Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler’s draft ranking per the Athletic

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As the 2021 college football season approaches, quarterback evaluations commence. Which signal-caller will awe come fall and put themself into position for a high draft pick? Incessant conversations and debates have surfaced since the conclusion of the 2020 season and Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler continues to draw attention. Not just for his arm talent but his improvisation skills and rare off-platform throws. He faced some growing pains early on last season throwing four interceptions, but found his rhythm and took the college football world by storm as a redshirt freshman.

As Lincoln Riley’s latest prodigy in Norman, Rattler is a Heisman frontrunner and the spotlight will be on No. 7 this season. The Athletic has begun releasing their draft rankings for 2022, and to no surprise, Rattler landed among the top at No. 2 behind North Carolina’s Sam Howell. Dane Brugler kicks off their summer scouting preview with a breakdown of the quarterbacks to watch for the 2022 NFL Draft.

Dane Brugler ranks the top quarterbacks (requires subscription):

Spencer Rattler, No. 2 Quarterback

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Best Trait: Natural Arm Talent

The first and lasting takeaway from Rattler’s tape is his natural arm talent. Whether in structure, under pressure or scrambling, the ball comes out of his hand quickly and easily with both zip and touch. It doesn’t matter if he is hitting the upfield shoulder on a slant or placing the ball over a defender on a deep shot, Rattler’s combination of accuracy, velocity and trajectory is what makes him such a dynamic passer.

There were numerous plays from the Cotton Bowl tape against Florida that help illustrate Rattler’s impressive arm talent. He was responsible for four touchdowns, but this incomplete pass was one of his more impressive throws all season. Rattler throws a missile 65 yards and puts it over the double coverage and just off the hands of his target.

Outlook:

Since Riley took over as head coach in 2017, Oklahoma has had four starting quarterbacks — two (Mayfield and Kyler Murray) won the Heisman Trophy and were the No. 1 overall picks in the NFL Draft. Another (Jalen Hurts) was the Heisman runner-up and a second-round pick. Rattler is the fourth quarterback, and although he is not on that Mayfield/Murray level (yet) as a pro prospect, that might change this season.

Spencer Rattler is on the brink of stardom. He is the first quarterback to be fully developed by Lincoln Riley (Mayfield, Murray, and Hurts transferred) and has not scratched the surface of what he is capable of. With his quick release, diagnosis of defenses pre-snap, and unconventional throws, he will reach new heights in 2021. Rattler thrives in Riley’s RPO/play-action-centric offensive attack. His vertical shots downfield and tight window accuracy are a thing of beauty. The Arizona native commands the huddle and sets the tone of OU’s offense. Not there yet, but Rattler possesses the ability to be Riley’s greatest achievement.

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