Is there anything more analyzed than the NFL draft and it’s prospects? If only oil and gas prices were analyzed as intensely maybe I wouldn’t spend so much time with the low fuel light on. With that said, for all the analyzing going on, it seems that most involved in the business suffer from this herd mentality. The top 5 or 10 are the same for pretty much everyone. Furthermore, the analysts make the same mistakes every year and then pontificate on what a bust a player is when history is just repeating itself. I guess I am the only fool that will look at things the way they really are and pay attention to history. Below is my list in order of the top QB’s (used loosely) in this year’s NFL draft. My list won’t look like many of the others you have viewed. My list is born out of what history has taught me about college QB entering into the pro game. Below the list, I explain some of the rankings that deviate sharply from what the “experts” are saying:
|Gridironstuds.com 2012 Draft QB Ratings|
|1||Robert Griffin III||Baylor||Top 1||Longest and most productive QB in class|
|2||Andrew Luck||Stanford||Top 1||Intelligent and productive in college|
|3||Kirk Cousins||Michigan St.||Mid-Late 1||3 year producer in Big 10 with physical tools|
|4||Russell Wilson||Wisconsin||Top 2||3 + prodcuer at 2 schools in 2 major conferences|
|5||Nick Foles||Arizona||Top 2||3 year producer with physical attributes|
|6||Case Keenum||Houston||Late 2 – Top 3||Hard to ignore the length and depth of production|
|7||Brandon Weeden||Oklahoma St.||Late 2 – Top 3||2 solid years. Age is a negative|
|8||Ryan Lindley||San Diego St.||Top 3||3 year producer that is underated bc of school|
|9||Austin Davis||S. Mississippi||Top – Mid 3||3 year producer that is underated bc of school|
|10||G.J. Kinne||Tulsa||Mid 3||3 year producer with phyiscal attributes|
|11||Darron Thomas||Oregon||Mid-Late 3||Solid 2 year producer. Run oriented system|
|12||Ryan Tannehill||Texas A&M||Late 3||Overrated, inexperienced, rising due to wkouts|
|13||Kellen Moore||Boise St.||Mid-Late 4||Outstanding production lacks physical attributes|
Whoa! Ryan Tannehill 12th? Russell Wilson 4th? Ryan Lindley 8th? Caught your eye didn’t it? Here’s my criteria for potential NFL quarterbacks: Experience, production and then physical attributes. It’s always interesting to me how analysts will try to crystal ball prospects and rate them this way. NFL teams that engage in this practice set themselves up for failure. Experienced stock traders will tell you to get on a stock when it has made it’s initial run and then get off when you have secured a tidy profit. That’s how NFL draft picks should be pursued. Trying to guess that Apple is going to $400 a share when it’s currently at $5 will more than likely have you buying a stock like Tandy Computers that busts. How does this equate to potential NFL QB’s? There’s nothing like a college quarterback that has been a starter for three or more years. The only thing better than that is quarterback that has produced quite well at the college level for three or more years. That prospect has shown you what he’s going to be like in the NFL. He is a stock that has made it’s run. Many can go out and have one great year but a whole lot less can go out after a great season and light it up again when everyone on the schedule is gunning for you. When you find a guy that did that for two or three years after they were the man then you have a guy that can hack it in the National Football League.
In the NFL you are playing the same teams over and over and teams will have a ton of information on you before you even step on the field to play. The question is can you adjust and maintain when teams know you and game plan against you? I put a premium on quarterbacks that have shown me they can do that in college. So if you are a one year starter, chances are, you are going to have a hard time in the NFL. On top of that, the higher up you are picked as an inexperienced QB, the greater the chance of failure because the pressure will kill you. I am only semi-sold on two year starters that have produced both years. You better have the physical attributes if that’s the case and even in that situation I am still taking a bit of a shot in the dark on you. Now when you have produced for three years or even four years, you have shown me that you can handle the grind of the NFL. Unless you have glaring weaknesses in physical attributes, i.e. very short, very weak arm, etc. or you have off the field issues then you have the goods to be an NFL playmaker at the QB position.
Of course, I love history and I went back to research this little theory I have. I will start off by saying that there are always exceptions to the rule. So don’t go emailing me about the guys here and there that you saw with one or two years in college or little production that got it done in the NFL. Furthermore, don’t go emailing me Ty Detmer’s name. I did say that they can’t have glaring NFL physical impediments. Detmer was very short and had a weak arm. Despite that, he did do a decent job the one year that he was entrusted to run the team. I’ll tell you this, Andre Ware and David Klingler would have loved to have had that one season that Detmer did.
Do your research and you will see the Alex Smith’s, Mark Sanchez’s, Jamarcus Russell’s, Vince Young’s of the NFL that had or are having a hard time because they were high draft picks with a lot of pressure and not enough experience to combat it. Turn around now and check the length and depth of college production from Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tony Romo. Check the history of the John Elways, Dan Marinos, Brett Favres. Someone will want to show me Tom Brady. Brady did not have that three year or four year Michigan starting career nor did he put up big numbers but you know what else, he wasn’t drafted in the first round. Nor was he drafted in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th round. I am willing to bet that Tom Brady’s NFL career would not have been as fruitful if he was a top 10 or 20 pick when he came out. His lack of college production combined with the pressure of being a #1 pick would have changed the course of his career. As a 6th rounder, he entered the NFL with no pressure and a nothing to lose mentality. He also ended up on a great football team.
Many high producers in college don’t get the necessary chance in the NFL because scouts and analysts get hung up on things that don’t mean squat. They overemphasize height by getting down on a guy that’s 6 feet tall (Drew Brees) or a guy who can’t throw it 80 yards like Jamarcus Russell. Well Chad Pennington had a pretty solid NFL career without the rocket arm. When you have a chance, check the length and depth of Chad Pennington’s college career against Jamarcus Russell’s or Joey Harrington’s. It should come as no surprise why he outperformed them both at the next level. Houston’s Case Keenum is this type of guy. The most prolific passer in college football history who stands at a reasonable 6’1″ is being down graded for all kinds of reasons, knee surgery, delivery, college offensive system, blah, blah, blah. These guys with these so called impediments have had them all their lives and somehow they managed to win a starting job, go out and produce and then do it year after year with everyone trying to stop them. You have to pay attention to that.
After you get over the shock of these rankings, do some research. Check the college production of a quarterback and match it up with what they did in the pros. One of the best sites online to go do this research is Totalfootballstats.com. You will be able to view the college and pro stats of almost any player you desire (from the modern era of course). Check it out. The proof is in the pudding.