6'4, 220 pounds | Quarterback | North Carolina
Accuracy: Inconsistent accuracy has plagued Yates throughout his career at North Carolina. However, each year you could see improvement with the biggest jump coming from his Junior to Senior season. Yates showed during the season that he can throw a catchable football but again wasn't consistent enough for me to feel completely comfortable. In the underneath passing game, he was sporadic with his ball placement with throws coming behind and high to his target. His ball placement in the intermediate passing game is also less than ideal. The football was too often placed on the wrong side giving the defender an opening to make a play. Yates can drop in a pretty bucket pass to streaking wide receivers. He gets proper loft and dept on the deep throws.
Arm strength: In the best case scenario, Yates has an average NFL arm and will struggle to be effective in the intermediate passing game. He doesn't spin a clean football as the ball appears to flutter to its target. This flutter will come into play in poor weather games. While he doesn't get good zip on the ball he has good anticipation for the deep throw which allows him to push the football down-field.
Decision making: This is another area where Yates has shown tremendous improvement. Throughout his career he was plagued by poor decisions and turnovers. However, during his Senior season he showed that he was capable of protecting the football even with more pressure on his shoulders. Due to several suspensions, Yates was forced to shoulder more of the responsibility and he responded by leading UNC to a respectable season.
Field vision: Yates as gained a ton of experience while at UNC and that has helped his ability to read the field. During the pre-snap, he shows the ability to correctly identify the potential blitz and signal his hot reads. While in the pocket, Yates struggled with patience while going through his progressions. He appeared uncomfortable when searching for his secondary read. Yates does have some savvy as he was able to manipulate the secondary with his eyes and pump fake.
Mechanics: Taking a snap from under center is an area where Yates has a lot of experience. Unlike a lot of other quarterback prospects, Yates is comfortable with the center quarterback exchange. After receiving the snap, he works quickly to his hitch while keeping his eyes down-field. Yates needs to be more consistent and compact with his ball placement. There were several occasions where the ball dipped below his breast plate resulting in a longer release time. When he keeps the ball compact he has a real quick release which helps overcome some are strength issues. While going through his progressions, Yates failed to set and reset his feet towards his target which impacted his accuracy.
Pocket awareness: Yates is a fluid and underrated athlete. He has the ability to escape the rush and balance to move up in the pocket. When faced with pressure, Yates kept his eyes focused down-field searching for an open target.
Games Viewed: Florida State, LSU, Virginia Tech
Final word: Overall, Yates is an underrated player with some skills to be an effective backup in the NFL. He has the leadership and drive to learn and improve. However, his limited arm strength and decision making issues hinder his overall potential. As I stated, I would feel good selecting Yates with the idea of developing him as a backup quarterback.