Each year NBC Sports football analyst and former quarterback Chris Simms releases a ranking of his Top 40 current quarterbacks in the NFL. His most recent list focusing on the 2020 season slotted Dwayne Haskins at 39.
That means Haskins, the presumed starter for the Redskins for the upcoming campaign, fell below multiple backup quarterbacks. Simms explained at the time that his reasoning for placing Haskins where he did stemmed from still not knowing much about the passer due to his limited showing at the pro level in 2019.
3⃣9⃣ Dwayne Haskins— Chris Simms (@CSimmsQB) May 26, 2020
Really don't know how to sum up his rookie season. Some nice moments and throws that make you see why he was a 1st rd pick. Others where you shake your head and realize how raw of a talent he still is. Big Q about how new staff will embrace him#SimmsTop40QB
Recently, Simms joined the Redskins Talk Podcast to further explain the factors that went into his decision to tank Haskins at 39. As he said during his initial explanation, the small sample size played a large role. After starting just one season at Ohio State, the 2019 first-round pick only appeared in nine games, starting seven, leaving Simms wanting to see more before he could really give a real assessment.
Haskins' body of work in 2019 was filled with ups and downs. A bumpy start (four interceptions in his first 22 attempts) gave way to signs of promise in his last few appearances of the season, telling Simms that there is no reason to think the quarterback won't find success in the future. However, when strictly looking at 2020, he feels there are too many unanswered questions to rank him higher.
“I just don’t know if I know exactly what he is yet. That’s my big concern," Simms said. "Not a lot of experience in college, not a lot of experience in the NFL.”
“I love Dwayne Haskins upside, I do," But I’m not so sure I can say his upside is gonna be what we’re going to get consistently yet," Simms said.
So, how can Haskins earn a better ranking in the future? Football-wise, Simms sees Haskins arm and underrated athleticism as a great foundation. However, like many young quarterbacks, he still has work to do.
Poise in the pocket, decision making and protecting the football are all areas of the game that Haskins struggled with at times during his first season. Being that it was his first NFL experience, that is not unexpected. Simms said he has the tools to improve and eliminate those errors, but the analyst now wants to see it.
Additionally, Haskins mechanics could use some work. Simms notes that the quarterback tends to "lean forward too much as a thrower." By doing this, Haskins' technique is off, according to Simms, resulting in more constant overthrows and missed receivers.
This offseason, Haskins has been hard at work looking to eliminate the critiques Simms and others have of him. Training hard on the field, Haskins has spent time working with not only his receivers but experienced veterans as well. He's also dropped weight as he looks to become more dynamic in the pocket.
Off the field, Haskins is making sure to go about his business and not stray away from his main focus: winning football games. His work ethic is one Terry McLaurin, Ron Rivera and others have mentioned in the offseason.
If Haskins continues to progress this way, Simms believes that success will follow and he won't be in the bottom tier of quarterbacks for long.
“I do think he’s got the talent to stretch the field and scare defenses and do those types of things," Simms said. “He has the type of talent, guys, to certainly make a huge jump going into year two.”
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