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NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jordan Ta'amu, Quarterback

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NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jordan Ta'amu, Quarterback

Jordan Ta’amu - Ole Miss

 

Position: QB

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 221 lbs.

Year: Senior

Hometown: Pearl City, HI

Experience: 1-Year Starter at New Mexico Military Institute, 2-Year Starter at Ole Miss

 

Measurables:

 

40yd dash: 4.77s

Broad jump: 109 in.

Vertical: 27.5 in.

3-cone: 7.06s

20yd. Shuttle: 4.36s

Bench Press: DNP

 

Career Notes:

 

Ta’amu’s path to division 1 football has been well-documented. As one of the earliest of Hawaiian-born quarterbacks shining on the mainland, media outlets from SBNation to USA Today have taken deep dives into the senior’s journey from Pearl City to Ole Miss. Though he went to the same high school as Marcus Mariota and won two titles as a junior and senior, colleges never looked his way because he was dominating against D2 high school talent. The questions about his competition level meant his football-playing options were few and far between.

 

He accepted an offer to play for the New Mexico Military Institute, a junior-college where Ta’amu sat behind the incumbent starting quarterback. He got on the field for a handful of snaps his first year, but nothing that would land him an offer to a division one school.

 

As a sophomore, he took over the starting job and lit up his competition. He threw for eight touchdowns in his first game. Division one coaches immediately took notice and from there, Ta’amu said, “it just kind of blew up.” Coaches started reaching out and he heard interest from a number of programs including Oregon, Minnesota, Adams State, and Ole Miss. He finished the season strong, winning his conference’s player of the year award. However, as it did in high school, his level of competition scared off coaches and the only offers left standing at the end of 2015 were to Ole Miss and Minnesota. Ta’amu visited Ole Miss and fell in love with the culture so much he committed on the spot, cancelling his visit to Minnesota.

 

In 2017--his first year at Ole Miss--he was slotted as the second-stringer behind Shea Patterson who went down with an injury mid-season. Ta’amu’s performance in the five games he took over propelled him to the starting job as a senior in 2018. In his senior season with the Rebels, his calculated risk-taking and deep-ball accuracy made him a top-ten quarterback in yards-per-attempt and total yards. Despite having good production along with some incredible throws in difficult situations, Ole Miss’s disappointing 5-7 season dulled the shine on what was an otherwise solid year for Ta’amu.

 

Injury Report:

 

Nothing sidelined Ta’amu for the length of a game in his time at Ole Miss, but he played with a bum ankle against South Carolina in a 2018 loss which limited him in practice for a few weeks, but he was able to play with limited mobility.

 

Career Stats:

 

Analysis:

 

Arm Strength 2.25/5.0: Ta’amu’s arm left a lot to be desired. He could chuck the ball down the field 40+ yards, but the speed on the ball tapered off dramatically after about 12 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. With receivers who could carve up man-coverage, Ole Miss’s offense relied on a lot of sideline throws that isolated AJ Brown and DK Metcalf against corners. This meant Ta’amu had to get the ball to them outside quickly before help could come. He always got the ball to them in proficient time, but against faster corner talent at the next level, it’s unclear if he has the velocity to get the ball to perimeter targets before defenders can close out those windows.

 

Accuracy 3.5/5.0: Ta’amu isn’t the most accurate player in this class of quarterbacks, but he may have half of the top ten most impressively accurate passes this year. What he lacks in arm strength, he makes up for with timing and touch. You wouldn’t have known he has only been in this offense for two years if you watched him play last year. He looked like he had been playing with this receiving core for four years, often knowing where they’d be and when to deliver a perfect “drop-it-in-the-bucket” pass. His accuracy is even more impressive when understanding that their pass offense was predicated less on timing, and more on receivers adjusting routes based on pre-snap defensive alignments. The throws Ta’amu made depended on touch and his knowledge of his guys. His highlight film is stacked with gorgeous bombs down the field.

 

Athleticism 3.0/5.0: Ta’amu’s overall athleticism was seemed to be a bit overestimated by his coaching staff, who liked to run him pretty frequently. His speed and agility are above average, but they never appeared to be assets to scheme around. His lower-body strength was a small concern. A lot of Ta’amu’s throws down the field required him almost to hop off the ground to get the “oomph” on the passes necessary to push the ball. Incredibly, this didn’t affect his accuracy often.

 

Leadership 4.5/5.0: Ta’amu has had to adjust to two different locker rooms as a quarterback, and everyone who has coached him has nothing but rave reviews for him. It’s unclear how his teammates felt about him, but if the coaches are to be trusted, Ta’amu is a humble, stand-up leader. He carried himself with a business-like demeanor on the field. He didn’t have boisterous celebrations after touchdowns or notable fits after let-downs. He consistently just went onto the field, did his job, and went to the sidelines.

 

Summary: The Ole Miss product has consistently been underestimated. He consistently exceeded expectations both in high school and at both colleges he played. While he’s a middle-of-the-pack athlete, he showed unique accuracy that became impressive when stretched out over a long period of time. He consistently made all the throws asked of him. At the same time, the offense rarely asked him to make a throw outside of his comfort zone. He didn’t do much over the middle of the field this season, which would be where throwing velocity concerns would be realized. While he had a lot of impressive throws, it’s also hard to defend Ole Miss’s performance under his command of the offense. Sending AJ Brown, DK Metcalf, and Greg Little to the draft and ending up 5-7 overall with only one win in the SEC is a tough resume to carry for a quarterback. There is plenty of blame to go around, but some of it certainly falls on Ta’amu.

 

Overall Grade 3.3/5.0

 

If drafted by the Packers:

 

Ta’amu will be 21 years old when the season kicks off. If he’s drafted, he’s a project guy who may even end up on the practice squad for a while. The biggest question mark for him is how well his arm will hold up against NFL speed. Another question mark is how well he’ll handle reading defenses in the flow of a game. Ole Miss’s offense didn’t challenge him to make a ton of pre-snap reads, leaving a lot of those responsibilities to receivers to work out. In the NFL, he will have to oversee the management of pre-snap reads and get everyone on the same page.

 

The accuracy he had was a frequent enough trait alone that it makes him a draftable prospect in the later rounds on day three of the draft. How he develops physically and how quickly he can pick up defensive keys will determine the kind of pro he’ll be. If he can work up to the point that he’s running an offense, his accuracy will take care of a lot of the rest.

 

Video:

 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (4) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

We already have Kizer and Boyle.

tincada's picture

Kizer is as big a bust as Hundley was. While playing for Connecticut Huskies, Boyle struggled and transferred to Eastern Kentucky and is another one of those undrafted FA. Snag this guy

Skip greenBayless's picture

Agree. No need to draft or think of bringing in another qb. Boyle is our guy. That should be crystal clear by now.

Dash

efox2011's picture

I'd be interested to see you eval David Long (UM). I watch a ton of Michigan football, and he just erases half of the field. Teams stopped throwing at him (hence, 17 tackles and 8 PBUs last season). Lowest passer rating allowed, according to PFF, in each of the past two seasons.

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