Could now-former Washington State University quarterback Anthony Gordon be a sleeper for the 2020 NFL Draft? While the air-raid quarterback is not expected to go high in this year’s draft, he could become a late-round steal for some team willing to take a chance, similar to last year when the Jaguars selected former WSU quarterback Gardner Minshew II.
While most eyes were on the big-time quarterbacks such as Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts and Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Gordon took the stage and did not disappoint this week in Mobile. A former teammate of Minshew II, the quarterback best known for his quick-release tendencies performed admirably following an up-and-down start to his week-long job interview at the Senior Bowl.
Gordon is not the tallest quarterback at 6-2, and in speaking with Big Cat Country on Wednesday, Gordon stated that his weight at 199 pounds — the lowest of all quarterbacks in Mobile —, is something he will need to work on prior to the NFL combine in February. While he is not the most well-known quarterback prospects entering the draft, his accomplishments as a Cougar speaks for itself.
Last season, Gordon completed 493 out of 689 of his passes last season for 5,579 yards, 48 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Similar to his predecessor, Gordon put up gaudy numbers in former Washington State Coach Mike Leach’s air-raid offense. While he is still raw as a prospect due to his footwork and overall experience in the power five conference, Gordon has had a lot of repetitions for a one-year starter at the position.
“[Coach Leach] had a huge impact [on me], the pirate himself has an unbelievable offensive mind and you know he loves to throw the ball. You know I only started one year, but as some people would say, I had two years worth of throws wrapped into one so I thank coach Leach a lot for that and he’s a great friend of mine now and a former great coach of mine and I’m always gonna be rooting for him.”
Gordon says that he’s had a great time this week at the Senior Bowl and in working with NFL coaches to better his game, which has showed this week in practice.
“I came in trying to process all the long play calls and stuff like that,” Gordon told Big Cat Country on Wednesday. “You know [it] definitely wasn’t easy but I have some great coaches with the Lions and they’ve been able to help me out along the way. Great teammates you know [former Michigan quarterback] Shea [Patterson] and [former Utah State quarterback]Jordan [Love]. We do a great job motivating each other, competing and I feel like I’ve improved each day.”
Gordon came into Senior Bowl week without ever going under center nor did he ever command a huddle in college, whether at Washington State, junior college or in high school. Those are a couple of of the skills — along with gaining muscle mass —, Gordon wanted to improve upon exiting Mobile and getting closer to the combine.
A former baseball player, the Washington State alum attributes baseball to his ability to throw from unorthodox angles and his quick release, which was on full display during practices. It comes natural, he says.
One of the things Gordon does well that's been talked about a lot is his quick release, kind of like here he throws across his body.— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) January 25, 2020
Says it's just "reacting out there." pic.twitter.com/ugp3IFyfBa
“I don’t really work on it too much I just kind of just throw it the natural way, and you know sometimes as you guys saw today, one will come out across the body real quick and just kinda reacting out there.”
Viewing from afar, Gordon was very impressed by Jaguars quarterback Minshew II and, however while many were surprised by the Big Cat Country rookie of the year, Gordon was not.
“It’s a big time motivator (seeing Minshew’s success), especially for Gardner, it may have caught some people by surprise but it didn’t catch anyone in Pulham by surprise. We all knew what he was capable of.”
Minshew II was the most recent quarterback to put the negative stigma of air-raid quarterbacks to rest. As Gordon pointed out on Wednesday, the past three quarterbacks to make the Super Bowl came from air-raid systems in college: Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles (Eagles), Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, and now Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Gordon says he’s been keeping up with Minshew II throughout the season and most recently during the Jaguars quarterback’s RV trip across the country, Miles With Minshew. The current draft prospect is used to Minshew Mania, seeing it up-close-and-personal during his time in Pulham.
“Seeing it (Minshew Mania) spread worldwide is pretty funny so it’s pretty crazy everywhere seeing all those mustaches in Duval and stuff like that is pretty cool.”
Time will tell whether or not Gordon can have the success at the next level as Minshew II has, but the potential for becoming one of the more interesting quarterback prospects is high as the numbers during his time at Washington State indicate. One thing’s for certain, he has a lot of respect for Minshew II who was in a similar position as he is this time last year.
“He’s a great dude, great teammate, great leader, and I’m always rooting for him.”