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Dixon l QB JT Barrett scouting notes

Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire

Scouting Notes

Dixon l QB JT Barrett scouting notes

JT Barrett

Ohio St. QB – RS Senior – 6’1” 225 lbs.

Notable 2016 accolades: The first 3 time captain in Ohio St. history. All-Big Ten First-team.

Games watched: Wisconsin, Penn St., Oklahoma, Nebraska, Indiana

Entering his senior season, JT Barrett’s experience, running ability, and pocket awareness makes his offense dangerous. This upcoming season will be interesting to see if Ohio St. opens the playbook allowing Barrett to show improvement in his route anticipation and accuracy.

The Good: Experience, Running ability, Pocket maneuverability

Experience

J.T. Barrett will bring immediate winning experience to an NFL team. As a freshman, he took over after Braxton Miller’s preseason injury and broke 17 school records. He became injured at the end of his freshman campaign so he had to show grit and fight through the first 7 games of his sophomore season to earn the starting position back.

As a clear starter his junior season, he led Ohio St. to the College Football Playoff. In total, he has won 26 out of the 29 games he has started. J.T. Barrett’s history is impressive because Ohio State has a talent filled program and yet each year Barrett has proven that he is the best available QB.

After this season, Barrett will have a wealth of experience in carrying the team with leadership, class, and grit to the finish.

Running Ability

J.T. Barrett shoulders the offensive load through designed running plays and as a scrambler during passing plays. Against Wisconsin, Barrett rushed 21 times for 92 yards whereas RB Curtis Samuel (chosen in 2nd round of the 2017 draft) only had half of Barrett’s carries with 12 touches for 46 yards.

In each game that I reviewed J.T Barrett proved that he can essentially become another RB option in their RPO (run pass option) offense. Ohio State fully relies on Barrett’s athleticism to tuck the ball and run when coverage is tight as well.

Barrett’s scrambling ability forces defenses to decide either to rush with contain or designate a spy on him. The following are two 3rd down passing plays where Ohio St. converted the first down thanks to Barrett’s ability to improvise with his legs.

More NFL teams are looking to QBs that can make a play when all else fails. Last season, Ohio State’s offense was dependent on Barrett’s ability to extend passing plays and he delivered time and time again.

Pocket Maneuverability

Film reviews shows Barrett has an acute awareness of rusher’s whereabouts and an intuition of when to step up into the pocket to avoid them. Even against a non-blocked rusher, Barrett can timely step up into the pocket to avoid him.

I am thoroughly impressed with Barrett’s mindfulness of rusher’s angles while maneuvering the pocket. At 225 lbs, Barrett also has the solid strength within the pocket to break free of arm tackles and grabby hands.

In fact, I compare Barrett’s grit within the pocket to Ben Roethlisberger’s. Here are just two plays to show what Barrett is doing every game.

The Bad: Anticipation, Playbook depth, Accuracy

Anticipation of passing:

J.T. Barrett is comfortable throwing on the run which leads to a lot of scrambles that could have been avoided with proper diagnosis and anticipation of routes. Let’s review the play we saw earlier that showcased Barrett’s ability to break the pocket but this time we’ll look at the back view to review Barrett’s lack of coverage diagnosis.

The defense is running a simple cover two and with outside post route runners on both sides, the obvious pre-snap mismatch is going to be the receiver running a dig route behind the LB.

That should have been a simple “3 step drop” play but instead turned into a “sand lot football” play. Moving forward, Barrett must prove that he can consistently throw with timing because improvisation style football is not sustainable.

For example, the back view of a play we saw earlier showcasing Barrett’s ability to scramble for first downs should have displayed the amazing art of reading and baiting a safety. With his eyes, Barrett should have baited the safety on the left to jump the dig route while anticipating the throw to the post route runner on the right who has the safety’s hips turned in the wrong direction.

Barrett is more comfortable throwing to a receiver after he has scrambled and had extra time to be sure they are open. The following is another example to show Barrett is uncomfortable reading the defense and anticipating the throw. The receiver is obviously open yet Barrett hesitates before finally deciding to deliver the pass.

Limited passing playbook:

Last season, Ohio St. relied on J.T. Barrett’s athleticism and grit rather than a complicated offensive scheme, which causes a viable question: will Barrett be ready to handle an NFL playbook. Far too often, the passing plays were RPOs or only 1-2 receiver combination reads. This play is an example of a 3rd down situation that only had one viable passing option (the corner route).

The following is another play, after an entire drive of run plays, where they called a simple curl-flat concept which does not stimulate the QB’s mind.

This season, Ohio St. has hired a new offensive coordinator so it will be interesting to see if they open the passing playbook. As of now, NFL personnel should question themselves if Barrett can run a complex passing scheme.

If he cannot, it will be too easy for NFL defenses to use the same game plan that Penn State invoked when they beat Ohio State last year. Commit to stopping the run on early downs and then drop everyone back on 3rd down to bait Barrett into an easy throw underneath before rallying to make the tackle.

Passing accuracy:

Ohio State’s commitment to the run may be a result of Barrett’s inconsistent accuracy. Even when they drove down the entire field with all running plays, Barrett struggled to accurately place the few passes he was asked to make.

Barrett must prove that he can be accurate with the few throws that he attempts. On a drive that consisted of 8 runs and only 3 passes, Barrett wasted an easy completion with this low throw.

We know that J.T. Barrett is a leader with winning experience and runs the ball with authority. However, his draft stock is largely dependent on him proving that he can become a dynamic weapon in the passing game as well.

Roger Dixon Jr

Roger is a native of Orlando, FL. After excelling in DII football his first 2 seasons, he fulfilled his lifelong dream of playing on the Florida Gators football team, where he was named Special Teams Player of the Year and Team Captain. He earned his degree in Economics from UF's Warrington College of Business. Roger brings a passion for football and unique perspective of what it takes to be successful in football at the highest level.

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