Eagles Meet with UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson: Exclusive
The Philadelphia Eagles are down in Indianapolis doing their homework on quarterbacks. No, they aren’t interested in replacing Jalen Hurts. Perish the thought. But the team would love to get its hands on a young rising talent at the position to serve as Hurts’ backup with Gardner Minshew set to hit free agency. The only other signal-caller rostered is Ian Book.
There is no doubt that general manager Howie Roseman will exhaust all his resources on a position that has traditionally been overvalued at the so-called QB Factory. They turn and burn quarterbacks in South Philly, morphing them into Super Bowl MVPs (see: Nick Foles) and top coaching candidates (see: Alex Tanney). It’s a way of life, really.
So it should come as no surprise that the Eagles held a meeting with UCLA star Dorian Thompson-Robinson on March 3 at the NFL Scouting Combine. The “meeting went very well and he’s been impressing teams all week,” according to a source, and he “seems to align with what Philly does” from an offensive standpoint.
I can confirm UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson met with the #Eagles at the Combine. A source told me that the "meeting went very well and he's been impressing teams all week."— Michael Greger (@mike_greger) March 3, 2023
My take: DTR seems like the perfect fit to back up Jalen Hurts. Go get him, Howie. #FlyEaglesFly
What does that mean? Well, take a look at UCLA’s offensive statistics from 2022: the Bruins averaged 503.5 yards of total offense, including 238.2 rushing yards per game, which was first in the Pac-12 and fourth-best in the country.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson was the instigator for all of it as he guided Chip Kelly’s unstoppable RPO attack. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder started 48 games in Kelly’s system and set new standards for touchdown passes (88), total touchdowns (116), quarterback rushing yards (1,826), passing yards (10,710), completions (860), and total offense (12,536). He is the only UCLA player to ever record over 12,000 yards of total offense.
The electrifying dual-threat quarterback — a player labeled as a human highlight reel — is considered a high-upside Day 3 pick by most draft experts after an amazing five-year career at UCLA where he set a school record for completion percentage (69.6%) in 2022. His sweet spot appears to be Round 6 but impressive Combine meetings have him quickly rising up draft boards.
Scouting DTR: Dream Fit Behind Jalen Hurts in Eagles’ Offense
It’s one thing to see DTR’s eye-popping numbers on paper or to watch his insane college tape. It’s quite another to hear a respected football voice explain why he could be a dominant force at the next level. A plugged-in source, an expert in NFL scouting and personnel decisions who wished to remain anonymous, shared why DTR might be the perfect chess piece for the Eagles.
Here is what they shared in a mini-scouting report:
Me: Why do you think Dorian Thompson-Robinson would be a good fit for Philadelphia?
Source: Able to adapt and pick up playbooks quickly, as shown during his time at the Shrine Game while being coached by the Patriots. Has improved accuracy every year while at UCLA. Ability to create off-script, and create with his legs if necessary. Seems to align with what Philly does.
Analysis: Dorian Thompson-Robinson posted a 57.7% completion percentage in 2018, raising that number to 59.7% in 2019 then up to 65.2% in 2020 before hitting 62.2% in 2021 and 69.6% in 2022. The latter set a new school record at UCLA. DTR started the Shrine Bowl for the West All-Stars where he went 7-of-17 for 95 yards in a 12-3 victory. Bill Belichick and Bill O’Brien coached him up at practices there.
Both Bill Belichick and #Patriots OC Bill O'Brien spent an extensive amount of time with UCLA QB and Vegas native Dorian Thompson-Robinson at Shrine Bowl practice today.— Logan Reever (@loganreever) January 28, 2023
DTR calling their coaching "super intense, but super helpful."@DoriansTweets @wbzsports @BishopGormanFB pic.twitter.com/tBRjrho8F0
Me: What are his major strengths?
Source: His intelligence and dynamic arm. Ability to create when plays break down. Intelligent player who was given a lot of responsibility at UCLA. They asked him to do a ton and he did it efficiently. Made checks at the line, play-options based off of how the defense lines up.
Analysis: Dorian Thompson-Robinson has a big arm, one that can air it out 70 yards down the field. Want proof?
Then, there are the two metrics related to quarterback velocity that DTR blew out of the water:
.@ZebraTechnology uses 2 metrics to track quarterback velocity: Avg. Initial Airspeed (MPH) and Avg. Spin Rate (RPM)— Eric Galko (@EricGalko) February 20, 2023
UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson had 54 MPH and 575.8 RPM respectively at #ShrineBowl
Those were both the highest number of any QB at ANY all-star game this year pic.twitter.com/O23xiYjz9o
Me: What is his leadership style?
Source: Leads by example and wants to be great. He’s studied the greats in their fields, such as Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, Steve Jobs. Understands that holding yourself to a standard of excellence may not fit everyone, but it’s a trait of winners.
Analysis: It’s hard to hear this and not be reminded of Jalen Hurts. The Eagles starter wore a Kobe Bryant shirt last season and has a Michael Jordan quote hanging in his locker stall. Hurts has also been known to study tape of Tom Brady.
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, and others MAKE it happen”— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) January 12, 2023
Jalen Hurts with Michael Jordan picture and quote in his locker and wearing Kobe Bryant shirt pic.twitter.com/gpxPU4V7fX
Me: How is DTR off the field?
Source: Family driven. When not with his family, he’s focusing on bettering his craft by studying film and creating action plans.
Analysis: Speaking of action plans, Dorian Thompson-Robinson returned to UCLA for his senior season instead of entering the 2022 NFL draft because he wanted to “learn how to be an adult before being one” (via Joe Castro) by doing things like paying bills, filing taxes, and learning best business practices. How did he do that? He signed a NIL deal with leading video game publisher Activision.
Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire