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Brigham Young’s John Beck

Scouting Report: Brigham Young Cougars Quarterback John Beck.

Brigham Young's John Beck

SCOUTING REPORT: Quarterback John Beck-#12
School
: Brigham Young University Cougars
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 216 lbs.
40-yard dash time: 4.70 seconds( his fastest time at the combine)

2006 Season Stats:

Other than Colt Brennan, perhaps no signal-caller in college football had as good of a season as John Beck. In terms of pure statistics, he is nearly unmatched. He ranked second in the country to Hawaii’s Colt Brennan in passing efficiency with a rating of 169.1. Beck ranked in the top five quarterbacks in the NCAA in nearly every major offensive category: points responsible for (19 ppg.), total passing yardage (3,885 yards), and passing yards per game (323.75 ypg.). That is not even mentioning Beck tossed an eye gouging touchdown to interception ratio (32 touchdowns: 8 interceptions) and a hair-raising completion percentage of 69.3 percent. The guy nearly averaged a first down every time he completed a pass this season (9.3 yards per completion)! It shouldn’t be a surprise with those statistics that Beck reeled in 2006 Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors en route to leading his team to a MWC title this past season. Beck was also instrumental in the Cougars blowout victory over Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl. He torched the Ducks’ secondary for 375 yards and two touchdowns as the Cougars coasted to a 38-8 victory. After losing two of their first three games, Beck and the Cougars rattled off 10 straight victories, including their first bowl win since 1996. Beck forever etched himself in the hearts of Cougar fans everywhere when he tossed a game-winning touchdown pass against Utah at the buzzer, lifting BYU to a heart-stopping 33-31 victory over their rival. It should be noted that Beck played in 12 of 13 games this season for Brigham Young, missing only the Utah State game due to an injured ankle. He injured his ankle late in the overtime loss against Boston College. One of his most impressive stats is that he completed over 60 percent of his passes in every single game he started in 2006. The closest he came to missing the mark was against Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl (60.9 percent), when he had several receivers drop balls early in the contest. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that he completed over 70 percent of his passes in six of his games in 2006. That is downright dazzling. He led his team to an 11-2 overall record in 2006 and a top 15 ranking in the USA Today Coaches poll.

Legacy at BYU:

He peppered his name all over the Brigham Young record books en route to become the second-all time leading passer in BYU school history. That truly could end up being one of John Beck’s most impressive feats at BYU, becoming the second-all time leading passer at a school that is so tradition rich at the quarterback position. The likes of Steve Young, Ty Detmer, and Jim McMahon all have suited up for the Cougars in Provo and John Beck is lucky enough to say, in terms of total passing yardage, he’s second only to Ty Detmer. He also finished second in BYU history in total offense with 11,059 yards over his career in Provo. He plastered his name all over the Mountain West Conference record books, becoming the MWC career record holder in nearly every major passing category: total offense (11,059 yards), passing attempts (1,418), completions (885), passing yards (11,021 yards), and touchdown completions (79 touchdowns). Those are very impressive feats because legendary quarterbacks like Utah’s Alex Smith have recently come through the MWC ranks. BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae said, "I can link him right up there with some of the best that have ever come through this place, and I think his play on the field has shown that, as well." No matter what he does professionally, clearly John Beck established himself among not only one of the greatest quarterbacks at Brigham Young, but in college football history as well.

