Michigan State quarterback Brian Hoyer is preparing diligently for the NFL draft, drawing high marks from scouts for his durability, arm strength and football acumen.
Projected to be drafted anywhere from the third or fourth round to later in the second day of the draft, Hoyer is maintaining a busy schedule of workouts and meetings with NFL teams.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder passed for 2,404 yards as a senior with nine touchdowns and nine interceptions and was named All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention. As a junior, he passed for 2,725 yards and threw 20 touchdowns with 11 interceptions for the Spartans.
He ranks among MSU's career leaders in pass attempts (No. 2 at 896), passing yards (No. 3 with 6,159), pass completions (No. 3 at 500), TD passes (No. 6 with 35) and completion percentage (No. 10 at .559. He's one of just three Spartan quarterbacks to record 6,000 career passing yards along with Jeff Smoker and Drew Stanton.
At the NFL scouting combine, he threw the ball well and registered a 5.02 in the 40-yard dash, a 32-inch vertical leap and a 9-foot broad jump with a 4.42 shuttle run.
In an exclusive interview with Ravens Insider, Hoyer discussed the draft process and his prospects.
Ravens Insider: What has the draft process been like for you so far and what teams have shown the most interest?
Hoyer: "It was pretty crazy getting ready for the scouting combine at TEST Sports Performance in New Jersey, the same place that Joe Flacco worked out at. I worked with Scott Brunner and that went great. I went to the combine and I was able to run well enough that I didn't have to do it at my Pro Day and I threw the ball well. It's an environment where you want to throw well and not hurt yourself.
"I feel like I helped myself at my Pro Day last week. That went really well. Devin Thomas from the Redskins came back and caught for me. I appreciate him doing that. I have a workout for the Cleveland Browns in April and a workout with the New England Patriots. I'm doing those and waiting around for more teams to call me in. I've talked to a lot of teams. There has been about four or five teams that have shown the most interest."
Ravens Insider: How many teams did you meet with at the scouting combine?
Hoyer: "As far as meetings, I met with about 22 quarterback coaches. In total, it was about 24, 25 teams."
Ravens Insider: Where do you think you might get drafted?
Hoyer: "I feel like a couple of teams that like me might need a quarterback. I've heard I'll go somewhere between the third and fifth round. I would take pride in being the first senior quarterback drafted. Of course, there's Matt Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman. After that, it's kind of a crapshoot. People like me, too, and Rhett Bomar. If I'm the first senior quarterback taken, that would be great."
Ravens Insider: How much does following the same model that Joe Flacco did last year in getting ready for the draft with the same workout facility and quarterback coach help?
Hoyer: "I think it really helps. It's kind of a proven model. One of the selling factors in choosing Joe Linta as my agent is that he knew how to handle Joe's situation and he got him into camp on time.
The rest is history. That was important to me. Seeing Joe's success with Scott Brunner with the predraft preparation was key. I've gotten to know Joe and met him a couple of times. He's a great guy. Personality-wise, he's kind of similar to me."
Ravens Insider: Have you met with the Ravens?
"I met with Hue Jackson and a couple of their scouts at the combine. Hue told me we have our guy, we have our quarterback, but we're always looking toward the future. I met Hue at the combine and he knew that Joe and I were represented by the same agent. Hue's a great guy."
Ravens Insider: What do you feel like you bring to the table as a quarterback?
Hoyer: I feel like I fit that mode. I have the leadership. I'm a good game manager. I don't shy away from that. You don't want to hurt your team. As far as arm strength is concerned, I might not be up there with Joe Flacco, but there's no throw I can't make. I think the East-West game and my Pro Day proved that."
Ravens Insider: Were you a fan of one NFL team in particular as a kid growing up in Cleveland?
Hoyer: "I grew up as a Browns fan. Then, they moved away and I didn't really follow NFL football. They moved back and I never got back on the bandwagon."
Ravens Insider: Where do you plan to be on draft day?
Hoyer: "I'm going to be back at home with family and close friends."
Ravens Insider: Do you enjoy the draft process or is it stressful?
Hoyer: I think you have to enjoy it. I grew up thinking I was going to be a baseball player. I might be in the minor leagues right now if I had stuck with it. I went to a big-time high school program playing in front of 10,000, 15,000 people. I stuck with football and my dreams shaped up.
My dream was to one day hear my name called in the NFL draft. It's a once in a lifetime thing. Joe Linta told me you don't want to make draft day the worst day of your life. If you get draft, all you want is a chance. I'll be excited to get drafted wherever it happens."
Ravens Insider: Were you concerned that your senior stats might hurt you?
Hoyer: I think some people talked about me making good decisions and managing the game my senior year. Obviously, there's been some inconsistency in my stats. But my senior year my team won more games. All the scouts and coaches noticed that. I was worried about that. Pretty much everybody I talk to says that was a good sign about me as a quarterback."
Ravens Insider: Are there a couple of games from last year that stands out to you that proved what you're able to do under center?
Hoyer: "The Michigan game was huge. We hadn't beaten them in Ann Arbor in a long time and I went down and had my best game of the year. I felt like that showcased my ability. That was when I thought I might have a chance to play in the NFL.
The last two games of my junior year were big. Against Purdue, I had the best game of my career. The following year, I had a big game against Penn State and won that game. That's when I really started to feel like I would have a chance to play in the NFL."
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.