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The 4 principles to avoid drafting a QB bust


Jetsfan80

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There’s one and only one principle, get people who know what they want out of a qb and know what they are looking at. The rest is nonsense. There were experts who had Mahomes as a 3rd round draft pick. Andy Reid knows what he is doing and knew what he wanted.

we have nobody in the building who fits the only important principle so this is a guaranteed failure if you let this group pick another qb

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3 minutes ago, Jetsfan80 said:

Here's the simple truth when it comes to QB prospects:  There's no slam dunks.  Supposedly generational prospects can disappoint.  Athletic freaks with cannon arms can bust.  You can think a QB has all the attributes needed to succeed, but then they get to the league and all of a sudden he isn't a quick enough processor to play the position at the NFL level. 

Arguably the most important trait of a QB (quick processing) is perhaps the hardest to judge out of a college prospect, followed likely by accuracy.  Perhaps one day we'll be able to assess the former in a more quantitative way using virtual reality, but until that becomes a mainstream option, it's still a mystery.

However, we DO know, with historical information in our pockets, which QBs tend to bust.  The QBase tool from Football Outsiders has been particularly good at sniffing these out.  I performed an analysis on this a few years ago and based on their DYAR projections vs DYAR actuals, they figured out who the busts were going to be at about a 75 % clip.  

Armed with this knowledge, here's the top 3 qualities to avoid with any QB prospect that comes around:

 

1) Avoid QB's with limited experience.  Avoid picking QBs who had less than 30 college starts (like Trey Lance, Mark Sanchez or Sam Darnold) or QBs who didn't play the position in High School (Darnold).  There's no greater teacher than experience (wisdom, I.E. "sitting and watching") isn't enough at the QB position.

2) Don't pick QB's with accuracy and turnover issues.  This one should be fairly obvious, except that Sam Darnold led all of FBS in turnovers his final year of college yet was selected by the Jets anyways.  Christian Hackenberg threw 31 career INTs and only completed 56 % of his collegiate throws.  Josh Allen bucked the accuracy trend but is a very rare (maybe the only) exception in a sea of failures at the QB position.  

3) Pass on QB's who consistenly struggled against strong competition.  Zach Wilson fits the bill on this one.  Go back and watch his few games against strong competition.  He looked awfully similar to the QB he ended up being in the pros.  QBs who light up the scoreboard against non-P5s or low-end P5 schools are fun to watch, but we all know "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth".  And that's what tends to happen when you're going up against a higher level P5.

4) Look elsewhere if the QB is an unathletic slug and is NOT special in other areas.  Given the difficulties with identifying QBs who have great processing speed, lately teams have opted to go after the athletic freaks who can "buy time" as a hedge against this.  Cam Newton, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts and Anthony Richardson are the "poster children" for QBs in this mold who have found varying levels of success.  Trey Lance is a cautionary tale here, but remember, he also was in Category 1 of this list.  If a QB is NOT in this category of athleticism, its best to tread very cautiously when selecting him.  You'd better be sure about him in today's NFL.

All good but maybe a fifth should be the desire to be a football player.  They have to want.  And they have to want to win at all costs.  Find the guy who wants to win any game they’re playing and are hurt when they lose.

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2 minutes ago, rangerous said:

All good but maybe a fifth should be the desire to be a football player.  They have to want.  And they have to want to win at all costs.  Find the guy who wants to win any game they’re playing and are hurt when they lose.

True.  You would hope that gets parsed out in the pre-draft process but some guys are con artists (Johnny Manziel) or good at hiding their lack of love for the game.  

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2 minutes ago, rangerous said:

All good but maybe a fifth should be the desire to be a football player.  They have to want.  And they have to want to win at all costs.  Find the guy who wants to win any game they’re playing and are hurt when they lose.

That would be the thing to look for in theory, but hard to gauge in practice. 

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28 minutes ago, Beerfish said:

That leaves......no one, there is no QB worth drafting.

 

26 minutes ago, Ken Schroy said:

Yep, pretty much eliminates every QB in the draft.

