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Join Date: Apr 2004
Re: TJ Yates
Here's a piece that I stumbled across, which I have never seen posted on this board before. The repeated knock on Yates at the time of the draft was that his arm was suspect. But if most of this is true, we may have finally found that diamond that the Texans seem to always be looking for.
Veteran QB coach on T.J. Yates: 'He's got plenty of arm'
by Aaron Wilson
April 12, 02011
Highly respected quarterbacks coach Larry Kennan has worked with everyone from Eli Manning to Chad Pennington, Tim Couch, Drew Brees, Byron Leftwich and Alex Smith.
And the veteran former New England Patriots assistant ranks University of North Carolina quarterback T.J. Yates comparably to those NFL quarterbacks in terms of football acumen, leadership and ability.
A four-year starter for the Tar Heels, Yates is visting the Indianapolis Colts today and the Atlanta Falcons later this week and has previously conducted private workouts for the Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles.
"He's been extremely well-schooled, he’s like an NFL veteran quarterback," Kennan told National Football Post today in a telephone interview. "He had great coaching at North Carolina. He had to learn coverages and blitzes and protections. He's very wise about those things, way ahead of where a lot of guys are at that time. I've worked with Byron Leftwich and Chad Pennington and Drew Brees and T.J. is about as good as anybody I've seen. He's very aware. He can watch film and see exactly what's going on with coverage. He's very advanced.
"I've told a couple teams that run more complicated offenses like New Orleans that he would fit in very well with them. T.J. can make all the throws. The knock on him is that he doesn't have a strong arm, but he's got plenty of arm. Obviously, I’m high on the guy. What I’ve seen from him is real good stuff. With Eli and Alex Smith and Pennington, he's right up there with them. There's not a hell of a lot of difference in watching him throw and watching Eli throw."
The honorable-mention All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection draws high mark for intangibles, accuracy and productivity.
The four-year starter was graded as a later-round draft pick by most draft analysts, but is starting to garner middle-round consideration following a sharp Pro Day workout in Chapel Hill, N.C.
“I know there’s some teams that are thinking if we can get him in the fourth round it’s a steal," said Kennan, who prepared Yates for the NFL scouting combine, his Pro Day and the Texas vs. the Nation all-star game in San Antonio. "What I think about TJ I think if he goes to a good team he doesn’t have to play immediately and can be behind a good veteran for two or three years, then he can go some place after that and be a verygood starter on a good team. He will play in the league for 10 or 12 years. He'll work at it and he'll do the right things."
Yate completed all but a few of 130 scripted passes at his Pro Day.
"It was a phenomenal workout, I can’t imagine anyone not thinking it was a good workout," Kennan said. "It was rapid-fire. He only missed a couple."
The 6-foot-3, 219-pounder owns 37 school records for the Tar Heels.
Last season, Yates completed 66.8 percent of his throws for 3,418 yards and 19 touchdowns.
As a junior, he passed for 2,136 yards and 14 touchdowns.
For his career, he has passed for 9,143 yards and 57 touchdowns.
There aren't many four-year starters around.
"It’s completely invaluable," Kennan said. "He started for four years in a good conference, on a team that was rebuilding that went from being okay to being pretty good. With the exception of one year when Hakeem Nicks was there, he didn't have a great case of receivers. As a junior, he had a bunch of nobodies. His senior year, his best receiver and running back get suspended. It's hard to look good when you don’t have really good players around you."
The Tar Heels dealt with a lot of adversity last season due to NCAA suspensions and injuries, but Yates was a constant presence over the past four years.
"He lived through some hard times," Kennan said. "That's part of the reason he's not being talked about as a second or third-round pick. He didn't have that full complement of receivers or his stats would be phenomenal. T.J. is a quiet leader, not a shouter or a yeller.
"He's a very quiet leader and guys have great respect for him. He'd be a good guy for Indianapolis because he could learn from Peyton and he's one of the few guys who's smart enough to do what Peyton does and call the plays.".