2016 NFL Draft Scouting Report: USC Quarterback Cody Kessler


Measurements: 6’1 ½ “, 224 lbs 40 time: ??? (CBS reports 4.88 sec)

2015 Stats: 446 att, 298 comp (66.8 comp %), 3,539 yards, 29 TDs, 7 INTs, 4 rushing TDs.

Run Downs: B. Kessler shows just enough scamper to get downfield when the rush closes in on him. He is not a prospect who’s going to have many designed runs, but has enough elusiveness and speed to pick up some first downs and get into the end zone, including one score with his feet in the Senior Bowl.

Passing Downs: C+. The redshirt senior has the accuracy and quick release to hit the open man. However, that man is usually on a swing out of the backfield or a receiver settling five yards from the line of scrimmage. That’s right, Kessler is a dreaded “Checkdown Charlie.” A big part of Cody Kessler’s game is to avoid mistakes and turnovers, making safe short throws near the line of scrimmage and letting his receivers get chunks of yards after the catch.

Athleticism: C-. At 6-1 ½ and 224, Kessler doesn’t quite have that prototypical height and weight that scouts look for. His arm strength is also mediocre; his passes don’t have that zip on them that NFL caliber QBs need to fit into tight windows. His footwork and mechanics are decent, but has a habit of throwing off of his back foot at times, especially when throwing deep downfield.

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Football IQ/Durability: B+. Despite all the turmoil of the Sarkesian era, his pro-style offense paid great dividends for Kessler, throwing for 88 touchdowns in his career in his three years as a starter. He goes through progressions well, but does all he can to minimize risk instead of going for big splash plays.

Final Assessment: Like many USC quarterbacks before him, Kessler is a good, but not great prospect in terms of his potential. He will likely never have the arm strength needed to be a top-flight NFL quarterback. A good backup, but not likely the guy to lead a team to the Super Bowl with his arm. At his best, Kessler looks like Alex Smith and at his worst, Matt Cassel.

However, the Pittsburgh Steelers have already had a meeting with Kessler at the Senior Bowl, so NFL teams may view his flaws as being correctable with proper coaching.

Best/Worst Film: Stanford/Washington

Fun Fact: Kessler holds the USC record for TD passes in a season (39: Tied with Matt Barkley) and TD passes in a game (7).

Projected Round: 5-6.