Strengths about John Beck:
         
Beck is armed with a lightning quick release and has remarkably good footwork in the pocket. He’s extremely good at shuffling his feet around the pocket to make sure his body is well-balanced to make the proper throws down the field. Good footwork is one of the most overlooked fundamentals of great quarterbacking and John Beck has some of the best footwork you will see of any prospect in this draft. The best example of Beck’s footwork comes at 5:11 into the video of the BYU 2006 Season in Review highlights. With his team down by four with three seconds left in the game, Beck dropped back in the pocket and couldn’t find any open receivers. So he shuffled from the right side of the field to his left, smoothly gliding his feet together and then back apart. If you look at his footwork, you’ll notice that he’s also very good about not taking very big strides, which is crucial in helping him keep good balance. Once a Utah defender chased after him, Beck raced back to the ride side of the field, jumped in the air and threw a beautifully lofted ball across his body to a wide open Johnny Harline(pronounced Har-leen) in the end zone to win the game. This throw also displays his tremendous arm strength, because Beck threw the ball while he was being tackled by a defender in the air and he was forced to throw across his body. The throw was only about 18 yards, but clearly it wasn’t your average throw. Not only did Beck demonstrate his arm strength, but his tremendous amount of patience and confidence in the pocket. He had to sit back in the pocket for 12 seconds to allow his receivers to finally get open. Even though there were no open receivers at first glance, he patiently waited for one of them to get open and believed he was going to make the play. The ability to perform in the clutch is what separates the great signal-callers from the good ones and Beck demonstrated that in lifting his team to victory.
         
He has a tremendous amount of zip on his balls and if anybody wants to question that, just talk to the BYU receivers, he’s jammed several of their fingers over the years. He fires a hissing spiral nearly every time the ball is released from his wrist.  He recorded the 2nd highest velocity of any quarterback at the 2007 combine, whistling the pigskin at 61.1 miles per hour. Good velocity can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on if you have good ball placement and Beck’s ball placement is the best in college football. One example of his beautiful ball placement came against Wyoming, when Beck dropped back to the 40-yard line and hurled a deep ball into double coverage, splitting the safety and the corner. BYU receiver Michael Reed acrobatically tipped the ball to himself where only he could catch it while he was falling backwards into the end zone. At 4:29 of the BYU 2006 Season Highlights, you’ll see perhaps the best placed ball in all of John Beck’s highlights. He beautifully lofts a ball into the outstretched right hand of tight end Johnny Harline. It was placed so well that even though the corner had excellent coverage on Harline, the ball floated right over Harline’s outside shoulder to where the corner had no chance in touching the ball. The deep ball he tosses against Colorado State at 2:40 of the same highlight reel also demonstrates his excellent ball placement. He tosses the ball and hits his receiver right around chest level in stride. Deseret Morning News writer Dick Harmon talked about how BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall talked about how good Beck’s ball placement was in an October article. Harmon wrote, “After BYU’s 47-17 win in LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday, head coach Bronco Mendenhall told reporters of an imaginary target window around a receiver and said that Beck appears to have control over his passes at the right time and at the right place and speed.” Let’s just say if John Beck were an archer, his nickname would be Robin Hood because there is nobody better at hitting the bullseye on his receivers.
            
Beck also makes some tremendous throws in the 2006 San Diego State contest. He’s also shown the ability to withstand pressure, step forward and make the throw in the pocket. At 3:16 of the BYU vs. San Diego State highlights, Beck is drilled by an Aztec defender, but still steps up into the throw a delivers a beautifully placed deep ball to Zac Collie. "That was as good a throw as I’ve ever seen," BYU quarterback coach Brandon Doman said. I wouldn’t go that far, but the throw clearly displays Beck’s ability to still put the ball where he wants to even when he’s under pressure. The highlights of this game also show Beck’s ability to put nice touch on his screen passes and some of the shorter routes.
          
In their 2006 contest against Air Force, Beck also demonstrated the ability to improvise when he danced around a defender, spun to his left and pitched the ball to running back Fui Vakapuna. Beck certainly won’t rush for over 100 yards in a game anytime soon, but he’s shown he can dance around the field for a few yards when he needs to with his 4.7 speed. He even rushed for a 13-yard touchdown in the Las Vegas Bowl against Oregon.
         
