There are a number of high-level quarterbacks in the 2019 NFL Draft. North Carolina State Wolfpack star Ryan Finley has the tools to be the No. 1 star.
The North Carolina State Wolfpack have produced an impressive string of NFL talent. That includes multi-time Pro Bowls selectees Torry Holt, Vaughan Johnson, Mike Quick, Mario Williams, and Adrian Wilson.
Rivers is a seven-time Pro Bowl honoree who has led the NFL in passing yards, passing touchdowns, passer rating, and completion percentage. Wilson is a Super Bowl champion who has made four Pro Bowl appearances and led the league in passer rating and passing touchdowns.
Those are big shoes to fill, but it also speaks to the program’s uncanny ability to produce NFL-caliber quarterbacks.
Dave Doeren, the current head coach of the Wolfpack, doesn’t exactly have that feather in his cap. Even as a defensive-minded coach, however, he’s proven in the past to be able to help quarterbacks maximize their potential—see: Chandler Harnish and Jordan Lynch.
As far as the NFL is concerned, Doeren could soon produce his first star-caliber quarterback at the next level: Ryan Finley.
Finley, who transferred from Boise State after the 2015 campaign, has become one of the most intriguing quarterback prospects in the country. He’s shown steady signs of improvement under center, and has even flashed the ability to make plays with his legs.
That began in 2016, when Finley threw for 3,055 yards, 18 touchdowns, and eight interceptions on a completion percentage of 60.4 percent.
It was a solid season, with all things considered, but there were signs of inconsistency that marred his debut in Raleigh. Thankfully, he stepped up in 2017 with 3,518 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, and just six interceptions on a completion percentage of 65.1 percent.
There was troubling inconsistency when Finley threw deep passes over the middle of the field, but he was legitimately elite outside the numbers.
Finley will need to be better inside the numbers, but his ability to make deep throws along the sidelines is an NFL-caliber skill.
In an ideal world, Finley wouldn’t be 33.8 passer rating points below the NCAA average inside the numbers. He has a full season to improve in that regard, however, and is already producing at a genuinely elite level on NFL throws.
While the deep throws are certainly intriguing, what makes Finley a special talent is the fact that he can work the full route tree.
That’s an impressive distribution of throws, to say the least.
Finley can make every throw there is to make, which is certainly the foundation for future success. The concerning truth is that he threw for multiple touchdowns in just four of his 13 appearances in 2017, albeit with one of those games coming against the Clemson Tigers.
Finley produced 338 passing yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions against Clemson, as well as a two-touchdown performance against Florida State.
Finley also completed 20 of 31 attempts for 367 yards, one touchdown, and no interception against the Louisville Cardinals. He even opened the season by going 45-of-64 for 415 yards, two touchdowns, and no picks against the South Carolina Gamecocks.
That’s complemented by the fact that Finley ran for 194 yards and three touchdowns, and had the second-highest adjusted completion percentage of any returning ACC quarterback.
If Ryan Finley can address his flaws and polish his strengths, the North Carolina State Wolfpack will produce a third high-level NFL quarterback.