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Back Shoulder Fade - Elite college QB or QB from elite college?

One of many experimental iterations ...

SilentThreat

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This edition I wanted to take some time to dig a little deeper into what translates from college football to the NFL. To do this I’m going to take a little bit different approach. The world is getting lit on fire with analytics, statistics, and every other ‘measurable’ thing in this world. How much of that is true value, and how much of it is a byproduct of what makes this game great? Football is a true team game. 11 players on each side of the ball working together to achieve a goal. Tom Brady can’t block for himself, Aaron Rodgers can’t throw to himself, and Russell Wilson can’t hand the ball to himself. The point is the whole team is needed in order to be successful, so how many college QBs are elite because they’re that good, and how many are elite because the other 10 guys are that much better than the 11 they’re lining up against?



First up. Tom Brady. Final college Season 1999 – Michigan – 2-year starter

Record: 10-2 (6th of 114) (Schedule & Results)

Rank: 5th in the Final AP poll



Year​
SchoolConfClass
Pos​
G​
Cmp​
Att​
Pct​
Yds​
Y/A​
AY/A​
TD​
Int​
Rate​
1999
MichiganBig Ten
QB​
11​
180​
295​
61.0​
2217​
7.5​
7.7​
16​
6​
138.0​
Career
Michigan
395
638
61.9
4773
7.5
7.2
30
17
134


Primary playmakers (draft round): WR - David Terrell (1st), WR - Marcus Knight, TE - Aaron Shea (4th), WR – Marquise Walker, RB - Anthony Thomas (2nd)



Aaron Rodgers. Final college season 2004 - California – 2 year starter

Record: 10-2 (8th of 120) (Schedule & Results)

Rank: 9th in the Final AP poll



Year
SchoolConf
Class
Pos
G
Cmp
Att
Pct
Yds
Y/A
AY/A
TD
Int
Rate
*2004
CaliforniaPac-10
JR
QB
12
209
316
66.1
2566
8.1
8.5
24
8
154.3
Career
California
424
665
63.8
5469
8.2
8.6
43
13
150.


Primary playmakers (draft round): WR – Geoff Mcarthur, WR – Robert Jordan, RB – Marshawn Lynch (1st)



Russell Wilson. Final college season – 2011 - Wisconsin – 4-year starter between NC State and Wisconsin (2011 was the only year he played at Wisconsin)



Year
SchoolConf
Class
Pos
G
Cmp
Att
Pct
Yds
Y/A
AY/A
TD
Int
Rate
*2011
WisconsinBig Ten
SR
QB
14
225
309
72.8
3175
10.3
11.8
33
4
191.8
Career
Overall
907
1489
60.9
11720
7.9
8.4
109
30
147.2
North Carolina State
682
1180
57.8
8545
7.2
7.5
76
26
135.5
Wisconsin
225
309
72.8
3175
10.3
11.8
33
4
191.0


Primary playmakers (draft round): WR – Nick Toon (4th), WR – Jared Abbrederis (5th), RB – Montee Ball (2nd – he was also 4th in Heisman voting in 2011), RB – James White (4th)



Wilson was the only one that had a true playmaker in the offense in Montee Ball. He rushed for nearly 2000 yards in 2011. You could argue David Terrell was a playmaker out of Michigan, and he had a good NFL career, but his ‘best season’ actually came AFTER Brady left in 2000 where he had 2 more catches than 1999, but 110 more yards, and 9 MORE TDs.



To show a level of contrast I took a look at what is considered the biggest QB bust in the history of the NFL. Jamarcus Russell. Final college season – 2006 – LSU – 3 year starter



Year​
SchoolConf
Class​
Pos​
G​
Cmp​
Att​
Pct​
Yds​
Y/A​
AY/A​
TD​
Int​
Rate​
*2006
LSUSEC
JR​
QB​
13​
232​
342​
67.8​
3129​
9.1​
9.7​
28​
8​
167.0​
Career
LSU
493
797
61.9
6625
8.3
8.4
52
21
147.9


Primary playmakers (draft round) – WR – Dwayne Bowe (1st), WR – Early Doucet (3rd), WR – Craig Davis (1st), RB – Jacob Hester (3rd).

