Lewin Career Forecast 2012

Lewin Career Forecast 2012
Lewin Career Forecast 2012
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

Six years ago, Football Outsiders unveiled the college quarterback projection system known as the Lewin Career Forecast. Originally, the LCF projected the success of first- and second-round quarterbacks using just college games started and college completion percentage. Going back -- including when looking at quarterbacks from the years before the data set used to create it -- it had a strong record. After 2006, the record was not so strong. So last year, we debuted an updated version of the forecast, LCF v2.0.

The new version of the Lewin Career Forecast is built to apply only to quarterbacks chosen in the first three rounds of the draft. After that, quarterback success and failure becomes too difficult to predict. Part of the concept of the system is that scouts will do a good enough job identifying "system quarterbacks" so that those quarterbacks whose college stats are much better than their pro potential will naturally fall to the third day of the draft.

There are seven variables involved in LCF v2.0:

  • Career college games started, with a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 48.
  • Career completion rate; however, this is now a logrithmic variable. As a quarterback's completion percentage goes down, the penalty for low completion percentage gets gradually larger. As a result, the bonus for exceedingly accurate quarterbacks such as Tim Couch and Brian Brohm is smaller than the penalty for inaccurate quarterbacks such as Kyle Boller and Tarvaris Jackson.
  • Difference between the quarterback's BMI and 28.0. This creates a small penalty for quarterbacks who don't exactly conform to the "ideal quarterback size."
  • For quarterbacks who come out as seniors, the difference in NCAA passer rating between their junior and senior seasons. (For quarterbacks who come out as juniors or redshirt sophomores, this variable is always 5.0, which is the average increase for the seniors in our data set.)
  • A binary variable that penalizes quarterbacks who don't play for a team in a BCS-qualifying conference.
  • Run-pass ratio in the quarterback's final college season, with a maximum of 0.5.
  • Total rushing yards in the quarterback's final college season, with a minimum of 0 and a maximum of 600.

These last two variables work together to penalize both quarterbacks who scramble too often and quarterbacks who take a lot of sacks (since sacks are negative runs in college), while pocket quarterbacks who are successful when they do run get a bonus.

The biggest question about LCF continues to be the importance of games started. This is still the most important variable in the equation. As I explained in last year's article, any quarterback projection system based on past performance is going to highly value collegiate games started. From 1990 to 2005, it was far and away the most important variable in determining the success of highly-drafted quarterbacks. However, there are questions about whether the rise of the spread offense is leading to number of quarterbacks who come into the NFL with a lot of collegiate experience yet still unprepared for the NFL-style game. Other quarterbacks have come into the NFL with less experience and done very well. The best example of this would be Cam Newton, who seems like the kind of guy who is built to break this system. He started only one year of Division I ball and looked like a huge risk, then put together one of the best rookie quarterback seasons in NFL history. Aaron Rodgers is another player who was underrated by the system; given the success of Newton and Rodgers, perhaps we need to consider adding junior college experience to the variable for collegiate games started.

Newton demonstrates where the system can go wrong, while Andy Dalton demonstrates where the system can go right. Dalton was the highest-rated prospect in last year's draft according to LCF and while his numbers (and his potential) don't match Newton's, his rookie performance surprised a number of observers who felt his arm wasn't strong enough to be a good NFL starting quarterback.

It's important to understand that LCF is meant to be a tool used alongside the scouting reports, not instead of the scouting reports. What matters is not which quarterback is ahead of which other quarterback by 100 points. Instead, what's important is who has an overall good or bad projection. Scouts still come first and foremost, but this method is valuable as a crosscheck device and should be part of the conversation about quarterback draft prospects.

With that in mind, let's look at the projections for this year's quarterbacks. These numbers represent an estimate for passing DYAR in years 3-5 of a player's career. The top prospects will be above 1,200 DYAR, and you should avoid quarterbacks below zero. Let's start with the top two guys, two of the highest-rated quarterbacks in LCF history who will also be the first two picks in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Robert Griffin, Baylor: 2,530 DYAR

Important stats: 40 games started, 67.0% completion rate, senior passer rating rose 45.3 points, 161 carries for 644 yards.

