Draft Prospect Spotlight
Clayton Thorson 6’4 225lbs
Welcome back to The B&G Report. It’s been a rough go for Skins fans this year, especially after the dismantling by the Dallas Cowboys. The Redskins playoff hopes are now gone and it’s time for the next phase of player evaluations. The Kirk Cousins contract debate is in full swing, as well as debates on who’s getting resigned and who’s not. Over the next few weeks The B&G Report will touch on all those topics, but also take an early look at the prospects that haven’t garnered much national attention. Just mentioning the Draft ProspectSpotlight teaser for Northwesten QB Clayton Thorson, caused fans on social media to jump and voice their displeasure. In no way are the B&G Report Spotlight Prospects my picks for the Redskins to draft, just going through some players that you might not hear about until late in the draft process. Thorson will be just one of many draft eligible prospects, that the B&G spotlight shines on. Let’s get started!
Clayton Thorson isn’t a household name, but he’s one of those grinder/no excuse throwback quarterbacks and will do anything to win. The Wildcats finished the regular season ranked 20th in the nation, with a 9-3 overall record and 7-2 in conference play. Thorson threw for 2809 passing yards, 15 TD’s, 12 int and rushed for 8 touchdowns. His TD’s were down and interceptions were up from 2016 though, (3182 passing, 22 TD’s, 9 ints & 5 rush TD’s) but that was attributed to the loss of talent the Wildcats saw depart after the 2016 season. After watching some Northwestern tape, Thorson took more risks this year because the talent around him was severely lacking (YouTube above). The risks led to more turnovers, but also led to more big plays through the air. The final result was a better final record than the previous year, when they finished 7-6. Thorson is a redshirt Junior, but some indications are he’ll declare for the 2018 NFL Draft. That could also depend on where he’s slated by the experts during the pre-draft process, but could still return for another year of eligibility. We’ll go on the premise for now, that the QB realizes he’s done all he can do in the armature ranks and make the leap. This year boasts some real talent at quarterback, but not just in the first 64 picks. In 2016 Thorson was an Academic All American and I’d expect nothing less from a Northwesten QB. His game should translate well to the pros, good coaching and patience will be key. Most draft experts peg him as a late second round/ early 3rd round prospect. Thorson will surely get an invite to the NFL Combine, which will be his opportunity to display his skills on a national stage. After the Wildcat QB is poked & prodded during the Pre-Draft process, I envision a team taking a flyer on him early in round 3 of the 2018 Draft.
Fit with Washington????
I love Thorson as a prospect, especially his ability to run the read option and improvise, even though he’s more of a pocket passer. He’s not just a system QB though and routinely makes off schedule plays. At times Northwestern ran the read option, simply to keep defenses off balance and was effective using Thorson in that role. The 2017 Northwestern Wildcats had a decent season, but the level of competition will always be a drawback during the QB during evaluation period. The quarterbacks leadership and improvisational skills make him a favorite of some NFL GM’s. A pro scout who asked not to be identified, stated Thorson would be a top 20 pick if he played at any of the top BCS programs. At the moment the Redskins probably wouldn’t pony up a second rounder for a QB, but that could all change quickly based on the Kirk Cousins contract situation. Regardless if Cousins signs long term, gets the franchise tag or is given the transition tag, the Skins desperately need depth behind Kirk. I know Colt McCoy has a strong following within Redskins Nation, but he isn’t the answer. Colt is not an ideal bridge QB for a rookie to learn behind. McCoy simply can’t stay healthy when starting multiple games and that’s bridge QB 101. I can envision Thorson holding a clip board for an NFL team for year or two, but he definitely has the ability to run a pro style offense if given a chance. Northwesten ran a lot of plays from shotgun, which the NFL has been trending towards in recent seasons. I’d love to see JohnGruden get a hold of him on “Quarterback Camp” and see what his conclusion would be. As a possible 3rd round prospect, the Skins should jump at the chance to draft the signal caller if he’s sitting there in the third. As it stands now, other positions will garner possible 1st/2nd round consideration for the Redskins, so a quarterback taken in the third should be in play.
Leading up to the 2018 Draft, The B&G Report will touch on as many early-late round draft prospects as possible. Many blogs/news sites will talk about the top prospects to look for, but at The B&G Report the driving belief is mid-late round draft picks make up the core of a franchise. These players need more exposure to say the least. Stay tuned for next edition of Skins Q & A, in which The B&G Report will answer questions about the current and future state of the Redskins franchise. Please submit questions, as well as any Draft prospects you’d like to hear about! HTTR!🏹🏈