No. 25. Case Keenum, Houston Texans (±NA)
After being the most prolific college quarterback in history, Case Keenum found himself undrafted after the 2012 NFL Draft. In college, his lack of elite arm strength and inflation due to the offensive system in college had to do with his being undrafted, as well as “limited” mobility. But in the NFL, especially in his first few starts, I saw Keenum develop as a starter. That Sunday night game against Indianapolis was one of the better games I’ve seen from a quarterback, especially in the first half. Keenum did go winless as a starter, but a deteriorating team had to do with that. Despite his physical “liabilities”, I believe Keenum can become the Texans’ franchise quarterback with a little refinement — he showed enough upside on tape.
Accuracy and anticipation
Keenum had a low completion rate last year, but the stats are somewhat deceiving. His receivers and running game were both inconsistent — some games, they showed up in a big way; some games, they didn’t. Keenum’s downfield accuracy was much better than what someone would’ve expected after his 2011 season in college — just look at some of his throws to Andre Johnson in that Colts game I was talking about earlier. This second TD pass was perfect.
He throws a very nice touch pass with good anticipation, and while his velocity can be improved, his good anticipation on his passes helps make up for that. Keenum, although mobility isn’t a strong suit of his, doesn’t lose accuracy on the run. 23/30.
One of the knocks on Keenum when he was coming to the NFL was his lack of arm strength. It seems as if his arm strength has improved since that point, but it still isn’t average for an NFL quarterback. His size may have to do with this — he’s only 6-1. 11/15.
This is where Keenum can make a big improvement. His arm motion at times isn’t fluid and because he isn’t tall, he attempts to bring his arm up a little too much, but because of this, some passes end up being deflected. While he does operate efficiently under pressure at times, other times he plants his back foot and doesn’t step up — and throwing off his back foot makes the ball sail. His dropbacks are efficient, however, and when his footwork is clean, he makes good passes. One more thing — Keenum shifts around the pocket a little too much to try and find throwing lanes because of his height, but that causes some trouble with pass protection and making his reads downfield. 14.5/20.
Quarterbacks don’t have to thread the needle every play. Keenum tried to do that a little too much. He was able to do it at times, but other times, he made inaccurate passes that were either intercepted or incomplete. Keenum’s pocket awareness also needs some refinement — as I mentioned before, he moves around a little too much despite the rush. He is often late on his reads and doesn’t make a decision until the pocket is about to collapse, but somehow managed to make the throw more often than not. Those decisions should come a half second earlier, though. 13/20.
Intangibles and mental make-up
At the University of Houston, it had been said that Keenum was a hard-working guy with terrific intangibles. Mentally, in terms of football, he has a lot of room to grow, and a lot of room to learn and improve (see decision making section). 9/10.
While Keenum isn’t the fastest guy out there, he has the mobility to effectively execute play action and roll out of the pocket. He can scramble for a first down at times. 3.5/5.
Keenum obviously has a lot to do to even earn the starting job this season. I have confidence that he will beat out Ryan Fitzpatrick if given the opportunity. Keenum was clearly the best quarterback on the Texans last season, although he has some things to improve on. Total: 74.5/100.