Dec 1, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum (7) warms up against the New England Patriots before the game at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

RP’s Quarterback Rankings: No. 25

 

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.

Arm talent

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.

Mechanics

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.

Decision making

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.

Mobility

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.

Overall

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.

Tags: 2014 QB Rankings Case Keenum Featured Houston Texans NFL Popular Qb Rankings Quarterback Rankings

  • trinity

    I like his guts. I remember the team had imploded around schaub, and when case came in he was like a live wire. he wasn’t scared to fling it. I didn’t follow him in college, so his lack of arm strength is news to me. He seemed to really get it up there in the few games I watched. Having said that, he didn’t get any wins and his decision making was not so good. I’m rooting for him and hope he improves.

    • Rishi Pochiraju

      He looked comfortable throwing the deep ball against Indy, that’s for sure, but those were more of touch passes rather than downright launching it. I’m sure a lot of scouts would agree with me if you look up some scouting report of Keenum in college (not sure, though).

      I’m also rooting for him. I hope he beats out Fitzpatrick. They traded Yates to ATL, so CK maybe has a shot. I want to see more from him.

      • trinity

        I believe you. And maybe he’ll improve enough to get in there. Nice start to the list :)

        • Rishi Pochiraju

          Thanks!

      • hexor

        If Texans plan on beating Oakland week 2 they are going to need Keenum @ the helm if they want to have a chance of winning that game, or Matt will hand them their head!

  • hexor

    Rishi Pochiraju, So let me get this right you say Keenum limited” mobility & lack of elite arm strength, but you think he can be Houston’s franchise QB interesting? Sir have you ever Watched Keenum play? The only thing that kept him alive last year was his mobility and quick release & CANNON of a Arm! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3Imz7dlvEU <—-Case Keeenum High School, College, NFL 7 min journey…Keenum has HOURS of Highlights and more Yards and TDs over his lifetime than more than 90% of the current QBs in the NFL…

    • Rishi Pochiraju

      I put “limited” in quotation marks for a reason — the purpose of that was to show that it’s what everyone says, and I don’t necessarily agree with that. I watched five full games of him this year, and what’s above is what I saw. Being a gunslinger is different than having a cannon of an arm — gunslinging is basically trying to thread the needle on every pass, which is what Keenum did. As for the arm strength, franchise QBs don’t need elite arm strength — look at Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, or someone like Tony Romo — not great arm strength,. so my saying Keenum could be a franchise guy despite “limitations” (which aren’t really so) is justified there. As for the stats, if you watched the University of Houston in 2010-11, the system really inflated his stats much like Geno Smith’s stats were inflated at WVU. Also, I graded these QBs based only on 2013 and nothing else.

      • hexor

        Let’s agree to disagree here! Your statements are personal feelings and not facts Sir! Have you ever even played competitive football before? I highly doubt it! A QB that can throw a football 60+ yards down the field on time to a WR running full speed over and over again & throws pennies @ 20-30yrds…That’s a “CANNON” SIr! Man you need to grab some popcorn pull up youtube and stay away Keenum has HOURS of Highlights…2010-11 were inflated??? How about 2006-09? LoL You haven’t got a clue of what your talking about…Over 20,000 yards and 178 TDs in College Sir…The man can throw the football like no one has done before and has brilliant precision…Keenums the Most Overqualified underrated QB in the History of the NFL…You want some FACTs Jack! (Keenum had the best 3 starts stats wise EVER in the NFL with a broken beat up Texan team & coaches making some really bad calls!) (Johnson had his best 2 games EVER with Keenum @ the helm)…(almost 10% of Johnson career TDs came in 8 days and were thrown by Case Keenum.) The 2 QBs prior to keenum coming in got murdered on the field and they threw Keenum to the wolves & I thought he was very impressive for what he had to work with!…Keenum’s a Future Hall of Fame QB! Mark my words!!!! Trust me sir! Now go grab that popcorn and go to youtube…