North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner has been an effective signal caller for the past two years for the Tar Heels. He is more of a facilitating type quarterback than a game breaker, but he has been efficient and productive in that role. After a terrific sophomore year, the Tar Heels changed coaches and while Renner reduced the number of interceptions he had as a sophomore, his production was relatively the same for each season.
Renner’s senior year will be an opportunity for him to make a statement as being a game breaker as opposed to being more of a game manager and will be competing in a conference filled with talented quarterbacks. He will also have to adjust to the loss of a couple of talented offensive linemen in Brennan Williams and Jonathan Cooper along with running back Giovani Bernard, which will put more of the onus on Renner to produce this season if the Tar Heels are going to be successful in Larry Fedora’s second season as head coach. Renner has the tools and experience to be a successful quarterback and could really take steps to being a good NFL prospect if he can be more consistent with his footwork as well as become more comfortable and less antsy in the pocket. As it stands, Renner looks the part of a day three quarterback that would be a third string developmental prospect or backup. With consistency and improvement, he could raise his stock and get into the top 100 picks.
Vitals & Build
Renner is listed at 6’3” 215lbs and has a decent build for the quarterback position. He looks the part but is not overwhelming in any area physically. Renner has the height, size, and decent enough mobility to not be a statue in the pocket. He should not have any problem continue adding strength to his frame but his build is not a problem now. More strength would only help him, especially as he goes to the NFL.
Renner’s arm strength and zip are both good but not remarkable. He can stretch the field with the deep ball and present a threat to operate down the field but is not someone who will make coaches swoon over his arm. His arm is strong enough to operate in the NFL.
The same can be said for Renner’s ability to put zip on the football. Renner can let loose with a decent fastball but is not overwhelming with his ability to fit passes into tight windows. He has a good enough arm to do the job within reason.
Accuracy & Touch
Most of this comes down to Renner’s mechanics and his footwork, because when he displays good footwork and is in rhythm, he can be pretty accurate with the football. He is not consistent enough when it comes to ball placement and does not do a great job of putting the ball in position where his receiver can catch the ball in stride and continue running with it on timing routes to this point.
Renner is far more comfortable when it comes to laying the ball out for his guy to make a play on it going down the field and can put those passes where they should go. He also displays the ability to make some good sideline throws but is not consistent when it comes to making jump ball type passes in the red zone, often leading his guy out of bounds and with a pass that is a little too flat, but at least he does not fall short and leave passes that can be intercepted. There are times when Renner will have moments of brilliance where he can make an incredible throw and if he can make those happen more regularly, it will make a big difference for his own future as well as the Tar Heels this upcoming season.
In terms of touch, Renner has a nice array of passes he can throw when it comes to laying the ball out there for his guys to make receptions. He can throw a nice pass that gets over the second level of the defense and right on the money for his guys to catch the ball. Renner needs to do a better job of putting passes up in the red zone for his receivers to climb the ladder, but can drop passes in the bucket in the back corner of the end zone. Although his location is not always where it should be, Renner throws a catchable ball and makes it easy for his receivers to make plays on the football that rarely result in drops. The only problem he will sometimes run into is putting a little too much touch on passes giving defenders the time to catch up and make a play.
Mechanics & Footwork
Renner’s mechanics and footwork are what typically get him into trouble and are the root of his mistakes. Usually, Renner’s success or failure can be tied directly to his feet. When he is in rhythm, steps to his target and is balanced, he makes an accurate throw where he wants the ball to go. The problem is that his footwork is off a frustrating amount of time. Mostly, this comes in the form of his feet simply not being settled and him throwing when they are going up and down in the pocket with only his arm making the throw. Renner can get antsy in the pocket and when he is uncomfortable, his feet are what give him away.
This is particularly the case when the clock in Renner’s head has gone off and he feels like he should have made a decision with the football. His feet immediately start moving and Renner looks physically uncomfortable. The result is that Renner will make rushed decisions that do not have good footwork and the accuracy is impacted. He will also make throws without using his legs at all that are shorter passes such as screens and quick hitting passes. Lastly, he will throw off of his backfield if he feels pressure, especially on short passes where he feels he has plenty of arm to get the job done.
In terms of his throwing mechanics, Renner is a traditional overhand thrower with a delivery that does not stand out as being particularly fast or slow. He brings the ball back behind his ear with a smooth follow through, but on short passes, Renner will opt to bring it to his ear and throw from there in order to get rid of it a little more quickly.
