Christian Hackenberg Impresses During Pro Day Throwing Session
Numerous high-ranking personnel flocked to Holuba Hall on Thursday to take a firsthand look at one of the most unique players in the 2016 NFL Draft. From Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie to Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman, all but one NFL team came to see what Christian Hackenberg is all about.
For Hackenberg, Pro Day offered a chance at redemption; with another opportunity to throw in front of scouts, he might be able to sway negative opinions formed after an unsatisfactory Combine throwing session. For NFL brass, it was an opportunity to potentially justify a decision to place Hackenberg high on their respective team’s draft board if Hackenberg delivered a stellar performance. After opting not to participate in field drills — he timed rather well during the Combine — Hackenberg spent most of his day talking with team personnel and loosening his arm. He spent the majority of that time talking privately with Roman and another Buffalo Bills representative, who then spent roughly half an hour speaking with Jordan Palmer, Hackenberg’s mentor.
When it came time for Hackenberg to take the stage, the atmosphere in Holuba grew tense. Hackenberg looked nervous and hesitant during his throwing session in Indianapolis. He missed a number of receivers high and failed to ease the minds of scouts concerned with inconsistent game film. After spending a significant amount of time training with Palmer in California, Hackenberg was ready to quell the speculation and reaffirm the notion that his potential is palpable.
With his father Erick looking on, Hackenberg began his session under center where he demonstrated a variety of different drop-backs and rollouts. Unlike at the Combine, his Pro Day throws were sharp. A natural gunslinger, Hackenberg put some extra zip on his passes as scouts took notes.
Christian Hackenberg hits 2011 wide receiver Derek Moye. Hackenberg’s throws looking crisp early on. pic.twitter.com/BQvcUy3LKg
— Onward State (@OnwardState) March 17, 2016
Hackenberg looked comfortable on short-range passes, but it was his accuracy on throws around the 15-25 yard range that turned a few heads. Labeled as an inconsistent passer with a cannon for an arm, Hackenberg looked like a different quarterback after delivering one solid throw after another. He wasn’t perfect, but he remained consistent throughout. What’s more is that he looked agile in the pocket when asked to step up, and threw relatively well on the run. That same velocity was applied to his deeper throws, which were occasionally dropped by his receivers — or on two occasions, just a yard too strong. Regardless, Hackenberg showcased his ability to hit his target from long distance, and drew praise from certain NFL members in attendance — including Roman.
Though there were no blitzing linebackers chasing him, nor any game on the line, Hackenberg did what he had to do in order to keep himself in that second-third round conversation. He flashed his golden arm, and made the throws he had to make.
Now, the waiting begins.