CLEMSON, SC - APRIL 09: Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (5) during the annual Clemson Orange and White Spring football game on April 9, 2022 at Clemson Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C. (Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CLEMSON, SC - APRIL 09: Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (5) during the annual Clemson Orange and White Spring football game on April 9, 2022 at Clemson Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C. (Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Clemson QB D.J. Uiagalelei Going To The Ravens On Draft Day?

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David John Uiagalelei (D.J.) has two traits which are highly desirable to the Baltimore Ravens.

The Clemson quarterback (QB) is highly instinctual and he is confident.

When I turned on Uiagalelei’s game film, the Ravens kept going through my mind. In the same way in 2021, I could envision QB Mac Jones playing for New England before they selected him.

Current Baltimore backup QB Tyler Huntley is a free agent after this season, and if he does indeed leave the team, Uiagalelei would be a good fit to backup starter Lamar Jackson.

He has a similar style to Jackson, which would also maintain the continuity of the Raven’s offense if Jackson were to miss any more playing time in the future.

Addressing the elephant in the room

Clemson had a down year in 2021, losing three of their first seven games and falling out of playoff contention.

Uiagalelei’s completion percentage fell to 55.6% last season, after being at 66.7% in 2020.

He also threw more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (9) in 2021.

Clemson not playing up to expectations combined with Uiagalelei’s drop-off statistically has caused some to not be as high on the Tigers’ signal-calling in terms of his pro potential.

However, I have learned there is a big difference for me personally watching the game as a fan and studying the game as an evaluator.

I am not one for excuses, and I did not watch every Clemson game last season, but I did take note of several dropped passes that helped contribute to his lower completion percentage. I am not saying every pass was dropped, but I am saying that was part of it.

The cool thing is Uiagalelei did not make excuses, and that too is a desirable trait in a prospect.

What Uiagalelei learned from 2021

There is more to QB play than just being able to make all the throws.

NFL teams additionally look at character, which is another part of the evaluation process.

It struck me what Uiagalelei did have to say about last season when reflecting.

“Everyone can be a great leader when you’re doing great…but the hardest part of being a leader is when you’re down, and you’re not playing as good as you want to. I think that’s what taught me a lot about being a leader. I think that’s helped me a lot coming in this season,” Uiagalelei told reporters.

Uiagalelei is a good teammate

It was cool to see how supportive Uiagalelei was of his back-up in their opening game defeat of Georgia Tech 41-10.

With the game firmly in hand, Clemson backup Cade Klubnik came in and threw his first career touchdown late in the 4th quarter.

Uiagalelei was there to celebrate with him.

#5 D.J. Uiagalelei 6-foot-4, 235 pounds

Daniel Kelly Grade: Third-Round – Early Fall 2022 Report

First Round Mock Big Board: QB9

Projected by 9.1% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of September 6, 2022 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

2021 game film reviewed: N.C. State, Pitt, South Carolina and Georgia (click to watch games viewed to form this evaluation).

Level of competition: High

2021 stats: 208/374 (55.6%) 2,246 yards (6.0 avg.), 9 TD, 10 INT.

NFL comparable: Teddy Bridgewater

2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report:

Athletic playmaker with strong intangibles with inconsistencies throwing into the intermediate to deep route levels. Poised in the pocket, but can hesitate to pull the trigger, which causes issues with timing (early or late). Slides around and evades. Can make a defender miss as a runner (2021: 105 attempts, 308 yards, 2.9 avg. per rush, 4 touchdowns, long of 37 yards). He is not going to outrun a defense, but he is capable of picking up yardage. Shades of RGIII with the ability to roll out and throw on the run making defenses adjust to him, which creates route leverage. Best throwing short and occasionally throws some beauties into the intermediate level, but the ball can also sail high on him at times. Decent placement deep, but subject to drops. Inconsistent touch passes. Developmental upside.

What to watch for during the 2022 college football season:

  1. Does he still look hesitant at times to pull the trigger?
  2. Does the ball still have a tendency to sail high?
  3. Has his completion percentage rebounded?
  4. How does his deep game look?

Fans and scouts alike will be watching Uiagalelei like a hawk, and how he answers these four questions, will help to shape his final grade headed into the 2023 NFL Draft.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated New York Jets and he is the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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