Nick Fitzgerald 2019 NFL Draft Profile

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Nick Fitzgerald
BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 20: Nick Fitzgerald #7 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs throws the ball during a game against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on October 20, 2018 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Overview
Position: Quarterback
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 230 pounds
School: Mississippi State Bulldogs

Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 4.64 seconds (fourth-best among quarterbacks)
Vertical jump: 29.5 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 7 inches

Nick Fitzgerald 2019 NFL Draft Profile

There are many interesting quarterbacks in this 2019 NFL Draft, from the top to the bottom. Former Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is a prospect that is looking to break out and acquire a definitive purpose. Fitzgerald wasn’t the quarterback that took over the program after current Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback Dak Prescott left for the NFL. He was, however, the most prolific and standout playmaker at the quarterback position for four seasons with Mississippi State. In the 43 games that Fitzgerald played in for Mississippi State, he threw for 497 completions out of 910 attempts for 6,035 yards, 54 touchdowns, and 28 interceptions. What makes Fitzgerald an interesting and versatile prospect is his playmaking ability by running the ball. He also rushed for 3,504 yards and 45 touchdowns on 581 carries for an average of six yards per carry.

What made Fitzgerald a fantastic player with the Bulldogs was his dual-threat ability to run and throw the ball. In the last three seasons where he was the season starter, he accounted for 15 or more passing touchdowns and was a 1,000-yard rusher in two of the three seasons. He was 16-yards short of a third 1,000-yard rushing season in 2017. He was also a defined and excellent leader in the locker room and on the field. With Fitzgerald going into the 2019 NFL Draft, he will completely start over with a new potential that can overlook his flaws. If teams are looking to draft a pass only quarterback, then some of these teams might not draft Fitzgerald. In this new era of the NFL where versatility is an underrated and dangerous attribute to possess, Fitzgerald might be a steal.

Strengths

  • great frame and size among other quarterback prospects;
  • able to stay calm and composed in the pocket;
  • surprisingly elusive runner with his huge size;
  • tough and aggressive runner either in the RPO and key run plays;
  • accurate in short range passes such as slants and outs;
  • fantastic playmaking ability in the RPO packages;
  • good vocal leadership to his teammates and leads by action;
  • very good arm progression when making his throws.

Weaknesses

  • average arm strength among other quarterback prospects;
  • accuracy goes down when making more deep throws;
  • has problems staring down a specific receiver on deep routes thus giving defensive backs easy reads;
  • makes hasty decisions when pressured;
  • tends to trust his legs more than his passing ability;
  • doesn’t have excellent awareness when spotting safeties deep down the field;
  • ball comes out his hand a little awkwardly;
  • has a small lack of confidence when making certain throws

NFL Comparison: Taysom Hill

Teams with Need at Position: Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans

Projection: Sixth to seventh round

Bottom Line

Fitzgerald is an interesting prospect in terms of what his impact will be with NFL teams. What he lacks as an above passing quarterback can be acquired with training, film study, and better confidence. Ultimately, he is not a defined passer that will make him an elite quarterback in the NFL. He does, however, possess a key attribute that many teams are starting to use in their offensive philosophy. He is a speedy, elusive runner and good passer who has a high amount of experience in an RPO-style offense. This is an area that can make Fitzgerald not only stay in the league but make him a legitimate contributor in each game. He can provide a similar style of a contribution that Taysom Hill provided with the New Orleans Saints this past season.

Fitzgerald, like Hill for the Saints, can be a fantastic RPO-style playmaker as well as line up as a tight end and play special teams. He can provide himself as a legitimate backup quarterback while creating a spark for an offense that needs more diversity and multiple threats. Teams like the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers and the New York Jets could use a multi-threat playmaker at quarterback to match the other players at wide receiver and running back.

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