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Whose QB is it anyway?

Silly season is upon us…

Whilst there are still 15 days, 11 hours, 54 minutes and 2 seconds (as I write this) until Superbowl LII, many of us have already swapped our attention to the highlight of the NFL offseason – the NFL Draft.

Those of us who follow College football will already have a few opinions about the players that have been starring in the NCAA for the last 6 months. However, there are legions of NFL fans out there who around this time check in to see who they can try to plug in their team’s areas of need.

Invariably, QB1 is a huge passion point for a handful of teams each season. Sometimes the journeyman FA just hasn’t worked out. Or the previous franchise star is getting old. In the NFL, the QB carousel is second only in intensity to the Coaching one.

Let’s face it, QB’s are the face of the NFL, more so than other positions. The need for intangible assets, such as ability to read coverage, means it’s not just about the physicals of being tall, strong with a good arm. As such, every team is on the lookout for the kid who’s going to save their franchise and lead them to a golden era 15 years long.

Get it wrong and, as a Head Coach or General Manager, it can be the end of your job – ask those in Cleveland. Looking right now, you can make a case to say the Cardinals, Ravens, Bills, Browns, Broncos, Jaguars, Giants, Jets and Redskins could all be looking for the next Carson Wentz in this year’s draft.

But that leads to an important couple of questions – are there any legitimate ‘franchise QBs’ in this year’s draft? And what do teams do if there isn’t?

Without the ability of hindsight, there must be a Himalayan mountain of salt applied to these discussions. However, it has always been my thought that, as the NFL is a ‘what have you done for me lately’ league, we overvalue players coming into the league and look for solutions to every problem immediately. Front office officials are surviving, not living. Fans are straight on them if they don’t address problems quickly. This leads teams to build their draft charts with a view that ‘we need a QB’. Rather than asking themselves “is there a QB worth taking with that pick”?

So, with that in mind, let’s turn our attention to the 2018 draft QBs rankings.

The same names are mentioned routinely throughout all the major players in draft commentary; Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Lamar Jackson (Louisville), Sam Darnold (USC), Josh Rosen (UCLA) and Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State).

In this seller’s market, team’s will be fighting with each other to rank these talents near the top of the board to solve their QB problems. But are they actually worth it?

Looking at a few QB’s we know worked out to varying degrees in the NFL and how they did in their last year in College and compare those to the headline guys coming into this year’s draft at the position;

 

Name College Year Drafted Round, Pick Completions Attempts Completion Pct. Yards Yards p Attempt TDs Rating
Tom Brady Michigan 2000 Rd 6, Pick 199 180 295 61.0 2217 7.5 16 138.0
Aaron Rodgers California 2005 Rd 1, Pick 24 209 316 66.1 2566 8.1 24 154.3
Drew Brees Purdue 2001 Rd 2, Pick 32 309 512 60.4 3668 7.2 26 132.6
Matt Ryan Boston College 2008 Rd 1, Pick 3 388 654 59.3 4507 6.9 31 127.0
Case Keenum Houston 2012 Undrafted 428 603 70.9 5631 9.3 48 174.0

 

So, in summary, stats seem to mean nothing. Yes, Keenum has had a good season managing the ball for a high-powered defense but come on, those college stats are out of this world! Why wasn’t he first overall? According to most publications at the time it’s because Houston didn’t play anyone good and he’s short. Compare that to Brady stats, and you can actually see why so many teams passed on him…6 times. In fact, you have to wonder what Atlanta saw to take Matt Ryan at 3rd overall.

 

Name College Year Drafted Round, Pick Completions Attempts Completion Pct. Yards Yards p Attempt TDs Rating
Baker Mayfield Oklahoma 2018 N/A 285 404 70.5 4627 11.5 43 198.9
Lamar Jackson Louisville 2018 N/A 254 430 59.1 3660 8.5 27 146.6
Josh Rosen UCLA 2018 N/A 283 452 62.6 3756 8.3 26 147.0
Mason Rudolph Oklahoma State 2018 N/A 318 489 65.0 4904 10.0 37 170.6
Sam Darnold USC 2018 N/A 303 480 63.1 4143 8.6 26 148.1

 

Looking at this you can see why everyone is starting to get excited by Baker Mayfield. I can’t say I’m rational in my dislike for him. He’s cocky and arrogant, as seen by taunts “you forgot who daddy is” to Baylor. Needless to say, people seem to love him or hate him.

Remind you of anyone? Maybe that will make the Browns think twice about a potential Manziel v2.0.

