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Purple & Gold Prospects: Shedeur Sanders Scouting Report

Welcome to Purple & Gold Prospects!

This will be an ongoing series to get Vikings fans familiar with upcoming draft prospects.The focus of this series will be to cover prominent prospects entering the upcoming NFL Draft. The series will center on the position groups of highest need on the current Vikings roster, but will also cover stand out players across the spectrum. I hope you will join me on this continuing journey to learn more about upcoming draft classes.

With that let’s discover the possible future of your Minnesota Vikings!

Background

Height: 6020

Weight: 215 lbs.

Sanders was a 3-star recruit out of Trinity Christian School who originally committed to Florida Atlantic before flipping to join his father, Deion Sanders, at Jackson State. He would later follow his father to the University of Colorado Boulder. He led Trinity to 3 consecutive Division II state titles. In his two years at Jackson State, he amassed 6,963 yards passing, 70 passing TDs, and only 14 INTs with an impressive 68.4% completion rate.

Games watched: Florida A&M 2022, Grambling State 2022, Miss Valley State 2022, Southern 2022

Strengths

Sanders is elusive in the backfield often shedding tackles and escaping the pocket when needed. He is an above-average athlete and runner but will continue to keep his eyes downfield instead of committing to the run. Sanders goes through progressions and reads the field well. He takes the quick outs when needed, but has the patience to let routes develop. Sanders has great poise in the pocket and a willingness to stand in the face of pressure to deliver the ball. His arm strength isn’t the greatest but it is plenty sufficient for NFL offenses with the ability to get any pass where it needs to be. His footwork is also good and he gets into his dropbacks quickly with decent consistency. His mechanics are also solid. Sanders has great intermediate accuracy and anticipation. Consistently fires it into tight windows and hits receivers in-stride. His deep balls are also fairly good and flashes moments of excellent placement and timing. The most impressive part his game may be the varying levels of speed and touch he puts on the ball to be able to place it between or over defenders at any level. This really shines on tape and defenders rarely have a chance at the ball.

Weaknesses

While Sanders has good footwork most of the time he also has a little extra hitch in his step with too much consistency. This causes slightly delayed releases which can affect timing and placement. It doesn’t seem to affect his intermediate passes very much but it does affect the deep ball accuracy at times. This is most noticeable on his shorter screens and crossing routes where he won’t hit his receivers in stride. This can also cause delays in receivers turning upfield or allowing defenders to close quickly. Sanders will also hang onto the ball too long trusting in his evasiveness and athleticism that can lead to sacks or negative plays. His footwork can get a little sloppy once in a while and he can drift in the pocket causing unnecessary pressure. Lastly we will need to see if his level of play translates to higher competition at Colorado.

So far in 2023

Sanders reminds me a lot of Teddy Bridgewater coming out of Louisville. He doesn’t quite have Bridgewater’s excellent pocket presence and movement but the way he throws the ball with touch and anticipation are very similar. Sanders also has a penchant for the clutch plays and drives that Bridgewater displayed. He hasn’t lost a step since transferring to Colorado. Sanders is still displaying the same strengths he did at Jackson State and is off to a great start through 7 games. Although Colorado has dropped three games after a hot start of 3-0, Sanders has still rallied his team to a 4-3 start playing against top competition. This includes a week 1 win against TCU who had just made a trip to the National Championship in 2022. In this stretch he has accumulated 2420 passing yards with a 21-3 TD to INT ratio. He has combined this with an outstanding 72.3% completion percentage. We currently do not know if Sanders will declare for the 2024 NFL Draft. but he has positioned himself nicely to fly up draft boards and a possible 1st round selection next April.

Grade

Accuracy: 12.5 / 15

Decision Making/Mental Ability: 13 / 15

Mechanics: 12 / 15

Touch/Trajectory: 14.5 / 15

Arm Strength: 7.5 / 10

Athleticism: 8 / 10

Durability: 9.5 / 10

Pocket Presence: 7.1 / 10

Grade: 84.1 – Second Round

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