The Tar Heels run a ton of shotgun under Fedora, so Renner will need to get comfortable making his drops, throwing in a rhythm and reading defenses while he drops. Some of his shotgun snaps have a drop to them, but this is not consistent enough for the NFL to really mean much.
Renner’s sense of the pocket is fine as long as he is within the timeframe of the clock in his head. He will step up in the pocket to make throws effectively. Renner is able to maneuver the pocket effectively but will get caught up in his footwork. His sense of the pocket tends to get rattled when the clock goes off in his head and Renner feels the ball should be out already. At that point, he gets visibly uncomfortable looking for a place to get rid of the ball or pulls it down and scrambles. The sense of urgency to make a decision with the football is good and understandable, but Renner needs to look and feel more comfortable in those situations to allow himself to make smart decisions with the ball.
Decision Making & Anticipation
This is another area where Renner needs to improve. When Renner knows what he is supposed to do because the play is prescribed to make a quick throw or a bubble screen, he looks good and is able to make the right throw. When his read is there and he uses good mechanics, he looks good and can throw the ball on time and effectively.
In situations where Renner is making multiple reads, he can get a little frazzled in the pocket, his footwork goes away and he will make decisions that can be questionable either because he is forcing the ball somewhere he should not or staring down a receiver and giving the defenders a head start or he is late with the pass. These are the situations when Renner will get victimized with turnovers and make erratic decisions because the game is going too fast for him. If he can settle down and just work through the process and trust the play consistently, he will be much better for it.
Renner is an average athlete and he can make some plays with his legs but he is not someone who will inspire fear in his opponent because of his ability to move. He can slide and maneuver in the backfield and on rollouts with ease, but his foot speed and agility are merely average. Renner can pick up a few yards but is not a real running threat even though the Tar Heels have had him run option looks and keep the ball. He is by no means a statue but his mobility is merely functional.
At this point, Renner has the tools and is malleable enough where he can be molded into virtually any system at this point. He has a serviceable enough arm that can he stretch the field and can be accurate enough to make timing throws but needs to be more consistent with his footwork in either situation. Renner could really be put in any offense and the results could be decent with time and work. He needs to be a backup for a while and continue to develop with good coaching and he may be able to be a starter at some point down the line, but seems more like a backup or third string developmental quarterback at this point.
|Thu, Aug. 29||at South Carolina|
|Sat, Sept. 7||vs. Middle Tennessee State|
|Sat, Sept. 21||at Georgia Tech|
|Sat, Sept. 28||vs. East Carolina|
|Sat, Oct. 5||at Virginia Tech|
|Thu, Oct. 17||vs. Miami|
|Sat, Oct. 26||vs. Boston College|
|Sat, Nov. 2||at N.C. State|
|Sat, Nov. 9||vs. Virginia|
|Sat, Nov. 16||at Pittsburgh|
|Sat, Nov. 23||vs. Old Dominion|
|Sat, Nov. 30||at Duke|
The first game of the year at South Carolina is a huge test with JaDeveon Clowney, Chaz Sutton, and the rest of the Gamecock defense coming to town, but gives Renner the opportunity to stand tall in the pocket, maintain his mechanics and footwork and make good throws. The game against Virginia Tech could feature another talented defense with players like James Gayle and Antone Exum if he is recovered in time. The following game is 12 days later on national television against the Miami Hurricanes and will give Renner an opportunity to prove himself against a solid defense in an environment with a substantial audience watching.
Renner’s physical tools and his somewhat uncomfortable presence in the pocket is similar to that of Mark Sanchez. After coming out of USC surrounded by star power where he was asked to be a facilitator, Sanchez has been as functional as the tools around him allow him to be. He can win games but is often times the means to getting the ball to the weapons around him and letting them make the big plays. And with both Renner and Sanchez, both offer enough potential to give a sense that they could be more down the road with work and consistency. In Sanchez’s case, the ship appears to have sailed, but that is what he appeared to be earlier in his career.
Everything about Renner comes down to the fact that he knows what he should be doing and he just needs do it. When he uses good footwork and throws in rhythm, he is an effective quarterback who can make great throws and lead his team to win games. When he gets antsy in the pocket after the clock has ticked away in his head, he tends to look a little panicked and his footwork goes out the window and he makes questionable decisions. Renner has enough talent to warrant a third day pick in the NFL Draft, but could vault himself into the top 100 if the light goes on for him as far as the intangible parts of being a quarterback goes in addition to consistent footwork.