Clayton Thorson

Northwestern
QB

Prospect Info

College
Northwestern
Hometown
Class
Wheaton, Ill.
r-Senior
Height
Weight
Arms
6' 4"
222 lbs
31 1/8”
Hands
9 3/4”

Prospect Grade

5.40
NFL Backup or Special Teams Potential
How We Grade

2019 Draft Results

Drafted by
Philadelphia
Eagles
Round 5 ‧ Pick 29
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Playlist

Thorson attended the same high school as former Iowa standout quarterback Chuck Long (Wheaton North) but decided to take his four-star recruiting status to Evanston instead. He started all 13 games as a redshirt freshman in 2016, leading the Wildcats to 10 wins on the year despite mediocre statistics (150-295-50.8, 1,522 yards, seven TD, nine INT). His production was much better in 2016, and he earned honorable mention All-Big Ten notice by completing 58.6 percent of his passes (280-478) for 3,182 yards and a school-record 22 touchdown passes (against nine INT). Thorson was a third-team all-conference selection in 2017 (262-434-60.4, 2,844 yards, 15 TD, 12 INT), again leading his team to a bowl game but suffering a torn right ACL in that Music City Bowl. He returned to play in all 14 games (13 starts) in his senior campaign, receiving honorable mention All-Big Ten notice by completing 61.1 percent of his throws (299-489) for 3,183 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also finished with the second-most interceptions among FBS quarterbacks (15). Thorson's father, Chad, played football at Wheaton College and for a short time with the New York Giants.
By Lance Zierlein
NFL Analyst
Draft Projection
Round 4
NFL Comparison
DeShone Kizer
Overview
Four-year starter with good size and fundamentals who never really improved after his breakout 2016 season. Thorson was hamstrung by below-average talent at the skill positions but never showed an ability to work beyond his offense's limitations. His limited field vision combined with plus physical traits gives him a chance to become an average backup in a pro-style offense.
Strengths
  • Tall with sturdy frame
  • Good pace in working through his reads
  • Drops and sets with proper footwork
  • Has desire to hang in the pocket and do it the right way
  • Delivers throws from balanced platform in the pocket
  • Throws with over-the-top release and rarely tries to muscle it
  • Better ball placement than expected on short throws
  • Makes field-side throw from opposite hash
  • Able to float it over the top of one-on-one coverage
  • Viable short-yardage winner with 26 rushing touchdowns in his career
  • Competes well despite a lack of NFL talent around him
Weaknesses
  • Inconsistent in fully acclimating to his throwing options
  • Feet get anxious when first read is suddenly taken away
  • Inconsistent in deciphering defense and exploiting opportunities
  • Once his eyes drop, he won't see viable improv options down the field
  • Averaged just 6.3 yards per attempt for career
  • Forces receivers to break stride and wait for the ball
  • Posted 13 multi-interception games over last three seasons
  • Needs to feel edge pressure and climb earlier
  • Slow to escape the pocket leading to 120 sacks over four years
  • Floats his deep throws, allowing safeties time to challenge over the top
  • Average drive velocity in the middle of the field

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GRADE
9.00-10
Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99
Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99
Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49
Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99
Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49
Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99
Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49
NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19
Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00
50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99
Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74
Chance to be in an NFL training camp
NO GRADE
Likely needs time in developmental league