Has a quick release that is able to get good zip on his shorter and intermediate throws. Shows ability to slide and move within the pocket to avoid pressure and find throwing lanes. Has good poise in the pocket and is able to stand in there and take a hit. Shows accuracy and anticipation on throws over the middle and usually puts the ball in a place where his receiver can make a play. Comfortable throwing on the run. Usually makes good decisions and is occasionally able to go to his second read.
Lacks arm strength and really struggles on the deeper throws with his touch and arm strength. His quirky, short-armed release limits him there. Is high on some throws. Not really a factor to make plays with his legs and won't extend the play very much. Tends to wait for his first read to come open. Holds onto the ball too long and takes too long going through his reads and progressions and it leads him to take a lot of unnecessary hits and sacks, particularly against the blitz.
Tolzien is a smart, quarterback that did a good job managing Wisconsin's run-based attack. His job was primarily to help move the chains on their third and manageable situations that the running game set up. But when they were forced to throw the ball a lot more, their offensive efficiency dipped. He compiled a 21-5 record as a starter his last two years, combining for 68.1% completions on 594 attempts for 5164 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 17 picks.
Tolzien's limited arm strength and the fact that the big play wasn't a big part of Wisconsin's offense limits his potential as a pro. More than likely, the best he can hope for is being a good No. 2 that can be a decent stopgap starter for a team if need be. He's just really limited once you force him to make throws beyond 20 yards because of his short-armed release. Inside 20 yards, he's fine, but once you go beyond that range he's very erratic. So unless a team is willing to break down his mechanics, you're probably going to have to live with that. I think he's smart enough to handle being a No. 2, and I think in the long run will probably be a bit of journeyman in that role. He'll be a pro like a Damon Huard or Kelly Holcomb that bounces around the league because he's smart and experienced, but has difficulty sticking most places for longer than a couple of seasons because teams will always be cognizant of his limitations as a starter. On a run-first team that has a good defense, he'll be able to stick longer because that sort of team can hide his limitations more. But for teams that like to throw the ball a bunch, particularly downfield, his value is going to be more in line with No. 3 talent.
Tolzien could compete as a reserve here in Atlanta, but he doesn't bring anything to the table that the team doesn't already have. The best he coudl probably hope for is landing a practice squad spot for a year or two and then if/when the team parts ways with Redman, he can slide into the vacant No. 3 spot. And then if he continues to developing, when the team is ready to part ways with Wilson further down the road, he might be able to become a competent No. 2 behind Ryan. But he probably wouldn't last in that role because at some point a stronger, more athletic, young passer with more upside is going to come along and unseat him.
Tolzien's upside is too limited for a team to draft him, but he's definitely worth a look in a camp as the fourth arm.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Arm Strength: 2.0
Decision Making: 3.5
Pocket Awareness: 3.0
Scouting reports of the quarterbacks in the 2011 Draft.
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