High School and College Career
Tanner McKee, a 4-star recruit out of Centennial High School, ultimately chose to attend Stanford University.
As a freshman in 2020, McKee had limited game time, appearing in just one game for the Cardinals. Within that game, he threw for 62 yards on 7 attempts with a completion percentage of 42.9, averaging 8.9 yards per pass. Additionally, McKee made 36 runs for a total of 144 yards, with an average of 4.0 yards per run.
In the 2021 season, as a sophomore, McKee played in ten games, showcasing significant improvement compared to his freshman season. Across these games, he passed for a total of 2325 yards on 315 attempts, with a much higher completion percentage of 65.4%, averaging 7.4 yards per pass, and scoring 15 touchdowns. However, he was also sacked 25 times and accrued a QB rating of 93.9.
Finally, in his junior year, McKee boasted a strong showing through the entirety of the 12 games he played in. He passed for a total of 2949 yards on 433 attempts, earning a completion percentage of 61.2% at an average of 6.8 yards per pass.
Tanner McKee Scouting Report Introduction
Although McKee enrolled in 2020, he only recently became Stanford’s starting quarterback in 2021. One of the factors that set McKee apart is his height that enables him to stand tall in the pocket with an excellent view of his route options, making him a throwback-style quarterback who relies heavily on winning from the pocket. With proper protection, McKee distributes the football with confidence, being most effective when attacking the short and intermediate areas of the field. This season, Stanford integrated more deep-mesh RPO into their offensive strategy, with designed boots/rollouts. McKee’s performance during the execution suggests that he has adapted well to the change and can operate them effectively.
Compared to other quarterbacks in the country, he has the arm strength and talent of a first-round level player, able to drive passes into tight windows with optimal velocity. As a testament to his skill, far hash throws are relatively easy for McKee to complete. He also excels at throwing back shoulder fades to bigger receivers on the perimeter, and with the amount of play-action and RPO run, McKee’s ball-handling skills have improved. He sells the handoff well to manipulate second-level defenders to free space and hit routes behind them.
Nevertheless, his style of being a pure pocket passer is not viewed as highly as it was decades ago, and he has his limitations that cannot be overlooked. For example, he is still learning and developing to throw with the combination of touch and ball placement, struggling to take RPMs off his passes and layer the ball on downfield attempts. He shortens throwing windows and tends to double-hitch while being late to draw. Against experienced defenders, McKee’s trust in his arm talent results in putting the ball in compromising positions.
The offensive line’s role is critical to McKee’s success as he has limited athletic abilities and cannot adlib or improvise in the same way as other quarterbacks. He doesn’t have the necessary foot speed and agility to evade them and create second-reaction throws, and his accuracy drops upon being moved off his spot. As a result, he operates within structured plays, and making plays out of structure is not within his skillset.
Although McKee’s development is still a work in progress, his upside is limited due to his lack of athleticism and physical tools. However, his upside depends upon developing a mental game to a hall-of-fame level, similar to quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Drew Brees. It is essential to recognize that McKee’s skills and strengths hold him in good stead, and he is expected to come in as a backup quarterback initially behind an established veteran quarterback.
Tanner McKee can throw exceptionally well into tight windows. His precision in throwing to a specific spot on a slant or between zone defenders before the receiver is even open highlights his exceptional football IQ and decision-making skills. At first glance, there’s no denying that McKee fits the mold of a traditional pro-looking quarterback. Standing tall at 6-6 and weighing in at 230lbs, McKee has the elite size and arm strength to match.
One of McKee’s strongest assets is his excellent footwork, allowing him to navigate pressure with ease. Additionally, his flashes of accuracy at all ranges of the field combined with his powerful arm make him a formidable opponent on the field. The quarterback’s size also works to his advantage; his height allows him to see over the defense, and his ability to stand tall in the pocket to survey the field is particularly valuable.
Furthermore, McKee is a big athlete with surprising speed as a runner. Although he may not be the fastest on the field, he has a certain level of escapability that he can use to his advantage when needed.
When McKee gets the ball in his hands, he possesses an NFL arm that can get the ball from one hash to the opposite sideline with ease. His technique is also noteworthy, as he squares his shoulders to the target and quickly steps into his throwseasily get the ball from one hash to the opposite sideline. He can spray the ball anywhere on the field, especially when provided with a pocket to throw from.
McKee’s accuracy is also commendable, particularly on short-timing routes to backs and receivers. His ability to place the ball slightly in front of the receiver to lead them to potential yardage after the catch highlights his knowledge of the game and his ability to read the field.
All in all, Tanner McKee’s skill set makes him an impressive quarterback on the field. With his size, arm strength, and great footwork, he has the potential to be successful in the NFL, especially if he continues to develop his accuracy and decision-making abilities.
He needs to improve his touch across all of his throws. Not everything needs to be thrown as a fastball with little air underneath. McKee is solid in accuracy but depends on having a clean pocket. His accuracy drops substantially once his base is disturbed or he is on the run.
His performance was shaky at Stanford, but it’s up for opinion whether that was the result of his poor play or the lack of talent surrounding him. Some will say that his supporting cast was lackluster, whereas others will say that he should be able to lift the talent of those around him if he’s a legitimate NFL talent.
Overall, this evaluation indicates that while McKee has potential, he needs to work on his decision-making skills, particularly when it comes to throwing with full force or taking something off of it. He also needs to work on his accuracy under pressure and his ability to read defensive schemes more efficiently.
Tanner McKee is the 151st prospect on our draft big board.