Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book has some work to do to move into the NFL draft conversation. Book is a redshirt junior and was technically eligible to declare for the draft this past offseason.
The Notre Dame signal-caller can still play two more college football seasons for the Irish before turning pro if he chooses to do so. Heading into the season, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah has Book ranked as the No. 11 quarterback prospect for the 2020 draft. Jeremiah compares Book to former Penn State quarterback Trace McSorely noting the Notre Dame player lacks the ideal size for the next level.
When I peeked at Book last year, he reminded me of Trace McSorley, the former Penn State QB and sixth-round pick of the Ravens. Book lacks ideal size, but he just finds a way to get the job done with both his arm and legs. He sees the field well and will take the free yards when the defense gives him room. Can he really drive the football? I’m looking forward to getting that question answered this fall.
One NFL Executive Believes Book Is “Flying Under the Radar”
Jeremiah also noted that at least one NFL executive believes Book is flying under the radar.
“I saw Book [play] live and I really like the kid,” an anonymous NFL executive told NFL.com. “He’s flying under the radar right now but he won’t be for long.”
Book Is Elite When It Comes to a Clean Pocket, But Struggles Under Presure
It is important to keep in mind that Book started last season as the backup to Brandon Wimbush before winning the job early in the season. Book threw for 2,628 yards, 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions while completing more than 68 percent of his passes. Book also added 280 rushing yards and four touchdowns. All this happened in essentially a span of eight games.
Book performed exceptionally when the pocket was clean. The challenge for NFL talent evaluators is that Book struggled when he was pressured as Pro Football Focus detailed.
As Notre Dame’s signal-caller, Book showed superb poise: Among returning Power Five quarterbacks, Book posted the fourth-best negatively graded play rate and just a 2.0% turnover-worthy play rate (eighth) on throws from a clean pocket. Along with that, Book showed outstanding accuracy when pressure was kept at bay, as he recorded the second-highest “accurate plus” rate and third-lowest uncatchable pass rate, per PFF’s quarterback charting system.
However, when the pass-rush did get home, Book’s play declined significantly as he ranked in the bottom fourth in PFF grade against pressure. Though most of this pressure wasn’t let up by the offensive line, it was because Book brought it on himself.
Book will have to raise his stock significantly to become part of the 2020 NFL draft conversation. However, Book is currently being evaluated on only eight starts.
The Notre Dame quarterback will add to his body of work with his play this season which could improve his stock. Book’s talent level is enough to already put him on the radars of NFL teams, but he will need to boost his stock to be considered a legitimate NFL prospect.