Tanner McKee Draft Profile
Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee is an easy projection when it comes to foreseeing the type of quarterback he will be in the NFL. In an era where a quarterback’s ceiling seems to be the most important thing come draft time, I don’t anticipate McKee being a very highly-touted prospect in this draft. I believe he’s a low-ceiling guy, but has the potential to carve out a solid role as a serviceable backup quarterback in the NFL. Before enrolling at Stanford, McKee spent two years on a mission for the Church of Latter-day Saints which is why he will be 23 years old on draft day with only one year of starting college experience. McKee won’t ever be a guy who a team builds around, but his intelligence may make him a good dude for the quarterback room.
When it comes to an old school quarterback, McKee fits the mold for what once was looked at as the prototype. He is a tall pocket passer that is extremely intelligent and is capable of making “big-boy throws”. He is accurate and has shown intentional ball-placement in the red zone. He isn’t afraid to take check downs and does a good job at getting the ball into his playmaker’s hands. While he doesn’t do it consistently, McKee has shown that he’s capable of driving the football outside of the numbers and putting some heat on passes at the first and second level. With a clean pocket, McKee is a capable passer and can orchestrate the offense. McKee looks most comfortable when he’s operating with a clean pocket, but he’s shown some ability to make plays when he’s forced out of the pocket. He doesn’t like to escape the pocket, but he’s made some big time plays when he’s on the move. It seems like he plays “clenched”, he’s tight and doesn’t like to get outside of the play-structure, but when he is forced to, good things happen. In all honesty, McKee isn’t a great athlete— but when puts in the effort to make an athletic play he’s shown the capability to do so. McKee is intelligent and looks calm when having to make audibles at the line. If McKee can get with a coach who encourages him to “loosen up”, good things will come his way.
McKee doesn’t play with self-confidence which averts him from making plays outside of the play’s structure. He doesn’t have the risk-taking persona you want in your quarterback; it feels like McKee leaves a lot on the table. You want to see him “let it rip”, but he never does it. It almost seems like he prefers a check down over a deep shot, and his average depth of target reflects it. He loves checking the ball off when he’s kept clean, but takes a lot of sacks against pressure. When it comes to his “fight or flight” response, McKee doesn’t do either— he freezes. This results in drive-killing sacks that will drive coaches crazy. His throwing motion is long, and his feet aren’t quick enough to react fast enough to defenders being in his face. In today’s NFL, you need a quarterback who is a ball-player and enjoys making plays outside of the pocket, but he lacks reactive athleticism and aggressive mindset to do so. Conditions need to be perfect for McKee to thrive which isn’t realistic in the NFL.
NFL general managers are looking for quarterbacks that are a mixture of trustworthy and exciting. Guys they can lean on when the game is on the line to make a smart decision and to elevate their team. I don’t believe McKee has any of these traits— when your coach is calling a run play on 4th and 11 in the fourth quarter, that seems like a sign. I know I’m sounding harsh, but I don’t believe that McKee has what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. I don’t have a draftable grade on him, and if I had to pick one player that he reminds me of I’d go with Mike Glennon. A tall, lengthy quarterback who is intelligent, but has limited potential. I hope he proves me wrong, but I’m not on the Tanner McKee train.
Natural Arm Talent: 7.75/12
Natural Leadership: 7/10
Decision Making + Eyes + Anticipation: 7/10
Pocket Presence: 5.5/8
Athleticism + Mobility: 5/8
Deep Ball: 3.25/6
Feet + Base: 4.75/6
Throwing Motion: 3.5/6
Toughness + Fearlessness: 3/6
Final Rating: 66
Pro Comparison: Mike Glennon
Draft Projection: Late Day Three
Draft Grade: UNDRAFTED FREE AGENT
Team Fits: Buccaneers, Lions, Vikings