Brett Basanez, QB, Northwestern Wildcats

by Matthew Wilson on March 13, 2006 @ 16:00:00 PDT

 


Would you believe a quarterback from Northwestern is quietly wowing some National Football League scouts? Stop rolling your eyes - we're serious. Quarterback Brett Basanez, who currently holds a whopping 30 Wildcats' passing records, is not the sexiest prospect in the upcoming draft. However, he may figure into the plans of a team that is looking for a reliable backup signal-caller in the lower rounds.

The Basanez Football Bio

Basanez launched his football career in grand fashion at St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Ill., which is located just outside of Chicago. As team captain, Basanez broke all school passing records. He threw for a combined 5,153 yards and 69 touchdowns during his final two years. Basanez earned several honors, including being named the USA Today Illinois Player of the Year (2000) and Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year (2000).

Northwestern redshirted Basanez in 2001. From 2002 through 2005, he started 46 games, including the last 40 in succession. Basanez won 22 of his starts, which makes him the most successful quarterback in school history. He enjoyed his best season in 2005, throwing for a 63.1 completion percentage, 3,622 yards (average of 337 yards per game), 21 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. Basanez also rushed for 423 yards and seven touchdowns. His career totals for passing (10,580 yards), total offense (11,576 yards), completions (913) and touchdown passes (44) are his most impressive school records. Each mark also ranks second on the Big Ten career charts. In addition, Basanez ranks 13th on the NCAA's all-time total offense list.

Positives

Basanez is a battle-tested gunslinger who possesses good arm strength and solid mechanics. He has a quick release, throws a catchable ball from the pocket and can throw well on the run. Basanez's accuracy and decision-making improved tremendously during his senior season as he became more comfortable in head coach Randy Walker's spread passing attack.

Deceptively athletic, Basanez is a very good scrambler (4.75 in the 40-yard dash) and improviser. He has the ability to keep plays alive by continuing to look downfield and check out all his options while keeping calm in the face of pressure. Basanez is tough and durable, having played with a separated throwing shoulder as a junior and with a broken leg as a redshirt freshman.

Some have likened Basanez's play to that of a young Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre. While we want to be completely sure this is not misconstrued as giving him a Favre-like vote of confidence, we do understand where some of the comparisons originate with Basanez's similar play style.

He earned a degree in communications from academically prestigious Northwestern, so he obviously is smart. On the field, Basanez is a quick study and a student of the game. He also is recognized for his outstanding work habits, strong leadership and excellent character.

Negatives

Basanez's lack of NFL arm strength is one of two things that will make teams shy away from drafting him in the higher rounds. His accuracy can be streaky; sometimes receivers have to adjust to his passes.

The other major issue with Basanez is his size (6-foot-1 1/2, 210 pounds). He obviously lacks the ideal height and build for a NFL quarterback. Basanez often wore down at the end of games in which he was sacked and hit frequently, so he will need to add some extra pounds. Basanez likely will have occasional difficulty seeing over offensive linemen. He sees the field best when he is outside the pocket. Basanez also took most of his college snaps in the shotgun formation and would need to get comfortable taking snaps under center.

Draft Placement

Basanez has helped himself by impressing many NFL scouts with his physical skills, intelligence, work ethic and positive attitude. However, he still ranks as a backup quarterback who likely will hear his name called on the second day in the sixth round with the fifth round being best-case scenario. He also could slide into the seventh round or have to sign with a team as an undrafted free agent.

Basanez's lack of arm strength and size will hold him back to an extent. He may have to enter the NFL by spending time playing in the developmental leagues. If Basanez ends up playing on the right NFL team, and in the right offensive system, he has the makings of a solid No. 2 quarterback with sneaky upside.

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About Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson is a lifelong college and pro football fan who proudly touts the Michigan Wolverines and the Chicago Bears as his two favorite teams. Matt discovered fantasy football in 1999 and has been addicted to it ever since. His professional background includes a four-year stint as a news reporter for a Chicago-area radio station. Matt was sports director for his college television station at Northern Illinois. Seeking a new challenge, Matt joined KFFL in 2004.

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