Brett Rypien – Quarterback
School: Boise State University
Weight: 202 Pounds
Brett Rypien NFL Draft Profile
Top 3 Player Traits
Brett Rypien is a very compact thrower of the football with close to no wasted motion. The ball comes out of his hand with a mere flick of the wrist, which allows him to be ready to throw at almost any time and keeps defenders from having time to make a play on the ball. A quick release is always an asset when it comes to quarterback play, and that of Rypien is phenomenal.
Here’s a perfect example. Watch how quickly Rypien is able to get set to throw the football. As soon as he takes the snap he immediately squares his feet toward the target, and just like that, the ball is out for the touchdown. Throwing lanes become quite condensed in the redzone, but Rypien’s ability to get the ball out of his hand almost instantaneously allows Boise State to find the endzone here before the defense can react.
In the NFL, quarterbacks have to be able to anticipate throws. This means they must be able to throw the football early to where the receiver is expected to be before the receiver makes his break. If you wait until you see your receiver break open before throwing the ball in the NFL, you’re going to be late, and the defender is going to make a play on the ball. Anticipation is an incredibly underrated trait, and it’s another area where Rypien thrives.
On this play, Rypien’s going to be under pressure, so he has little time to get rid of the football. His receiver’s running an out route around the first down marker, and Rypien lets the ball go right before being smashed by the blitzing linebacker. He has to let go of this ball early, yet by the time it gets to the receiver, it’s in perfect position as the receiver makes his break, and it’s an easy catch for the first down.
Here’s a similar play. On third down and long, Rypien once again faces pressure. His receiver faces single coverage on the outside and will break to the outside right around the first down marker. There’s very little field to work with on that sideline, and if Rypien doesn’t throw this on time, it’s an interception. This is a tough ball to keep in bounds, and most quarterbacks would probably just sail it out of bounds. But Rypien throws with the perfect mixture of velocity and touch. Doing so, he’s able to get rid of the ball before being hit, and his receiver is just able to secure the catch and get his feet in bounds as he makes his break and before the defender arrives. This is a big time throw by Rypien.
It doesn’t get much prettier than this. Rypien identifies the matchup he likes and lets the ball go right at the top of his drop. At that time, his receiver is still running step for step with the defender. But Rypien puts enough air on this ball to allow the receiver to beat his man, as well as the incoming safety, and haul in the pass for the touchdown. The anticipation Rypien shows here is also important because he has to throw this ball early. If he doesn’t, the safety will get over to that side of the field and make a play on the ball. Rypien knows this and is able to unleash a throw that beats two defenders on one play.
A lot of quarterbacks in college are only asked to go through one or two reads per play. They may only have to read one side of the field. That can work in college, but it won’t work in the NFL. You need to be able to read the whole field, and you need to be able to do it quickly. Luckily, Rypien showed that ability at Boise State.
Look at Rypien’s helmet and notice how quickly he gets through his progression here, from left, to middle, and finally wasting no time getting it to his checkdown on the right as his back flares out of the backfield uncovered. Even more impressive, his feet move together with his eyes, ensuring that he is always in position to make an accurate throw.
Here’s a similar play. Rypien starts out looking to the left and is able to shift his feet and his eyes as he works quickly through his progression. He does so while stepping up in the pocket, ultimately firing downfield to his receiver on the right. The ball is thrown a little high and lands incomplete, but the read is correct and Rypien gets the throw out on time. He’s a very quick processor of information, and he rarely seems overwhelmed when facing a defense. These are all pluses as Rypien transitions to the NFL.
3 Player Traits In Need Of Improvement
You really don’t see Rypien work the ball down the field too much, especially late in the play. This was even moreso the case his senior year. He projects mostly as a short to intermediate passer. I sometimes wonder if his slightly smaller frame makes him less comfortable looking down the field when bodies surround him. His physical attributes aren’t that of a high-level starter, and that’s probably why he won’t get drafted too high.
Oklahoma State’s defense was outstanding during this matchup. They would disguise coverages initially before dropping bodies into coverage, yet their four man front remained dominant. Rypien definitely felt hurried in this game, and the result was way too many checkdowns. On this play, he takes the snap, scans the field, moves to his left under pressure, and eventually checks it down to his back, who’s unable to break a tackle. He’s tackled with just a short gain on the play. Getting rid of the ball short can be a good thing if you’re faced with a sack, but it also will limit your game if you’re not able to threaten all levels of the defense on a consistent basis, so this is definitely an area of improvement for Rypien.
Rypien has very active feet, and it at times borders on frenetic. His feet at times can come up from underneath him when he throws. This will limit your accuracy and arm strength if it becomes too prominent. This is another reason why I question how successful Rypien will be late in plays when the pocket closes in. He was able to avoid those situations too much because of his ability to read the field and get rid of the ball quickly, as well as because of the offense that he played in. But they will inevitably be more common in the NFL.
On this play, the outcome is good. Rypien scans the field, moves his eyes and feet, and gets the ball out on time to his back leaking out of the backfield. The result of the play is a first down. That’s all good. But if you look at Rypien’s feet in the pocket, he’s very jumpy, arguably more so than he needs to be. It’s what some might call, “happy feet”. Rypien just needs to make sure that as he continues to fine-tune his game, he always has his feet under him when he throws. Movement is good and Rypien is very twitchy; there’s just a fine line as to when it can become counterproductive.
While Rypien certainly made some beautiful deep throws on the season, he had his fair share of misses as well, arguably more than you would like to see. On this play, Rypien has everything he wants: easy read, clean pocket, and receiver running free. Yet Rypien misses him by a good five yards. Seeing Rypien overthrow go routes was not uncommon as I went through his tape. We’ll see if he corrects it moving forward.
NFL Team Fits
The New England Patriots
No matter how much Brady continues to evade father time and take his team to Super Bowls, the reality is that he is indeed very close to the end of his career. Besides, even if he weren’t, it seems like the Patriots are always in the market for backup quarterbacks. Matt Cassel, Brian Hoyer, Jacoby Brissett, and Jimmy Garoppolo all went on to start for other teams at some point or another. Nonetheless, I do believe that Rypien is exactly the kind of quarterback that McDaniels and the Patriots like. He’s not the most physically talented, but he’s smart, twitchy, mechanically sound, and well suited to run that short passing game that McDaniels loves. I would not at all be surprised if Rypien ends up a Patriot.
The San Francisco 49ers
They’re probably set at backup with Nick Mullens, but Rypien fits that Shanahan profile as well, and he certainly would fit well in that offense.
NFL Player Comparison
To be clear, I think Jimmy is more talented than Rypien. He’s taller, has a bigger frame, and is a better downfield passer. But I also think Garoppolo benefited a lot from being coached up at New England (and then by Shanahan as well). If you go back and watch his first few preseason games, he wasn’t quite as polished as he is now. His profile is very similar to Rypien’s: He has that same tremendously quick flick-like release, same field reading ability, proficiency in the short game, and similar questions regarding feet, crowded pockets, and deep ball.
Rypien isn’t a big name guy, nor is he a super talented guy, so I don’t see him going in the early rounds. But I don’t think it’s a given that he falls to the late rounds or goes undrafted either. He’s not perfect, but he was a productive college player, and he has lots of tools that you can work with. He just needs to fall into the right situation.