04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Cardinals' picks: Round 6/185 - Ryan Lindley, QB, 6-3, 232, San Diego State...He's a four-year starter with good size and a strong arm. His weakness is accuracy, completing 55.48 percent of his career attempts. COULD SURPRISE: Quarterback Ryan Lindley: The San Diego State quarterback has a strong arm and good size (6-3, 230 pounds). He's a project so he won't contribute for a couple of years. But he's smart and has ability. If Kevin Kolb and John Skelton falter over the next few years, Lindley could get a shot. - The Sports Xchange
San Diego State quarterbacks coach Brian Sipe knows a little something about playing the position. He starred for the Aztecs from 1969-71, then went on to have a successful 12-year career with the Cleveland Browns. Lindley has been Sipe's star pupil since 2009, and pro scouts have seen the improvement in his game.
Lindley stepped into the starting job as a redshirt freshman in 2008, completing 56.7% of his passes for 2,653 yards and 16 touchdowns against nine interceptions as the replacement for New England's second third-round pick that year, Kevin O'Connell. He threw for more yards (3,054) and touchdowns (23) as a sophomore, but his completed fewer passes (54.7%) while throwing more interceptions (16). Lindley bounced back in 2010, however, with a second-team All-Mountain West Conference junior campaign (57.7%, 3,830 yards, 28 TD, 14 INT).
Although Sipe has helped Lindley's game over the past couple of seasons, the California native's NFL size and arm are still overshadowed at times by his lapses in accuracy and average mobility. Taking advantage of open receivers more consistently and reducing turnovers will help scouts see his potential as a strong pocket passer at the next level.
Accuracy: Very inconsistent in his accuracy. Threads passes in tight windows over the middle, leads slants and crossing routes so receiver can run after the catch. Short-arms throws regularly to wide-open receivers, often with no pressure in his face, due to an inconsistent release point and aiming of the ball. Accuracy drops off significantly when feet are not set. Inconsistent putting air under deep balls so open receivers reach them.
Arm Strength: Plenty of arm strength to deliver the ball to either sideline on short and intermediate outs, as well as get the ball downfield. Generally throws a tight spiral. Throttles down throws on screens and dump-offs so backs can grab them easily, but does not show great touch on shorter finesse throws. Has too much faith in his arm, makes throws into tight or double coverage that lead to interceptions.
Setup/Release: Looks the part of an NFL quarterback in his size, pocket poise and release. Keeps feet moving in the pocket while surveying the field. Runs pro-style system, works from under center and shotgun. Practiced at ball fakes, can fool defenses. Flashes nice five-step drop and deliver, but comes out from under center slow at times and will take a long last step.
Reading Defenses: Sees the field well, knows where most defenses will be vulnerable and looks there first. Looks off safety before throwing back-side slant. See interior pressure coming and stands in to make the throw. Inconsistent anticipating openings, tends to throw to receivers after they break free. Does not feel backside pressure, becoming a sitting duck for blitzers.
On the Move: Best as a pocket passer. Slides a bit in the pocket to find room to throw, but must improve resetting his feet to be accurate. Used on bootlegs but takes a long turn and needs to make the fake more quickly or he'll be run over by pro defensive ends. Flashes the ability to get a few yards as a runner, but lacks the quickness to avoid NFL defenders in space.
Intangibles: Four-year starter who showed improvement during his career. Tough player, missing only one game due to injury (throwing shoulder, Air Force, 2008) and working through ankle injury in 2010. No major character issues.