The scoop on Rakeem Cato from Gridiron Guru

I’ve been hearing a lot of hype on Cato from some posters. I watch almost every pro football game from the NCAA Cfl and Nfl.
I have posted here many times so I decided to do a little Gridiron scouting on Cato. I scout and gain information because I love football and for investment purposes with the lines.

I reviewed film on Cato to see if I feel he would be a great quarterback prospect and here is what I saw.

In our league the quarterbacks are under pressure a lot and take some hellacious hits at times. Reilly, Lulay, Durant Collaros Tate and Ray have all been injured taking hits. Except Tate these quarterbacks all weigh in at 220 pounds and are 6’2 to 6’3 except Collaros is 6 feet but weighs 216.

Rakeem Cato is 6 feet tall but weighs only 176 pounds. There are a few gridiron geniuses residing on this forum. Can a body with this build last in the Cfl?

Cato is apparently an explosive athlete. He ran a 4.71 second 40 yard dash did not compete in the bench press drill.
I watched film and he has tennis player feet. This means he is very quick feet and shuffling ability. However he lacks overall speed and power when he runs. Imagine a faster Kevin Glenn.
I watched him use his feet to get out of the pocket many times. He has quick feet.

Cato is a finesse quarterback. He doesn’t like to get hit at all. When he runs he almost always hook slides even when he could gain more yards. He avoids contact which is both a smart move to avoid injury but also an unwillingness to take hits from defenders.

Cato can read defences at a higher level than the typical college quarterback. He is very decisive with the ball and can recognize what defence is playing and he can exploit the mismatches. I watched him many times choose the right guy to throw to. He appears to understand the spread offence and is very quick at making decisions. Accuracy is average because he rushes throws and his feet are not set because he runs out of the picket very quickly. he won’t stand in the pocket like Cakvillo did or Reilly does and take hits or even Ricky Ray.

Cato has below average arm strength. Like guys like Tino Sunseri and Graham Harrell Cato throws passes with more loft than velocity. He throws lots of fades and doesn’t generate much explosive hip movement and follow through like Drew Willy and Durant. Cato uses his arm a lot and not his lower body. He generates speed with his arm but cannot drive the ball because he is 176 pounds and doesn’t properly set his feet and drive the ball with explosive hip torque.

The Als have correctly scouted Cato and he should be number 4 on the depth chart. He is a luxury long term project. He is not ready to play in the Cfl. The bottom line is Cato does not have the body size and arm strength to start. This deficiency was hidden in college by using a college spread offense which a quarterback with an average arm can excel in.

Player comparison. Cato reminds me of a smaller less athletic weaker arm version of Casey Printers. Cato also has the quick release of Kevin Glenn and will avoid contact like Glenn which is hard to win in the cfl with the pass rushes improving every year.

Cato is a kid playing in a mans league. The guy that has the most potential out of all your quarterbacks is Brandon Bridge. From what I saw briefly I believe you were looking at a younger bigger and more athletic version of Darian Durant. Bridge is built like a man and he has all the physical tools including a good arm to succeed under Calvillo. I will take a look at Bridges college tape to get a good look at his Skill set

I am curious which QB the Als sign on Monday. Do they trust the rookies the right now to get the job done, or will the Als put whoever they sign as the starter for Friday?

Interesting report on Cato. Thanks for sharing. I hope Cato proves everyone wrong and excels in this league, but it's nice to have an unbiased opinion of his abilities, rather than the fanboy stuff we've been reading recently.

Going on GG’s assessment above, I am really hoping that Schonert and (let’s be real) Calvillo can work with Cato to improve his mechanics. Reading the field is, one would think, a tougher skill to acquire than planting your feet and stepping into each throw with your hips. Cato has the former; let’s all hope and pray that our coaches can improve the fundamentals.