To take things a step further, I looked at Ken Dorsey, who played for one of the best teams in the history of college football:

Year
SchoolConf
Class
Pos
G
Cmp
Att
Pct
Yds
Y/A
AY/A
TD
Int
Rate
1999
Miami (FL)Big East
QB​
6​
74​
120​
61.7​
807​
6.7​
7.6​
10​
2​
142.3​
2000
Miami (FL)Big East
SO​
QB​
11​
188​
322​
58.4​
2737​
8.5​
9.4​
25​
5​
152.3​
2001
Miami (FL)Big East
JR​
QB​
11​
184​
318​
57.9​
2652​
8.3​
8.5​
23​
9​
146.1​
*2002
Miami (FL)Big East
SR​
QB​
13​
222​
393​
56.5​
3369​
8.6​
8.6​
28​
12​
145.9​
Career
Miami (FL)
668
1153
57.9
9565
8.3
8.7
86
28
147
And I compared him to Ben Roethlisberger, the QB who came from arguably the most obscure school and won a Super Bowl… Miami of Ohio.



Year
SchoolConf
Class
Pos
G
Cmp
Att
Pct
Yds
Y/A
AY/A
TD
Int
Rate
2001
Miami (OH)MAC
FR​
QB​
12​
241​
381​
63.3​
3105​
8.1​
7.9​
25​
13​
146.5​
2002
Miami (OH)MAC
SO​
QB​
12​
271​
428​
63.3​
3238​
7.6​
7.4​
22​
11​
138.7​
*2003
Miami (OH)MAC
JR​
QB​
14​
342​
495​
69.1​
4486​
9.1​
9.6​
37​
10​
165.8​
Career
Miami (OH)
854
1304
65.5
10829
8.3
8.4
84
34
151.3




Similar statistics in less games, with less weapons…



There are a TON of factors that make a good QB. Not all of which have been sorted out quite yet, but could this be a factor? This is not a rule. Trevor Lawrence appears to have the goods AND have elite talent around him. Burrow appears to be transitioning well while playing with a stacked offense at LSU. Tua went to Alabama and that book isn’t written… yet. But maybe, just maybe we need to start thinking about WHO is around the QB we’re looking to draft, in addition to the other factors of wins, yards, tds and INTS. Top tier receivers create separation and the passing window is bigger. Top Tier RBs open up the offense for QBs with play action. Having playmakers that tower in talent over their competition can possibly mask deficiencies a college QB may have… lets keep that in mind when we’re evaluating the ‘next big thing.’





There is a ‘pink elephant’ in the room here… and it’s a legitimate connection to what inspired me to look deeper into this subject to hopefully paint a clearer picture… This does not necessarily paint a clear picture about the future of our young QB, but was more a thought of what to look for in 2021 and beyond.
 

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Boone

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That is some great data. I would add two factors to those you looked at:

1) Intangibles. This would include things like personality, confidence, adaptability, calm, decision-making, and 'leadership'. Take two QBs of roughly the same talent level - and one might become a franchise QB, the other a bust. Chances are it is those intangibles that spell the difference. Russell Wilson isn't the prototypical NFL QB. His talent level is fine, but nothing special, and that's in large part why he hung around until the 3rd round of the NFL draft. Almost everyone missed that he had special intangibles. Of course, one could argue that those intangibles are in play during a college career as well, so a close review of college success should reflect those factors as well. There's only one problem with that - it doesn't seem to work that way. Which leads me to my 2nd point...

2) The NFL is different. ST is trying to determine what data can tell us who is going to be 'a good QB'. But we all know, predicting success or failure as an NFL QB based on college performance is a dicey proposition. That's because they are very different games. At the college level, the upper tier teams are stacked with talent, mid and lower tier teams, not so much. The 'top QB prospects' are going to be on those top teams nearly by default. Most are going to post up gaudy numbers against lots of mid to low tier teams. They will pad their resume and it can be hard to determine whose talent will translate to the NFL. The NFL game is monumentally faster. So while a QB may have the raw talent to succeed, he may not have the mind that allows him to process what defenses are looking at or execute the right play to the right player at the right time consistently. The NFL is just a different beast altogether. It's why we have heard a lot about QBs being 'pro ready' or favoring QBs who play for colleges with a 'Pro-style offense'.

When it comes to my two factors, it's impossible not to apply them to young Dwayne Haskins. ST did not even mention Haskins in his analysis (and not trying to hijack his thread) but it is inevitable that we apply some of this in an assessment of his game. And let's be honest - the two factors I brought up are precisely the ones in question with our young QB. Setting aside the caveat that Haskins only started at OSU for a little more than a season, it was a statistically dominant season. I've mentioned before, Om and I watched much of his college film and he looked fantastic. No one based on that film assessment would've predicted he'd struggle as much as he has. So what's the difference?

