by Aaron Kagan
Northwestern Wildcats Senior
6’4″, 226 lbs
3,183 pass yds, 17 TD, 15 INT, 299/489 completions/attempts (61.1%) 9 rush TD
Clayton Thorson has the experience and perseverance to lead a professional team at the next level, although his statistics don’t quite paint a picture of that. Starting 53 games throughout his career certainly exemplifies his experience as a signal-caller, as well as making his return to start in the season opener after tearing his ACL at the end of the previous season. He definitely has the athleticism, the physical size, and the mental capabilities to excel at the next level. He has a quick release, along with solid mechanics. He also has impressive footwork especially when the pocket breaks down, in which he is capable of making plays with his legs.
His tangible stat numbers can be improved with a professional coaching staff helping him work on his game. His team in college wasn’t exactly filled with other star players, which obviously had an impact on his statistical numbers in 2018; although he was operating a pro-style offense. He tends to be static in the pocket which could have him succumb to edge pressure. He typically looks to his primary read rather than running through his progressions. His low yards-per-completion rate suggests he has some struggles throwing the ball deep downfield.
Clayton Thorson can be a capable NFL player, although capable starting quarterback is another issue. Capable backup quarterbacks are needed and greatly wanted by many teams, and this is the category of player that I would think Thorson will fall in to. Possibly learning and getting experience behind a capable starter may lead to more success. For now, I won’t be looking too much past that of being a backup, even though he is the 6th-7th ranked quarterback in this draft class.