*Our QB grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, leaked Wonderlic test results, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.

I like Ryan Finley as a QB prospect well enough. I don’t think he’s great or elite, but he’s not bad. He could start in the NFL. He might have some upside paired with the right head coach (*checks NFL coaching list…sorry, Sean McVay is taken…better luck next life*). I think Finley is a perfectly capable NFL QB…a great backup to have behind a great starter, a guy who could handle himself solidly if forced to play due to starter injury.

I also know this…everyone from scouts to analysts will hate/ignore him, and thus NFL GMs and head coaches will dislike/ignore him, and thus the fans won’t pay him any mind as he gets drafted in the 4th-5th-round. He’s almost dead on arrival because of ‘perception’…and I will absolutely not understand why.

Anyone confidently pushing Daniel Jones as a top guy and paying Finley no mind/lip service is showing themselves to be living in the echo chamber. Finley and Jones are basically the same QB who played in the same conference (ACC) and had similar-ish stats…except Finley is actually a good, accurate NFL thrower and Daniel Jones is a minor fraud…other than that, pretty similar.

Hate/ignore Finley all you want, just don’t tell me how much you like Daniel Jones…because that’s foolish.

Oh, and I just described the opinion on Jones v. Finley of EVERY of national football analyst in the free world. They all like Jones over Finley and they don’t even know why…other than ‘they say…’.

Jones is three-years younger than Finley, so I get that. Jones is a little quicker runner…fine. But all that just overlooks the fact that Jones isn’t a high-end passer and shows a ton of flaws from the pocket. Jones aside, let’s focus on Finley for a bit…

Finley is a very smart QB/human…All-Academic ACC. Working on his 2nd Master’s degree. He’s no dummy (just like Jones, who had Ivy League offers).

Finley started his career at Boise State, was there for two seasons, wasn’t playing much/got a season-ending ankle injury and then transferred direct to N.C. State where he took over as a three-year starter immediately and had a 25-14 record, completing 65%+ of his passes with 60 passing TDs and 25 INTs. He was a very good college QB. But is he a legit NFL QB?

I think he is.

Finley has beautiful pocket mechanics. Great balance and throwing mechanics with a very quick release…a dart-like throw to receivers. He’s not much of a runner, but he can move around a little as needed. There’s nothing to hate about Finley’s ability or style.

Watching Finley against teams like Clemson (faced 3 times) – he was not phased in any game against them. He had them upset in 2017 but the team let it get away. Finley is capable but not imposing. He won games and had bigger performances against lesser/average teams and then had mixed bag numbers against tougher opponents…but no real signature wins. Signature ‘almost’ moments but not a real ‘wow’ moment/game/season.

The reason I don’t call him an elite NFL prospect is that he’s a very solid, controlled QB… but he’s not a super-aggressive attacker of the defense. You watch Mahomes-Mayfield-Goff types in college and they attack-attack-attack (with big success). Finley wasn’t raised/brought up in the fast-pace gunslinging air raid attack. There are so many guys like Finley…really well-schooled, mechanically sound, productive, efficient…coming out of college it’s easy for one to get lost. As an example, Finley reminds me some of a lesser Josh Rosen or a calm/efficient, lesser modern-day Matt Ryan. Not guys that light up a room or locker room but are capable, respected QBs you can rely on…and might be pretty good if they get the full push and confidence from their franchise. I don’t think Finley will get that push and he’ll be gasping for air/attention too much over the years.  

You’re getting a capable, smart, solid-citizen QB prospect with Finley. A nice backup and emergency starter, a guy who gets 2-3-4 years backup experience and then might surprise people with more time under his belt in a system in a good NFL environment. I think he has upside to ‘capable starter’ in the NFL, in time…but he’s more likely going to fight a negative/neutral perception and be hard-pressed to get a chance. Given he’ll be 25 years old during the 2019 season…he doesn’t have a lot of time to waste – but I have a feeling it will go by fast and he’ll miss the window.

