Ernie's scouting report on Eli
A very interesting read which confirms EA knew his stuff. I highlighted some things in italic that I feel are worthwhile to point out and I'll touch on them afterwards.
Wears left knee brace… During pregame warmup, didn't look like he had a rocket arm… As game progressed, I saw excellent arm strength under pressure and the ability to get velocity on the ball on most throws. Good deep ball range. Good touch. Good vision and poise.
Sees the field… In shotgun on most plays and his only running option is a draw… his offensive line is poor. Red-shirt freshman left tackle. Eli doesn't trust his protection. Can't. No way he can take any form of a deep drop and look downfield. With no running game (10 yards rushing the first half) and no real top receivers, he's stuck with the three-step drops and waiting til the last second to see if a receiver can get free. No tight end either. No flaring back. So he's taking some big hits. Taking them well. Carried an overmatched team entirely on his shoulders. I imagine, except for Vanderbilt, his team is overmatched in every SEC game… He's big, never gets rattled. Rallied his team from a 14-3 halftime deficit basically all by himself. Led them on two successive third quarter drives to go ahead, 17-16. The first touchdown, a 40-yard streak down the left sideline, he dropped the ball over the receiver's right shoulder. Called the next touchdown pass himself, checking off to a 12-yard slant… Makes a lot of decisions on play calls at the line of scrimmage, but they ask too much of him. They don't just let him play. This is a guy you should just let play… When he's inaccurate, he's usually high, but rarely off target to either side… Plays smart and with complete confidence. Doesn't scold his teammates, but lets them know when they line up wrong or run the wrong pattern… Threw three interceptions. Two were his fault. Trying to force something both times. He could have run on one of them, a fourth down play. He has a lot to learn.
Summary: I think he's the complete package. He's not going to be a fast runner, but a little like Joe Montana, he has enough athletic ability to get out of trouble. Remember how Archie ran? In that department, Eli doesn't have the best genes, although I never timed mom Olivia in the 40. But he has a feel for the pocket.
Feels the rush.
Throws the ball, takes the hit, gets right back up… Has courage and poise. In my opinion, most of all, he has that quality you can't define. Call it magic…Peyton had much better talent around him at Tennessee. But I honestly give this guy a chance to be better than his brother. Eli doesn't get much help from the coaching staff. If he comes out early, we should move up to take him. These guys are rare, you know.
First thing of note is Ernie's recognition that Eli is the type of player that coaches should just let play. Don't we all agree that Eli is bogged down with too much crap in KG's system?
Next, he's inaccurate throwing high. We still see evidence of that even today.
Forces passes and could have run. Again, two things he could still improve upon.
Has a good feel for the pocket and moves well enough to get out of trouble.
Lastly, Ernie touches on Eli's "magic". No doubt Eli is an unusually special player.