Andrew Luck, Stanford: 1,749 DYAR

Important stats: 37 games started, 66.4% completion rate, senior passer rating dropped -0.5 points, 47 carries for 150 yards.

Robert Griffin comes out with the strongest LCF projection of any quarterback we've measured. Here are the top ten quarterbacks by LCF projection since 1998:

Player Year LCF
Robert Griffin 2012 2530
Philip Rivers 2004 2476
Drew Brees 2001 2190
Colt McCoy 2010 2092
Carson Palmer 2003 1973
Peyton Manning 1998 1784
Andrew Luck 2012 1749
Chad Pennington 2000 1678
Brady Quinn 2007 1518
Jason Campbell 2005 1506

Griffin and Luck are basically LCF's dream candidates. They're both longtime starters with tons of college experience. Both have strong completion rates. Both get good yardage when scrambling. The biggest difference between the two according to LCF is what happened in their senior year. Luck, who was stellar as a junior, saw his passer rating stay constant. Griffin, on the other hand, improved significantly. The 45.3-point rise in his passer rating as a senior is largest senior improvement in our database (surpassing Jason Campbell, who rose 40.3 points) and the second-largest senior change in our database (behind only Rex Grossman, whose passer rating as a senior dropped 49.3 points). Statistically, Griffin's senior year was better than Luck's, his junior year not as good. This could indicate that Griffin is still improving, still learning, and still getting better, with more room to grow in the pros. Of course, it also could indicate that Griffin's 2011 season was a little fluky, and one of the arguments I've read against Griffin as a can't-miss prospect is that most scouts didn't have him as a first-round pick before his senior season. With all due respect to those scouts, it was pretty obvious within the first two or three games of the year that they were wrong. And even if Griffin's passer rating as a senior had stayed the same as his passer rating as a junior, Griffin would still have this year's highest LCF projection at 1,994.

Again, this little statistical exercise is not definitive proof that the Colts should draft Griffin over Luck. What's important here is that both quarterbacks come out as top prospects, and unlike with Colt McCoy, the scouting reports match the statistical projection.

One last note: The argument against "Luck and Griffin are about as close to can't miss as quarterback prospects can be" is not "well, people said the same thing about Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf." We know more now than we did then. Leaf started only 24 games and completed just 55.4 percent of his passes in college. His LCF projection is at -407. If Football Outsiders had been around in 1998, we would have been arguing that Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf weren't even in the same universe as prospects.

Nick Foles, Arizona: 1,391 DYAR

Important stats: 33 games started, 66.9% completion rate, 43 carries for -103 yards.

Foles is this year's version of Ricky Stanzi, a guy whose strong LCF forecast will probably end up moot because scouts will determine that he's not worth of a pick in the first three rounds. His film from 2011 has apparently dropped him on a lot of draft boards, and he had a poor combine performance. Greg Cosell calls him a "major projection" based on slow arm speed and an inability to drive intermediate-lenth passes. He also has an elongated delivery. I'm not a scouting expert by any means, and I haven't seen Foles play, but the scouting reports on Foles remind me a lot of the scouting reports on Andy Dalton, except that Dalton didn't have a problem with a slow delivery.

Kirk Cousins, Michigan State: 1,362 DYAR

Important stats: 38 games started, 64.6% completion rate.

One interesting note about Cousins is his fluctuating size. He's 6-foot-3 and weighed in at the combine at 214 pounds, which leads to a 26.7 BMI. That's lower than usual for quarterbacks, but not extremely low. However, he played the 2011 season at 202 pounds and 25.2 BMI. The data set used to create LCF v2.0 doesn't have a single quarterback listed below 205 pounds or 25.8 BMI. The team drafting Cousins needs to make sure he keeps up an intensive strength program so he's sturdy enough to take the hits he's going to take in the NFL. The ESPN Scouts Inc. profile of Cousins (note: Insider) lists him with "below average" durability.

Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State: 1,011 DYAR

Important stats: 25 games started, 69.5% completion rate, 26.8 BMI

Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M: 730 DYAR

Important stats: 19 games started, 62.3% completion rate, 55 carries for 296 yards.

Given the way they are discussed, you would never know that Ryan Tannehill had almost as many college starts as Brandon Weeden. Sure, Tannehill spent his first two years as a wide receiver before spending a year and a half as the Aggies' starting quarterback. But Weeden spent all those years as a baseball player, then was redshirted, and ended up only starting two full seasons. So while Tannehill may be a more raw talent than Weeden, and he wasn't as accurate as Weeden in college, he has far more potential. The LCF doesn't know that Weeden will turn 29 in the middle of his rookie season. When John Beck came into the league as an overaged prospect, he had 12 more games of starting experience than Weeden has and was three years younger.

Brock Osweiler, Arizona State: 248 DYAR

Important stats: 14 games started, 60.3% completion rate.

The LCF likes this year's quarterback prospects, with one exception: Brock Osweiler. Osweiler is built for LCF to hate. He has a low completion rate and only started one season in college (along with a single game in each of his first two seasons) before coming out for the draft early. LCF doesn't ding him for this, but there also need to be concerns about his height. He was listed at 6-foot-8 during the season, although he measured 6-foot-7 at the combine. Either way, he's taller than any quarterback in the LCF data set. The FO master database lists only two quarterbacks since 1992 who were at least 6-foot-7: Ryan Mallett and Dan McGwire. Dan McGwire also had very few games started (23) and a low completion rate (59.1 percent). You don't want to be compared to Dan McGwire.

The Asterisk

Russell Wilson, Wisconsin: 2,650 DYAR

Important stats: 48 games started, 60.7% completion rate, senior passer rating rose 64.1 points.

I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention the ridiculous projection that the Lewin Career Forecast spits out for Russell Wilson. Yes, that projection is even higher than the one for Robert Griffin. No, it doesn't particularly mean that Wilson is a sleeper prospect. There are a few things going on here that the LCF is just not designed to account for.

First and foremost, the change in Wilson's passer rating between his junior and senior years is insane. Remember that earlier I noted that Griffin had a larger senior year passer rating increase than any quarterback in our data set? Well, Wilson's senior year passer rating increase is 40 percent larger than Griffin's. But does it matter when the quarterback is playing in a completely different offense for a completely different school in his last year of college eligibility? At Wisconsin, Wilson got to pick apart defenses that were concentrating on stopping Montee Ball. At North Carolina State, I doubt opponents were quaking in their boots at the thought of Mustafa Greene and Dean Haynes. It goes without saying that there isn't another quarterback in the LCF data set who transferred between his junior and senior years.

There's also the issue of height, another data point where there's nobody in our data set that can be compared to Wilson. At first, it seems strange that LCF doesn't include a variable to discount short quarterbacks, but when you look at the data set that went into creating LCF the reasons are pretty clear. There's no penalty for being 5-foot-11, like Wilson is, because there are no quarterbacks in the data set who are shorter than 6-foot-0. There's no penalty for being only 6-foot-0 because the two quarterbacks who are 6-foot-0 are Drew Brees and Michael Vick.

Quarterbacks who are Wilson's height simply don't get drafted in the first three rounds of the draft, period. The FO master database only includes three quarterbacks who are below six feet tall: Seneca Wallace, Joe Hamilton, and Flutie. That's a fourth-round pick, a seventh-round pick, and an 11th round pick from 25 years ago. Even if we go all the way back to 1991, the only quarterbacks taken in the first six rounds at 6-foot-0 or shorter were Vick, Brees, Wallace, Joe Germaine (fourth round, 1999), and Troy Smith (fifth round, 2007).

Wilson too will probably be drafted on the third day of the draft, round four or later, which would render his absurdly high LCF moot.


149 comments, Last at 10 Apr 2013, 4:29am

#1 by Keith(1) (not verified) // Mar 12, 2012 - 2:57pm

In the article, it is mentioned that RG3 would still be this year's "top prospect" even if he had not improved his passer rating. However, if we adjust his senior year for the incremental increases from his freshman-to-sophomore and his sophomore-to-junior years, what does he look like?

