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2024 NFL Draft Prospect Scouting Report: John Rhys Plumlee, QB, UCF

John Rhys Plumlee Scouting Report, Can the UCF Knights gunslinger improve his draft stock with another solid year.
John Rhys Plumlee Scouting Report, Can the UCF Knights gunslinger improve his draft stock with another solid year.

Player Bio

Originally a 4-star athlete and top baseball prospect out of Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, MS, John Rhys Plumlee began his collegiate career at Ole Miss under former head coach Matt Luke in 2019. In his first year with the Rebels, Plumlee garnered national attention as he started eight games as a true freshman, accumulating 910 passing yards, 1,203 rushing yards, and 16 total touchdowns on the season. Plumlee finished his inaugural season with the Rebels with Freshman All-American honors from The Athletic and 247 while shattering multiple Ole Miss freshman rushing records, including most rushing touchdowns by a freshman (12) and most rushing yards in a freshman’s first four games (470). Although Plumlee found success as a true freshman under former Ole Miss Offensive Coordinator Rich Rodriguez in 2019, he would never obtain similar results under new head coach Lane Kiffin and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby. Still, Plumlee proved himself as a valuable weapon for the new-look Ole Miss Rebels, using his versatile skill set and unorthodox athletic profile to find his way on the field as a receiver, where he recorded 25 receptions and 280 receiving yards in 20 games between the 2020 and 2021 seasons. While at Ole Miss, he spent three seasons on the Rebels’ baseball team as a Center Fielder, posting a .224 batting average, with 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 14 BB, and 8 SB in 60 appearances from 2019-2021.

Before the 2022 season, Plumlee transferred to the University of Central Florida, where he would play under former Auburn and Arkansas State head coach Gus Malzahn. Although Plumlee’s quarterback skillset didn’t mesh well with Kiffin’s up-tempo, RPO-centric offensive system at Ole Miss, Plumlee fit the criteria of a quarterback who could command Malzahn’s power-heavy rushing attack with ease. In his lone season at UCF, Plumlee led the Knights to a 9-5 record, which included an appearance in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game against the eventual Cotton Bowl Champions, Tulane Green Wave, and a Military Bowl matchup against a Duke Blue Devils squad that finished second in the ACC Coastal Division. On the season, Plumlee racked up an impressive stat line, completing 63 percent of his passes for 2,546 passing yards, 14 TDs, and 8 INTs, and added 862 rushing yards and 11 TDs on the ground.

Scouting Report

Plumlee is an intriguing prospect who possesses exceptional athleticism and toughness for the quarterback position. Plumlee, who clocked a 4.42 40-yard dash time as a high school senior at the University of Georgia Scavenger Hunt Weekend Football Camp in 2018, is amongst the fastest quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft Class. Plumlee’s speed, quickness, and escapability make him a dangerous weapon and home run threat in the open field. He runs the read option with proficiency and can be extremely difficult for defenders to corral given his scramble ability and elusiveness in one-on-one situations. Plumlee absorbs contact well and will not hesitate to put his body on the line to gain a few extra yards. As a passer, Plumlee boasts fluid arm mechanics, a high, snappy release, and the ability to deliver the ball from multiple arm angles, which could be credited to his baseball background. He possesses clean footwork, a quick setup, and delivers the ball well off-platform while on the move or in the face of pressure. Plumlee displays great accuracy and placement to the short area of the field but becomes more inconsistent when delivering to the intermediate and deep ranges. Plumlee struggles with his touch, most notably on his level two ball over the middle or up the seam and on his level three ball to the boundary, as well. His deep ball accuracy and placement are above average but are not dependable enough to make him a threat to push the ball down the field consistently. Plumlee isn’t the kind of quarterback that will sit back in the pocket and wait for the third or fourth progression to open up before delivering the ball. He’s shown a tendency to misdiagnose defenses when he’s taken off-schedule, which would explain the high amount of dangerous passes thrown against zone coverage when his timing is off. His ball handling is a definite concern, especially given his 14-to-8 TD-to-INT ratio in 2022. Despite his limitations as a passer, Plumlee’s explosiveness with the ball in his hands makes him a valuable asset for a team looking for a swiss-army-knife type of prospect in the back end of the draft. Throughout his career, Plumlee has proven that he offers rare position versatility and might be able to assist a team on special teams given his high contact courage and durable 200 LB frame. Given his strong athletic profile and overall toughness, a full-time position change to the running back or defensive back position would give Plumlee the best opportunity to find his way onto a 53-man roster come August.

Draft Projection

Round 7 Priority Free Agent


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