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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: QB Ian Book

  • The Draft Network
  • January 5, 2021
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Ian Book leaves the Notre Dame program as one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in school history. He’s the school’s winningest quarterback and is second on the all-time passing list for both yardage and touchdowns. Book’s NFL resume isn’t quite as impressive; as he’s an undersized passer who has thrived on extending plays outside of structure and relied on some dynamic skill players to win 50/50 footballs for him down the field. Trying to forecast Book into an NFL offense is a challenge; as he’s not shown the ability to consistently win and thrive within the structure of an offense. Because of this, he may get a look as a backup quarterback, where his unpredictability can be harnessed in small sample sizes to help keep the opposition guessing. Book’s best case NFL draft forecast feels similar to that of Trace McSorely out of Penn State a few years back; McSorley was a late-round pick and has been serving as QB3 for the Baltimore Ravens. 


Games watched: MIchigan (2019), USC (2019), Georgia (2019), Florida State (2020), Clemson (2020), North Carolina (2020), Alabama (2020)

Best Game Studied: North Carolina (2020)

Worst Game Studied: Michigan (2019)

Accuracy: Book’s accuracy is scattershot in all phases of the game; he struggles due to wild throwing mechanics and an erratic base that often sets him up for failure. Tight-window throws will never be his forte and he has yet to show consistency throwing receivers open versus zone or vertically down the field. 

Decision Making: Anyone who invests in Book is going to have to find a way to tame the stallion—he’s totally wild and makes some careless decisions under duress. Other decisions will miraculously break in his favor, so it’s a double-edged sword. He’s capable of being trapped in the intermediate and shallow areas when faced with zone coverage; putting ball security at risk. 

Poise: You’d be within your right to say he seems to thrive more in the chaos of “sandlot” football than he does with timing drops, but it makes for a well-composed quarterback when he’s flushed off his spot. His poor decisions feel more rooted in misreading the field than they are about him being frantic or panicked about the presence of a rusher around him. Playing at Notre Dame has placed him on one of the biggest stages in the college game. He’ll be mentally ready for rigors of life in the NFL. 

Progressions: Book is not ever going to be someone who thrives in a pure progression system—his eyes simply don’t work through the full field of play with the tempo needed to survey from left to right or vice versa. He’ll likely be best in a middle of field open (MOFO) or middle of field closed (MOFC) approach to operating the infrastructure of a passing offense. 

Release: Book’s release is compact, as aided by his smaller stature. He won’t have issues getting the ball out if he’s looking to throw around defenders, but his accuracy takes a big dip when he resorts to using all arm on some throws. 

Pocket Manipulation: Manipulation might not be the right word for Book, but he’s certainly capable of flushing against the rush and getting out onto the perimeter of the field. Book can be quick to drop his eyes and lose targets downfield when trying to navigate the pocket—you wish his peripheral vision and sense of security in the pocket (especially behind a very good Irish OL) were more refined. 

Arm Strength: The arm strength is only modest and when he looks to push the ball vertically down the field, there’s some hang time on those throws. When he does look to throw with velocity, you can generally throw accuracy out the window—he’ll one-hop some, airmail others. He’s just not manufactured to drive throws with confidence and accuracy and will need to find other ways to win as a passer. 

Mobility: This is perhaps Book’s most impressive trait. He’s slippery as hell and will break contain routinely, giving the offense a chance for free chunk yards if teams choose to play man against him. He’s a very good athlete for the quarterback position and offers short-area quickness to pair with open field ability. 

Leadership: Book took over as the starting quarterback in 2018 and was subsequently voted team MVP by his teammates that season—he’s well regarded and does play a fearless style of football that teammates will certainly notice on the field. He's willing to sell out for a key yard in a key situation as a runner or stand tough while knowing he’s primed to take a hit in the pocket on third down. 

Mechanics: Book is fairly liberal with his throwing motion. At times there’s a “whatever it takes” feel to him getting the ball out. When he’s clean within the pocket, he can spin a nice, catchable football. But those instances are fleeting and littered with the wild plays that have defined his playing career. 

Prospect Comparison: Shea Patterson (2020 NFL Draft, UDFA)


TDN Consensus: To Be Determined

Kyle Crabbs: 64.5/100

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