EUGENE, OREGON - SEPTEMBER 04: Quarterback Jake Haener #9 of the Fresno State Bulldogs avoids the rush of defensive tackle Popo Aumavae #50 of the Oregon Ducks during the first quarter of the game at Autzen Stadium on September 04, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won 31-24. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
EUGENE, OREGON - SEPTEMBER 04: Quarterback Jake Haener #9 of the Fresno State Bulldogs avoids the rush of defensive tackle Popo Aumavae #50 of the Oregon Ducks during the first quarter of the game at Autzen Stadium on September 04, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won 31-24. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Fresno State QB Jake Haener Gunning For The 2023 NFL Draft

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Fresno State’s Jake Haener is a gunslinger.

The Fresno State quarterback (QB) had a big high school background, which included throwing for 8,464 yards and a school record, 90 touchdowns.

Haener can either sit in the pocket and sling or he also loves to move around and make things happen.

However, as with any gunslinger, they tend to throw some dangerous passes too.

Haener has gotten mentioned as a first-round prospect

The good has outweighed the bad with Haener, and it has gotten him mentioned as a first-round potential prospect by a couple of draft platforms.

According to nflmockdraftdatabase.com, Haener received first-round grades from Pro Football Network (No. 7) and NBC Sports Philadelphia (No. 13).

While Haener does have a flare for the dramatic, and he had that great comeback win last season that he pulled out a win against UCLA, I am not seeing him as a franchise-type QB.

He strikes me as a “Poor Man’s Matthew Stafford,” who can be a quality career backup at the next level and come in to provide a spark when needed.

What’s missing?

A stronger arm and better downfield ball placement, which really showed up in the Boise game.

Haener looks the part and he looks like everything an NFL team would want up until he throws the ball.

He lacks velocity and throws too many soft floaters. His arm strength is my chief concern. He really has to drive the ball throwing out patterns.

In general, his receivers looked like they were standing and waiting on the ball too often, regardless of the route. It often felt like the ball took too long to get to the receivers.

The other problem is his downfield ball placement is not where he needs to be.

Haener is ultra-competitive

One of the most desirable traits in a QB is the will to win.

Haener is a fighter.

This trait really showed up deep in the 4th quarter in that UCLA game.

Fresno State was down 37-33 with less than a minute to go and Haener had a lot of hip pain according to reports.

That didn’t hold him back, as he led his team right down the field for the winning touchdown.

Showing “want” is a premium at the next level, and it is what has moved him up on my big board. His desire to win helps to cover up some of his deficiencies.

Check out this winning drive.

#9 Jake Haener 6-foot-1, 200 pounds

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

First Round Mock Big Board: QB10

Projected by 2.0% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of September 7, 2022 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com).

2021 game film reviewed: UCLA, Boise State and Oregon (click to watch games viewed to form this evaluation).

Level of competition: High

2021 stats: 329/490 (67.1%) 4,096 yards (8.4 avg.), 33 TD, 9 INT.

NFL comparable: Ty Detmer

2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report:

Competitive mobile QB who does best with larger throwing windows and has a mediocre arm. Gives off the vibe of being a smart football player. Fancy ball handling skills, navigates well in the pocket, but does tend to pat the ball before he throws. Throws a good slant. Can roll out and throw and he is at his best throwing short and throwing on the move when he can get defenses to react and adjust to him. When he sets up in the pocket tends to lock in with receivers. Often receivers look like they are waiting on his passes. Will need to work on throwing timing routes. Inconsistent on touch passes. Can put too much air and loft under passes intermediate and long. Really has to step into and drive intermediate outs. Takes an effort to get it out there. Playing against man press at the next level will be challenging. His deep game is subpar. Throws some dangerous passes (broken up, intercepted, see Boise game). Tends to take sacks and yardage losses (2021: 23). Developmental prospect.

What to watch for during the 2022 college football season:

  1. Does he still pat the ball prior to delivery?
  2. Is he locking in with receivers?
  3. Are receivers standing there and waiting on the ball or does he throw better timing routes?
  4. Does he throw as many dangerous-looking passes?

Haener will need to go to a team that has a strong run game and receivers who excel at picking up yardage after the catch.

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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