Kevin Kolb, QB, Houston Cougars

by Adam Barricklow on April 20, 2007 @ 16:00:00 PDT

 


With a large number of high-profile quarterback prospects coming from offenses that are not of the prototypical NFL style more and more quarterbacks are labeled as a "system quarterback." University of Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb (pronounced "Cobb") is currently trying to prove that he is not just a system quarterback but a legitimate prospect as well.

It seems only fitting that two of the more well-know system quarterbacks, David Klingler and Andre Ware, were also Houston products. Both players, posted impressive collegiate statistics but were unable to make the transition to an NFL-style offense. Few people paid much attention to Kolb prior to his 2006, as season where he finished with 3,809 yards passing and 30 touchdowns on his way to being named Conference USA's Offensive Player of The Year. While some would suggest that his impressive statistics had more to do with the offense that he was in, with some merit, it does not mean Kolb will be unable to make the transition that Klingler and Ware were unable to.

Background

Kolb was the first true freshmen to start a season opener for Houston, throwing for nearly 13,000 yards while averaging 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions per season over his four-year collegiate career. He has proved to be not only productive but consistent at the collegiate level, highlighted by nine games in which he threw for at least 200 yards and two touchdowns in 2006.

Kolb finished 2006 with career highs in passing yards (3,809), touchdowns (30) and completion percentage (67.6 percent) as well as a career low in interceptions (four). His 2006 numbers made him a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and a semifinalist for the Doug O'Brien National Quarterback Award.

Strengths

While Kolb's touchdown numbers are impressive, just as important is his ability to take care of the football. Last season Kolb was sacked 33 times and had just one fumble. Kolb throwing just four interceptions last season is even more impressive considering that he had 432 pass attempts, eighth most in NCAA Division I.

Kolb has a quick release while displaying accuracy in short and intermediate routes. He is adept at reading defenses and making the proper adjustments at the line of scrimmage.

Kolb is also considered by teammates and coaches to be a solid leader, the type of player to take control when the game is on the line. While nobody is going to confuse Kolb with the Atlanta Falcons Michael Vick or Tennessee Titans Vince Young, he is mobile enough to escape pressure and has shown the ability to throw on the run. Many scouts suggest that Kolb's skill set fits best with a West Coast offense or one of the many hybrids of such used in the NFL.

Kolb has been tutored by famed NFL quarterbacks coach Jerry Rhome during the draft season. Rhome has been responsible for 14 NFL quarterbacks reaching the Pro Bowl, including three Super Bowl MVPs, under his tutelage. Rhome has more than 25 years of coaching experience in the pro ranks, largely as a quarterbacks coach.

Weaknesses

Despite Kolb's respectable completion percentage over his college career, Kolb does not display the same accuracy on deeper routes. While he does not have a weak arm, he does not possess the type of arm strength that most scouts look for.

Kolb also has a habit of staring down his primary target. The No. 1 question with Kolb is whether he can adapt to the NFL. Houston's wide-open offense relies heavily on the passing game and relies on sets that most NFL teams do not run in their offense; a large focus of their offense is from the shotgun formation, however.

There were only three games last season where Kolb had fewer than 25 pass attempts, averaging 31 attempts per game, giving him plenty of chances to pad his statistics. Kolb played in a similar offense in high school, giving him little-to-no experience playing in an offense that more closely resembles to what he will run in the NFL or the chance to show he can adapt to difference offenses.

Kolb tends to hold onto the ball too long while trying to make something happen. He is very patient, but it is to a fault at times. This also results in a number of sacks, forced passes and fumbles.

Draft Placement

Kolb has been ranked anywhere from the third- to eighth-best quarterback in this year's draft class by scouts. KFFL's latest rankings place him as the fifth-best option at the position. Current draft projections have him going as early as the second round and as late as the fourth. The most likely scenario is that a team looking to groom a quarterback long-term will take a chance on Kolb in the mid-to-late third round.

Regardless of where Kolb is drafted, it is unlikely that he will see much playing time in 2007. Having never played in a NFL-style offense, there is likely to be a longer adjustment period, making Kolb more of a long-term prospect. Team's that have expressed interest in Kolb are the Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots. One team to keep an eye on would be the Seattle Seahawks. Head coach Mike Holmgren has a proven track record with molding quarterbacks into a West Coast system, and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck isn't getting younger.

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About Adam Barricklow

Adam Barricklow is based out of Central Ohio and has been a KFFL Contributor since 2003. Adam has been playing Fantasy Football since 1996 and has been addicted since day one. Adam plays in various leagues, running one of them and uses his experience and knowledge to create reports that are able to help the fantasy player look at every perspective.

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