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Nic Shimonek is ready to leave the past behind and excel in the NFL

Despite a turbulent season, Shimonek has done enough to impress scouts and should hear his name called in the draft.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

No one was more polarizing for the Texas Tech Red Raiders than Nic Shimonek. His stats were impressive, his deep balls were thrown beautifully, and his tattoos were all the rage. However, Shimonek went from being the best quarterback no one is talking about to getting benched before regular season finale. Texas Tech fans aren’t Shimonek’s biggest supporters as many have greatly criticized Shimonek’s play throughout last season, but many will be surprised to learn just where Shimonek stacks up in this draft class.

Despite some of his pitfalls throughout the year, his draft stock never took a dramatic hit. This year’s QB class has been talked about heavily, because of the high profile guys at the top: Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson. However, once you get past those five guys there’s a big drop off. Mason Rudolph is likely to be the only other QB drafted in the first two days. This bunches the next batch of QBs all together that will likely be waiting till the third day to be drafted. Luke Faulk, Kyle Lauletta, and Chase Litton are all guys likely to be drafted early on Sunday, Shimonek will be hoping to have worked his name into the group with those guys and get his name called right with them.

To the surprise of many people, Shimonek has a very good chance of being drafted. At the end of the day, Shimonek is still tall, big, and can sling the ball, that in itself can be enough to get a quarterback drafted, but Shimonek possesses innate qualities that have impressed scouts as well.

Film breakdown

It’s easy to get caught up in Shimonek’s ability. Shimonek stands tall in the pockets, makes veteran reads, and can make every throw on the field. Shimonek has one of the best deep balls in the country and scouts were able to see these throws in the combine and on film.

His biggest problem is and has always been confidence. Time and time again throughout the season, Shimonek seemed to welter when the pressure was on. In the West Virginia game, Shimonek had 323 yards, four touchdowns, with a 160 passer rating. On the surface many would kill for those stats, however for Shimonek, it’s what happened during the game that makes you cringe.

After leading a touchdown drive to put Tech up 17 in the third quarter, Shimonek seemed to shut down once West Virginia was mounting their comeback. Shimonek would go on to lead three straight three-and-out drives in the fourth quarter which mostly saw him running like a chicken with his head caught off before making an awkward throw out of bounds or taking a bad 15 yard sack. On the final drive, with Tech needing something from their QB in order to win, Shimonek stared down his receiver and lofted a ball right to the defender for his only interception of the game.

Shimonek’s saving grace came in the Texas game. After being benched, he came in the game in the fourth quarter and led the comeback with two impressive drives which will be sure to grab some scouts attention.

That is Shimonek in a nutshell, has all the ability in the world, but needs to play fearless or else he simply cannot move the ball down the field.

Shimonek finished the year with 3963 yards, 33 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and 152 passer rating. Standing at 6’3”, 220 pounds, and with 9 1/4” hands, Shimonek has the size of a prototypical NFL QB.

NFL comparison

Nic Shimonek will be hoping to make his career in the NFL as a backup QB and prove his reliability. Coming from a spread offense, it will take time to adjust to the NFL, but one person who did well and had a similar skillset to Shimonek is Landry Jones of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jones is not known for his running ability, because like Shimonek he doesn’t have any, but knows how to get the ball to his play makers. Jones has also become valuable for the Steelers because his touch on the deep ball makes it to where they do not have to limit the playbook for him.

Jones and Shimonek are the same height and weight and had similar measurables at their combines. Jones was selected in the 4th round due to his impressive college stats playing in the Oklahoma Sooner offense. Though Shimonek doesn’t have the accolades behind him like Jones did, scouts should be able to spot the similarities as Jones has molded himself into one of the league’s top backups and Shimonek will hope to do the same.

Possible landing spots

Cincinnati Bengals

Shimonek was the most impressive QB in the East-West Shrine Game this year and was able to do so in front of the East head coach Jonathan Hayes from the Bengals. Andy Dalton has had a tumultuous last few years and the front office’s confidence in him is dwindling. The Bengals lost their prize backup AJ McCarron and replaced him with lowly Matt Barkley. Bengals need more quarterback help and with the way Shimonek played in the all-star game, the Hayes’ voice might be enough for the front office to make a move and get Shimonek late.

New England Patriots

Bill Belichik was feeling very charitable last season as he traded away both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett. Now the Patriots are stuck with only one backup QB in Brian Hoyer. The Pats have to desperately look towards the future with Tom Brady turning 41 in August, and taking a low risk flyer on Shimonek would be a very Belichik move. The Patriots are no strangers to having Red Raiders on staff as Danny Amendola and LaAdrian Waddle were both on the team last season as was Kliff Kingsbury who still has a relationship with coach Belichel and would be able to give him insight into the type of player Shimonek is.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys are currently all in on the Dak Prescott bandwagon, however as of right now the only other quarterback on roster is last year’s undrafted rookie Cooper Rush. I’d be surprised if the Cowboys went into the regular season with Rush as the only backup on roster. This would also be an ideal situation for Shimonek as he has the skillset to beat out a player like Rush and be the primary backup in his home state in his rookie year.

Prediction: Since 1999, only one year has there not been 10 or more quarterbacks drafted. This class could possibly have five going in the first round alone. This only bodes well for a player like Shimonek who hovers between 10-15 in most draft QB rankings. With the Texas game, the East-West Shrine game and the Combine, I believe Shimonek has shown scouts that he has and will improve and will get chosen with a 6th round selection.