2016 NFL Draft – Christian Hackenberg Scouting Report

Kevin Zielaznicki with a scouting report on Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg. Should the New York Jets consider drafting him?

One of the most highly touted high school prospects since Andrew Luck, Christian Hackenberg arrived on Penn State’s campus with huge expectations. After a promising freshman year where he won the starting quarterback job and led the Nittany Lions to a 7-5 record, the bar was set high for the young QB. Unfortunately, Hackenberg never took that next step and is now viewed as a 3rd-5th round prospect.

  • Name: Christian Hackenberg  
  • School: Pennsylvania State University   
  • Position: QB
  • Height: 6’4″   
  • Weight: 223
  • Career Stats: 8457 YDS, 48 TD, 31 INT

Combine Results

  • 40 Yard Dash: 4.78 seconds
  • 3 Cone Drill: 7.04 seconds
  • Vertical Jump: 31.0 inches
  • Broad Jump: 114.0 inches

Strengths: Ideal size for the position. Has a cannon for an arm and can make every throw imaginable. Capable of completing jaw dropping throws. Top 3 deep ball thrower in this draft class. Stays light on his feet and has nearly perfect footwork in his dropbacks. Decent athlete and can cause some damage with his legs. Flashed the ability to read the defense and go through his progressions to find an open receiver.Won’t back down in the face of pressure and will stand tall in the pocket to deliver the ball. One of the toughest players I’ve ever watched as he consistently was subject to punishment from defenders but never stayed down. Durable player as he never missed a game in his three years at Penn State. Experienced in a pro-style offense and is comfortable taking snaps from under center. Demonstrated great leadership abilities all throughout his collegiate career starting with his commitment to attend Penn State after the Sandusky scandals and was a two time team captain. Reports coming from the NFL Combine interviews said teams were blown away by his football IQ.

Weaknesses: The most notable weakness of Hackenberg’s game is his inconsistent accuracy. When his accuracy is on, Hackenberg is a dangerous player, but when it’s bad, it’s awful. He has a tendency to miss short checkdown throws that an NFL quarterback will be expected to complete every time. Because of his arm talent/strength, he has the gunslinger mentality and will make mind boggling decisions at times. Doesn’t have great pocket presence and struggles to adapt against the blitz. Needs to learn to use his eyes while throwing as he will stare down receivers. Has trouble with ball placement and doesn’t seem to be able to distinguish when to throw with touch or not. Mechanics need to be improved and he needs to learn how to get his entire body on the same page when throwing. Doesn’t use his internal clock well and will often hold the ball too long resulting in a bad decision or unnecessary sack. Ball security is an issue (16 career fumbles).

Projection: Hackenberg’s natural arm talent will be too enticing and one team will pull the trigger on selecting him in the first 75 picks.

Photo Credit: PennLive.com