View Full Version : Draft: Article on Harvard QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

keg in kc
04-22-2005, 04:33 AM
Since his name's come up lately...

Judgment Day Is Here (http://www.thecrimson.com/today/article507298.html)

(Harvard) Crimson Staff Writer
Published on Friday, April 22, 2005

After months of training, miles of traveling, and endless speculation, the decisive day has finally arrived for Harvard quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Tomorrow or Sunday, the 2004 Ivy League Player of the Year will find out if his brains, athletic talent, and illustrious college career are enough to compel a pro team to pick him in the NFL Draft.

“I’m not really sure what to expect,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s a big crap shoot for someone like me, coming from a small school.”

Several Harvard grads are currently on NFL practice squads or in the NFL Europe, including wide receiver Carl Morris ’03 and Jamil Soriano ’03. But no Crimson player has been drafted since linebacker Isaiah Kacyvenski ’00 who, as a fourth-round pick, is the highest drafted player in school history.

The last Harvard signal-caller to catch a glimpse of the pros was quarterback Brian Buckley ’81, who was drafted by New England in the 11th round in 1981 and saw preseason playing time before getting cut early in the season.

The current version of the draft has seven rounds, three tomorrow and four on Sunday. The buzz around Fitzpatrick suggests he will be picked on the second day. A mock draft run earlier this week by Scouts, Inc., has the Crimson quarterback taken as the 26th pick in the fifth round—162nd pick overall—to the Kansas City Chiefs.

In the event that Fitzpatrick is not drafted, however, it’s far from the end of his pro chances.

“If nothing happens on that second day, halfway through the seventh round a lot of teams that are interested will start jockeying for position to sign me as a free agent,” Fitzpatrick said. “By the end of the seventh round I should know which team I’m signing with.”


Since the Crimson’s season ended Nov. 20, Fitzpatrick has immersed himself in preparation for the draft. His agent, Kyle Rote Jr., set Fitzpatrick up with a quarterback coach to refine his technical skills for the professional level.

“He was an effective and dangerous runner [at Harvard], but at the NFL level they don’t want you to run at all,” Rote said, adding that instead of working out of the shotgun as he often did with the Crimson, Fitzpatrick worked at taking more snaps under center.

The second part of Fitzpatrick’s preparation was to get the virtually unknown Ivy prospect some national exposure. In January, he participated in both senior all-star bowls—the East-West Shrine Game and the Hula Bowl—and the NFL Combine in March.

He also participated in two pro days. Higher-profile prospects usually only attend one, but Rote said that with Fitzpatrick’s lack of television time during the season, it was important to “have as many people who could see him as possible.” In addition, Rote made certain that Fitzpatrick was fully rested before last month’s Combine in order to have plenty of time and energy for interviews.

“The NFL didn’t know him as a personality,” Rote said. “So exposure was an important aspect of our preparation.”


On one hand, Fitzpatrick has a lot to overcome: his Division I-AA and Ivy League origins look paltry against the primetime names of the Big 10 or SEC.

On the other hand, his unique background—and his ability to compete on a physical level with the other draft-hopefuls—may actually work to Fitzpatrick’s advantage come draft day. The Harvard name and the intelligence it implies make him an enticing pick for a team looking for a trainable quarterback in the mold of the Tom Brady, a former sixth-round pick who has won three Super Bowls with the Patriots.

And Fitzpatrick’s Harvard brains have earned him attention from the media, as well.

At the NFL Combine, Fitzpatrick garnered national publicity for his score on the Wonderlic Personnel Test. The economics concentrator reportedly got a perfect score on the 12-minute, 50-question intelligence exam, finishing with enough time to check over his answers.

Though Fitzpatrick told The Crimson that he had in fact left a question blank on the exam, his feat was enough to add to the buzz already surrounding the Harvard captain.

For Dan Shanoff HBS ’02, a writer for ESPN.com, it only confirmed what he had suspected about Fitzpatrick—here was a kid who not only had the athletic goods, but a compelling back story.

“The last couple of years I’ve been following [Harvard football] really closely,” said Shanoff, who was at Harvard Business School for the Crimson’s 2000 undefeated season when Fitzpatrick was a freshman. “Fitzy’s obviously great and especially for Division I-AA he’s exceptional. The record was great, his stats were great, but I didn’t know how it would translate to the NFL, or the NFL Draft. And then I saw the all-star games, and how the scouts were talking. I flagged him as someone to keep an eye on. But what really put it over the top was the story about the Wonderlic.”

Shanoff saw Fitzpatrick’s story as compelling to a wide audience and a welcome change to the number-crunching that characterizes draft preparation.