Ryan Finley, Through the Lens of Our QB Scouting Algorithm:

Finley improved his passer stats/totals/ratings in every one of his three seasons for N.C. State. He was good as a junior/1st-season at N.C. State (granted an extra year of eligibility to play 2018 for NC State) – his 2016 was better than any season Daniel Jones had, but then Finley kept building on his 1st-year as starter and wound up averaging 302.2 yards passing per game in 2018. 

Finley gets hurt when you look at his numbers against the winning record teams in the ACC versus playing the weaker teams. He wasn’t terrible in these games, just not overpowering or statement making. 

Against winning record ACC teams:

2018: 2-3 record, 9 TDs/6 INTs…and the numbers propped up by a 473 yard, 3 TD game against video game style game play Syracuse. 

2017: 3-2 record, 7 TDs/4 INTs.

Ryan Finley had 300 or more yards passing in a game in eight of 13 games (62%) in 2018. Daniel Jones three times in 11 games (28%) in 2018. 

Finley v. Jones, overall, per game in 2018 (playing in same conference):

67.4% Comp. Pct., 37.2 attempts, 302.2 yards, 1.9 passing TDs, 0.84 INTs, 8.1 yards per att. = Finley

60.5% Comp. Pct., 35.6 attempts, 243.1 yards, 2.0 passing TDs, 0.81 INTs, 6.8 yards per att. = Jones

Finley v. Jones, overall, per game against top ACC teams (v. Clemson, Virginia and B.C/Finley and Miami/Jones)

2-1 record, 68.0 % Comp. Pct., 240.3 yards, 1.60 TD/1.33 INTs = Finley

0-3 record, 54.4 % Comp. Pct., 176.0 yards, 0.33 TD/1.00 INTs = Jones

Finley is projected to come in at around 6’3” tall and 210-215 pounds. He has a bit of a thinner frame, but not real red flag. 

The Historical QB Prospects to Whom Ryan Finley Most Compares Within Our System:

Kirk Cousins was a name that came to mind when I was watching Finley tape, but I don’t think he has the aggressive, grinder ‘will’ of Cousins…and Cousins was saved by Sean McVay from near NFL extinction. T.J. Yates is appropriate for a comp too…NFL backup, solid college QB, kicks around the NFL as a trusted backup for a bit. Somewhere between Cousins and Yates lies Finley.









Adj Comp Pct

Adj Yds per Comp

Adj Pass per TD

Adj Pass Per INT





NC State











Mich State






















C. Michigan











W. Michigan











Miami, OH







*“Adj” = A view of adjusted college output in our system…adjusted for strength of opponent.

**A score of 8.5+ is where we see a stronger correlation of QBs going on to become NFL good-to-great. A scouting score of 9.5+ is rarefied air—higher potential for becoming great-to-elite. 

QBs scoring 6.0–8.0 are finding more success in the new passing era of the NFL (2014–on). Depending upon the system and surrounding weapons, a 6.0–8.0 rated QB can do fine in today’s NFL—with the right circumstances…but they are not ‘the next Tom Brady’ guys, just NFL-useful guys. 

2019 NFL Draft Outlook:

Projections on Finley are mostly 5th+ round, and I think he’s about locked into that range. He won’t impress at the Senior Bowl because he’s not physically imposing or speedy afoot or ‘big arm’…he’ll fly right below the radar all pre-draft. 4th-round at best. 5th-6th-round likely.

If I were an NFL GM, I really wouldn’t have an interest in Finley because there are so many bargain QBs. I’d take Finley over Daniel Jones, for sure (I think I’ve made that clear) but I’d take Jarrett Stidham over Finley in a heartbeat as well. 

NFL Outlook:   

Drafted 5th+ round virtually ensuring the entire league sees him as a career backup. Sticks with a team for his rookie contract and has to hope an injury above him propels him to a chance. Likely a career backup for 5-6-7 years and then quietly disappears. He has a lot of education and degrees that allows him to ditch the NFL in shorter order and pursue a better career for himself.