Photo of Christian Hackenberg
Drafted By: Jets
  • Round 2
  • Pick 20
  • Overall 51

Combine Results

5.59 ?
  • 4.78 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 31.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 114.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 7.04 SEC
    Top Performer
Blue Star  =  Combine Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

"He has prototypical size and arm talent. However, the tape is wildly inconsistent and he's a wild card. I hope the Jets give him time to develop." -- Mike Mayock

  • 6'4" Height
  • 32" Arm Length
  • 223LBS. Weight
  • 9" Hands


Hackenberg's junior year did not go quite as expected, but he still wound up as the school's all-time leader in passing yards (8,457) and touchdowns (48). The son of a former University of Virginia football player was a three-year starter, answering the bell for all 38 games in his career. Hackenberg lived up to his recruiting hype by being named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2013, as well as a Freshman All-American (2,955 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions). His play was not as efficient in his sophomore year (2,977 yards, 12 TD, 15 INT), but his MVP performance in the Nittany Lions' double overtime Pinstripe Bowl win over Boston College led many to think he was on his way to stardom. Unfortunately, Hackenberg's play in 2015 was uneven, at best, as he completed just 53.5 percent of his passes for 2,525 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. He finished the season leaving the team's TaxSlayer Bowl loss to Georgia due to a right shoulder sprain, and then announcing his intention to declare for the 2016 NFL Draft.



Prototypical size for pocket quarterback. Durable and tough. Willing to hang in and take the hit if he thinks a completion is pending. Took a pounding and never missed a start. Experienced in pro-style attack and played well in Bill O'Brien's scheme as a freshman. Able and willing to work through progressions when protected. Balls comes out of his hand with pro velocity. Can drive hips through his release for extra mustard. Can make all the throws, and has the arm talent to take shots to areas of the field that most quarterbacks can't. Underrated in touch throw department. Can float the ball over top of defenders and deliver it on a pillow. Decent athlete able to climb pocket while keeping his eyes downfield. Recognizes and points out late blitz movement pre-snap. Recognizes danger and able to avoid most baiting attempts. Dropped interception total from 15 in 2014 to just six in 2015. Twice voted team captain and has displayed leadership qualities from time he stepped on campus.


Debilitating accuracy issues with atrocious 51.5 percent adjusted completion total (throws beyond line of scrimmage). Turns receivers into goalies. Even simple throws can be coin-flippers in accuracy department. Release point can vary greatly and he is still looking for repeatable footwork, mechanics and release. Will throw a spiral followed by wobbler. Ball patting and wind-up slows release and can obstruct timing. Extra air under deep balls combined with marginal timing allows safeties time to race into the play. Busted internal clock. Allows pressure to overtake him rather than getting catchable throw out a shade early. Sacked 82 times over last two years. Iffy accuracy and ball placement falls off map when defenses send pressure. Completed just 44.2 percent against five rushers and 41.9 percent against six. Pocket feel a work in progress. Will climb pocket into trouble unnecessarily.

Draft Projection

Rounds 2 or 3

Sources Tell Us

"The tape is just terrible over the last two years, but he has traits and leadership. His freshman tape is good, but how do you discount everything you've seen for two years? That freshman tape is going to lead a team to overdraft him." -- NFC executive

NFL Comparison

Ryan Mallett

Bottom Line

Hackenberg has the size, athleticism and arm talent of a long-time NFL starter, but his accuracy issues go well beyond just "ball placement" problems. Teams must determine if his inaccuracy is innate or a product of the beatings he's taken, and then determine if he's shell-shocked or able to round back into form. Hackenberg's tools, intelligence and experience under center should make him an eventual starter, but his boom-or-bust potential will either get a coach an extension or fired.
-Lance Zierlein
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-9.00 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl to All-Pro Ability
6.50-6.99 Good NFL Starter with Pro Bowl Potential
6.00-6.49 Chance to become good NFL starter
5.70-5.99 Could become early NFL starter
5.30-5.69 Backup or eventual starter
5.15-5.29 Developmental prospect or special teams potential
5.01-5.14 Back end of the roster
5.00 50/50 Chance of making the roster