Ryan Lindley (San Diego State)
-- Courtesy of Tom Melton Scouting --
Height: 6040 Weight: 229 40 Time: 4.90 Bench: N/A Vertical: 29.5 Broad: 9′
Final Grade: 7.2
Player Comparison: Chad Henne
Projected Draft Position: Fourth – Fifth
Rated as the No. 6 prep quarterback in the state of California, Ryan Lindley landed in the smaller program at SDSU in large part because he played just two seasons of varsity football. As a freshman in 2007, Lindley redshirted but travelled with the team. In 2008, Lindley started 11 games and earned team offensive MVP honors. The following season, Lindley was once again elected team’s offensive MVP and was named to 2009 Manning Award Watch List. Lindley started every game in 2010 and was named second team All-MWC while breaking school records with 29 consecutive starts. As a redshirt senior, Lindley was a consensus second team All-MWC selection and went on to post career-bests while starting every contest. Lindley is well-spoken in interviews and he has been an overachieving academic student since his high school days. He is an experienced passer in a pro-style offense and he showed no hesitation in becoming a team leader.
Although he is considered a mobile quarterback and demonstrates above-average speed for the position, Lindley isn’t necessarily a natural athlete. When it comes to throwing, however, Lindley looks to do so with ease and familiarity. Lindley is a coordinated quarterback, but his feet can sometimes appear jumbled in his dropbacks. For the quarterback position, Lindley is the prototypical size with height, thickness and the distributed weight. Lindley’s ability to scramble is an added part to his game, but he’s in no way a runner with the football. As a disciplined pocket-passer, Lindley doesn’t leave the pocket often and he doesn’t possess the agility or manueverability necessary to actually escape the rush. He’s not quick with his first step and he lacks acceleration, but his straight-line speed can get him to first down markers in certain scenarios. Lindley plays with good balance, playing tall and using his height to his advantage. In a quarterback class that seemingly runs rich with athleticism, Lindley doesn’t necessarily rank high amongst the list.
Lindley’s ability as a passer shows very few flaws. He has a rocket for an arm, demonstrating strength and power on all throws. He looks very comfortable and natural when he throws, staying upright, planting his feet and delivering the ball with a full motion. Lindley possesses a quick release and he delivers a very catchable ball in terms of spin and rotation, but he has yet to master any sort of touch. Regardless of distance, Lindley is an inconsistent and overall inaccurate passer. Despite being an above-average thrower, Lindley can’t deliver a catchable ball consistently, often times missing receivers and not effectively using his feet in the pocket to position himself. Inaccuracy is a large knock on Lindley’s game. He’s a mobile quarterback, but he’s far from a scrambler. Lindley isn’t quick or agile, but his straight-line speed is enough to get out of his own way. Lindley doesn’t use his feet well in the pocket, so often times his overall mobility is forgotten.
From the waist up, Lindley demonstrates good passing mechanics. His powerful throws aren’t compromised with a long wind up motion, rather with a strong and quick release. However, Lindley’s poor footwork limits him in terms of good overall technique. Lindley’s dropbacks aren’t the problem, but once he gets to the end of his drop, he uses unorthodox footwork that often times riddles his accuracy. Lindley takes very poorly to pressure, showing a general inability to properly react to the blitz and still deliver a catchable ball. Pressure forces Lindley out of the pocket and yet he doesn’t use his speed to work to create and his ability to throw on the run is generally unknown. With experience in a pro-style offense, one would assume Lindley would have better footwork after progressing as a passer against the rush, but it has been his biggest problem for the last three seasons. Even so, with effective coaching in the right system, perhaps Lindley could correct his footwork and understand the purpose of poise and pocket presence.
There isn’t a whole lot to like about Lindley’s instincts as a quarterback. While his game intelligence isn’t necessarily lacking, Lindley fails to demonstrate any sort of credibility in terms of anticipation and reading a defense. Lindley is guilty of locking on to one receiver, making it very easy for opposing secondaries. Even when not facing pressure, Lindly is easily rattled and his pocket presence is arguably one of his poorest attributes. In taking advantage of his strengths, Lindley will often times rely on his arm strength to fire a ball where he wants rather than going through his reads or anticipating a defense. Lindley doesn’t do a good job of scanning the field and it ultimately compromises his decision making. He doesn’t demonstrate good feel in the pocket and he’ll appear to force a lot of his throws in small places. Lindley is inexperienced with audibles and changes at the line, typically anticipating a rush and making his decision before the play begins.
Lindley took over a San Diego State program as a redshirt sophomore in 2008 and produced impressive numbers in his four seasons. Experience in a pro-style offense is a benefit for Lindley moving forward, but his development over the course of his collegiate career is somewhat disappointing. Since his early days as a quarterback, Lindley has fallen suspect to questionable accuracy and inconsistency throughout a game. Despite being equipped with a strong arm, Lindley fails to make passes catchable for his receivers and he often times misses open targets at all distances. On one throw, Lindley can appear to have the potential of an NFL starter. However, he can follow that throw with four or five consecutive passes that make him look nothing more than a sixth-round project. Lindley’s inaccuracy could very well be a direct result of poor footwork in the pocket. Although facing more than enough blitzes and rush packages, Lindley has yet to progress as a quick decision maker or develop his presence in the pocket. Lindley’s play progression begins well with a designed and natural looking dropback, but following the plant, Lindley struggles to step up and rarely establishes good footing to deliver a catchable ball. Lindley has speed, but he’s far from a scrambler. In fact, Lindley rarely uses his straight-speed to make plays and his ability to throw on the run is somewhat unknown. Lindley is also guilty of poor field vision and anticipation, often times locking onto a receiver and forcing passes into tight spaces. Lindley is very impressive off the field as an intelligent and well-spoken young man, which is hopefully a sign of taking to good coaching. If Lindley wants his shot at the next level, effective coaching is a must and his footwork will likely be top priority. In a West Coast scheme with the right coaching, there is potential for Lindley to be a starter. However, if Lindley’s progression as a professional is anything like it was as a collegiate quarterback in the Moutnain West Conference, he’ll never climb a depth chart.