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Devy Scouting Report: Graham Mertz vs. Illinois

graham mertz

After being a four-star recruit and turning down the likes of Alabama and USC to attend Wisconsin, Graham Mertz made his 2020 debut against Illinois. Draft nuts are always exploring quarterback classes and just like 2021, 2022 is looking to potentially be another class to have teams adjusting their plans and Mertz is shaping up to be one of the reasons why.

 

Now as for Graham Mertz of Wisconsin, he had a tremendous game against Illinois and immediately inserted himself into the top-five conversation for the 2022 quarterback class. He displayed all the tools you want in an NFL quarterback and one definitely worth stashing on any devy league rosters you may have. 

 

Now trading for him may be damn near impossible right now but he is due to miss three weeks due to a positive COVID test result he had confirmed yesterday. After a week or two when things die down, I would definitely target him in trades, and if you land him be sure to tag me in those trades on Twitter at @Mandrew_FF.

 

I had a lot of positive takeaways from Mertz in this game and to be honest I didn’t see a whole lot of negative traits or plays so these were my takeaways.

 

Related | 2021 Draft Discussions: Who Can Be QB4 in the 2021 Quarterback Class?

 

Positive Takeaways

 

Let’s start with the natural arm talent that is brutally obvious. Justin Herbert right now on the Chargers is who I am seeing when I watched this game from Mertz. Effortless throws, no huge windup needed, and a crisp mechanically sound throwing motion accompany him when he is playing.

 

You can see here on this play that he has the natural arm talent with the smooth mechanics that has devy players and scouts in awe.

 

 

The decision making is also beautiful through one game. Yes, he played Illinois, but Lovie Smith has had a rather impressive Fighting Illini defensive squad during his tenure there. The way Mertz was able to dissect this defense was just amazing especially when you consider this was his first career start and that he was set to be the backup behind Jack Coan before Coan was injured. Being prepared the way he also showed maturity, which teams on all levels love and covet.

The last thing I saw that really stuck out to me as impressive is the ball placement Graham Mertz possesses. All game long we saw him targeting his tight end Jake Ferguson and he constantly took advantage of his big frame by placing the ball where only his guy could make a play.

Just look at the play below. Ferguson is an obvious endzone target and Mertz throws the ball when the defender’s backs are turned and places the ball high where only his guy can make a play. 

 

 

Negative Takeaways

 

When you go 20/21 in your college debut there isn’t much to complain about from a performance standpoint. 

 

One thing I will mention is that I would like to see more of a variety in terms of a passing chart. Mertz really favored one side of the field over the other as you can clearly see below. A lot of it was play design of course but after seeing what his arm can do downfield I am hoping they take more chances the next game Mertz is available for.

 

 

Related | 2020 Rookie Price Checks, Part Three

 

Final Takeaways

 

While it stinks that we won’t see Mertz for the next three weeks it does at least mean we get to see him against the likes of Minnesota, Indiana, and Iowa. There will be plenty of tough tests left for the RS Freshman signal-caller to show what he can do.

I would say right now his stock is still scolding hot all things considered and for good reason. All the good I mentioned above has me ranking him right up there with Sam Howell, Jayden Daniels, and Kedon Slovis. He has all-world potential and Graham Mertz showed that against Illinois.

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