The former Nebraska quarterback's stats do not match his skill set
Tanner Lee arrived in Lincoln, Nebraska, from Tulane two years ago with the hope of flourishing in then-head coach Mike Riley's pass-oriented offense. After sitting out for one season per NCAA transfer rules and soaking up all he could, Lee went under center as the starter for the Cornhuskers in 2017.
Suffice to say, things didn't turn out as well as he would have liked. Nebraska finished the year with a 4-8 record, while Lee remained among the nation's leaders in interceptions thrown.
There were, however, some positives to take away from Lee's time at Nebraska. As the starter, he had plenty of interaction with the media in a place where his team is the biggest show in town. He took a lot of heat from fans and media alike in a high-pressure atmosphere while playing in what might have been the best conference in the nation. He stayed positive through it all, especially during times when it was obvious that a lot of what was going wrong with the Huskers was not his fault.
Lee also showed statistical improvement at Nebraska compared to his time as a starter in Tulane. His completion percentage (57.5) and yards per attempt (7.3) both improved as did his touchdown-to-interception ratio (23:16) — despite the interceptions.
When looking at Lee by himself, away from a team with both talent and coaching woes, you see an NFL quarterback prospect who checks all of the boxes. He is mature, he can read defenses and can make all of the throws. Lee also possesses some underrated mobility — both in the pocket and as a runner.
Lee turned some heads during Senior Bowl week in Mobile, Alabama, where he was working alongside some of the other big-name quarterback prospects at the top of most mock drafts. During the actual game itself, however, Lee struggled with consistency and ball security. He completed just eight of 19 attempts for 86 yards with an interception and he also lost a fumble.
Lee is a bit of a project, but with some high-level coaching, it's not tough difficult to see him developing into a serviceable NFL quarterback — and perhaps even more. If history is any indicator, he'll do well in the interviews and throwing the ball at the NFL Scouting Combine. That could give a couple of teams enough confidence to use as high as a fifth-round pick on him, possibly to groom him as the heir apparent to an aging veteran.
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo!, Bleacher Report and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.