Boise State is not known for producing quarterbacks; their last big-time quarterback prospect was Kellen Moore, who stuck around in the NFL for a number of years as a career backup. However, Brett Rypien might break that streak. Rypien is the nephew of former Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien and has 37 starts at quarterback under his belt at Boise State. He is slightly undersized for the position at 6'2, 199 pounds, and is not high on the radar of the main scouting sites such as NFL Draft Scout (they have him ranked as the 7th overall quarterback prospect currently for 2019). However, he has the tools necessary to emerge as a solid game-manager type of player, especially in a West Coast style offense. If he can put together a strong senior season and improve his consistency as a player, he may generate some buzz heading into the 2019 NFL Draft.
Over 37 games, Rypien has completed 735 passes on 1171 attempts for 9876 yards, 60 touchdowns, and 22 interceptions with a passing average of 266.9 yards per game. He is not a mobile threat, with a total of -109 yards rushing on 125 attempts; however, he has run for three touchdowns in his collegiate career. Given his lack of mobility and low number of touchdown passes (Rypien has thrown 60 in 3 seasons Darnold threw 57 in 2), Rypien will not likely be a first round pick in 2019 unless he has a breakout season. However, this is where some NFL team will find value in Rypien as a prospect. Mark Rypien was a 6th round pick who developed for two seasons before taking over a starting role and leading the Redskins to two Super Bowl victories. Brett Rypien may well experience a similar career trajectory.
Rypien projects as a game manager-type of player at the next level. He is not going to wow you with eye-popping numbers, but has the talent to put together a Kyle Orton or Ryan Fitzpatrick-type of career. Has a high passer rating, but that stat is difficult to use as a tool to predict NFL success. Has been better on the road than at home throughout his career; in 2017, he was more productive on the road (11 touchdowns and 4 interceptions with 1504 passing yards in 7 games) than at home (5 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 1373 passing yards in 6 games). Showed similar tendencies in 2015 and 2016. This suggests that he can step into uncomfortable settings and get things done at a competitive level; rises to the occasion as necessary. Does not showcase the elite accuracy to be a top tier quarterback at this point in his development, but that may improve over time with extended coaching and development.
Rypien is at his best sustaining drives in the short passing game. He is phenomenal in the 5 to 10 yard range, and can make the throws necessary to build a long drive that eats away at the clock; if supported with a strong run game, can help a team control the clock and potentially pick up wins in close games. Does not have a cannon arm; overthrows receivers on longer passes, and struggles at times in the red zone. Will throw a short pass to a player five yards out in coverage to continue a drive rather than throw to a wide open receiver ten or fifteen yards out in scoring position. From a scouting perspective, I would like to see him be more productive in the red zone; one of his biggest struggles is red zone production; throws interceptions at inopportune times. In some instances (for example in 2017 against Oregon), these plays are the result of Rypien attempting to get rid of the ball and try to generate points rather than take a sack and keep the drive alive. Footwork needs work especially on longer throws; he throws from an off-balance position at times leading him to overthrow receivers. If he can clean up these elements of his game, Rypien has the talent to stick in the NFL as a backup and potential spot starter.
There are some key positive attributes that Rypien showcases as well. Tends to be fairly patient in the pocket at times, and can evade pass rushers although he is not known for his mobility. There are plays where he evades sack attempts multiple times before getting rid of the ball (again, look at the 2017 Oregon game for example; evades two pass rushers before throwing the ball to an open receiver, although the pass was off target). Has the toughness to take hits and recover, but needs to showcase more poise under pressure. If he can do this, then he has fairly high upside. Has played in a pro-style offense, so is comfortable playing from under center. When his blocking holds up, he holds his ground in the pocket, progresses through his reads, and is capable of throwing on-target long passes. This shows that when given time he has the potential to improve his accuracy on longer throws, and can be accurate as a deep passer. However, this is not the strongest element of his game. Against Troy in 2017, made some solid 10 to 15 yard throws to convert on 3rd and long, and showed that he is capable of climbing the pocket when under pressure; it's simply something he needs to improve on in order to be a strong NFL starter. While he seems overly reliant on his first couple of reads in some packages and sees ghosts from time to time, when he is patient and takes the time to allow a play to unfold, he showcases the tools to be a valuable weapon to an NFL franchise. One play in the 2017 Troy game showcases his potential; on a 3rd and 8 play, Rypien takes the time to progress through his reads, allow his receiver to create an opening on an in route, and fires a rocket to him for a first down that the receiver proceeded to turn into a large gain. Just after releasing the pass, Rypien was dropped by a defender. If Rypien can showcase the type of patience flashed in this play, then he has the talent to get by in the NFL.
Ultimately, Brett Rypien might be the most frustrating quarterback to scout in the 2019 Draft class. There are plays where he looks like an NFL backup at best, and there are plays where he flashes the talent to be a long-term NFL starter in a West Coast-style offense. There are plays where he puts the ball in the perfect position for his receiver to make a play, and there are plays where he overthrows his receivers by a wide margin. His senior season will be extremely important to his draft stock in 2019; if he can fix the inconsistencies in his game and put together a breakout season, he will be an early pick (likely a day two pick) in the 2019 Draft. If he continues to flash inconsistency on a week-to-week basis, he will likely fall to day three. To me, Rypien flashes some signs of extreme talent, but also has tendencies that would worry most offensive coaches. The best possible situation for him, at this point in his development (prior to his senior season) would be on a team with an established starter where he can be coached up and mentored for one or a few seasons before being pressed into a competition for a starting role. If Brett Rypien is allowed to develop, he has the potential to be a solid quarterback in a West Coast offense. If he is rushed or forced into a starting role before he is ready (or simply fails to develop and improve as a player), then his upside is a career backup. One thing is certain; the kid shows flashes of extremely solid play and should be the next Boise State quarterback to find a home in the NFL.--Mike B., Matt and Mike Sports. firstname.lastname@example.org
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