San Diego State Senior
Has good arm strength and a quick release to get good velocity and zip on most of his throws. Shows ability to drive some throws downfield and can thread the needle at times. Flashes anticipation and good placement on the intermediate throws. Flashes good touch at times on his deep passes, hitting his receiver in stride down the field. Comfortable making the back-shoulder throw and can fit the ball in on the throws down the seam. Shows some mobility to side-step pressure, step up in the pocket, or extend play outside the pocket. Seems to do well when he's in the two-minute drill or operating the hurry-up where he can start to get into a tempo and rhythm.
Inconsistent with his accuracy and decision making. Misses too many throws, especially when he's pressured. If you can move him off his spot, he'll struggle at times. Doesn't always set his feet, and can struggle to reset his feet and rush throws. Not really fluid with his movements when trying to move within the pocket. He is late on too many throws, and throws behind or too far ahead of his receivers. Can make his receivers work a bit harder than he should because of his erratic placement. Will put too much air at times on his deeper throws, lobbing the ball up to allow defenders to make a play on it. Will miss sitting defenders and stare down his reads, allowing them to jump throws and throwing lanes. Will trust his arm a bit too much, and will force some throws into coverage because of it. Starts to press at times, and you can see more mental errors when the game gets ahead of him.
Lindley entered this season with a lot of promise after a strong junior campaign. But with the loss of his top two wideouts (Vincent Brown & DeMarco Sampson, both who were drafted in 2011), you could see a notable drop in the talent around him. Had a lot of passes dropped, but often times because he would make his receivers work a bit too hard because of his inaccurate throws leading to those drops. He's a guy that when he was pressured, you would see his decision making, accuracy, and overall effectiveness dip dramatically. You see flashes of the skills you want to see in a starting NFL quarterback, but they were not consistent and he rarely was able to ever get into a groove or rhythm throughout the season. Overall, it was a disappointing year, and you have to wonder if he has the real upside to be a top-level starter at the next level.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/24) at Michigan: Short (<10 yds): 14 of 25 (56%), 98 yds (3.9 YPA), 41 YAC, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 7 poor throws, 1 drop; Deep (>10 yds): 9 of 24 (38%), 153 yds (6.4 YPA), 15 YAC, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 7 poor throws, 4 drops; Throwaways: 1; Fumble: 1;
(10/8) vs. TCU: Short: 10 of 21 (48%), 87 yds (4.1 YPA), 51 YAC, 1 TD, 0 INT, 5 poor throws, 2 drops, 1 throwaway; Deep: 5 of 20 (25%), 114 yds (5.7 YPA), 50 YAC, 1 TD, 3 INTs, 7 poor throws, 2 drops, 1 throwaways
(11/19) vs. Boise St: Short: 18 of 29 (62%), 143 yds (4.9 YPA), 62 YAC, 1 TD, 1 INT, 7 poor throws, 2 drops; Deep: 10 of 20 (50%), 195 yds (9.8 YPA), 25 YAC, 1 TD, 0 INT, 8 poor throws, 1 drop; Fumble: 1
(12/17) vs. UL-Lafayette: Short: 14 of 23 (61%), 140 yds (6.1 YPA), 87 YAC, 0 TDs, 0 INT, 1 poor throw, 5 drops; Deep: 14 of 26 (54%), 263 yds (10.1 YPA), 44 YAC, 3 TDs, 0 INT, 9 poor throws, 3 drops
2011: 13 GP/13 GS (8-5 record), 237 comp., 447 att., 53.0%, 3153 yds, 7.1 YPA, 23 TD, 8 INTs; -51 rushing yds, 0 TD
2010: 13/13 (9-4)-243-421-57.7-3830-9.1-28-14; -31-0
2009: 12/12 (4-8)-239-437-54.7-3054-7.0-23-16; -131-1
2008: 11/11 (2-8)-242-427-56.7-2653-6.2-16-9; -62-1
2007: did not play
- missed 1 game, and most of a 2nd game in 2008 with a shoulder injury
Lindley has enough ability that with development he might make a competent starter down the road. But it will take a good QB coach and offensive coordinator to really get that ability out of him. He looked like he was poised after his junior year to become one of the top passers in college as a senior, but that progression did not come. And you have to think that as far as he projects to the next level, if he's asked to be a starter right away, he's going to struggle mightily. He's a player that if he gets a chance to sit for three or so years, get comfortable in a single system, he might make a decent starter. In the long run, you're hoping he turns into a player like Kyle Orton, Matt Cassel, or Ryan Fitzpatrick: the type of QB that can be a decent stopgap for a couple of years. But if you plan to have him be your starter for more than two or three years, you're going to be in trouble. He needs to be surrounded by talent, because what he clearly showed in his final season at San Diego State is that he's not going to do a lot to elevate the talent around him. When you watch him, you see the arm strength, and on occasion see the sort of placement and accuracy that you need at the NFL level. But it's few and far between with the latter, and things tend to break down when it gets "sloppy" so you doubt it really develops much at the next level. He is reminiscent of a player like Cassel, although I think Cassel probably has him beat in the athleticism and intangibles department. The latter with Cassel developed playing behind Brady in New England, and you'd basically be hoping that if Lindley plays behind a good QB, some of that will rub off on him. In the end, I see Lindley as a backup that can stick around as a journeyman. The positive for Lindley is that it's unlikely he'll get the opportunities to start early like many other QBs, so that his disappointing play won't cause him to wash out of the league by the time his rookie contract is up. And you hope that in a stable environment where he can sit and learn, he'll develop enough that he can live up to some of the potential he sporadically displays.
Matt Cassel, Chiefs
Lindley offers some developmental potential in a vertical offense like the Falcons because of his arm strength. While he has potentially better upside than John Parker Wilson as the clipboard holder and backup, like Wilson he's probably not going to do much his first few years in the league. Lindley isn't good enough to come in right away and be a competent backup because he just isn't consistent enough to trust to even manage a game as a rookie. But in two or so years, he could be comfortable and confident enough to move up as a No. 2 behind Ryan. But in the long run, he's probably just a career backup in Atlanta that will have only slight trade value down the road. Probably the best you're hoping is to move him for a late round pick similar to what Tampa Bay did with Luke McCown by trading him to Jacksonville a few years back.
Lindley is good enough to get drafted, and because he does offer some upside to be a starter down the road. Probably the earliest he should go is the latter part of the fifth round, and that would probably only be to a good, stable team looking for a developmental No. 3. But in truth, because he's more than likely just going to be a career backup that has limited value early on, a team should wait until the sixth or seventh round to take him.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Arm Strength: 7.5
Decision Making: 5.0
Pocket Awareness: 4.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.