Beck not only has the physical tools that make him an elite field general, but perhaps the most important part of being a great quarterback is being a “natural born leader.” He was blessed with an immense amount of football talent that allows him to lead by example on the football field and he is a great person off-the-field. Coupled together, those two ideals form one of the best types of leadership you can find in any sport. The quarterback will always be looked at as a leader on any football team, simply because they touch the pigskin more than anybody else and they have the greatest chance to impact the outcome of the game. I’ve never met John Beck personally but if you watch the 2006 BYU Season Highlights DVD, you’ll see that John Beck does all the little things that great leaders do. When he comes off the field after a drive, he’s always giving everybody fives and making sure that his team sustains a high energy level. In his interviews he is always quick to deflect credit to his teammates. He has great respect for the game and the quarterbacks that have come before him at Brigham Young.
         
It is pretty funny because this kid was truly just a “natural born football player”. He began throwing spirals with a football at age two! So many members of the media and fans love talking about JaMarcus Russell’s arm strength, well here’s a tidbit for you, sitting on his knees from the 47 yard-line John Beck once tossed a ball through the uprights in BYU’s indoor practice facility! If that doesn’t demonstrate his freakish arm, then maybe the fact that he can throw the ball 75 yards regularly while standing on two feet does! His wrists must be made of iron, because he flicks the ball effortlessly across the field, placing it right where it should be, where only the receiver can make a play with the ball.
         
I could write a novel about John Beck and his immense football talent, but I’ll let him do the talking on the field after he surprises the so-called “experts” in the next few years. I have seen more people jump on the John Beck bandwagon lately, but trust me, I don’t think it is enough because this guy is much better than many people in the media are giving him credit for.

Weaknesses about John Beck:

Everybody has a weakness and for John Beck, these are two weaknesses that he cannot control. Perhaps the biggest two knocks on John Beck will be that he is a product of the spread offense at BYU and that he’s too old(25 years old.) You will never hear me say these two things will prevent Beck from being a legend in the NFL, but many NFL scouts will definitely tell you about it. Most quarterbacks who have been successful in the spread scheme on the collegiate level don’t turn out to be the greatest of pros. One example that comes to mind is Florida’s Danny Wuerffel, who won the Heisman Trophy, but went on to be a less-than-stellar pro. The biggest thing I can say to those who believe that Beck is a product of the spread offensive scheme is to go back and watch the tape. Look at his ball velocity. Watch his beautifully spun spirals as they hiss through the skies and land in ridiculous target windows. Watch his leadership ability and ability to perform in the clutch. I would also like to remind the people that claim he’s a system quarterback to remember this fact: John Beck has learned from two different offensive coordinators while at BYU, Gary Crowton and Robert Anae.
           
The other biggest knock on John Beck is that he’s going to be much older than your average rookie QB in the National Football League. He is currently 25 years old. Many feel that if you’re going to make an investment on a quarterback, then you should draft one who will have more longevity. John Beck will make an instant-impact in the NFL if he gets drafted into the right situation. That makes his age less of a factor, because there are plenty of quarterbacks in this draft that I don’t think will be ready for a few more years. Beck has all of the physical and mental tools to craft together a superb offense for whatever team is willing to take a chance on him.
           
Some people also might not like his low release point and the fact that he’s not prototypical size, (6’2, 216). The biggest legitimate concern here would be Beck’s low release point. He’s going to have to adjust his throwing motion to work on throwing the ball more over the top. Vince Young of the Tennessee Titans has a very low release point, but then again he is 6’5 so he can afford to release the ball at a lower point. At 6’2, I’m not so sure John Beck could continue to have his release point that low, but I’ll don’t think he’ll have any problems adjusting his motion. That is a decision that will be between him and the quarterbacks coach of the NFL team he lands on. My advice would be to keep his motion how it currently is, then if he experiences problems to adjust accordingly. You know what they say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
          
The height issue is not as big of a concern, simply because there are plenty of NFL quarterbacks around 6 feet tall, most notably Drew Brees. The biggest reason Brees doesn’t have a problem at his height is because he utilizes his over-the-top motion to give himself a high release point.
          