Did the fact that he was surrounded by top tier talent and was coached by one of the best all-time college coaches in a simplified offense mask weaknesses in the areas I mentioned?
 

SilentThreat

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He has not lit the world on fire, but he's been effective. He had 93 yards passing vs the Rams.
 

MikefromOH

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I would rather have Lawrence or keep Smith for a few more years.

Smith isn't going to get top dollar again and he knows it. Hell, he might not even get another shot to start anywhere out of fear. I would not be mad if we kept him.

I don't trust quarterbacks coming out of Ohio St. I am a Buckeyes fan and I say that. They have a great system, play softer than most schedules, and have amazing athletes around them. Haskins had McLaurin and Dobbins. That just screams easy peezy for the QB.
 

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It’s complicated. Judging human beings and how they are going to perform in a new environment.

But to me the mitigating factors in that assessment of risk is looking to see if the college system had some degree of complexity and decision-making for the qb AND the qb you want to draft has decent experience running that offense.

Haskins was beyond raw only starting 14 games in college and the Ohio St. system was dumbed down for all the qbs so they had limited reads and it could be mastered quickly by the next qb coming into the program.
 

SilentThreat

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So? Effective is about the best you can ask for from a rookie an in his first starts.

The way I read your post it was as if you thought he was the better pick over Young and I simply disagree at this point. Yes we could have had Tua, and our defense likely still be alright, but there are a lot of unknowns. I'm not sold on Tua.... yet.
 

Oldguyfromchester

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The way I read your post it was as if you thought he was the better pick over Young and I simply disagree at this point. Yes we could have had Tua, and our defense likely still be alright, but there are a lot of unknowns. I'm not sold on Tua.... yet.
I do think he would have been a better p ick. I like Chase Young, his bonehead penalty at the end of Sunday's game notwithstanding. I just don't believe you use your first round pick on a defensive guy unless you are loaded everywhere else.
I never believed in Haskins. His draft stock had been dropping. Of course, you never know with these so-called experts. I seem to remember Mel Kiper touting Jimmy Clausen as the second best qb in his draft.
 

SilentThreat

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I do think he would have been a better p ick. I like Chase Young, his bonehead penalty at the end of Sunday's game notwithstanding. I just don't believe you use your first round pick on a defensive guy unless you are loaded everywhere else.
I never believed in Haskins. His draft stock had been dropping. Of course, you never know with these so-called experts. I seem to remember Mel Kiper touting Jimmy Clausen as the second best qb in his draft.

Fair enough. I think the conversation can be had that you don't pass elite talent for 'need.' Rivera and Smith might not be sold on Tua. Young has been touted with HOF talent, something this team has been void of since Sean Taylor.... and he wasn't a HOFer yet, but the talent was there. I personally don't care what position you take in the first round (outside of punter / kicker) if that player is going to be top tier. People were critical of the Scherff pick, but at the end of the day he's arguably the best player on offense not named Terry McLaurin. I would prefer to take an all pro guard in the first, than a middle of the pack WR.

Tua's book is not written, so ultimately he could be the guy... time will tell.
 

China

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I do think he would have been a better p ick. I like Chase Young, his bonehead penalty at the end of Sunday's game notwithstanding. I just don't believe you use your first round pick on a defensive guy unless you are loaded everywhere else.
I never believed in Haskins. His draft stock had been dropping. Of course, you never know with these so-called experts. I seem to remember Mel Kiper touting Jimmy Clausen as the second best qb in his draft.
To be fair, that (2010) was a crappy draft for QBs. Clausen was drafted in the 2nd round, and the two QBs taken above him were Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow. The next QB taken after Clausen? Colt McCoy. Here's the full list:

Sam Bradford (Rd. 1)
Tim Tebow (Rd. 1)
Jimmy Clausen (Rd. 2)
Colt McCoy (Rd. 3)
Mike Kafka (Rd. 4)
John Skelton (Rd. 5)
Jonathan Crompton (Rd. 5)
Rusty Smith (Rd. 6)
Dan LeFevour (Rd. 6)
Tony Pike (Rd. 6)
Levi Brown (Rd. 7)
Sean Canfield (Rd. 7)
Zac Robinson (Rd. 7)

Not exactly a who's who of premier NFL quarterbacks.
 

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