Has a decent arm and a quick release to work the short and intermediate routes. Flashes anticipation from time to time on the throws along the sideline. Shows good mobility within the pocket, able to slide and move to find throwing lanes. Does a good job with his eye level, maintaining it downfield. KNows how to step up in the pocket, and comfortable improvising and finding open receivers when on the move. Can escape the pocket and extend the play with his legs, and comfortable throwing on the run. Shows good speed and quickness as a runner and can be shifty at times making plays with his legs. Generally makes good decisions and comfortable checking down and not forcing things.
Lacks the arm strength to really drive the ball downfield and struggles with the deep ball. Doesn't show much touch or good placement on his deeper throws. Will throw behind receivers on outs, and is late on too many throws and reads. Often tends to be in a one-read offense, and if that initial read is not there is very quick to tuck and run and try to extend play outside the pocket to wait for his receivers to break off their routes. Will get happy feet at times in the pocket, especially when he's dealing with undue pressure.
Persa was a productive college QB at Northwestern that is undersized and doesn't have a big arm, but is a guy that can make plays with his legs and shows good moxy. He's one of those players you root for even though you know he'll be hard-pressed to stick at the next level. With his mobility, lack of height, and limited arm strength, but his flair for making plays out of nowhere, there are a lot of times that he reminds you of a poor man's Drew Brees. Unfortunately, Persa lacks the consistency and experience of Brees and will be much harder-pressed to make an NFL roster.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(10/22) vs. Penn State: Short (<10 yds): 18 of 24 (75%), 145 yds (6.0 YPA), 69 YAC, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 1 poor throw, 2 drops;
Deep (>10 yds): 6 of 8 (75%) for 134 yds (16.8 YPA), 19 YAC, 1 TD, 0 INT, 0 poor throws, 1 drop
(12/31) vs. Texas A&M: Short (<10 yds): 18 of 25 (72%), 139 yds (5.6 YPA), 80 YAC, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 4 poor throws, 1 drop;
Deep (>10 yds): 4 of 7 (57%), 63 yds (9.0 YPA), 4 YAC, 0 TDS, 0 INTs, 1 poor throw, 0 drops
2011: 10 GP/10 GS (4-6 record), 218 comp., 297 att. (73.4%), 2376 yards, 8.0 YPA, 17 TD, 7 INT; 32 rushing yards, 1 TD
2010: 10/10 (7-3)-222-302-73.5-2581-8.5-15-4; 519-9
2009: 10/0-20-34-58.8-224-6.6-2-2; 167-0
2008: 11/0-0-0-0.0-0-0.0-0-0; -2-0
- missed final 3 games of 2010 and first 3 games of 2011 with Achilles injury
Persa has enough talent to land a backup position in the NFL and with added experience could stick long-term. But he's not going to be for everyone. Teams like New Orleans have cultivated these shorter, more mobile passers like Brees and Chase Daniel, and I could envision a scenario where Persa could also stick there. His mobility and athleticism are his best assets, and he might be quick enough that some teams might tinker with moving him to wide receiver. But he'd be a project there, and it's not as if he cannot play quarterback at the next level. He is a guy that if he can probably stick on a practice squad for a year or two could be competent enough to be a decent No. 3 option for a team. And if he gets comfortable in a system, he might be a competent No. 2 if he gets a chance to play because he'll be able to move around and make some plays, although you wonder if he'll ever be a consistent passer from the pocket to be a guy that can get extended playing time. He's the type of guy that can go to Canada and be potentially more successful, but at least has the potential to be a decent backup in the NFL.
Persa would be a fourth arm to the Falcons that just doesn't have the ideal upside to really get much of a chance at quarterback. Because of his limited arm strength, he just doesn't seem like a good fit in Dirk Koetter's offense. And the Falcons might be better off trying to move him to wide receiver and hoping that he can develop as a special teams player, something he played a bit of as a freshman at Northwestern. He might show enough moxy and playmaking ability to land a practice squad spot with the Falcons as a rookie, but he'd be hard-pressed to really be a good bet to land a permanent backup gig with the Falcons. They may be better off trying to turn him into a slash player and a poor man's Julian Edelman rather than anything else.
Persa is not good enough to draft just because his upside is limited at the next level. But he is a good fourth arm to bring into camp in the hopes that his athleticism and playmaking ability can add a bit of a spark at the tail end of the depth chart and provide some competition. But in reality, he's probably a player that you'd like to see get a chance in Canada for a few years before you really try and give him a legit shot in the NFL.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Arm Strength: 4.0
Decision Making: 6.0
Pocket Awareness: 5.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.