Steve Sarkisian Says NFL Draft Evaluations Need to Change


USC football head coach Steve Sarkisian thinks the NFL needs to change its ways when evaluating young quarterbacks for the draft.

Sarkisian appeared on the Rich Eisen Show Friday morning via telephone and let it rip regarding his feelings on the NFL evaluation process.

“I watch the New England Patriots. I watch the Green Bay Packers, I watch the Seattle Seahawks and I see these guys in the shotgun 75% of the time,” Sarkisian said. “And then I turn on the NFL combine…they put these kids under center for three hours straight. Is that why we’re drafting them?

“We’re complaining about developing college quarterbacks. Are we developing NFL quarterbacks to be prepared to play in the NFL? Well, developing for what?”

Sarkisian told Eisen that teams should draft the quarterbacks for who they are and utilize them for who they are.

With regard to Marcus Mariota, that means drafting him to play in the shotgun, to utilize his legs and to cause defenses a ton of problems. The Trojan head coach argued that is what the Cleveland Browns got wrong with Johnny Manziel last season.

“It’s more of a matter of drafting what you want to be, not trying to force this kid into something that he wasn’t developed to be. The league, in my opinion, is going to change at some point because these kids are developing differently than they were 15-20 years ago.”

With so many high schoolers developing in the shotgun, Sarkisian said that even the players USC recruits for a more-or-less pro-style system are coming up that way. With just 20 hours a week to work with them at the college level, there is not enough time to change that style either.

That has born out in the way the Trojans utilize the shotgun with Cody Kessler and seem on track to continue to run that same offense with quarterbacks like Max Browne, Ricky Town and Sam Darnold coming through.

Looking forward even more, USC’s targets for 2016 at quarterback, Tate Martell and Tua Tagovailoa, are even more entrenched in the shotgun mentality.

Leonard Williams Simplifies Life

Sarkisian also got a chance to weigh in on the potential Trojan draftees readying themselves for the coming week.

Calling Leonard Williams a “throwback,” Sarkisian said his lack of a car or a driver’s license demonstrates the simplicity of his life.

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“That’s what I really love about him. Here’s a really simple guy that’s great player, that loves the game of football and the end result is he’s getting what he deserves.”

In an age of social media and the complexities it brings, Williams offers an alternative. Sarkisian said he is a complete player with a great personality who has done everything right.

Staying with the draft, Sarkisian praised Nelson Agholor as well.

“The game comes to him very easily because his football IQ is very high,” Sarkisian said of the versatile receiver.

With competitiveness and that something special about him which allowed him to thrive on special teams, Sarkisian believes Agholor will make a great pro.

You can watch the complete interview with Sarkisian below: