Former Miami Hurricane quarterback and the Detroit Lions sixth round draft pick Brad Kaaya surprisingly fell to the franchise late in the 2017 NFL Draft. The prospect was fairly decent in college, tossing for 9,968 yards, 69 TDs and 24 INTs during his time with “The U”. If you had asked people in the early stages of his college career on whether or not he’d be viewed as a top QB prospect, the answer might’ve been yes.
Why did he fall to the 6th round? There are a handful of factors that could’ve played into this. Quarterbacks such as Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes II, and Deshone Kizer were all very impressive, and were highly ranked by NFL Scouts as a result. On the other hand, Brad Kaaya’s scouting report was nowhere near as impressive as the aforementioned QBs. The scouting report mentioned that Kaaya was 85th in passer rating when under pressure (59.2), and was ranked 19th when in a clean pocket (113.0).
What Kaaya does have is great footwork and balance. He also shows great touch on the deep ball, and puts great trajectory on his passes, which comes in very handy on fade routes and within the red zone. Kaaya also shows great timing and rhythm when throwing the ball, and has above average understanding in pro-like passing offensive schemes. To put it in a few words, he is a very efficient and natural passer.
His struggles include playing under pressure, as his accuracy drops when having to speed up his mind and focus. Kaaya is also a very soft thrower, as he likely would be unable to fit a pass into a tight window, due to his lack of power in his pass. He isn’t overly athletic, and is slow to extend or make plays out of thin air. The upcoming rookie doesn’t respond well to crucial situations, and almost freezes when under a heavy blitz.
So, what is he doing now in Detroit, and how did he look in OTAs? He is reportedly “light years behind” backup QB Jake Rudock to play behind 29 year-old starter Matthew Stafford, but he is consistently improving. Caldwell spoke of Kaaya, stating “he’s still got a ways to go, but we like what we see, that’s for sure.”
With training camp and preseason arriving, we will likely see more of the young rookie and how he looks at the NFL level. The Lions open the preseason in Indianapolis to take on the Colts.