Clayton Thorson Scouting Report

NAME: Clayton Thorson

SCHOOL: Northwestern


POSITION: Quarterback

CLASS: RS Senior


HT: 6-3

WT: 225

Accuracy: Accurate within 15 yards. Places the ball where it needs to be on shallow crosses and hitch routes. Ball placement is most precise when first read is open, his base is set, and he can let rip in rhythm. The farther he pushes the ball down the field, the less accurate he is. Struggles with touch and dropping balls in the bucket on vertical passes. Will throw behind receivers running across the intermediate parts of the field. Needs to do a better job leading targets when throwing past 15 yards. Sprays the ball all over the place under pressure. Loses command of ball placement when on the move.

Processing: Reliant on first read and quick passing game. Does not look comfortable making off script reads when his primary target is not open. Usually keeps eyes on one part of the field. Tipping defenders where he is going with the ball. Doesn’t consistently go through progressions. Shows flashes of identifying base coverage and attacking it accordingly. However, will get tripped up with disguises and blitzes. Rarely locates where the pressure is coming pre-snap (in blitzing situation). Struggles with contesting the correct throwing windows against zone coverage. Has to identify the coverage pre-snap in order to anticipate.

Decision Making: Makes the best decisions when primary read is open. Forces throws when it isn’t. Can be reckless with the ball under any type of pressure. Will occasionally work back to his check down but needs to do it more. Typically tries to scramble rather than going to his next progression in pressure situations. Doesn’t have much sense of an internal clock when first read isn’t open and takes unnecessary sacks.

Poise: Flashed the ability to come through for North Western in the crucial parts of games. But also struggles to put up points against top tier opponents. Yet to have a statement performance. Does not handle physical pressure well. Tends to drop his eyes when the rush is coming and is noticeably uncomfortable in crowed pockets. The game does not slow down for him under pressure.

Consistency: Is best from a consistency stand point when his primary read is open and the quick passing game is working. Struggles with full field reads and working off script progressions.  Accuracy is inconsistent as well.

Mechanics: Release is functional. Does a good job of getting torque in his lower half to generate velocity on the ball. Needs to do a better of planting his trail foot after weight transfer. Base regularly looks unbalanced after follow through step on throws that require more juice. Usually keeps his shoulders parallel to the line of scrimmage for optimal throwing position. Does a good job of keeps two hands on the ball at all times. Will throw off back foot under pressure.

Pocket Presence: Does not feel rushers well. Has a bad of habit of backing up when his first read isn’t open. Only climbs the pocket when their is clear space to step up. Very antsy to escape causing him to regularly flee clean pockets. Doesn’t step up in congested pockets to make throws. Will often feel phantom pressure. Needs to do a better job of staying disciplined in the pocket.

Arm Strength: Adequate arm that can make all of the throws.

Mobility: Isn’t very fast but can pick up the occasional first down when there are lanes to run.

Best Trait: Mechanics

Worst Trait: Processing/Poise

Best Film: Michigan State (2017)

Worst Film: Wisconsin (2017)

Pro Comparison: Mike Glennon

Clayton Thorson’s slow processing skills, shaky play under pressure, and inconsistent accuracy past 15 yards will most likely scare NFL teams away from drafting him to be their eventual starter. However he has shown that with great protection and in the right system. He can be capable of managing games. Which is why he projects best as a back up. A spread offense with quick passing concepts would be ideal for his skill set.

Work Cited

  1. Crabbs, Kyle. “2019 NFL Draft Player Profile: Clayton Thorson.” The Draft Network, 8 Aug. 2018,