Having said that, I want to reiterate my appreciation for Bridge’s performance given the fact that he received zero reps in camp, he’s very young, and his OC threw him under the bus by calling so many pass plays. He threw completions to three different targets on his first series; sure, his game unraveled after that, but he moved the ball and showed more ability to check down and make the right throw than I’ve seen from Crompton this year (and keep in mind that Crompton is five or six years older with the benefit of two+ years of pro CFL experience!). The physical tools are tantalizing: if Bridge puts in the work to develop, he could be good, or even great, in this league for years to come. Forget all this nonsense about his passport. The idea that Bridge is only getting priority because of his Canadian citizenship is flat-out absurd, and offensive coming from Americans who haven’t taken the time to familiarize themselves with and respect OUR league. He’s got the physical attributes coaches love in QBs, he’s young, and he’s being assessed by American coaches who clearly feel he has potential. That’s why he is no. 3 on the depth chart. Period.

We’ve all seen scads of overrated, overhyped American QBs come up here and wash out, given second and third and fourth chances to succeed but doing squat with the multiple opportunities. These guys all get the red-carpet treatment but flop after years bouncing around the league with little to no success, frequently on different teams with different coaches – off the top of my head, Alex Brink, Joey Elliot, Chris Leak, Stanley Jackson (that’s for you, MJ!), Ted White, Adrian McPherson, Cody Pickett, Cleo Lemon, etc. etc. So don’t tell me that one effing Canadian QB, who played his college ball in the US, is getting preferential treatment; you have no leg to stand on and you are just revealing the arrogance and ignorance of your own position.

I think of guys like Flutie and Garcia that were smallish QB’s, and managed to excel not only in the CFL but even play the NFL… and were durable. So the size issue, while a concern (especially given how QB’s went down in week 1), isn’t a deal breaker for me.

To me Cato’s strengths are exactly the ones you need to have to succeed in the CFL: ability to read the defense & select the right target, accuracy, and some escapability to buy yourself some time… especially that DB’s can no longer make contact past 5 yards.

Arm strength is nice but comes after all of the above, Smith showed us that not too long ago.

But I was also really impressed with what Bridge did with basically no reps to prepare… in the end for both the sample size is way too small. I this point I just really want one of the them to get the start, not bringing back Marsh on a not quite ready knee.
Take this opportunity to find out what you have… versus Calgary it’s a game you’re not supposed to win anyway, so be bold. If you lose at least you gave one or both of your rookies some much needed experience.

Size isn't an issue to me IF Cato corrects what GG feels are deficiencies in his game: footwork, stepping into throws. Also, I would be wary of comparing Cato to two of the league's greats in Flutie and Garcia, not least because the latter played many, many years ago in our league. The CFL of 2015 is very different from the CFL of the '90s.

Cato has been sacked between 21 and 26 times a season (10 game seasons) and hasn't missed a game in four years.

Don't discount arm strength. A QB who can't make all the throws isn't going to last in this league. You float a lame-duck pass with no heat on a sideline out and it's going the other way for 6 points more often than not. Look at Crompton, conversely, and see how his inability to put touch on the ball severely limits how he can attack enemy defenses.

Go on the TSN video section and look at the fourth quarter of the 1st pre-season game and look at the throws. I don't see a problem. Ray And Calvillo made the HOF dropping balls without a rocket arm.

I can't access any TSN media from where I live (I watch the games on ESPN's site). I certainly take your point about Calvillo and Ray, but neither man had a noodle arm. They didn't have cannons but they could make all the throws.

I know that everyone is just waiting for my reply to Gridiron Guru. Now it is time for a second scoop atop GG's cone. So let me tell you that I watched (I would guess) some 25 games that Cato played over the past four years and I watched him grow as a quarterback. GG is free to make his own assessment but sometimes his assessment is made without all the facts. For example, Cato's awful hook-slide. The fact is that he was instructed to get down by his coach instead of getting injured like LeFevour just did . . . and in four years I saw Cato taken out of one game before it was over. I frankly do not understand the criticism.

As for arm strength, he can throw on a line for 35 yards and routinely with some arch probably 60 because he throws using his body as well which makes his throwing motion smooth and coordinated with his legs. There once was a CFL QB by the name of Doug Flutie whose famous "Hail Flutie" pass went 65 yards in the air and he was only 5'10" and 180 lbs - and coincidentally, he was named the Greatest CFL Player of All Time in 2006.