 

Highly drafted QBs taken in the last 10 years who avoided all 4 of these "bust criteria" and have succeeded in the NFL include:

 

Jared Goff

  • Experience:  37 collegiate starts
  • Accuracy/Turnovers:  62.3  % / 96:30 TD:INT ratio
  • Competition:  2014 - 360 yds 2 TDs/0 INTs in L vs # 6 Oregon;  2015 - W @ Texas 45-44 ; 386 yds 2 TDs/0 INTs in L @ # 15 Stanford 
  • Athleticism:  Passable

Joe Burrow

  • Experience:  28 starts
  • Accuracy/Turnovers:  68.8 % / 11 career INTs
  • Competition:  National champion and undefeated season with LSU
  • Athleticism:  Passable

Justin Herbert

  • Experience:  43 starts
  • Accuracy/Turnovers:  64 % / 23 careeer INTs
  • Competition:  2018 - 39027 W vs # 7 Washington; 2019 - 37-15 W vs # 5 Utah; 28-27 W at Rose Bowl
  • Athleticism:  Passable

Jalen Hurts

  • Experience:  43 career college starts
  • Accuracy/Turnovers:  65 % / 20 career INTs
  • Competition:  SEC for 2 years
  • Athleticism:  Off the charts

Tua Tagovailoa

  • Experience:  24 starts (32 games)
  • Accuracy/Turnovers:  69.3 % / 11 INTs
  • Competition:  3 years in SEC, National champion in 2017-18
  • Athleticism:  Passable/above average
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3 minutes ago, Jetsfan80 said:

 

 

Highly drafted QBs taken in the last 10 years who avoided all 4 of these "bust criteria" and have succeeded in the NFL include:

 

Jared Goff

  • Experience:  37 collegiate starts
  • Accuracy/Turnovers:  62.3  % / 96:30 TD:INT ratio
  • Competition:  2014 - 360 yds 2 TDs/0 INTs in L vs # 6 Oregon;  2015 - W @ Texas 45-44 ; 386 yds 2 TDs/0 INTs in L @ # 15 Stanford 
  • Athleticism:  Passable

Joe Burrow

  • Experience:  28 starts
  • Accuracy/Turnovers:  68.8 % / 11 career INTs
  • Competition:  National champion and undefeated season with LSU
  • Athleticism:  Passable

Justin Herbert

  • Experience:  43 starts
  • Accuracy/Turnovers:  64 % / 23 careeer INTs
  • Competition:  2018 - 39027 W vs # 7 Washington; 2019 - 37-15 W vs # 5 Utah; 28-27 W at Rose Bowl
  • Athleticism:  Passable

Jalen Hurts

  • Experience:  43 career college starts
  • Accuracy/Turnovers:  65 % / 20 career INTs
  • Competition:  SEC for 2 years
  • Athleticism:  Off the charts

Tua Tagovailoa

  • Experience:  24 starts (32 games)
  • Accuracy/Turnovers:  69.3 % / 11 INTs
  • Competition:  3 years in SEC, National champion in 2017-18
  • Athleticism:  Passable/above average

 

And meanwhile, if you can get an elite athlete at QB, you can overlook SOME of the bust criteria on the list.

Cam Newton, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Anthony Richardson were not accurate college passers, and had their fair share of turnover issues.  They have succeeded to varying degrees (obviously w/Richardson its VERY early, but those returns were positive) because of their elite athletic traits.

But you still need to at least avoid a FEW of the bust criteria.  Trey Lance was an elite athlete but he barely played and never really played top competition.  That's just TOO many red flags.

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57 minutes ago, Jetsfan80 said:

Here's the simple truth when it comes to QB prospects:  There's no slam dunks.  Supposedly generational prospects can disappoint.  Athletic freaks with cannon arms can bust.  You can think a QB has all the attributes needed to succeed, but then they get to the league and all of a sudden he isn't a quick enough processor to play the position at the NFL level. 

Accuracy is a hugely important trait for a college prospect, but arguably the most important trait, quick processing, is perhaps the hardest to judge when evaluating prospects. Perhaps one day we'll be able to assess this in a more quantitative way using virtual reality, but until that becomes a mainstream option, it's still a bit of a mystery.

However, we DO know, with historical information in our pockets, which QBs tend to bust.  The QBase tool from Football Outsiders has been particularly good at sniffing these out.  I performed an analysis on this a few years ago and based on their DYAR projections vs DYAR actuals, they figured out who the busts were going to be at about a 75 % clip.  