“The whole draft culture of ‘four hundredths of a second can make you drop in the draft,’ this is crazy,” Shanoff said. “Let’s throw some weight behind how smart a player is.

“You don’t have to go Harvard to be more intellectually inclined than physically gifted,” he added, explaining Fitzpatrick’s appeal. “The guy brings a whole other dimension.”


Shanoff plans to include his own conjecture about Fitzpatrick’s chances in today’s “Quickie” column. He sees Fitzpatrick’s intelligence as being a key motivating factor for a savvy coach.

“My personal theory is that [New England head coach] Bill Belichick—who appreciates, probably more than anyone in the NFL a player’s intellectual skills—has Fitzy’s name written on a board somewhere,” Shanoff said. “He’s going to grab him in the 6th round, and he’ll be backing up Tom Brady.”

Shanoff added, however, that if the majority of quarterbacks get picked on the first day, Fitzpatrick could go as high as the fourth round.

Fitzpatrick, however, doesn’t care to speculate about his chances this weekend. He will be watching the draft with his family at home in Gilbert, Ariz., having done all in his power to make a case for his draftability.

“I thought I performed well in all the stuff I did, at bowls and practices and pro days,” Fitzpatrick said. “Everything is out of my hands now and into the hands of the scouts.”

Rote refused to say when he thought Fitzpatrick would be drafted, but expressed optimism for the Arizonan’s chances.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and [speculating] is a fool’s game,” Rote said. “But there’s a lot of teams that want him.”

04-22-2005, 06:25 AM
Ryan FitzpatrickPosition: Quarterbackhttp://images.nfl.com/images/draft/2005/mugs/fitzpatrick_ryan.jpg College: HarvardHeight: 6-2Weight: 221Hometown: Gilbert, Az.Analysis (http://www.nfl.com/draft/profiles/2005/fitzpatrick_ryan#analysis) | Injury Report (http://www.nfl.com/draft/profiles/2005/fitzpatrick_ryan#injury) | Agility (http://www.nfl.com/draft/profiles/2005/fitzpatrick_ryan#agility) | High School (http://www.nfl.com/draft/profiles/2005/fitzpatrick_ryan#high_school) | Personal (http://www.nfl.com/draft/profiles/2005/fitzpatrick_ryan#personal)


One of the most skilled quarterbacks in the NCAA Division 1-AA ranks, Fitzpatrick is the type of player capable of taking over a game on offense. He is a tough competitor with quick feet, a strong arm and very good accuracy passing in the short area. … A three-sport (football, basketball and track) star at Highland Gilbert (Az.) High School, Fitzpatrick was a second-team Class 5A all-state selection, adding Arizona High School All-Star team, Fiesta Region first team and Fiesta Region MVP honors as a senior. He set 12 school records and one state mark (throwing a 99-yard touchdown pass) while leading the team to the state playoffs from 1998-2000 and to the 1999 Fiesta Region title. He graduated in the top 1 percent of his class and received the Presidential Award of Excellence. … Fitzpatrick served as a very capable backup to record-setting QB Neil Rose during his first two years with the Crimson, excelling in five starting assignments during the 2001-02 seasons when Rose was injured. In 2001, he gained 323 yards with a pair of touchdowns on 25 of 37 passing (67.6 percent) and followed by completing 94 of 150 attempts (62.7 percent) for 1,155 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions in 2002. He also ran for five scores and 523 yards on 115 carries (4.5 avg.) that year. … Fitzpatrick took over the starting job in 2003 and was having a banner campaign until fracturing a bone in his throwing hand when he hit an opponent's helmet going through his release in the Cornell game. That injury cost him two games, and he also was banged up (knee, ankle) later in the year vs. Pennsylvania. However, he put up some very impressive performances when he was on the field, whether healthy or injured. He is the first QB in over a decade to run for over 100 yards in a game (vs. Holy Cross in 2003). Fitzpatrick finished his junior campaign completing 107 of 178 passes (60.1 percent) for 1,770 yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions in seven games. He also carried 109 times for 430 yards (3.9 avg.) and six scores. … Fully recovered from his 2003 injuries, Fitzpatrick would earn Ivy League MVP honors (Asa S. Bushnell Cup) as he amassed 1,986 yards with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions on 158 of 276 passing (57.2 percent). He ranked second on the team with 118 carries for 448 yards (3.8 avg.) and five scores in 2004. … For his career, Fitzpatrick connected on 384 of 641 passes (59.9 percent) for 5,234 yards, 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He collected 1,487 yards with 16 scores on 365 carries (4.1 avg.) and totaled 6,721 yards, an average of 224.0 yards per game, while seeing action in 30 contests. He ranks second on Harvard's career list for pass completions, touchdowns, yards passing and pass completion percentage, topped only by Neil Rose (5,949 yards, 41 touchdowns, 455 completions, 62.4 percent, 1998-2002). … His 641 pass attempts rank fourth in school history. His 1,006 total plays for 6,721 yards in total offense broke the old school career records of 1,005 plays by Mike Giardi (1991-93) and 6,519 yards by Rose. He is the first quarterback in Harvard annals to rush for over 1,000 yards in a career.


