Five cones in total will be needed for this drill, laid out in the pattern you see in figure 5.1. The depth and width of these cones will be dependent on the age and size of your quarterback – make sure you adjust accordingly. Your quarterback will also need a football.


To teach our quarterbacks the depth that they need for 3, 5, and 7 step drops, as well as for rollouts.


The quarterback will start off at the first cone, with his knees bent in a quarterback stance (holding the ball already though) and on his hike, will start off by walking back a 3 step drop. His back heel should land at the depth of the first cone. Now the challenge comes in trying to end up in the same exact spot for each drop, slowly working up from walking to full speed. Your quarterbacks goal is to replicate the exact same footwork every snap, so that they always end up in the same position, balanced and ready to throw.

When working on the rollouts, we want the quarterback to reverse pivot, faking a handoff to side opposite the one he’s about to roll out to. The quarterback should be beginning to curve around to the wide cone somewhere between the three and five second drop markers evening out and stopping in place on the cone.

Coaching Tips:

Once the players are used to it, get rid of the cones and evaluate their ability to maintain that consistency in their

drops – this is the best way to get a read on how much they’re improving.

Tips for Younger Athletes:

  • Before focusing on the speed of the drop, make sure younger quarterbacks understand the basic mechanics. This includes proper foot positioning, grip on the football, and keeping their eyes up, scanning the field.
  • Younger quarterbacks should emphasize a balanced stance to begin with. Remind them that a strong foundation leads to more controlled movement during the drop.
  • Asking them to vocalize their steps as “one, two, three” can help them internalize the rhythm and remember the sequence.

Tips for Older Athletes:

  • While consistency and technique remain crucial, older athletes should also focus on transitioning smoothly from their drop to a pass-ready stance. The ability to quickly set the feet and release the ball can be the difference in tight game situations.
  • As older quarterbacks practice rollouts, remind them to keep their shoulders square to the line of scrimmage as long as possible. This keeps passing options open and makes the fake handoff more convincing.
  • Encourage more advanced quarterbacks to visualize game situations during the drill. For instance, feeling imaginary pressure and adjusting the drop depth or speed accordingly. This not only improves their drops but also prepares them for real game scenarios.