Halliday, signed by former head coach Paul Wulff, is not the typical Mike Leach quarterback. The lanky 6-foot-4, 198-pounder has a live arm and loves to show it off, attempting more challenging passes than the simple dump-offs so common in most spread attacks.
Halliday set the school record with 4,597 passing yards and tied Ryan Leaf's single-season mark with 34 touchdown passes thrown in 2013 and looked well on his way to shattering these numbers as a senior until suffering a gruesome broken ankle in a loss to Southern Cal that abruptly ended his season. Despite missing the final three games, Holliday's numbers (3,873 yards and 32 touchdowns against 11 interceptions) ranked among the nation's leaders.
Halliday's injury and slim frame complicate his projection to the NFL. So does the fact that his success came from a shotgun-heavy system. In a weak year at quarterback, however, it isn't difficult to imagine a scenario in which the highly-confident and strong-armed Halliday gets drafted anyway.
STRENGTHS: Good frame for a drop-back passer with plenty of arm strength and while he isn't particularly elusive, he does have decent speed for his size. He typically throws in-breaking routes like slants and posts well, showing zip and good placement. At times shows very good accuracy on both intermediate and deep out-breaking routes, consistently throwing before his receivers turn. Deft touch on verticals down the sideline and when dropping passes over the defenders with their backs turned to him. Highly confident passer who performed well against top competition - including beating All-American cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu for three touchdowns in a surprisingly tight game against Oregon (38-31).
WEAKNESSES: Spread quarterback who took virtually all of snaps out of shotgun, including prior to Leach's arrival at Washington State.... Will have to learn the timing of dropping back from under center as an NFL rookie as he has not yet recovered from the ankle injury and will not be able to participate during athletic testing at the Combine. Must convince NFL doctors there that he is on the road to recovery... Possesses a very lean frame and must develop greater strength to withstand NFL punishment... At times too willing to take chances downfield (22 interceptions in 2013). Can get scatter-shot, especially when he doesn't set his feet. Played in a relatively easy offense that inflated his statistics.
02/19/2015 - 2015 NFL Combine: 5 takeaways from quarterback interviews...3. Halliday's transition: Given that he played his ball at Washington State under spread guru Mike Leach (and previously Paul Wulff), Halliday is also making the transition from a shotgun-heavy attack. Even tougher, he's being forced to make the transition on one leg as he's still recovering from the gruesome broken ankle that abruptly ended his record-setting career with the Cougars. Halliday won't be working out this week at the Combine and may not be able to participate in Washington State's Pro Day March 12, but that doesn't mean he isn't drawing interest from teams. The highly confident and strong-armed passer said that he's already met with several clubs this week, including the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com