Armed with this knowledge, here's the top 3 qualities to avoid with any QB prospect that comes around:

 

1) Avoid QB's with limited experience.  Avoid picking QBs who had less than 30 college starts (like Trey Lance, Mark Sanchez or Sam Darnold) or QBs who didn't play the position in High School (Darnold).  There's no greater teacher than experience.  Wisdom, I.E. "sitting and watching", isn't enough at the QB position.

2) Don't pick QB's with accuracy and turnover issues.  This one should be fairly obvious, except that Sam Darnold led all of FBS in turnovers his final year of college yet was selected by the Jets anyways.  Christian Hackenberg threw 31 career INTs and only completed 56 % of his collegiate throws.  Josh Allen bucked the accuracy trend but is a very rare (maybe the only) exception in a sea of failures at the QB position.  

3) Pass on QB's who consistenly struggled against strong competition.  Zach Wilson fits the bill on this one.  Go back and watch his few games against strong competition.  He looked awfully similar to the QB he ended up being in the pros.  QBs who light up the scoreboard against non-P5s or low-end P5 schools are fun to watch, but we all know "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth".  And that's what tends to happen when you're going up against a higher level P5.

4) Look elsewhere if the QB is an unathletic slug and is NOT special in other areas.  Given the difficulties with identifying QBs who have great processing speed, lately teams have opted to go after the athletic freaks who can "buy time" as a hedge against this.  Cam Newton, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts and Anthony Richardson are the "poster children" for QBs in this mold who have found varying levels of success.  Trey Lance is a cautionary tale here, but remember, he also was in Category 1 of this list.  If a QB is NOT in this category of athleticism, its best to tread very cautiously when selecting him.  You'd better be sure about him in today's NFL.

Woody and the Jets organization will any QB no matter if he fills all your requirements!! They are experts at it. It's the only they're good at.

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1 minute ago, JTJet said:

1- 4 years college, 2 years CFL

2- 74 TDs 37 INTs / 43 Rushing TDs

3- Crushed Northern Iowa, Indiana State, Drake, North Dakota. Won a Grey Cup. 

4- Built like a tank with abs to die for. Wears a cowboy hat while smoking cigars with a mink coat and will steal your woman. 

I should’ve added a 5th criteria that just said “must have abs”.  

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It isn’t the traits. That’s really really overrated.  It’s having a stable franchise with quality coaching and pass protection that matters. 
 

Rosen/Mayfield/Darnold/Allen/Jackson 

either NFL teams have no idea how to scout QBs or where they go matters a LOT more. 

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Just now, Larz said:

It isn’t the traits. That’s really really overrated.  It’s having a stable franchise with quality coaching and pass protection that matters. 
 

Rosen/Mayfield/Darnold/Allen/Jackson 

either NFL teams have no idea how to scout QBs or where they go matters a LOT more. 

Then why do teams devote so many resources to scouting QBs and pay coaches so little?

And why do so many bad teams with high picks end up taking QBs who go on to great success?  Justin Herbert was drafted by a team with the # 32 ranked OL his rookie year and a HC that ended up getting fired, yet set the rookie TD record.

Traits >>> circumstances.  Greatness can only be delayed, not denied.  

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Shadeur Sanders fits. If he comes out, I think he’s the guy.

Accuracy is interesting because Zach was accurate in college. But we all know he is not an accurate QB.

The great thing about Sanders as a prospect is that you can see how he handles NFL level pressure. He cant sit back there, eat a burrito, check his email, and throw the ball. Colorado’s OL is trash. Sanders needs to process quickly and get the ball out.

At Jackson St, he didnt play against good competition. But now he has games against top teams. Oregon was his toughest tape. But those guys were really blowing up their OL to a point where it was unrealistic to do anything.

Not sure if one year of stiff competition is sufficient though.

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1 hour ago, Jetsfan80 said:

Here's the simple truth when it comes to QB prospects:  There's no slam dunks.  Supposedly generational prospects can disappoint.  Athletic freaks with cannon arms can bust.  You can think a QB has all the attributes needed to succeed, but then they get to the league and all of a sudden he isn't a quick enough processor to play the position at the NFL level. 

Accuracy is a hugely important trait for a college prospect, but arguably the most important trait, quick processing, is perhaps the hardest to judge when evaluating prospects. Perhaps one day we'll be able to assess this in a more quantitative way using virtual reality, but until that becomes a mainstream option, it's still a bit of a mystery.

