By Adam Aniba
Small School Prospect Spotlight; Layne Hatcher
Washington's issues at quarterback are well documented, but the team was invigorated when Alex Smith returned. His attitude was infectious leading his team to the NFC East Division title. Unfortunately, Smith's overall production and his late season injury, was a reminder that his leg will never be the same. With all signs pointing to a Smith retirement/release, finding a quarterback will be a top offseason priority.
Most projections have mocked the top four quarterbacks of the 20201 draft class; Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance and Justin Fields within the top 15 selections. When Washington's first selection comes around at #19, selecting the 5th best quarterback seems unlikely.
With chatter that Washington could be in the market for Lions' quarterback Matthew Stafford, a quarterback found in the latter stages of the draft to develop would be a smart move considering the drop off after the Big 4. A potential Stafford acquisition with Taylor Heinicke as the backup seems ideal, but Rivera seems to understand the importance of keeping a quarterback in the wings to develop. The Burgundy and Gold Report has found a potential match for this offense.
6'0" 200 lbs
7th Rd-UDFA Grade | QB | Ark State Univ
Career Stats In two seasons 22 games registered 5,004 yards and 46 td's 12 ints 172.2
2020 116/194 2,058 yp 19 td's 2 ints (11 games)
Hatcher was one of the most unheralded, but spectacular high school quarterbacks in the nation during his time at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, AR. Although Hatcher set state records for passing, he received little fanfare or attention from Arkansas or any other major SEC program. After committing to play for Arkansas State, he received a scholarship offer, out of the blue, from Alabama HC NIck Saban.
Hatcher was blueshirted, which is when student athlete participates in summer activities with the school and is put on scholarship in the fall or second semester. The Pulaski Academy quarterback would be 4th on the depth chart behind Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts and Mac Jones in 2018. With little chance to see the field, Hatcher entered the transfer portal and headed back to his original destination at Arkansas State. Hatcher has attributed a lot of his success to the short time he spent learning under Saban and the other coaches and quarterbacks he practiced with at Alabama.
Achievements and Accolades
* Set Arkansas State high school record with 15,483 passing 185 td's finshing with a 41-1 record
*Led SunBelt in '19 as the with a 167.9 passing efficiency rate (2nd all time in Sun Belt History)
Tale of the Tape
* Is tailor made for an RPO/Zone Read System
* Shows the ability to go through multiple progressions quickly
* Has a firm grasp of situational football
* Field leader, commands the huddle and shows the attributes of a proficient field general
* Lack of size shouldn't be a deterrent. Understands the nuances of avoiding contact and sliding
* Shows tremendous touch on his long ball
* Can throw from multiple angles and is efficient throwing on the run
* Although rushing totals were low, make no mistake this prospect is a dual threat option who looks to create passing lanes with his feet
Fit in Washington
Offensive Coordinator Scott Turner has shown that his play-calling benefits mobile quarterbacks with emphasis on RPO concepts and motions. The signing of UDFA rookie Steven Montez in 2020 spoke to Ron Rivera's desire to bring in mobile/athletic quarterbacks. It doesn't seem like Washington is sold on Montez just yet, so it's likely another developmental quarterback is signed this offseason. With the way COVID has affected college football, Hatcher could take advantage of the extra year of eligibility and return to school or take his chances in the NFL. Another option could be the Supplemental Draft for Hatcher. Either way selecting the Arkansas quarterback would be a wise developmental option for Washington, considering they have two selections in the 7th round.
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