Justin Roper might not be as well known as Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy but he is a proven winner like them... 

When NFL scouts look at prospects they take a few major things into consideration. They desire a player with good technique, stats, experience, intangibles and winners. Not every player can say that they had great stats in every game, or that they were a 4-year starter. Nobody has a perfect technique but it is often the prospects that understand that they can improve that succeed. It also is rare to find a prospect that has won about 85% of the games they have started, but Justin Roper is one of them.

Roper is a 6’6 QB from Buford, Georgia that played his first two seasons at the University of Oregon. A full time change in system after coach Mike Bellotti stepped down led to a decision to transfer to the University of Montana to close out his college career. I mention the fact that he is a Georgia native because the ability to successfully move across country not only shows a diversity in lifestyle, but maturity in the ability to grow. Physically there is little question about Roper because he lettered in four different sports in high school, played some Basketball with the mens team at Montana and swam just seconds from the world record in the 100-meter breaststroke.

Statistically Roper didn’t have the type of career that you may dream about in a prospect, but Roper understands this. While he doesn’t have stunning statistical numbers on the field, his 85% win percentage as a starter is something to love. Roper is not going to win any stats competitions but like many of the underrated QB’s in the NFL, he wins.

There were five rookies that made the Pro Bowl from the 2010 draft; Ndamukong Suh, Eric Berry, Maurkice Pouncey, Devin McCourtey and Marc Mariani. I’m sure you have heard of the first four players but few know much about Mariani who was one of two players drafted from the University of Montana in the 2010 draft. 2008 brought three guys from Montana, and another one of them (kicker Dan Carpenter) was elected to the Pro Bowl. While there hasn’t been a recent player from Montana drafted early, there have been five guys that have proven that they deserve to be in the league.

I recently got a chance to interview Roper to talk training, pro days, pre game rituals and more:

Mike Harman: To start out with, who you are currently training with?

Justin Roper: I'm training in San Diego at Velocity Sports. The trainers are Doug Hix and Ryan Flaherty with Play Fast Sports. I'm working out with QB coach George Whitfield along with Cam Newton. The players I'm also training with are Tyler Sash from Iowa, Vincent Brown from SDSU, Zane Taylor from Utah, Carl Moore from Florida, and more.

MH: What are some of the things that coach Whitfield has been helping you adjust, and have you noticed a distinct difference in your technique?

JR: Coach Whitfield has really helped me with my footwork and I am more violent with my feet when I plant and throw; also a lot with throwing the deep balls.

MH: You transferred from Oregon to Montana, a school that has had a lot of under the radar talents contribute in the NFL including two last year and three guys in the 2008 draft. Out of those five guys two of them (Marc Mariani last year and kicker Dan Carpenter in 2008) have made pro bowls. What do you think it is about the Montana program that is bringing small school talent to the next level?

JR: Montana has a unique ability to win football games and they expect to win. This is embraced by the players and they carry that to the NFL.

MH: Being a Georgia native and playing on two different teams in the West have given you a very diverse background. Do you see this as a strength mentally (and physically) in your game?

JR: Yes I think that having the diverse background I have allows me to connect with all types of people. That is something you need in a QB.

MH: Absolutely. It also sets you apart from many quarterbacks that have never lived away from home because you know about some of the pressures that occur outside of home life. Is there a NFL QB past or present that you like to compare yourself to?

JR: Peyton manning has been my favorite quarterback since he was at Tennessee. But I also am like Aaron Rogers in that I can make plays with me feet.

MH: I hear that you have been given the opportunity to throw at the University of Georgia pro day. Are you nervous at all to throw to A.J. Green and Kris Durham?

JR: Not at all it's a great opportunity for me. And I'm excited for them to make me look good. Haha. They are great players and I can't wait.

MH: Also, Is there a specific receiver in the NFL that you would love to throw to each week?

JR: I’m not picky. I like any receiver who catches the ball; however, Calvin Johnson is a tremendous athlete and would be a lot of fun to throw to.

MH: Haha. Let's hope you make each other look good. Are there any special pre-game songs or rituals?

JR: When I first arrive at the stadium the day before the game I walk around each goal post. And pre-game music I listen to Bob Marley.

MH: Nice! Are there any special songs that you key in on?

JR: ‘Stir it Up’ and ‘No Woman No Cry’

MH: Sweet. I've always been a 'One Drop' lover from Marley. After research I found that in high school you lettered in football, basketball, swimming and track. Is there any sport you aren’t good at?

JR: Not really that I have played, but maybe golf but only because I haven't been able to put a lot of time in. God has blessed me beyond measure.

MH: Finally, if you had one quick message to tell scouts, what would you tell them to make them take you?

JR: My message is that I may not have a lot of stats or look pretty but I win games. I have an undefeated career at Oregon (4-0), 7-2 at Montana. I Also 5 fourth quarter game winning drives.


Quick Profile:

Name: Justin Roper
Position: Quarterback
Size: 6’6, 230 pounds
School: Montana University, formally University of Oregon
Experience: Thrown in 32 games, teams went 25-7 in those games. 11-2 as a starter (4-0 at Oregon, 7-2 at Montana). Five 4th quarter comeback victories
Stats of interest: First start was a 4-touchdown win over Southern Florida in the 2007 Sun Bowl
Agent: Tom Mills
Major: Sociology
Pregame music of choice: Bob Marley