Accuracy - Excellent accuracy to all levels of the field from a clean pocket. Shows the ability to place the ball perfectly into tight windows in the short-intermediate passing game. Has displayed strong accuracy on many different types of throws, including touch passes, vertical shots and the quick game. Rarely misses the simpler throws, timing and placement naturally lead receiver into YAC and require little adjustment most of the time. Lots of drops/hit-while-throwing made his completion percentage look worse than it was (and it was still at almost 64 percent). Did under-throw the deep ball a little too much as season went on.
Decision-Making - Has a few ill-advised decisions most games, some of which put the ball in harm's way. Biggest issue as a decision-maker is not seeing the field well on a consistent basis. This means missing open wide receivers and often making poor decisions in the pocket. Has to be more aware of safeties' movement post-snap to avoid throwing the ball into coverage. Rarely forces the ball into tight windows out of desperation, however. Ole Miss route combinations often didn't leave him many open options, especially against more advanced defenses.
Mental Processing - Ole Miss' offense did not put a ton on his plate mentally, which aided his concerns in this area. Ta'amu doesn't move defenders with his eyes, rarely deciphers coverages post-snap and can struggle to move through his progressions in a timely manner. Will lock onto his first read at times and bring the bees to honey. Will need plenty of development with handling pro concepts and learning to absorb and respond quickly to information post-snap. Don't think he made protection calls either based on what I know of Phil Longo's offense. Has had a lot of passes batted down at line of scrimmage due to locking his eyes in too early. Lacks anticipation in his intermediate-deep throws, which can lead to more contested catches than should be necessary.
Velocity/Arm Strength - Doesn't have a howitzer, but arm strength and velocity are not a concern at all. Can throw with zip to all levels of the field and will drive the ball to locations in the short-to-intermediate passing game. Most vertical throws required him to put air under the ball in Ole Miss' offense, so there are some throws like a deep post, corner or a dig that he didn't have the opportunity to make very often. Absolutely has the arm strength to test defenses vertically, made several money throws down the field this past season.
Pocket Presence - There are certainly times where Ta'amu escapes pressure in impressive fashion, but too often drops his eyes or looks to escape when his first read is covered, instead of moving through his progressions. In games where he was pressured consistently, seemed to sense it was coming and get antsy in the pocket by the end. Feels pressure well and has made some great escapes due to impressive athleticism. Is typically too easily brought down by light contact and you would love to see more strength in the pocket. Does not typically abandon clean pockets on his own, a la Jarrett Stidham.
Mechanics - Consistently clean mechanics and smooth delivery. Release is quick and has little wasted motion. Clean setup and throw, and shows the ability to adjust his platform quickly and still get the ball out accurately. Has altered his arm angle to avoid traffic and still made accurate, paced throws. Motion is typically over the top, but does come out a little sidearm at times. Does not seem to impact his accuracy.
Improvisation - A mixed bag off-platform. At times shows the ability to get out and make throws on the move, squaring his shoulders and still delivering an accurate, paced ball. Field vision can completely fall apart on the move at times, missing open receivers and chances for big plays by not keeping his wits about him while forced off-platform. Has ability in this area that may become more consistent with additional experience.
Leadership/Work Ethic - Quiet leader who coaches have heralded as the model player and person for the Ole Miss program. Offensive coordinator Phil Longo said "if my kids grow up to be as high-character as Jordan, I'll have done a good job". May not have the take-charge, alpha personality that NFL coaches prefer in QB1, but tough, competitive and hard-working. Will take a hit to pick up a few extra yards. Demeanor has been compared to Marcus Mariota by many. Described by his coaches as poised and consistent in his approach.
Poise - Ta'amu's personality seems unflappable, almost military-like, but in certain game situations his poise can come and go. Delivered in some big moments late in games against Arkansas and Texas Tech, but was unable to elevate his team against better competition. Should be noted, while his performances against Alabama and LSU were not his best, his numbers were impacted heavily by drops and consistent pressure. Whole offense went down the tubes against best competition, so tough to put a ton on Ta'amu.
Athleticism/Size - Very athletic quarterback who consistently made an impact with his legs this season. Should be one of the top testers in his position group. A little on the smaller side for a quarterback, frame is somewhat slight, but if he hits listed measurables he should be fine.
BEST TRAIT – Accuracy
WORST TRAIT – Mental Processing
BEST FILM – Texas Tech/Arkansas (2018)
WORST FILM – LSU/Alabama (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
Despite the fact he is receiving little hype at this point, Jordan Ta'amu is the ideal developmental, mid-round quarterback pick in this class. He's accurate, mechanically-sound and can beat defenses at all levels of the field already. What he needs to learn is how to read defenses, pick up pressure pre-snap and make consistently good decisions in a muddy pocket. I don't want him starting right away, but if he lands in the right spot, he has the physical tools, athletic traits and impressive accuracy to be a starter in the NFL if he can refine the mental aspects of his game.
Round Grade: 4th