One option the Seattle Seahawks could consider in this year’s draft if they bring in a younger quarterback through trade or free agency like Kevin Kolb or Carson Palmer, is taking a late-round flyer on someone like Idaho’s Nathan Enderle.
Enderle is an intriguing prospect because of his size (6-5, 240), his strong arm and his intelligence (he scored 38 on his Wonderlic).
Add to that the fact that Enderle started four years for the Vandals and played in a pro-style offense at Idaho that gave him a lot of freedom to call plays at the line of scrimmage, and I think you have a player who could be a developmental quarterback for a couple seasons and potentially blossom into a starter.
“I’m a smart cat,” Enderle said during his interview at February’s scouting combine in Indianapolis. “I do a lot at the line of scrimmage at Idaho. I do a lot of changes in protections, and run calls and play calls.
“And then intermediate to deep balls I think I separate myself from other quarterbacks as far as 10 to 25 yards down the field. I think I do that very well.”
Enderle threw for 10,084 yards for the Vandals, finishing with 74 touchdowns and 60 interceptions. He threw 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions his senior campaign, completing 56.7 percent of his passes his senior season, and completed 55 percent of his passes on third down. He was sacked 39 times.
But the most concerning thing about Enderle is his play against good teams. He finished 16 of 31 (51.6 percent) for 141 yards, with five interceptions and one touchdown playing against Nebraska in a 38-17 loss. Enderle grew up in North Platte, Neb., and wanted to play for the Cornhuskers growing up, so motivation should not have been an issue.
Enderle struggled against Nevada, completing 15 or 34 passes for 224 yards and one touchdown in a 63-17 loss to the Wolfpack.
And his outing against Boise State the following week wasn’t much better, completing 16 of 34 passes (47.4 percent) for 118 yards, two interceptions and one touchdown in a 52-14 loss.
But one thing you have to consider is the talent deficit between Idaho and some of the good teams they were playing after losing talented players like receiver Max Komar and offensive guard Mike Iupati to the NFL the past, two seasons.
“Nate Enderle is very much more of a developmental prospect,” said Rob Rang, senior draft analyst for NFLDraftScout.com. “But he’s got some legitimate talent, and if he had been protected a little bit better at Idaho in terms of the talent around him, then I think that he would a lot higher up in terms of the hype and the attention. I think people would know him a lot more.
“Unfortunately he struggled a little bit in the East-West Shrine game. And so I think that’s going to kind of keep his stock down there in the late rounds. But he certainly has the size you’re looking for. He has plenty of arm strength. He has some mobility for a big guy, it’s just the accuracy has been a little inconsistent. But I think some of that is just due to the fact that when you’re running for your life half of the time, it’s a little bit difficult to focus on your technique as a passer.”
One of the things I like about Enderle in watching the highlight video above is his ability to throw with anticipation and his poise in the pocket. He delivers the ball to the receiver in a position where he can make a play.
Enderle believes one of his strengths is anticipating the blitz and getting the ball off quickly to the right man under pressure.
“I think the first thing you want to see is if the quarterback can handle the blitz, and I think I can,” he said. “I’ve shown that at Idaho. Whenever we block things up, I always got the balls off on time.
“Other than that, man coverage. It forces the quarterback to be precise. And if you can’t beat man coverage you’re going to have struggles in the NFL because you have to be a lot more precise, a lot more accurate and efficient in what you’re doing when you’re facing a man defense.”