Boise State Football

He might be the most polarizing NFL Draft prospect, and he once played at Boise State

Boise State junior QB Ryan Finley, March 7

Boise State junior quarterback Ryan Finley talks about his return from injury, losing his starting job and competing with Brett Rypien after the Broncos' first spring practice March 7, 2016.
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Boise State junior quarterback Ryan Finley talks about his return from injury, losing his starting job and competing with Brett Rypien after the Broncos' first spring practice March 7, 2016.

UPDATE: Ryan Finley was drafted by the Bengals in the fourth round. We have coverage of that selection here.

No quarterback who took a snap for Boise State has been taken in the NFL Draft in 44 years.

And this weekend, two passers who suited up for the Broncos may be selected.

The one most likely to be picked first hasn’t been around for four years, but Ryan Finley is one of the most hotly debated quarterbacks this year.

Finley, who played for the Broncos in 2014 and 2015 before transferring to North Carolina State, could be taken Friday night during the second and third rounds, or could wait well into the last four rounds Saturday. According to The Athletic, he is the most polarizing NFL Draft prospect this year. Of 58 third-party scouting services, one ranked him No. 32 overall, another 264th.

“Analysts who worry about the 24-year-old’s production and age may not be as enamored by his classical throwing style or his frame, while those who value anticipation and quick decision-making could value his traits above his performance thus far,” The Athletic’s Arif Hasan wrote.

Brett Rypien, the Broncos’ starter for the last four seasons, stepped in for an injured Finley in the third game of 2015 and never let go of the job. He also is a likely draft pick this weekend. He said he still keeps in touch with his former teammate.

“It’s pretty awesome we both are going to have the chance to be drafted the same year, even though he’s two years older than me,” Rypien said. “We had a good relationship when he was here.”

The reasons why Finley is a prospect are easy to see — he’s 6-foot-4, 213 pounds, and threw for 10,505 yards in three seasons with the Wolfpack, tossing 60 touchdowns to 25 interceptions. His completion percentage (63.0) is second-best in school history behind Philip Rivers.

“Finley is a tall and lean quarterback who has fast eyes and gets through his progressions quickly,” said ESPN’s Todd McShay, who ranks Finley his No. 30 overall prospect. “He has very good touch and is adept at leading receivers. Finley keeps his eyes downfield and his feet married to his eyes maneuvering inside the pocket, but he has average arm strength.”

Finley, who declined an interview request earlier this month from the Idaho Statesman, spoke to the NFL Network recently and said he took visits to three teams in the pre-draft process. He mentioned he would enjoy playing for the Patriots, a team that has been connected to Rypien, too.

“I think I ended up with three visits, which was a good number for me,” Finley said. “It kept me busy, it kept me sharp. But you still have to work out and stay in shape. There’s a lot I feel I need to do during this time to be ready when (minicamp) comes.”

Stay tuned to IdahoStatesman.com throughout the weekend for updates on where Boise State and Idaho-related prospects are selected in the NFL Draft.

Where will he land?

Here are where some seven-round mock drafts have Finley being selected.

Chad Reuter, NFL.com: Washington, second round, 46th overall

Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com: New England, third round, 101st overall

Luke Easterling, USA Today: New England, fourth round, 134th overall

Dane Brugler, The Athletic: New England, third round, 97th overall

Matt Miller, Bleacher Report: LA Chargers, third round, 91st overall

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Dave Southorn is a 2004 graduate from the University of Colorado. He has covered Boise State athletics since 2005, and worked at the Idaho Statesman since 2013. He’s won multiple Idaho Press Club awards and once won a contest designing a play for the Seattle Seahawks.

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