-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld. (Image Source: Indiana Athletics)
Named the Indiana team MVP as a senior, Nate Sudfeld was an All-Big Ten third-team selection in 2015. Playing in Kevin Wilson’s up-tempo offense, the IU passer set numerous school records and he leaves Bloomington as the program’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns.
Measurables: Height: 6’6”; Weight: 234 pounds
At 6’6” and 234 pounds, Sudfeld comes into the draft process with prototypical size. He has the height to easily look over the top of the line of scrimmage and limit batted balls, as well as the bulk to take hits in the pocket.
Where He Excels:
In addition to passing the eye test when he walks onto the field, Sudfeld has a very good arm and he’s more than capable of making all the “NFL throws.” In addition to having a fastball, the IU passer also knows when to use touch to get the ball where it needs to be. Capable of throwing his receivers open with excellent timing, as well as the ability to stretch the field. His yards per pass improved as a senior, leading the Big Ten this past season. Considered to be a strong leader. While he’s not a runner, Sudfeld is also not immobile and a capable scrambler.
Where He Struggles:
Mechanics have been a problem for Sudfeld, which has led to an inconsistent career, often translating to accuracy issues. When Sudfeld gets sloppy, his passes will often sail on him. His footwork and changes in his delivery will also impact how much zip he gets on his passes. He doesn’t always handle pressure well, as both his accuracy and the velocity of his passes suffer when D-linemen get in his face. When his first option isn’t open, things too often fall apart for Sudfeld, which puts into question his field vision and decision making. Coming from a shotgun offense, he will have to transition to working from under center.
He’s rated very similarly by the major sites. NFL.com has Sudfeld rated 12th among quarterbacks, just ahead of where CBSSports.com’s NFL Draft Scout (13th) and ESPN (14th) have him stacked up compared to other passers. ESPN ranks Sudfeld 232nd overall and CBS has him 258th on their list, with a seventh round/undrafted free agent grade.
With his build, Sudfeld should relish the opportunity to simply stand next to more highly touted prospects like Jared Goff, Connor Cook, Cody Kessler and Brandon Allen. The NFL Scouting Combine is an opportunity to show scouts how his arm stacks up against the other passers in this class (Saturday), as well as meet with NFL teams (Thursday & Friday) and impress them with his mental acumen. According to Dave Heller’s tweet, Sudfeld’s 34 ¼” inch arms ties him with Paxton Lynch for the longest among QBs in Indy.
Current Projection: If he gets drafted, the consensus appears to be that Sudfeld will go late on Day three, possibly in the sixth or seventh round. It’s just as likely that he will not hear his name called at all and Sudfeld will have to sign with a team as an undrafted free agent.
Many will question how much of Sudfeld’s success stems from playing in Kevin Wilson’s high-octane spread offense. Accuracy inconsistency is a major concern, because very few players have improved their accuracy at the NFL level after having issues in that department as collegians. His physical tools indicate that Sudfeld has the upside to be an NFL starter if he reaches his full potential, but will he ever find the consistency that he lacked at IU? At times he looked like a future NFL starter while at other moments he played like a prospect that you wouldn’t waste a pick on. If he’s there in the sixth or seventh round, his size and ability to throw the football, could make him a solid value pick. He should make an NFL roster.
Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: email@example.com.