform in this strange season. While some players compete to be the top player at their positions, most quarterbacks have a different competition. One of the most hotly contested spots in the 2021 NFL Draft is the QB4 placement. Shane Buechele’s NFL Draft hope is to be the fourth passer taken, and the first senior quarterback selected. How did Buechele get to this point, what does he bring to the table, and what does he still need to improve on before moving to the NFL?
Shane Buechele 2021 NFL Draft
Buechele was a four-star quarterback prospect in the state of Texas where he was superbly productive as both a passer and a rusher. In his senior year of high school, he competed in the prestigious Elite 11 camp and finished as the MVP runner-up. Buechele committed to play at the University of Texas, and became the starter as a true freshman and went on to be the most productive freshman passer in Texas history.
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Over the next two seasons, Buchele would struggle to stay healthy. He eventually lost his job to current Texas starter Sam Ehlinger. Buchele then transferred to SMU and was one of the most productive passers in the nation last season, finishing sixth in pass yards and touchdowns. Buchele also had a very strong start to open the college football season and is currently leading the country in passing yards.
What does Buechele do well?
First and foremost Buechele is highly regarded by coaches, teammates, and opponents for his locker room impact and leadership. He’s a high character guy that you can depend on to rally the troops and keep a team’s head up. He’s a quality football mind and a decently intelligent passer throwing 64 touchdowns to only 26 interceptions coming into this season.
His accuracy over the middle of the field in the short and intermediate is above average, and he can at times display a very impressive deep ball. He’s also a plus athlete for the position and has a strong feel for pressure in the pocket. He’s not going to be someone you design multiple run packages for, but he’s quick enough to effectively run the occasional read option.
Buechele has a high floor and projects as an ideal NFL back-up quarterback. Someone you can draft on day three, feel comfortable giving him a playbook, and be sure he’ll learn it inside and out. He’s good enough to come in a few games a season if need be, and help guide the offense efficiently without many hiccups. His upside is limited, but if a team wanted to roll with him as a starter during a rebuild, he’d be the perfect candidate. Similar to a Gardner Minshew or Colt McCoy.
Where does he struggle
Buechele’s biggest issues come from the fact that he doesn’t possess any impressive abilities. His arm talent is decent, but he struggles to consistently deliver strong balls downfield, and he really struggles with balls outside the hashes. His frame isn’t ideal either, as he only stands at 6’1 and weighs 207 pounds. I mentioned that he’s a good athlete, but he’s by no means a runner.
Buechele is generally accurate and a good decision-maker, but every so often you’ll see a play that leaves you wondering why. Eliminating those occasional mental errors should be the first thing he looks to correct as he transitions to the NFL.
Buechele’s NFL Draft will likely vary via his performance this season. As long as he continues to be one of the most productive passers in the nation, the NFL will find a place for him. He has moxie that teams will be drawn to, and his presence in a locker room and charisma will lead teams to think he belongs with them. He profiles as the perfect back-up quarterback, which may sound like a slight against him, but it assuredly isn’t.
Hall of Fame head coach Joe Gibbs once said “the second most important position on a football team is the back-up quarterback.” Gibbs also happens to be the only coach to win three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks. Expect at least one team to fall in love with the person Buechele, as much if not more than the player.