The Wollongong Devils have signed ex-Crimson Tide starting quarterback Blake Sims for season one of the National Gridiron League. It begs the question, is it the most impressive NGL signing so far?
What’s better than one quarterback named Sims? How about two quarterbacks named Sims?
After signing Australian quarterback Noah Sims last month, head coach Nathan Slutzky has landed a huge signing in big school quarterback Blake Sims from the University of Alabama.
Blake Sims playing on the big stage
Blake Sims, playing for the Alabama Crimson Tide (currently ranked #2 of all NCAA schools) is used to the big time, playing in front 100,306 people in his final year of college against Florida Atlantic, and leading his team to a 12-2 overall record, 7-1 in the SEC regular season.
In his senior year, Sims broke the Crimson Tide record for passing yards in a single season, previously held by AJ McCarron, the current quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL.
In his 14 starts that season, Sims passed for 3,487 yards with 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, losing in the semifinals to eventual champions the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The Crimson Tide is among the most storied and decorated football programs in NCAA history. Since beginning play in 1892, the program recognizes 16 of the national championships awarded to the team, including 11 wire-service (AP or Coaches) national titles in the poll-era, the most of any current FBS program. – Wikipedia
NFL Scouting Combine
Attending the NFL Scouting Combine, Sims timed the fourth fastest 40 yard dash for a quarterback behind Tennessee Titans Marcus Mariota and tenth in the vertical leap.
Touted as a possible late round pick by CBSSports, ESPN and Draftek, Sims struggled to convince scouts his 5’11” stature was not an issue and missed out being picked up in the draft proper.
Instead Sims gained a minicamp invite from the Green Bay Packers as a quarterback before later receiving an invite to try out with the Washington Redskins as a running back. Yes. A running back.
It was no token switch either, gaining praise from Redskins head coach Jay Gruden at the time.
Jay Gruden said Blake sims always made the first guy miss when running as qb in college. That's why they're trying him at running back
— John Keim (@john_keim) May 16, 2015
Canadian Football League (CFL)
Labelled as a quarterback with “Extremely quick feet” and as a player who can “elude, regroup and make the throw” by NFL.com, Sims signed his first professional contract with the Toronto Argonauts, before moving to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL.
STRENGTHS Able to take snaps in pro-style passing attack. Showed adequate timing and anticipation for throwing windows. Extremely quick feet. Able to escape trouble and convert third downs with his feet. Showed discipline to stay in pocket and trust protection. Hard to sack. Nifty side-stepper who can elude, regroup and make the throw. Has enough zip on passes to make NFL throws. Can process quickly and adjust his game plan when on the move. – NFL.com
WEAKNESSES Short. Benefited a great deal from play-action game. Finding passing lanes could become a struggle. Needs to improve holding safeties for a little longer with his eyes. Will wind up when driving the ball. Locks in on targets, bringing heat on receivers. Accuracy comes and goes. Will decide early on a target and throw into coverage rather than finding the open man. Throws too often off-balance. Waits a shade too long at times trying to get the cleanest throw possible. – NFL.com
Devils quarterback depth chart full
After struggling for time in the CFL and becoming a free agent in December, Blake Sims becomes the third and final piece in the quarterback depth chart for coach Slutzky this season with Australian Noah Sims and Vad Lee out of James Madison University.
With the roster filling up with some impressive NCAA Division 1 talent, Slutzky and the Wollongong Devils will be pushing for early favouritism for season one of the National Gridiron League.