Tigers coach Gary Pinkel and offensive coordinator David Yost don't get enough credit nationally for the work they've done with Missouri's quarterbacks. Each of their three previous passers have gone on to the NFL (Brad Smith, Chase Daniel, Blaine Gabbert), and with only one starting season under his belt it is clear that Franklin is on his way toward extending that streak to four. A multi-dimensional athlete capable of beating defenses with both his strong right arm and legs, Franklin emerged last season to score 36 touchdowns against just 11 interceptions. He completed 63.3% of his passes and has an efficient, over the top release that aids the fact that he's shorter than scouts would prefer.
While short, Franklin has a solid, athletic build and is a true scrambling threat, rushing for 981 yards and scoring 15 of his touchdowns a season ago via the run. There is no denying that Franklin, entering his true junior season, has a ways to go as a traditional NFL passer. Like the former Mizzou quarterbacks coached under Pinkel and Yost, he's been aided by the Tigers' relatively simple passing attack that features a great deal of screens and intermediate crossing routes designed to get the ball out of the quarterback's hands quickly. He flashes the ability to drop deep balls in the bucket but too often forced receivers to adjust slightly to off-target passes, limiting run-after-the-catch possibilities. He showed the type of moxie, athleticism and arm talent last season, however, to give Tigers' fans plenty of optimism that he'll handle the adjustment to the SEC just fine... that is, if he's completely over the torn labrum in his throwing shoulder that required surgery during the offseason. --Rob Rang
05/13/2014 - Lions sign 11 undrafted rookie free agents: James Franklin, QB, 6-2, 230, Missouri: Franklin was a dual-threat quarterback at Missouri, throwing for 6,962 yards and rushing for 1,729 over his career. - Tim Twentyman, DetroitLions.com