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NFL.com: ASU quarterback Mike Bercovici could be NFL Draft steal

Arizona State quarterback Mike Bercovici runs drills during a regional NFL football combine, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The praise behind former Arizona State quarterback Mike Bercovici made sense heading into his senior year. Monster numbers put up in few games of relief for Taylor Kelly during the 2014 season showed the signal-caller’s arm strength, and it was assumed a few tweaks of ASU’s offense would only help him.

Heck, some experts had Bercovici as a Heisman darkhorse heading into 2015.

But Bercovici’s senior season and only one as a starter didn’t go as planned.

Bercovici completed 60 percent of his passes in 2015 to go with 30 touchdowns and nine picks but he was also part of an up-and-down 6-7 season for the Sun Devils.

Still, focus on his best moments and it’s reasonable that his NFL dreams remain bright. At the least, Bercovici has one NFL Draft expert’s attention. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein listed Bercovici as a prospect with “steal potential.”

I feel like I’m on an island with Bercovici since I can’t find any NFL personnel men who are on board, but that’s fine by me. Bercovici has a cannon for an arm, adequate accuracy and good mobility to extend plays. His fire reminds me of Chase Daniel coming out and I believe he can be a quality NFL backup.

NFL Draft Scout lists Bercovici as the 22nd-best quarterback on the 2016 NFL Draft board and the 394th overall prospect, which if accurate projects Bercovici as an undrafted free agent.

The most compelling aspect of all this is how the quarterback’s inconsistencies are perceived by scouts.

Was Bercovici a victim of an offense that ditched what made it successful, going with a quick-hit, passing philosophy rather than a zone-read option scheme? ASU also dealt with an offensive line that lost and struggled to replace tackle Jamil Douglas after he went pro, not to mention a receiving group that didn’t find a consistent option once deep threat Jaelen Strong went to the NFL.

Indeed, Bercovici will be held accountable for his own inconsistencies, and he’ll be docked for his height — it’s not promising a lesser-armed, shorter quarterback like Oregon’s Vernon Adams is generally listed as a better pro prospect.

But as Zierlein points out, teams will always covet a strong-armed quarterback as, worst case, a project. Bercovici will likely get an opportunity, draft or not. At that point, he’ll need to take full advantage of it.

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