Jordan Ta’amu: 3 Star Prospect & Late Round Flyer

Welcome to the 48 Report, a full database of 48 of our favorite 2019 Draft Prospects. The key, however, is that we focus specifically on their ability to translate as fantasy football players. All players in the database have been scored by 3 writers, and this is their article; explaining their aggregate score, as well as the score of their writer. All categories are scored on a 1-5 scale; with 5 being the highest score a prospect can receive. The highest aggregate average scores a player can receive is 25. Articles will be posted January-April, all the way up to the draft. Ratings will be adjusted after the combine, based on measurables and after the draft, because as we all know: landing spot matters.

Jordan Ta’amu (6’2″, 212), Quarterback, Ole Mis           

14.1 Aggregate Score (3 Star Prospect)

Ta’amu is equally fascinating and difficult to evaluate. Ta’amu was not heavily recruited out of high school in Pearl City, Hawaii-where he threw for 1,779 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions in his senior season. He chose to enroll at the New Mexico Military Institute (JUCO). After two seasons in Roswell, Ole Miss was his only Power 5 offer. Ta’amu chose to head to Oxford, even though he was expected to spend his time on the team backing up then Ole Miss starting quarterback Shea Patterson. Patterson sustained an in jury in 2017, which allowed Ta’amu to play in 7 games. Patterson then chose to transfer to Michigan and Ta’amu capitalized on the opportunity to lead an offense with D.K. Metcalf, DeMarkus Lodge, AJ Brown, and Dawson Knox.

College Production: Doing a Lot, with a Lot

Ta’amu jumped in and began contributing immediately, following the Patterson injury, as a junior. He threw for 1,682 yards, 11 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and completed 115 of his 173 attempts (66.5%). Ta’amu is a dual threat: rushing for 165 yards of 57 attempts and 4 touchdowns in his 7 games during the 2017 season. In 2018 his success against SEC defenses continued. He threw for 3,918 yards (2nd in SEC), completed 63.6% of his passes (3rd in SEC), threw for 19 touchdowns, 8 interceptions. Ta’amu also piled up 342 rushing yards on 116 attempts, and 6 rushing touchdowns.

His ability to jump in and immediate contribute against SEC defenses is impressive, and it speaks volumes to his football IQ and leadership ability. Still, when evaluating Ta’amu it can’t be ignored that he had one of the best receiving corps. of any quarterback in this draft class. A.J. Brown is a yards after catch (YAC) monster and it’s hard to ask for a better redzone threat than Metcalf. Lodge gave Ta’amu a lethal downfield option once Metcalf went down with injury, and Dawson Knox supported Ta’amu as both a receiver and blocker.

Ta’amu was invited to the 2019 Shrine Bowl. I believe this speaks to what NFL scouts think of him: intriguing but not necessarily screaming “starter”. His performance during practices was generally considered to be positive and he went 7-10 for 98 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions. For me, he passed the eye test: he looked comfortable in the pocket and made some good throws. His performance didn’t up his stock at all, but it certainly didn’t hurt him either.

Arm Strength: Aggregate Score: 3.3 (Personal Score: 3)

Ta’amu has great velocity and it makes him effective when throwing short and in the mid-field. When throwing deep, he puts a nice touch on the ball and the combination can make for a great highlight clip. Ta’amu, though, rarely pushed the ball more than 30 yards down field. I believe Ta’amu could do more, making his tape a bit frustrating, but from what we can see pre-combine/pro day his score has to be capped in this category.

Accuracy: Aggregate Score: 2.6 (Personal Score: 3)

Ta’amu is accurate when throwing short and within 25-30 yards, starting to see a pattern here? On the rare occasion when he did air it out, though, he rarely connected with his target. He benefitted a lot from AJ Brown making plays after catching 7-10-yard slant routes and catching passes at/behind the line of scrimmage. He is successful finding his man on first reads, but once he has to progress past that he becomes inconsistent. Ta’amu is not poised under pressure, and it results in a hit to his accuracy.

Decision Making: Aggregate Score: 2.3 (Personal Score: 3)

Ta’amu has a calm pocket presence to him, and it helped him achieve the high accuracy numbers discussed earlier, playing weekly against some of the best defenses in the country. The Ole Miss offense ran a lot of run-pass options (RPOs) and Ta’amu was successful when he could hit his first progression. When the play broke down, though, he made some poor decisions-especially against tougher defenses like Alabama. Ta’amu often let the play break down, too-he holds onto the ball too long and allows the pocket to collapse on him. Although he can be effective on designed runs, he’s less effective running when the pocket has broken down. Ta’amu also struggles when facing pressure, often leading to poor decisions and turnovers (in the form of interceptions and fumbles).

Athleticism: Aggregate Score: 3.3 (Personal Score: 3)

Ta’amu is a good athlete, but he has limited upside as a rushing quarterback in the NFL. He can move the pocket and scramble when necessary but isn’t able to get to the edge or break tackles. He can gain 20+ yards on broken plays, though, when running north/south. He has some burst out of the pocket but lacks the acceleration necessary to be a big play threat. Ta’amu also struggles with balance-he rarely stays on his feet after contact.

Mechanics: Aggregate Score: 2.6 (Personal Score: 2)                                                                                                    

This is where Ta’amu needs to develop the most at the next level. He throws off balanced a lot, especially when throwing on the run. In the pocket, he consistently throws off his back foot. Whether inside or outside the pocket he tends to short arm his passes. He also stares down his receivers-leading to tips and interceptions. When running the ball, Ta’amu struggles holding onto the ball.

Conclusion: 4th Round Target

Ta’amu’s tape shows me a career back-up. I think he has the poise, football IQ, and versatility to be a valuable asset to an NFL roster. What I can’t see, however, is him being an impact player in the league-at least not early in his career. Prior to the showcase games, I have Ta’amu ranked as the 9th best quarterback prospect, in terms of fantasy football. Ta’amu is likely a Day 3 pick in the NFL Draft-and he shouldn’t be considered anything more than a flyer on your dynasty rosters.  

Published by

Matt Hicks

Matt’s writing is focused on dynasty and devy fantasy football. He loves blending his experience writing research in the field of education with fantasy football stats. Matt currently lives in Baltimore, MD and graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. You can follow Matt on Twitter: @TheFF_Educator

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