Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 12/11/12
KANSAS CITY, Mo. There's little doubt that senior quarterback Collin Klein has been one of the great stories in college football this season. Bolstered by Klein's leadership qualities and his play-making skills, Kansas State rose to prominence nationally, and Klein himself was launched into the hunt for the Heisman Trophy. But will the story end Jan. 3 after K-State meets Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl? Will Klein have any chance to play in the NFL? Former K-State great and Green Bay Packers quarterback Lynn Dickey has his doubts. So do some NFL scouts, mainly those who pass out invites to the Senior Bowl, which apparently is snubbing Klein, according to a recent report from ESPN. Dickey, who now lives in Leawood, Kan., has greatly admired Klein's desire and effectiveness on the college playing field. But Dickey knows how demanding the quarterback position is in the NFL, and he's not sure Klein will be a fit. "It's really a good question," Dickey told FOXSportsKansasCity.com. "I won't say 'no.' But just judging from past history, it wouldn't seem like he's a candidate. I don't know what the odds would be. "He's proven he can make some throws. But (the throwing motion) looks funny, no doubt about that. Now, I've seen some guys who make it simply because they have that 'refuse to lose' attitude. I think he's got that. But will that transition into the NFL? I don't know. "I will say a quarterback like him and his throwing motion is not what (NFL scouts) are looking for." Klein, 6-feet-5, 225 pounds, certainly has the physical makeup to play at the next level, Dickey said. And his arm strength is decent. But Klein's unorthodox, somewhat loopy throwing motion will hurt is chances, Dickey said. "There are other guys in the NFL who don't have the prettiest throwing motions," Dickey said. "You look at a guy like Philip Rivers that's not your typical motion. But with Philip, the ball does come out fairly quick. That's how he has been effective. "That's the thing about Collin that probably hurts him the most it just doesn't come out that quick. And at the next level, with as good as the corners are, they can jump on that." Dickey said arm strength is somewhat overrated in the NFL. But every successful quarterback in the league has one common denominator a quick release. "Even the guys with cannons for arms, like Brett Favre, all had really quick releases, too," Dickey said. "Sometimes it doesn't matter so much what the passes look like, whether it's a perfect spiral or it comes out end over end, or it looks like a helicopter flying. But it has to get out quick and be on target. "That's how guys like Bernie Kosar got by. That's how Philip Rivers gets by. "I'm not going to say Collin can't make it. Maybe between now and the combine, if a coach could work with him on his release, he could improve that and impress people." Dickey also isn't sold on the idea that Klein could be converted to another position. Klein, though recruited as a quarterback at K-State, actually got his initial playing time as a wide receiver and on special teams for the Wildcats. "There's a lot of competition for those other jobs," Dickey said. "Those are very special athletes, too, and those guys played those positions their whole lives. You just don't see many quarterbacks make that transition to another position at the next level." Dickey, though, remains a big fan of Klein's and was disappointed that Klein didn't come home with the Heisman. "He went out and took a team to the brink of the national championship," Dickey said. "He played great. He lost one game, had one bad night against Baylor. "Didn't Texas A&M lose, too? Like a couple of times?" Freshman Johnny Manziel and A&M went 10-2 and Manziel walked away with the Heisman. Certainly a shot with an NFL team would ease the pain of the Heisman blow for Klein. According to NFLDraftScout.com, Klein is likely to be a seventh-round pick, at best. "Klein remains very much a work in progress as a traditional quarterback," the website wrote of Klein. "He is only asked to make a few NFL-caliber reads or throws in most games for the Wildcats and is very raw in his technique when doing so. When he does pass, Klein takes longer to get the ball out of his hands than scouts would prefer, showing an elongated release that gives defenders a split-second jump-start. He has shown improved accuracy this season but largely remains a passer who, to put it simply, can hit the open receiver but rarely throws his receivers open. More specifically, Klein only occasionally demonstrates the anticipation to release passes before his receivers make their breaks or the pinpoint accuracy to hit them in stride." Dickey cautions, though, that Klein may at least get a chance to show he can survive in the NFL. "You don't have to please all 32 teams," Dickey said. "You only have to please one. You just have to be in the right situation. He's probably not going to a team that wants to throw it 50 times a game. "But there may be one team that sees the intangibles in him and wants to make it work. That's all it takes."
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