|Class:||RS Senior||40 time:||4.79|
Bryn Renner‘s stock has continued to rise since the end of the 2012 season. A relative unknown before last year, Renner recently participated in the Manning Passing Academy and drew rave reviews from some of the top scouts in the NFL.
This comes on the heels of his spectacular junior season at North Carolina. In his first year leading the pass-happy Larry Fedora offense, he threw for 3,356 yards and had an impressive 28-7 touchdown to interception ratio. With another productive year as a senior, it’s feasible that Renner could be selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Here’s a look at Renner’s strengths and weaknesses entering his final season at North Carolina.
- Only sacked 11 times in 433 drop backs, shows a willingness to throw the ball away
- Takes care of the football, only threw seven interceptions as a junior
- Very polished throwing mechanics, including a quick and easy release
- Works through his progressions quickly, often hitting his third or fourth read
- Shows outstanding arm strength throwing intermediate out cuts, outside the numbers
- Excellent accuracy and ball placement on vertical seam throws
- High completion percentage (above 65 percent in each of his two years as the starter)
- Takes smooth drops out of the shotgun
- Climbs the pocket well after hitting the last step of his drop
- Utilizes his check downs to avoid taking sacks
- Changes his arm angle with pressure in his face to find window to throw it through
- Good football IQ, given the flexibility to check out of bad plays
- Operated almost exclusively out of the shotgun last season, not a pro-style system
- Put up these numbers against a relatively weak schedule in 2012
- Sometimes does not stride directly at the target, particularly on throws to his left
- Throws off his back foot more than you’d like, but accuracy doesn’t appear to suffer
- A majority of his passing yards came on short throws or in the screen game, didn’t get to throw the ball vertically as other high-profile QBs
- Will be incorrectly labeled a “system” QB by some scouts
- Needs to avoid big hits when he leaves the pocket
- Only average ball fakes in play action schemes
Much is expected from a Tar Heels team that went 8-4 a season ago. While Renner returns to lead an offense that was second in the ACC in total offense, they will likely struggle to replace running back Giovani Bernard. A.J. Blue is the top candidate in the backfield, but he is unproven, having only carried the ball 82 times in 2012.
Fedora’s offense does a nice job of spreading the ball around to all of its receivers, but the Tar Heels should be excited that leading receiver Quinshad Davis is back this fall. He had 61 catches for 776 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman last season.
Renner will also have his security blanket back in tight end Eric Ebron. The rising junior had a breakout season in Chapel Hill last year, grabbing 40 passes for 625 yards, often serving as a check down in UNC’s offense.
There is ample talent and experience around Renner in 2013, giving him a chance to be truly special this season. If he’s not a household name on a national scale yet, he will be in a few months. Expect to hear his name as one that is rising up draft boards as more teams break down his film.
2014 NFL Draft Projection: Second Round
B.L. is a college football writer for Rant Sports and can be followed on Twitter @coachlip.