Pete Carroll announced that there would be a quarterback search taking place this offseason for the Seattle Seahawks. Obviously, Russell Wilson is secure as the starter of the future, but Carroll was concerned about his backup position, saying that he would like to bring in quarterbacks with a “similar” style to Wilson’s athletic quarterback style. Could that mean they’ll take a look at Kansas State Wildcats‘ senior signal caller Collin Klein?
The Heisman Trophy finalist isn’t receiving a lot of attention from NFL scouts, but he is listed on the list of draft prospects on ESPN…as a tight end. According to plenty of experts, Klein’s best chances of playing on Sundays in the future will involve a position change. At 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, he has the frame to be a pass catcher at the next level and the athleticism to be a decent route runner.
The move isn’t as big a stretch as it may seem. Klein came to Manhattan, Kansas, as a wide receiver before transitioning to quarterback with great success. He has surprising speed and was a playmaker with his legs during his college career.
However, it’s his experience at quarterback that should interest Seattle. The Wildcats’ quarterback hasn’t given up the dream of playing QB at the next level, spending this offseason working with former Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos‘ quarterback Jake Plummer in preparation of heading to the NFL Combine as a quarterback prospect.
Klein is hoping to refine his technique and learn how to play the position at the next level from Plummer so that he can show exactly what teams are looking for to convince them to take a chance on him on draft day. As Klein gained more experience at quarterback with K-State, he continued to improve, adding a legitimate throwing ability to his game his senior year which paved the way for his trip to New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation.
As Seattle began to open up the playbook for Wilson, they added elements of the read-option that has taken root in NFL playbooks over the last two seasons. Klein has the athletic ability to run that style of offense much more naturally than current backup Matt Flynn, evidenced by Klein’s 2,061 rushing yards in two seasons as the starting quarterback.
The concern would be whether Klein’s ability to throw the football, which could be generously described as a “work in progress,” would be able to translate to the NFL. He has a long wind-up in his throwing motion which can be problematic with small throwing windows and ball-hawking secondaries at the pro level.
There’s also questions about his accuracy, though he finished with a 61.2 percent completion percentage in his two-year stint under center at KSU and showed dramatic improvement from his junior to senior years. In 2011, Klein completed just 57.3 percent of his passes for 1,918 yards, but raised both numbers to 64.8 completion percentage and 2,641 yards in his senior year.
So the question Seattle has to answer in the lead-up to the 2013 NFL Draft is whether or not Klein’s throwing improvement are a sign of things to come or if the learning curve in the NFL is just too steep for him as a signal caller.
Either way, his athleticism and leadership will make him an intriguing prospect that the Seahawks will have to take a long hard look at before deciding whether or not to spend a late-round pick on him.