CHUCKIE KEETON- 6’2, 200- SR.
As usual, the heaviest scrutinized position in the 2015 NFL Draft Class will be at quarterback, and the group figures to be led by guys like Marcus Mariota, Bryce Petty, and Brett Hundley. Another option who has been garnering acclaim in scouting circles, however, is Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton.
The senior is somewhat reminiscent of Colin Kaepernick when he came out of the University of Nevada. He’s got some work to do on his passing skills and would probably be best served to sit for a while and work with an NFL quarterbacks coach, but he has the potential to be a successful dual-threat QB as a pro if he improves his game.
Unfortunately, though, Keeton tore his ACL and MCL midway through the 2013 season, which could have an influence on his play as a senior. He eased his way back during spring practices and should be a full-go in time for the regular season, but we’ll see how the injury affects his game. A huge part of his ability to be successful lies in his ability to be mobile so he’ll have to recover those skills if he wants to keep his draft standing.
Right now, Keeton probably projects as a mid-round selection, but his 2014 performance will have a huge impact on his stock. If he significantly improves as a passer and returns to form as a runner, he could potentially vault himself into the first round. On the flip side, though, a poor performance and a regression as a runner could potentially cause him to slip far down the board.
POSITIVES: Throws pretty well on the run…Does a great job throwing the deep ball, has fine touch and accuracy…Does a solid job of fitting balls into tight windows…Very good at making adjustments and directing things on the field…Great on-field poise, directs the offense extremely well for a college quarterback…Great arm strength…High runner, style is reminiscent of Colin Kaepernick’s.
NEGATIVES: Size is OK but less than ideal; weight could be of particular concern, as it was for Teddy Bridgewater this past year…Lack of height makes him susceptible to batted passes from defenders…Not always great with defenders in his face…Motion is exaggeratedly over-handed and away from his body…A little bit too comfortable in the pocket…Works in a non-traditional offense that probably doesn’t translate well to the NFL…Doesn’t have a great grasp of the right time to get rid of the ball…Awkward runner, dances around too much…Lacks touch throwing medium-length passes to his near sideline…Coming off a torn ACL and MCL suffered in 2013 that could reduce his mobility and hurt his game overall in 2014.
2014 Outlook: Keeton and the Aggies don’t have an exceptionally imposing schedule in 2014, though there are a few key dates to keep an eye on. They open up at Tennessee, which should be an interesting matchup. They’ll visit the always-tough BYU Cougars on October 3, and wrap their regular season slate up with the perennially-challenging visit to Boise State. Keeton may not have the greatest of competition, but he needs to show that he’s back to his former self as a senior and can be a viable option as an NFL quarterback.
Talent Grade: Third Round
Rams Role: The Rams might be in the market for another quarterback in 2015 if veteran backup Shaun Hill moves on at the conclusion of his one-year deal and sixth-rounder Garrett Gilbert doesn’t pan out. Keeton might be a fit in the middle rounds as a guy who’s a legitimate backup and is ready to fill the role right away.
Film Watched: vs. USC (2013), vs. Air Force (2013), vs. Utah (2013), vs. Louisiana Tech (2012), vs. Toledo (2012)