The Pittsburgh Steelers signed quarterback Dwayne Haskins to a Reserve/Future contract on Thursday and obviously that instantly became big news because of the Ohio state product being a first-round draft pick just a few years ago. With a long offseason still ahead, we’ll have plenty of time to break down certain aspects of Haskins’ NFL game to date in multiple posts. In this post, I wanted to focus on Haskins’ deep pass game since he was drafted.
So, why focus on Haskins’ deep passing game right out of the chute? Well, if an NFL quarterback can’t push the football down the field with some level of consistency, he’s not going to be in the league very long.
Before we move forward, I think its important to look back at some of the pre-draft analysis of Haskins provided by former Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft. Most notably, I want to focus on what Haley said about Haskins’ deep passing game ability. Haley, in the interview with Sports Illustrated, specifically noted Haskins’ lack of deep passing game accuracy as the young quarterbacks’ chief weakness.
“Deep accuracy, don’t see many NFL throws, one-year starter, doesn’t see coverage, all shotgun, average athlete, can’t extend plays, minus runner, below-average drops/footwork,” Haley noted in his scouting of Haskins.
Haley doubled down on Haskins’ lack of deep pass accuracy in his thoughts on if he believed the young quarterback could be a starter in 2019, his rookie season.
“He lacks downfield accuracy on tape, and I don’t see him make many NFL throws,” Haley noted.
So, what do the stats and tape say about Haskins’s deep pass abilities through his first two seasons?
According to early charting data results from our own Brad Congelio, Haskins is 11 for 48 on air-yard throws of 20 yards or longer past the line of scrimmage for his NFL career for 312 yards with no touchdowns and five interceptions. So, not great at all. Specifically, in 2020, Haskins was 3 of 24 for 99 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions on deep passes of 20 or more yards down the field.
Upon getting those stats, I instantly pulled the all-22 tape on all 24 of those 2020 20-plus yard deep throws by Haskins and contextualized the data. The charted data below isn’t as important as the tape is, obviously, both are below for your viewing pleasure.
As you’ll see in the video of the 24 pass attempts from 2020 below, Haskins was way off with accuracy on a good number of these attempts. Additionally, his release and footwork vary quite bit. On a lot of these deep throws, you’ll see that Haskins looks like he has predetermined where he’s going with the football. He stares down in receivers quite a bit and makes quite a few bad decisions.
There’s also no real sense in this reel that he fully understands the coverages he’s facing on a lot of these throws. It’s almost backyard-football-like to a large degree. A lot of his throws in this reel are also on a line and he shows no real touch on most of them. Not only did Haskins have four of these 24 deep pass attempts of his from 2020 intercepted, but a few more should also have been picked off as well.
Another thing that sticks out in the charting of these 24 deep throws from 2020 is that none of them went between the hash marks. In fact, only six in total were thrown between the numbers. Once again, only three of these 24 deep throws were completed, and none came between the numbers.
In total, only six of these 24 deep throws of Haskins’ can be deemed as being on target. That’s certainly not going to cut it at the NFL level and it’s one of many areas of his game he’ll need to improve drastically now that he’s with the Steelers if he’s going to stick on the roster for a long time.