However, we DO know, with historical information in our pockets, which QBs tend to bust.  The QBase tool from Football Outsiders has been particularly good at sniffing these out.  I performed an analysis on this a few years ago and based on their DYAR projections vs DYAR actuals, they figured out who the busts were going to be at about a 75 % clip.  

Armed with this knowledge, here's the top 3 qualities to avoid with any QB prospect that comes around:

 

1) Avoid QB's with limited experience.  Avoid picking QBs who had less than 25 college starts (like Trey Lance, Mark Sanchez or Sam Darnold) or QBs who didn't play the position in High School (Darnold).  There's no greater teacher than experience.  Wisdom, I.E. "sitting and watching", isn't enough at the QB position.

2) Don't pick QB's with accuracy and turnover issues.  This one should be fairly obvious, except that Sam Darnold led all of FBS in turnovers his final year of college yet was selected by the Jets anyways.  Christian Hackenberg threw 31 career INTs and only completed 56 % of his collegiate throws.  Josh Allen bucked the accuracy trend but is a very rare (maybe the only) exception in a sea of failures at the QB position.  

3) Pass on QB's who consistenly struggled against strong competition.  Zach Wilson fits the bill on this one.  Go back and watch his few games against strong competition.  He looked awfully similar to the QB he ended up being in the pros.  QBs who light up the scoreboard against non-P5s or low-end P5 schools are fun to watch, but we all know "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth".  And that's what tends to happen when you're going up against a higher level P5.

4) Look elsewhere if the QB is an unathletic slug and is NOT special in other areas.  Given the difficulties with identifying QBs who have great processing speed, lately teams have opted to go after the athletic freaks who can "buy time" as a hedge against this.  Cam Newton, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts and Anthony Richardson are the "poster children" for QBs in this mold who have found varying levels of success.  Trey Lance is a cautionary tale here, but remember, he also was in Category 1 of this list.  If a QB is NOT in this category of athleticism, its best to tread very cautiously when selecting him.  You'd better be sure about him in today's NFL.

 

Addendum

If you can get an elite athlete at QB, you can overlook SOME of the bust criteria on the above list.

Cam Newton, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Anthony Richardson were not accurate college passers, and had their fair share of turnover issues.  They have succeeded to varying degrees (obviously w/Richardson its VERY early, but those returns were positive) because of their elite athletic traits.

But you still need to at least avoid a FEW of the bust criteria.  Trey Lance was an elite athlete but he barely played and never really played top competition.  That's just TOO many red flags.

 

Highly drafted QBs taken in the last 10 years who avoided all 4 of these "bust criteria" and have succeeded in the NFL include:

 

Jared Goff

  • Experience:  37 collegiate starts
  • Accuracy/Turnovers:  62.3  % / 96:30 TD:INT ratio
  • Competition:  2014 - 360 yds 2 TDs/0 INTs in L vs # 6 Oregon;  2015 - W @ Texas 45-44 ; 386 yds 2 TDs/0 INTs in L @ # 15 Stanford 
  • Athleticism:  Passable

Joe Burrow

  • Experience:  28 starts
  • Accuracy/Turnovers:  68.8 % / 11 career INTs
  • Competition:  National champion and undefeated season with LSU
  • Athleticism:  Passable

Justin Herbert

  • Experience:  43 starts
  • Accuracy/Turnovers:  64 % / 23 careeer INTs
  • Competition:  2018 - 39027 W vs # 7 Washington; 2019 - 37-15 W vs # 5 Utah; 28-27 W at Rose Bowl
  • Athleticism:  Passable

Jalen Hurts

  • Experience:  43 career college starts
  • Accuracy/Turnovers:  65 % / 20 career INTs
  • Competition:  SEC for 2 years
  • Athleticism:  Off the charts

Tua Tagovailoa

  • Experience:  24 starts (32 games)
  • Accuracy/Turnovers:  69.3 % / 11 INTs
  • Competition:  3 years in SEC, National champion in 2017-18
  • Athleticism:  Passable/above average

How about hire a GM who has selected a good QB before

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14 minutes ago, GreenFish said:

Accuracy is interesting because Zach was accurate in college. But we all know he is not an accurate QB.

But he failed at criteria # 3 because he failed too often against upper level competition.  Struggled pretty mightily against Utah, Washington and SDSU in 2019 and a ranked Coastal in 2020.  

Qualitatively, he demonstrated much of the same issues against the blitz as he did later as a pro.  

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