While there is plenty of debate which quarterbacks, if any, should be taken in the early rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft, there are several intriguing prospects to keep an eye on as Day 2 and 3 options.
Central Michigan’s Cooper Rush is one of these potential, late-round "sleepers" that possesses the combination of collegiate production and tantalizing upside. The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder was a four-year starter for the Chippewas. He finished his career with 12,894 passing yards and 90 touchdown passes.
There is no questioning Rush’s experience. There’s also no questioning his work ethic. He is known to be a game film addict, constantly digesting information about his opponents and processing it as part of his preparations. He then carries that over to the field, as evident in his ability to make pre-snap reads on his own without input from the coaching staff.
There’s little doubt that his major – Actuarial Science – helped him in that regard. His completed his degree in the field with honors. I’ll save you a Google search – actuarial science is a discipline widely used in business that deals with statistics and risk analysis.
That last part is a discipline most people should want their quarterback to excel in.
Rush’s draft projection is a little cloudy right now, making the upcoming NFL Scouting Combine that much more important. He is currently projected to go as early as the sixth round, but is also predicted by many to go undrafted.
He has the prototypical size and it would appear on film that he can make most throws with ease – though some scouts question his arm strength and the competition level he faced playing the majority of his games against MAC teams.
If he’s going to separate himself from the pack, it will be during the interview process and when NFL execs ask him to dissect plays. As far as those two things go, Rush will likely be at the top of this draft class.
Rush may not be a Week 1 NFL starter this season, but he’s the perfect guy for a team looking for a solid long-term backup in an offense predicated on quick reads and timing. If he ends up in the right situation and gets an opportunity, he is intelligent and mature enough to eventually assume and excel in a starting role.
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo! and Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.