In conjunction with FanSided’s NFL blog NFLSpinZone we will be revealing excerpts of Rishi Pochiraju’s ranking of the NFL’s best quarterbacks starting at No. 32 with the Oakland Raiders Matt Flynn, who has fallen at the dreaded last place spot in many analysts quarterback lists.
#32. Matt Flynn, Oakland Raiders
Matt Flynn is a mystery. That’s the only way I can describe him. There is absolutely no possible way to give him a full evaluation – the sample size of his play is simply too small. Nobody can grade someone off two games started.
However, it is possible to pick up details of his play when he was at college, and how he was able to have success in the two games he started, in which he played extraordinarily. Stats should not matter, but a backup quarterback throwing for 480 yards and six touchdowns in his second career start is unheard of.
Still, Flynn comes in at number 32 of the quarterback rankings because he is the only starter in the league we don’t know about, and I haven’t seen just enough of a sample of him to effectively grade him as I would a starting quarterback. Hopefully, we will see what Flynn can do in Oakland. If he doesn’t lose a QB battle to yet another guy named Wilson.
Physical traits and athleticism
At 6-2, 230 pounds, Flynn is at an average size for his position. Although he could be considered slightly undersized by some, he is tall enough
to succeed. Just look at Russell Wilson and Drew Brees. Flynn is not known for using his legs, but his athleticism is somewhat underrated. He ran a 4.79 40-yard dash – not blazing fast, but good enough to escape the pocket and maybe pick up a first down. Still faster than Manti Te’o. Physically, he is good enough to succeed. Grade: 6/10
Again, Flynn’s talent can’t be based purely on the two games he’s started. But he seems to be an accurate quarterback. The throw to James Jones against New England was right on the money. His arm strength has been questioned, but the game against Detroit where he seemed to just keep connecting on long bombs half-way stopped that criticism. He still needs to work on a few things in order to beat out Tyler Wilson. Grade: 5/10
Flynn’s throwing motion is quick and he gets the ball out on time. However, his three- and five-step drop-backs are not precise, often hesitating on the second step, perhaps to read the defense – but that has to happen as he drops back. I’ve also seen him throw often off his back foot, which makes the ball sail and be underthrown often. Flynn needs to fix these mechanical errors. Grade: 5/10
Flynn tries to play smart. I saw him dive and give up a few yards on 3rd and long when scrambling against New England; he was able to protect his body, knowing what is best. His pocket presence is average at best – he uses his moderate speed to escape – but often, the pocket collapses around him, and he doesn’t either throw hot or step up when there is room. His ability to read blitzes and coverages has improved over the years, partly because of the fact that he was able to sit and learn from Aaron Rodgers. Grade: 5.5/10
Flynn has not been in any legal troubles and comes across as a good guy. However, his work ethic and determination have to be questioned when he lost out to rookie Russell Wilson, even as a favorite to win the competition. Flynn won’t miss practice or get caught with the wrong crowd, but he doesn’t seem to have the willingness to improve. Grade: 5/10
On the Raiders, there is no clear starter. There might not even be a quality starter. Flynn has showed tremendous upside in his two starts, but who knows if the stats are a fluke? For a starting quarterback, there are many things Flynn can improve. If he wins the starting job and plays well during the season, he will prove this ranking at number 32 wrong. Overall grade: 26.5/50
Want to read more of Rishi’s QB breakdowns? His quarterback rankings are revealed every two days at NFLSpinZone.com