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Alabama Football 2016 NFL Draft Profiles: Jacob Coker

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The arm, size and leadership are there, but will the NFL take a risk on a raw prospect that needs so much coaching?

You have to root for this kid.
You have to root for this kid.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Coker

Position: Quarterback

Pro Day Height/ Weight: 6' 5 1/2"/ 244 pounds

40 Yard Dash Time: 4.97-5.25, 5.12 (actual)

Bench Press Reps (of 225 lbs): *

Hand Size: *

Vertical Jump: *

Broad Jump: *

Short/ Long Shuttle: *

3-Cone Drill: *

* Coker was not invited to, nor participated in, the NFL Combine.

2015 Season: Played in all 15 games at quarterback, starting 14 games. Passing: 263-393-3110 (66.9%) 21-8. Rushing: 74 att, 68 yds (long 26,) 2 TDs.

Strengths: If you want a quarterback that meets the NFL's prototype size/prototype offense designation, Coker is your guy. Ranked 14th out of 124 eligible quarterbacks, the 5th year senior was a revelation down the stretch, saving his biggest performances when it mattered the most, and taking a leadership mantle against elite competition. Coker has a big arm, although not as big as you'd expect; makes his best touch throws in a moving pocket or on play action. Very physical player, especially when he tucks and runs. Decision making improved with nearly every start.

Weaknesses: Coker's biggest issues are three-fold: Inexperience - He has 14 career starts for a 5-year player; that inexperience showed early, particularly in his leadership, ball security, and lack of self-confidence. Delivery: This is purely a mechanics issues: Coker has a very long wind-up and slower release than is optimal for the next level (or even against elite collegiate competition.) He can benefit from pro coaching on this. Progressions/Timing: Needs much more coaching and far more reps to read the play early, find the secondary receiver, and distribute the ball accordingly. Coker took 25 sacks in 2015, many of these were a combination of his slow release and slow reads (although, to be fair, Alabama's rebuilt line did him few favors against the pass rush.) Also is coming off a season-long foot injury which somewhat affected his ability to plant as well as his straight line speed.

Verdict: Some players are born with "it" -- that innate ability to make game-winning plays, move the chains, and make players around them better. Others, like Coker, had to learn those skills. While not the most cerebral quarterback Alabama has ever had, Coker did eventually make the offense a believer, did make those plays, and did make the offense better and better. He was lights-out down the stretch, when it mattered most in big games, and utterly sacrificed his body when needed to. His big body, biggish arm, and fantastic pro day showing will land him on a roster. He undoubtedly needs so much more coaching, particularly in his release mechanics and making quicker decisions. But, as an emergency/3rd QB and long-term roster project, it's hard to believe that he won't be drafted. His nearest approximation in size, pocket mobility, bigger arm, and overall raw nature emerging college, Tyrod Taylor, is after all now a starter for the Buffalo Bills. The other, unfavorable comparison, is Zach Mettenberger, but we'll be optimistic homers here. Is Coker an NFL starter? Likely not. But, he can grow into a career backup, a solid option when needed, and stick around on rosters for several years. That's not a bad career for a guy who has overcome so much and waited his turn to shine.

Predicted Round: Coker will not fall to Free Agent status. Someone with a need and willingness to coach Jake will take Coker in the 6th or 7th round.