Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg is a known commodity as someone who has been on the NFL Draft radar for several years. He has the prototypical measurements with good height, solid bulk, strong throwing arm and functional mobility. However, there are several parts of his game that say he’ll struggle in the NFL.
The biggest concern surrounding Hackenberg is his struggles handing pressure. He has several bad habits including holding the ball too long, forcing his throws into tight coverage and turning his back to the pass rush.
Penn State’s offensive line gets the bulk of the blame for Hackenberg’s issues, but when you look closer it’s easy to see that he shares an equal amount of the blame.
NFL quarterbacks must find a way to succeed in the face of a strong pass rush. This means identifying the blitz, making quick decisions and standing strong in the pocket. Hackenberg isn’t afraid of taking a big hit, but just doesn’t make smart decisions under duress.
He doesn’t read the defense quick enough to identify the pressure and locate the open target. This leads to him holding the ball to long and taking unnecessary sacks. He also has the bad habit of turning his back to the rush which results in bigger losses.
Hackenberg has talent, but is far from ready to make an impact at the next level.