If Ryan Nassib’s last name was “Manning,” we would be less concerned about which round of the NFL Draft he’ll go in, and more concerned about how many teams have the stockpile of picks necessary to trade up for him.
I don’t mean “Peyton.” In fact, “Eli” would be pushing it. But if Eli had a younger brother that struggled just a bit more with his accuracy — fans that watched years of errant passes fluttering in the autumn Giant Stadium winds are cringing — that’s Nassib.
Nassib excels at finding the open receiver, even if it isn’t his primary target. He makes blogger-posing-as-scout’s job easy, as his pronounced head movements on the Youtube clips show that he’s cycling from his first read to the second to the third. Syracuse didn’t seem to entrust Nassib with reading the defense pre-snap or engaging in audibles very frequently; for a useful comparison, watch clips of Philip Rivers at North Carolina State (the packages he ran as a freshman are impressive). But an NFL team knows that Nassib will be comfortable cycling through his progressions at the next level. That has to provide some awfully good peace of mind to NFL scouts and executives.
Nassib has a pretty quick release. His throwing motion is sort of herky-jerky, almost as hard on the eye as the aforementioned Rivers. But he brings the ball from a tucked position to out of his hand awfully fast.
Nassib displays awfully good accuracy on short-to-intermediate passes, especially if he’s unmolested in the pocket. On longer passes, he’s more erratic. Nassib also seems much less comfortable throwing outside the pocket and even, from within the pocket, after being forced to shift his feet.
His arm strength is good, but not so superb that he doesn’t underthrow receivers downfield now and then.
Nassib will not wow you with his mobility. He has trouble evading the rush in the pocket sometimes, and I’m sure his 40 time would make plenty of bloggers feel better about their athletic ability.
One other critical point about Nassib: he seems to understand ball security. He threw a few legitimate picks this year — throwing into coverages he misread, or throwing behind someone across the middle. He also fumbled on quarterback hits more than once. But his fairly modest interception totals included a few tipped passes or freak plays. And the way he carries the ball and takes sacks instead of just wildly attempting to unload the ball suggests that, at the very least, he can be coached to limit turnovers at the next level.
You may be saying to yourself, with all the accolades I’m heaping upon Nassib, “Why didn’t he put up better stats?” I would be saying, “I hope they ask that rhetorical question about the stats in the course of this blog post.” If you saw Geno Smith play this year, imagine the following: one out of every two times Geno throws to Tavon Austin or Stedman Bailey, instead of reaching up and calmly snatching the football out of the air, as those receivers did, they instead launched into a spastic ballet dance, allowing the ball to careen off of whatever body part of theirs happened to be closest to the quarterback at the moment of impact. That’s pretty much what Nassib had to deal with at Syracuse. Oh, those receivers tried hard, and made some good plays. But they took “hands-of-stone” to a new level, and you can assume that the stat lines for Nassib would have looked a little prettier with an improved corps of pass-catchers.
Even so, Nassib’s statline still featured over 62% of passes completed, for about 3700 yards, touchdowns in the high 20s, and just 10 interceptions. You know who boasted similar stats his final season at Ole Miss? Lets just say no one was discussing him as a second-round pick.