The bottom line is if Beck’s height and release point were going to cause him serious problems I think we would’ve seen more teams shut him down. That never happened for Beck and I think what overcomes his height is the fact that he can fit a ball in such a tight window because of his ball speed and his quick release. His vision of the passing lanes is very good too. When you have such incredibly deft control over the placement of the pigskin like John Beck, life becomes much easier in terms of throwing the ball over the defensive line. His quick release and ball velocity will make it that much tougher for defenders to swat the ball down at the line of scrimmage.
           
Others might say that he operated out of the shotgun too much in college, and that he didn’t have to work on his drop back motion into the center of the pocket. I’ve seen enough of John Beck’s highlights that I feel confident he has a very fluid, balanced drop back motion that won’t cause him any problems in the NFL. He wastes very little motion when he drops back in the pocket and always makes sure that he keeps his throwing elbow(right) parallel to the ground. He shows excellent form in his drop backs, always keeping his head downfield and making the proper reads. That is textbook form folks and every good quarterback coach in the country will tell you the same thing.
           
Some people might point out the fact that Beck hasn’t been tested playing in a weak conference such as the Mountain West. I would just tell those people to look at the schedule and see that he took a blowtorch to a Wyoming pass defense that ranked 8th in the NCAA this past season. He completed 20 of his 26 passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns. Those are dazzling numbers folks and if you look at the fact that it was against a pass defense that was ranked in the top 10 in the country, then it becomes even more impressive.
           
When looking for a weakness in John Beck, it’s nearly impossible to find, simply because I think he’s got the total package. When you’re talking with a person who thinks John Beck is a better overall prospect than JaMarcus Russell or Brady Quinn or any other quarterback prospect in the draft, you shouldn’t be surprised to see that I don’t think he has any true weaknesses. He became a legend at BYU and I think years down the road we’re going to be discussing how John Beck became a legend in the NFL. His mechanics are nearly flawless, his leadership ability is unmatched, his ball velocity is top-notch, his ball placement is incredible, and his footwork is unrivaled. I think he’s going to do great things for whoever drafts him in the 2007 NFL Draft.

Where John Beck is projected to be drafted:

More people have been hopping on the John Beck bandwagon lately, my man Rob Rang of nfldraftscout.com is one of them. I’m surprised that more people aren’t writing glowing reports about him after he dazzled scouts at the combine in Indianapolis a few weeks ago. The highest ranked I’ve seen John Beck in this draft is as the 3rd or 4th  best QB in the draft and that would place him at around a 5th round selection, which is where I think he will go. He’ll be a steal if he goes that late, simply because I believe Beck is a “natural born leader” that can lead an NFL team to the “promised land”. When I write of the promised land, I’m writing about a world of championships, banners, rings, and a world where the players carry their coach off the field after he’s just been soaked in a bath of Gatorade. That’s what I’m talking about when I say John Beck will take some team to the promised land.

Where I think John Beck should be drafted:

The NFL Draft, as well as any other draft in sports, is as much of a crap shoot as anything else. There will be well-known prospects that don’t pan out, much like Ryan Leaf did and there will be unheralded prospects that will become legends like Tom Brady.
         
John Beck is one football player that will be the latter. Despite posting gaudy statistics for the past two seasons, he’s not very well-known across the country because the conference he played in(Mountain West Conference) doesn’t have very good visibility. Simply not enough college football fans on the east coast could tell you who the heck John Beck is. The ultra accurate signal-caller is without question my favorite player in the 2007 NFL Draft, regardless of position. I say without hesitation and with the utmost of confidence that I believe we’re all going to be talking about John Beck and what a phenomenal career he had in the National Football League 10-12 years down the road. If I had the number 1 pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, I needed a quarterback, and I ran the right offensive system,(West Coast), then I would choose John Beck. He is pretty much the perfect quarterback and has footwork and physical tools that would make any offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach in America downright giddy.

Written by Wade Peery