Bruce Gradkowski   QB   Toledo

Strengths

Bruce has a good arm and throws a nice, catchable ball with good accuracy and touch.  He shows good athleticism for his position as well as leadership and mental toughness. The kid is a winner. What stands out most to me when I see him play is the joy he takes in a perfectly designed play that's successful on the field just like it was written up in the playbook.  He loves the mental aspect of football almost more than the physical aspect of the game.

 

Needs to Improve

As with all young QBs, Bruce has a lot of technical issues to improve upon to make him a starting QB in the NFL.  I have no doubt that he will accomplish them all.

 

TALENT BOARD ROUND   4

Bruce reminds me a lot of Drew Brees.  I could give you a whole bunch of negatives about Bruce like when he moves his feet in the pocket, he's not as accurate as when he throws on the run.  Or, he holds on to the ball too long and doesn't throw enough in rhythm.  Or, he forces the ball into bad coverage because he overrates his own arm strength.  Or, right now he is better from the shotgun than he is reading defenses from under center.  I could go on with a lot of technical mumbo jumbo garbage that has nothing to do with his ability to be successful at the next level.  I know it would impress all of you, but you see, I know all of those negatives mean nothing when you profile a QB with enough athletic ability to play at the next level.  Character, mental toughness, leadership abilities, pride (not ego), coachability and the need to be the best at your position -- all of these issues are more important than any technical negatives.  I mean, let's be honest.  Peyton Manning doesn't have very good athletic skills compared to other QBs sitting on the benches of many NFL teams.  What I see on tape when I watch Bruce is good, solid overall QB skills and this burning desire to be a starting NFL QB.  A lifelong dream that he has to accomplish and this dream will not be satisfied sitting on the bench.  He has to be a starter for a Super Bowl team.  Nothing less will satisfy this hunger.  When you draft Bruce, you'll be drafting his whole family.  I think his mother has been interviewed more than him.  Sometimes this is a bad thing; but in this case, it looks to be a good thing.  He has a good support system around him to help him through the ups and downs of the NFL and to keep him grounded.

by Drew Boylhart

THR

January 2006