So far this offseason, the Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback controversy has revolved around Kevin Kolb and John Skelton. But what about rookie Ryan Lindley?
A San Diego State alumnus who was drafted by the Cardinals in the sixth-round of April’s 2012 NFL Draft, Lindley has flown under the radar this offseason while the focus has been on the positional struggle between Kolb and Skelton. Don’t let this lack of media attention fool you, though; Lindley is the real deal.
Although he might not be as NFL-ready as some of 2012’s rookie quarterbacks, Lindley has the physical tools and mental toughness to make it as a starter.
Lindley was the most productive quarterback in program history though his four years as San Diego State’s starter. He compiled impressive numbers and set school marks in passing yards (12,690) and touchdowns (90). Time and time again, he displayed tremendous arm strength and found ways to showcase his prototypical NFL size (6’4’’, 230). He’s definitely raw, but the clay is there for the Cardinals to mold him into a starter.
There are some questions that will carry over from his college career as Lindley transitions to the NFL game as well.
For one, the majority of his snaps were taken out of the shotgun at San Diego State. The one season during which he dropped back from under center, Lindley managed a disappointing completion percentage of only 53. Still, he handled the adjustment fairly well and proved that he could be successful (3,153 yards, 23 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions in 2011).
The biggest concern, though, for Lindley is his accuracy (or lack thereof). Throughout his college career, Lindley struggled to put his receivers in position to make plays after the catch. Passes often forced receivers to make major adjustments to their routes. His career 55.5 completion percentage is worrisome, but that doesn’t mean that the problem isn’t coachable. If the Cardinals can straighten out Lindley and help him make better decisions with the ball, his value will skyrocket.
Overall, the potential is there for Lindley to make a name for himself as a starting-caliber quarterback in the NFL. It might take some time (and proper coaching) to elevate his game to the next level, but there’s too much raw talent for Lindley to not make an impact at some point in his career.