ATHENS, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 16: Spencer Rattler #7 of the South Carolina Gamecocks passes during the first half against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 16, 2023 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 16: Spencer Rattler #7 of the South Carolina Gamecocks passes during the first half against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 16, 2023 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Spencer Rattler Franchise NFL QB

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It’s no secret I have loved South Carolina quarterback (QB) Spencer Rattler since the first time I saw him back at Oklahoma on his 2020 game film.

And I don’t love many.

Actually – I love the ice I see in his eyes.

Here’s the thing ⎯all the QBs in the 2024 NFL Draft class have ball placement issues. From there, it’s from the neck up. I’m going with the guy who got a raw deal at Oklahoma and still found a way to reinvent himself at South Carolina.

You can hit Rattler in the mouth as many times as you want, and he’s going to keep coming at you and firing.

Cream always rises to the top

No question, Rattler is one of the toughest evaluations I’ve ever done. I’ve now studied him in 29 games spanning the past three seasons while maintaining a first-round grade throughout.

However, 2023 required the most vision.

Why’s that?

I had to see past Rattler playing on the No. 72 ranked team in the country. I had to weigh his shortcomings against being surrounded by personnel deficits. He had one legit (banged up) receiver, Xavier Legette after receiver Antwane “Juice” Wells was lost for the season in week two. The No. 2 and No. 3 leading receivers were tight ends. The running game was ranked No. 128 and the offensive line was decimated by injuries.

The result was Rattler sacked 40 times (fifth most in college football).

South Carolina also had the hardest FBS schedule in the country (Sports Illustrated) featuring five ranked opponents with four of those on the road.

And he still produced a higher completion percentage (68.9%) in 2023 than the following quarterbacks in the 2024 NFL Draft:

-Caleb Williams 68.6% (No.39 USC)

-Michael Penix Jr. 66.7% (No. 2 Washington)

-Cameron Ward 66.6% (No. 71 Washington State)

-Joe Milton III 64.7% (No. 28 Tennessee)

-Drake Maye 63.3% (No. 31 North Carolina)

And in case you are on a game show, apples to apples, Rattler had a higher college career completion percentage than Williams (68.5 vs. 66.9).

The ways Rattler has grown

Sure, Rattler is a gunslinger. With that comes ball placement issues and occasional dangerous passes, however, this season his interceptions dropped from 12 to 8.

Pass breakups (PBUs) have also dropped.

In the last six games of 2022, I charted 17 (2.83 avg. per game) PBUs. In 10 games in 2023, I charted 19 (1.9 avg. per game).

Rattler takes more calculated risks now. He doesn’t try to do too much as often as he did in the past. Instead, he’ll eat the sack or throw it away.

Bringing in offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains (16 years of NFL coaching experience) helped. There’s an air of maturity to Rattler that wasn’t there before.

#7 Spencer Rattler 6-foot-1, 217 pounds

Daniel Kelly’s 2024 NFL Draft Grade: First-Round (I would select him)

2024 NFL Draft: QB1

Ceiling: Top tier ranked starter (1-16)

Projected by 4.2% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of January 4, 2024 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

EARLY ON OKLAHOMA QB SPENCER RATTLER LOOKS LIKE A FIRST ROUND FRANCHISE NFL QB (3 games evaluated in 2020)

Spencer Rattler Is The Next Patrick Mahomes (4 games evaluated in 2021)

Former NFL Scout Loves Spencer Rattler (6 games evaluated in 2022)

2024 NFL Draft QB1: Spencer Rattler (6 games evaluated in 2022)

Game film reviewed (2023): North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Missouri, Texas A&M, Jacksonville State, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, and Clemson (click to view games watched to form this evaluation)

Note: Five 300+ yard games (2023)

Note: 10,807 college career yards

NFL Comp: Brett Favre

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Tough-as-nails competitive athletic prospect with above-average accuracy. Fastest mental processing in this class. Quick movements. Shows emotions. Big chip on his shoulder. Streaky. Inconsistent progressions and release times. It was like watching a great NFL QB playing for a bad high school team. Getting in sync with personnel was challenging. 74% completion percentage at home, and 63% on the road. Poised. Fires it in the face of the pass rush. NFL arm. Good short. Inconsistent intermediate. Tendency to underthrow deep (8/21 charted 39%). Good rolling out. Subject to drops. Struggled under pressure. Improved decision-making. Decent escape and pocket mobility. QB first. Runner⎯distant second. Picks up chunks of yardage on the ground. Generally protects his body.

Final words

Surround Rattler with a decent offensive line and running game in the NFL ⎯and we will see what he’s capable of.

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 is currently the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock, contributes at Yardbarker, and has written for Sports Illustrated Lions, Jets, and 49ers, as well as a featured guest on ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Radio. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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