Don't give me the counter-argument that Rakeem is not Doug Flutie because none of us know for sure how their skills compare - but I can tell you that in Cato's last three years, Marshall ran more plays, gained more yards and scored more points than any of Flutie's BC teams. College stats comparison is favorable to Cato. Flutie was 690 completions out of 1308 attempts (52.8%), 10759 Yards, 70 TDs, 56 INTs, QB rating of 130.9. Cato was 1183 completions out of 1838 attempts (62.7%), 14079 yards, 131 TDs, 44 INTs, QB rating of 145.8. I would conclude that at this point in his career, Rakeem is ahead of where Flutie was.

Trust me, no noodle arm there. His first completion on a rope right threw a needle down the middle. The other a 25 to 30 yarder down the sideline that would have dropped through a basket without touching the net. Two very different throws but requiring touch, strenght and accuracy. The two nicest passes I've seen thrown this year, all games, all teams combined.

Look, I'm as excited about Cato as anyone, but he hasn't proven squat in this league and there is a world of difference between college ball and the pros. Plenty of QBs come up here with gaudy college stats and fail to have the same level of success.

Good, I'm happy to hear that. I want to believe in Cato as much as anyone, believe me. And God knows I don't want to see J-Cromp behind center again unless injuries force our hand. Go, Cato, go! :slight_smile:

Well the Flutie comparison actually proves what we are telling you. Flutie spent time in the USFL then spent a year learning in the CFL, it wasn't until his third of fourth pro season that he became a great QB.

He will need time to grow into this role and if they throw him in there without learning the game he will fail or get hurt. From what I've seen so far from Schonert in both the NFL and CFL. I don't think this is a very good situation for a young QB.

I like him a lot and he's clearly the most skilled QB on that roster and one of the brightest QB prospects I've seen come in this league in years but it is actually abnormal to throw a kid as a starter in the CFL with half a training camp and 20 snaps behind the ears.

Chris Leak comes to mind.

Que ce soit Bridge, Cato ou McGhee, tout quart a besoin d'un peu de temps pour s'acclimater au niveau professionnel.

Pour ma part, Bridge semble être celui qui sera envoyé dans le feu de l'action, aussi je vais être derrière lui. Mais je crois qu'à terme, Cato a un meilleur coffre à outils pour devenir un bon quart. Il n'a rien prouvé, c'est vrai, mais ce qu'il a fait est intéressant parce que la première chose qu'on peut constater, c'est que ce gars là a de la précision. C'est la qualité numéro 1 qu'on devrait rechercher chez un jeune quart pour la LCF, et il l'a. L'autre bon point, c'est que Cato semble être capable de prendre de bonnes décisions rapidement. Ce que je redoute, c'est qu'il soit envoyé dans le feu de l'action trop tôt et que, faute de finition, le projet soit massacré avant d'arriver à terme.

Cette semaine, 4 quarts-arrières sont tombés au combat (Crompton, LeFevour, Durant et Reilly). C'est très mauvais pour une ligue de 9 équipes et ça montre en même temps que les équipes ne pourront plus se permettre de manquer de profondeur à cette position. Je pense qu'il va falloir que les coordonnateurs à l'attaque aient plus de schémas de protection, parce qu'avec les nouveaux règlements sur les couvertures de passes, la poursuite des quarts sera beaucoup plus agressive, et les blessures ne manqueront pas de venir.

Nous aurons la chance de voir 4 équipes avec des quarts substituts (Montréal, Toronto, Saskatchewan et Edmonton), et une de plus lorsque Lulay va se blesser de nouveau. Honnêtement, ça ne donnera pas beaucoup de suspense à regarder les parties.

One thing is clear: no matter how we feel about Popp, Higgins, Schonert, our players, or the organization as a whole, we have to make allowances for the fact that our team lost its starting three QBs to serious injury within the space of three weeks! That would be difficult for an elite team to overcome, let alone us.

And so the question is: What performance criteria is required to give a QB who has displayed this talent the opportunity to get his feet wet against real competition? Cato has had only 10 or 12 reps in 2 preseason games. After his perfect passing performance in preseason #1, they cut his reps and time on the field in preseason #2 and then benched him! That is why I am frustrated. If he had fallen on his face, I would understand.

He will get an opportunity this weekend and he's been here less than a month. Trevor Harris has been in the league four years waiting. Not sure there is an issue. Other than it isn't an ideal situation for him.