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NFL Draft: Player Profile - Matt Ryan
John Tuvey
April 8, 2008
Quarterback - Boston College

Combine Height: 6-5
Combine Weight: 228
Combine 40 Time: 4.88

Threw for 4,507 yards and 31 touchdowns as a senior, with 19 interceptions and a completion percentage of 59.3.

Skill Set:
Ryan doesn’t have the biggest arm in this year’s quarterback class, but he possesses those intangibles that separate the merely talented from successful NFL quarterbacks. His off-the-field preparation and demeanor compares to that of Peyton Manning, whom Ryan emulated with his business-like approach to the Combine. Ryan doesn’t come with Peyton’s on-field pedigree, though anyone who watched Matty Ice direct BC’s comeback against Virginia Tech this season is well aware of his skills as a field general.

Aside from the intangibles, Ryan is an accurate passer who can move around in the pocket and make all the throws required of an NFL passer. A more accurate comparison skill-wise might be Houston’s Matt Schaub, who has similar size and mobility and is equally accurate in the short and intermediate range. Concerns about his durability seem unfounded, as he missed but one game with a broken bone in his foot and played 12 games after the injury before having surgery. He’s the consensus top quarterback in the 2008 class; the debate seems to be whether he’s worthy of the first overall selection.

Possible Destinations:
The Dolphins will have first shot, and Bill Parcels has drafted a quarterback to build his team around before (Drew Bledsoe in 1993). The Falcons could use not only a quarterback but a new face for its franchise; Ryan is capable of providing both. It’s unlikely Ryan would slip any further than the Ravens, who hold the eighth overall selection and appear ready to acknowledge that Kyle Boller is no longer their quarterback of the future.

Fantasy Impact:
Even the most pessimistic projections tab Ryan as at minimum a solid NFL quarterback, and that collection of intangibles pushes expectations higher. However, fantasy folks know all too well to avoid the siren song of rookie signal-callers. Even in the boom year of 2006, the heralded rookie class of Vince Young, Matt Leinart, and Jay Cutler combined for 32 touchdown passes, with no one player surpassing a dozen scoring strikes or 2,542 yards.

Ryan should be high on dynasty league draft boards, as there doesn’t appear to be much downside to his game. However, in redraft leagues he’s little more than a backup option at best, with his 2008 upside being a half season of starting for a run-first offense and contributing pedestrian fantasy numbers.

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