Lions draft profile: Tanner McKee, QB, Stanford

An experienced starter with a big arm and some impressive physical attributes, but also some serious question marks.

Tanner McKee, QB, Stanford

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 231 (measured at combine)

McKee turns 23 during draft weekend

McKee took over the starting QB role for the Cardinal from Texans 3rd-round pick Davis Mills in 2021. Over his two seasons with a declining overall Stanford program, the big pocket presence completed 63.4 percent of his passes for over 5,200 yards. The team captain tossed 28 touchdowns and 15 INTs while posting a 6-16 record as a starter.


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  • Definitely looks the part of a pocket passer at 6-6 and a well-worn 231 pounds

  • Above-average arm strength that maintains high velocity down the field

  • Not afraid to use his arm strength to fire the ball into tight windows

  • Gives his receivers chances to make plays on the ball over the middle

  • Impressive accuracy on intermediate throws and that often carries over to short, timing-based throws as well

  • Decent pocket manipulation skills

  • Makes smart decisions on RPOs consistently

  • Displayed positive leadership on the sidelines (I was at the Notre Dame game in ’22)


  • Throwing platform and mechanics are inconsistent and unreliable; his elbow and hips are variable, especially when moving

  • Accuracy issues when forced beyond his first pre-snap read

  • Lack of touch to all levels of the field, and when he tries to take down the velocity, his accuracy and timing really suffer

  • Not unathletic, but McKee has very low acceleration and exhibits a lot of tightness when he is forced to run

  • Did not have a lot to work with around him but also failed to elevate any of the talent around him in either season as a starter

  • Productivity and decision-making both fell off in ’22 once teams got more film on the offense and McKee (or his coaches) couldn’t adjust


McKee definitely checks some scouting boxes with his physical build and his above-average arm strength. He’s not afraid to show off the big arm, and his accuracy when given time in the pocket is good enough. McKee worked in an offense that leans on some modern pro concepts (RPO, West Coast route trees) and showed some promise despite not having a lot around him outside of WR Michael Wilson, who was hurt for half of the 2022 season.

McKee is a frustrating player to watch because there are flashes of legit NFL starting ability. They’re washed asunder by a litany of significant issues. He’s below-average at the below-average level when his first read gets taken away. His throws badly lack touch, but his ball placement really declines when he’s not throwing at max velocity. Movement skills are sluggish and McKee is not good at getting out of trouble after any initial movement in the pocket.

As a prospect, he carries a grade that straddles the line of 7th round and undraftable. McKee could conceivably improve playing behind a better line and with more advanced weaponry, but his flaws are difficult to overlook and not easily fixable.


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Story originally appeared on Lions Wire