Fitzpatrick is a well-built athlete with a muscular upper body, quick feet and very good field vision. He is a player that possesses good leadership poise and smarts for the position, a student of the game who is a quick thinker and communicator on the field. He also is effective in running the one-back multiple system or operating out of a pro set. … Fitzpatrick operates mostly out of the shotgun formation, but when he does take snaps from under center, he shows decent quickness driving back to his set point. He is very accurate in the short area passing game but has a tendency to lock on to his primary target, failing to go through progressions and find his second and third receivers. He is consistent in completing passes between the hashes and displays good accuracy with throws outside the hash. Fitzpatrick has the arm strength to also throw the deep-outs, but does not show as much zip as he does on his short throws. While he has a bit of a wind-up in his throwing motion, he does a good job of coming over the top with his release. … He is a tough competitor with no fear of contact, as he will take the hit whether standing in the pocket or on the run and still make the play. He's an athletic mover when setting up and drifting to throw screens. He will not hesitate to throw an aggressive block on the reverse and runs strong on several effective QB draws near the end zone. Fitzpatrick shows good touch on his throws, but needs to protect the ball better, as he is prone to fumbling it when on the run (leaves the ball too exposed). Still, he is the type of player who can create things with his feet when his targets fail to get open. He does a good job of squaring his shoulders to throw on the move or head up field on the ground. … Fitzpatrick has good poise in the pocket, displaying the mobility to step up and slide. He is a good scrambler who might not be the fastest runner around, but has the agility and leg drive to break arm tackles and fight for yards. He is good at making checks at the line and will usually audible at least half the time. He scans the field effectively and is always looking for ways of putting the team into position to score, whether with his arm or feet. … He rarely overshoots the receiver on short and intermediate routes. He is a good thinker vs. the rush and reads coverage well. His feel for the pass rush is instinctive, as he knows when to run with the ball to move the chains. His throws on fades or sticks are effective when he can find the small spot in the zones. … Fitzpatrick has a good throwing motion, getting good velocity, even when he throws off-balance or flat-footed. The level of competition he faces is mediocre, at best. He has great confidence in his ability vs. this competition, but it will get him into trouble, as he will make some poor decisions in attempts to challenge the coverage. When he throws into tight quarters, it will sometimes result in a costly interception. … Fitzpatrick did not show in postseason all-star action that he can play just as effectively at the next level. Even though he could not answer that question, he is certainly is an intriguing talent that is well-worth further examination on the second day of the draft.


2003: Suffered a fractured bone in his throwing (right) hand when he hit an opponent's helmet while going through his release vs. Cornell (Oct. 11), missing the Lafayette and Princeton games … Sat out the Columbia game (Nov. 8) with hand, knee and ankle injuries. Re-injured his knee and ankle vs. Pennsylvania (Nov. 15), but played with those injuries in that game and the following week vs. Yale.


4.87 in the 40-yard dash … 295-pound bench press … 415-pound squat … 325-pound power clean … 30˝-inch vertical jump. HIGH SCHOOL

Attended Highland (Gilbert, Az.) High School … Second-team Class 5A all-state as a senior, adding Arizona High School All-Star team, Fiesta Region first team, Fiesta Region MVP and team MVP honors … Set one state record -- throwing a 99-yard touchdown pass -- and 12 school records (school records include yards passing for a game, season, and career; TD passes for a game, season and career; and completions and completion percentage for a game, season and a career) … Led the team to the state playoffs from 1998-2000 and to the 1999 Fiesta Region title … Member of the school's basketball and track teams … Graduated in the top 1 percent of his class … Also was named to Boy's State and served as its 2000 Treasurer … Recipient of the Presidential Award of Excellence.


Economics major … Born Ryan Joseph Fitzpatrick on Nov. 24, 1982 … Resides in Gilbert, Az.

04-22-2005, 06:32 AM
Perfect candidate for a Chiefs draft.

The attraction is more a gimmick from the combine than his performance in college.

I realize intelligence is important in the NFL. And I realize Fitzpatrick performed well at the level of football he played at. I'd just prefer a guy that has produced against top quality talent.