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Ryan Finley Has a Lot to Offer

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Counting only production from time in the ACC, as Finley was a transfer in from Boise State, he ranks third in league history with 10,501 passing yards, trailing only Philip Rivers and Tajh Boyd.

So, Ryan Finley apparently scored really well on the Wonderlic Test. That's good news, but not, by itself, a sign of future professional success. That said, those results do add to an already-impressive overall NFL Draft profile for a player with quite the resume. The North Carolina State signal caller stands 6'4'', threw for over 11,000 yards in his college career and performed very well athletically, including running a 4.73 forty yard dash and a 116 inch broad jump, at the combine. 

Let's provide some context. Counting only production from time in the ACC, as Finley was a transfer in from Boise State, he ranks third in league history with 10,501 passing yards, trailing only Philip Rivers and Tajh Boyd. Only 15 quarterbacks, ever, in the conference have thrown for at least 3,500 yards in a single season; Finley, joining Boyd, Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson and Jameis Winston, did it twice. Finley's recent 3,928-yard year stands as one of the conference's top eight statistical seasons of all time.

All that Finley did puts him in rare national company. Again, counting only his numbers from NC State, Finley joins Jake Browning, Baker Mayfield, Luke Falk and Marcus Mariota as one of the last five Power Five quarterbacks with a minimum of 10,500 passing yards, 60 passing touchdowns and a 64% completion rate. Six other signal callers the past two years, can match Finley's 2018 totals in reaching 3,900 yards, 25 scores and 67% completions: Dwayne Haskins, Mayfield, McKenzie Milton, Gardner Minshew, Kyler Murray and Tua Tagovailoa. 

Notably, Finley is fresh off three straight 3,000-yard seasons in one of college football's toughest conferences, a testament to his individual consistency. Throughout his career with the Wolfpack, Finley was the offensive focal point, throwing more than 400 passes in each of his three years as starter. He, whether stretching the field with Kelvin Harmon and Stephen Louis or utilizing the short-to-intermediate passing game with Jakobi Meyers and Jaylen Samuels, has shown the ability to be adaptive and flexible in his reads.

Finley, having set a number of records in Raleigh, is poised to be the next-in-line from a program that can make as good of a recent case as any to be "Quarterback U". His predecessors include Jacoby Brissett, Mike Glennon, Russell Wilson and Rivers, the latter two one-day headed to the Hall of Fame. Albeit large, the footsteps Finley are following certainly show the way. 

The experience Finley will enter the next level with is considerable. He started close to 40 contests at NC State, won 18 games his final two years and played in three consecutive bowl games. Prior to suffering a season-ending injury, Finley had won the starting quarterback job at Boise State before that. Competition and change are far from new notions. There is a very real savvy to Finley, who is already 24 years old. 

And, yes, Finley appears to be extremely sharp. The first-team All-ACC quarterback this past fall has also been an academic all-conference honoree. His Wonderlic re-test score of 43, with results reported by Bob McGinn and on OrangeMane.com forums, appears to be the highest of any prospect in this class. Who knows how that result translates to the football field, but add it to Finley's long list of traits that make his prospect profile pretty complete.

Simply put, you can check off a lot of boxes here. Finley is fresh off ranking in the top ten nationally in passing yards and completion percentage. He has three years of starting in the spotlight, and five years of playing at the college level, on his resume. A relative veteran for a rookie, Finley may prove to be more game-ready than many of his peers. Though the draft stands as a proverbial multiple choice question, Finley, for one team, may very well fill in the blank.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports