A Prospect A Day: Quarterbacks, Christian Hackenberg Scouting Report

Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State

6’4 234 lbs

Christian Hackenberg

Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg (14) throws a pass to Penn State wide receiver Richy Anderson (19) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Eastern Michigan in State College, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. Penn State won 45-7. (Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)


Looks like he’s in the wrong system at Penn State. Has the mechanics of a pocket passer in a pro offense. He has functional arm strength and average athleticism, he can throw dimes into tight windows but misses more often than he should for a potential starter in the pros.

He has strong pocket presence when’s he’s actually able to step into his pocket but he lacks talent around him and is forced to do too much to play comfortably for Penn State.

The pressure he feels to make a play is evident, especially in his ball placement, and because of this he’ll miss a throw attempting to lead his players into the open field. Part of that is his receivers’ inability to make the play for him, but he can also miss easy passes.


Accuracy: 4 out of 5

His accuracy is only a small issue and he has the ability to place balls in perfect locations. He must improve his consistency but he’s well above average for a quarterback coming out of college.

Power: 3 out of 5

His arm is functional enough to throw the route tree but doesn’t blow you away on any given throw. Has the velocity to reach its mark on time most of the time.

On the run: 4 out of 5

Many of Hackenberg’s most brilliant throws on tape were on the run. He impresses greatly in this area but takes few risks.

Consistency: 4 out of 5

He’s a guy that can have a bad game and still look about the same as in his good games. He’s still a fairly accurate pocket passer with some mobility that makes some questionable decisions. Whether or not a good defense burns him for his mistakes typically determines what type of game he has.

Field vision: 4 out of 5

Shows more ability in this aspect than most in quarterbacks in this draft, Hackenberg is patient but efficient working through his reads to find an open man and will only take off when there’s nothing down field.

Athleticism: 3 out of 5

Hackenberg doesn’t scramble a lot, but he’s certainly not the statue in the pocket some are making him out to be. He can scramble for first downs when there’s room.

Pocket awareness: 4 out of 5

Being in a spread, he doesn’t work in a traditional pocket often, but he looks natural when he does.

Poise: 3 out of 5

Hackenberg can remain steady in pressure situations but he’s clearly rattled when he gets hit a lot. He will stop trusting his protection, get happy feet and start forcing passes, especially when down by a large deficit.

Clutch: 4 out of 5

In close games at the end, Hackenberg remains cool and rarely makes the game ending mistake. He projects well in this aspect for the next level.

Size: 5 out of 5

Has nice height and his weight is well-distributed.


NFL Comparison: Kyle Orton, QB, Retired


hackenberg 1









Lacks a special NFL arm but makes up for it by throwing an accurate ball and making mostly good decisions. Orton and Hackenberg have very similar physical dimensions and both are adequate runners that allow the full range of the playbook (rollouts, bootlegs)

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