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NFL Draft Profile: Virginia QB Kurt Benkert

NCAA Football: Military Bowl-Virginia vs Navy Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The most important position on a football field is the QB. That’s obvious. What isn’t obvious are the traits that make a good QB. Tom Brady went in the sixth round of the NFL Draft his year. JaMarcus Russell went in the first round. Obviously, football scouts don’t really know who is going to be good and who isn’t.

There are, however, a couple of things that scouts are looking for. One is, of course, arm strength. Let me show you what arm strength is.

Virginia Cavaliers quarterback Kurt Benkert throws that ball from his own 27 yard line to about the Boise State 12 yard line. That’s over 60 yards on a rope. And right to the WR, in stride. That is an NFL throw. Benkert made a lot of NFL throws this year, breaking the single-season UVA record for attempts, completions, and yards. In just two seasons, he’s third all-time in TDs and second in yards. He also holds the top two single-game passing totals in UVA history.

Another thing that NFL teams look at in a QB is intelligence. That’s both football IQ and off-the-field smarts. Benkert finished his undergraduate degree from ECU in three years and was a graduate transfer to UVA. On the field, he arrived on grounds as a new QB and picked up the system quick enough to be the starting QB from day one, and he threw for 264 and 3 TDs in his first action for the Hoos.

Benkert isn’t the fleetest of foot. He ran a 4.95 40 at the combine, which is considered slow. But his agility numbers were pretty good. He’s pretty decent at avoiding the rush and getting outside the pocket. He’s not going to pick up yards with his legs, but he can buy time. He’s also very capable of throwing on the move. His arm is so strong, he can throw a deep route off his back foot without losing velocity. Here’s an example.

Sometimes, though, that arm strength is Benkert’s downfall. He’s so confident that he can make every throw, he’ll try things he shouldn’t, and lacks the accuracy and consistency to get those completions. He’ll make bad decisions, which often lead to INTs. Overall, his decision making on the field isn’t great. And despite his ability to get out of the pocket, he struggles to complete passes when on the move.

We had the chance to speak with Benkert during his draft preparation, and you can catch that here.

That throw at the top of this article is what’ll get him into the NFL. But a lot of his other throws will keep him from being a starter in the league. Projections have him as a late round pick, either sixth or seventh. I’m leaning towards seventh, but that’s not to say he can’t make for a great NFL quarterback down the road.