QBs Like Ryan Find Pocket Awareness Innate

The 2015 NFL Scouting Combine wraps up Monday, following on-field drills by the defensive backs. Once the assessments inside Lucas Oil Stadium conclude, countless hours of player evaluations will continue for the Falcons coaching and personnel staffs.

While all of the pro prospects will be evaluated, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will simultaneously be doing his team a favor, affording them more time and attention at improving the club at different position groups. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn says Ryan's on and off-the-field efforts bring a lot of ease to his staff.

"I am very fortunate to get partnered up with someone as accomplished as Matt and with the intangibles that he has," Quinn said. "I can't wait to get connected with him."

As for the best players at Ryan's position in this year's NFL Draft, Florida State's Jameis Winston and Oregon's Marcus Mariota are involved in what appears to be a neck-and-neck race for the top pick by division rival Tampa Bay.

Knowing the precise measurements teams will use to get information on each potential draft choice, the Bucs personnel staff may take insights from Ryan and other franchise quarterbacks in the league, including Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

During a recent conference call, NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock was asked about evaluating Mariota, who has been critiqued for something that he wasn't asked to do for the Ducks, take snaps from under center. The Oregon star has also been described by some as a product of the system, not yet fully convinced his pocket presence will thrive in the NFL.

"Over the years, especially when I was doing Thursday Night Football games, I had a chance to ask Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, any number of those guys, how much of pocket awareness is innate and how much could be learned," Mayock said.

"All of them said you could learn a little bit. For instance, you feel the rush, you duck your shoulder down, both hands on the football, ball security, little things you can practice to get better in the pocket, however, every single one of them, paraphrasing, basically said, 'However, I kind of feel like I was born with it. You either get it or you don't.' "

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