Let’s put them together and rank by passer efficiency rating;

 

Name College Year Drafted Round, Pick Completions Attempts Completion Pct. Yards Yards p Attempt TDs Rating
Baker Mayfield Oklahoma 2018 N/A 285 404 70.5 4627 11.5 43 198.9
Case Keenum Houston 2012 Undrafted 428 603 70.9 5631 9.3 48 174
Mason Rudolph Oklahoma State 2018 N/A 318 489 65 4904 10 37 170.6
Aaron Rodgers California 2005 Rd 1, Pick 24 209 316 66.1 2566 8.1 24 154.3
Sam Darnold USC 2018 N/A 303 480 63.1 4143 8.6 26 148.1
Josh Rosen UCLA 2018 N/A 283 452 62.6 3756 8.3 26 147
Lamar Jackson Louisville 2018 N/A 254 430 59.1 3660 8.5 27 146.6
Tom Brady Michigan 2000 Rd 6, Pick 199 180 295 61 2217 7.5 16 138
Drew Brees Purdue 2001 Rd 2, Pick 32 309 512 60.4 3668 7.2 26 132.6
Matt Ryan Boston College 2008 Rd 1, Pick 3 388 654 59.3 4507 6.9 31 127

 

What’s interesting here is that it leads to the question of how the future hall of famers (Brady and Brees) and last season’s MVP are bottom of a table like this, and yet an undrafted FA is second. Maybe statistical success in college isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

What are Stefan LeFors and Omar Jacobs doing now? Yeah, me neither. They were both QBs who had amazing stats the year Aaron Rodgers was drafted. LeFors led the country with a 181.7 QB rating with 73.5% accuracy, 20 TDs and only 3 INTs. Drafted by the Panthers in round 4 he couldn’t really establish himself and ended up in Canada for a few years before retiring.

And if TDs are what gets you going, Omar Jacobs had 41 TDs to only 4 INTs at Bowling Green. That’s an incredible return, but only got him to the 5th round of the 2004 draft. After a few NFL practice squads, he did find success as ArenaBowl Champion in 2011.

As a typical fan, I get annoyed when I hear people speak about why a player is good or bad based on their ‘technique’. We’re not football coaches, so let’s not pretend to be. I’m not going to regurgitate what I’ve read on a forum from some clown who pretends to know what a Quarterbacks throwing motion is like. I like facts, and from what I see the stats from College football look like a lottery. This is why I’m not a GM yet, I guess.

But if I was, what would I do? I arrive on draft day at the Front Office in Cleveland. The fans are mad at the previous regimes for decades of failure, continually passing on top talent and making bad decisions.

Mel Kiper is saying “Cleveland has to take a quarterback. Has to”. Everyone is saying we have to, it’s just a case of which one. I look at Jacksonville getting to the AFC championship with Bortles on a great defense. I look at Minnesota doing the same in the NFC with Case Keenum. The Eagles managing to keep going without Wentz through defense alone.

I look at my team. The defense is starting to shape up. Next, I look at future years drafts, what do next year’s QBs look like? Jake Fromm looks very good. I’m feeling brave, I want the owners to think long term strategy. Trust the process as they say at the Philadelphia 76ers.

 

At 1st overall in the 2018 draft, the Cleveland Browns select…

Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

The crowd hush, they are shocked. The pundits go into overdrive about the crazy decision. They show game tape to say how good Barkley is but reiterate how I made the wrong call. Barkley joins names such as OJ Simpson and Bo Jackson as RBs drafted 1st overall. We’ve seen in Jacksonville, how much a good RB can do to manage an offence led by a (below) average QB.

At 4th overall in the 2018 draft, the Cleveland Browns select…

Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama

You thought we would go QB didn’t you? Well, when thinks are going wrong do something different. We struggled with pass defense all year and teaming this guy with last year’s 1st rounder, I’m feeling excited.

This is a very unlikely scenario, and dependent by what happens in FA.

We will see the Browns take Rosen, Darnold or Mayfield at 1st overall despite clear reservations on their performance or personality. And they will likely start them week 1 (another debate to be had) and, they will likely be smashed to pieces due to an inadequate protection and lack of experience.

I’ll never pretend to be the expert, I’m a normal fan like you. I don’t know whether to believe what I’m reading about Rosen’s great mechanics and ability to throw tight spirals. All I saw, was him bottling it against Memphis and throwing 3 picks against Arizona.

I don’t know if it’s right that Mayfield throws really well on the run, he certainly has great stats but apparently, he’s undersized and by all accounts can be an idiot at times.

What I do believe, is that teams should have long term strategies. Trust the process. Talk to your fans about plans. Take your time and put the pieces in the right places.

Don’t invest 1st overall in a QB if you don’t have the OL to block, or WR to catch. There’s a tipping point; when you have an elite QB they can win you games. But only Brady is left in the current NFL playoffs, against 3 teams that got there through great defenses. Stop being obsessed with winning now.

In my opinion, the teams that really want a QB should be looking at Alex Smith in FA to be honest…

 

Tom is an Atlanta Falcons, Ohio State Buckeyes and Madden fanboy since 2004. You can follow Tom on Twitter at @TO_Ldn_Mcr

Article written by:

Kadeem joined the NFLGirlUK.com team in 2016 and is currently the AFC Conference Editor, covering the AFC West division, as well as writing about Madden for the Gaming section. Though quite new to the NFL, after becoming acquainted with it through Madden, Kadeem has written features and articles on the sport for the Morning Star newspaper, where he is the current sports editor. He can be followed on Twitter @KadeemSimmonds.

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