If he had a solid first three years and an outstanding final year, either he really did some learning and received some hard coaching, his competition decreased in difficulty, or it was a fluke.

Comparing his meteoric rise to Jason Campbell does little to instill confidence that he is going to be elite.

Points: 0

#3 by Walshmobile // Mar 12, 2012 - 3:39pm

Especially for us Skins fans. However I do find this high LCF2.0 number comforting.

Points: 0

#4 by Aaron Brooks G… // Mar 12, 2012 - 3:40pm

Griffin entered Baylor a runner who could throw and ended up a passer who could run.

Campbell is a bit of a sad story. For something like 9 consecutive seasons he found himself with a new offensive coordinator and a totally new offensive system. That he managed to be a decent QB in spite of this suggests he's actually fairly talented, and has gotten a severely raw deal in his QB career.

Points: 0

#9 by Keith(1) (not verified) // Mar 12, 2012 - 4:12pm

While I am not denigrating Jason Campbell to the point of calling him the new J. Russell, I am also not putting him in the clouds near Manning or Brady. If RG3 is at Jason Campbell's talent level, that is certainly good for the NFL; however, it is not worth the price paid to acquire the pick that will be used to draft him, especially considering that the pick is 2nd overall.

Points: 0

#41 by Whatev // Mar 13, 2012 - 1:41am

He's definitely not Peyton, but it's not THAT hard to imagine him being Eli. And that's pretty good.

Points: 0

#33 by dan s (not verified) // Mar 12, 2012 - 10:07pm

This is a great point...if you're worried about flukiness, there's a couple things you could do. This suggestion makes sense to me--weigh down the senior year more if the first two/three years are very consistent and much lower. Or, why not make this a logarithmic variable, too? I assume you guys messed around with the functional form of this stuff--did it make a difference here?

Points: 0

#68 by Mountain Time … // Mar 13, 2012 - 10:01pm

You should also remember that Griffin was a starting QB in the Big 12 as an 18 year old true freshman. You should expect massive improvement as he grows and learns.

Points: 0

#78 by Rocco // Mar 14, 2012 - 2:07pm

Not only was he an 18 year old starting QB, he was playing for a team with less talent around him than the main conference rivals. It's similar to what Eli did at Ole Miss against SEC teams with far more NFL draft picks.

Points: 0

#2 by Aaron Brooks G… // Mar 12, 2012 - 3:38pm

So we're dinging Wilson's projection because he played for a year with Montee Ball, but not knocking Andrew Luck for spending a season with Toby Gerhart? Or that Stanford and Wisconsin were nearly identical last year in terms of roster construction, offensive style (Stanford ran just as much and for as many yards as Wisconsin), and similar inability to beat Oregon.

So other than Russell Wilson being short, what's wrong with him? The Brees comparison is more apt than you'd think -- he looks a lot like Brees did at Purdue.

If you want to discount the transfer factor, what is his projection if you assumed a 4th year at NC State with a 5% senior bump? I think you're looking at decent prospect who turns the ball over too often, but those NC State teams were usually massively out-talented and he spent much of his first three years running for his life. Given a talent O-line, he revealed himself to be a very accurate, very ball-conscious QB.

Points: 0

#8 by Karl Cuba // Mar 12, 2012 - 4:07pm

There really is quite a lot to like about Wilson. His tape looks spookily like Griffin's. It depends on whether or not you agree with the world's female population that those extra couple of inches really matter.

Points: 0

#51 by TimLaw420 (not verified) // Mar 13, 2012 - 10:55am

With QBs size def. does matter especially if you're under 5'11" and remember he went from the ACC to the Big Ten win 3 monster RBs in the backfield and one of the biggest and experienced Olines in the country all he had to do was a PA to Ball and 2 or 3 receivers were wide open everytime. Also(I live in NE Iowa so I hear a lot about UW) Brent Bielema and the offensive coaches had to spread the oline out because Wilson was so short he couldn't throw accurately over the Oline. He also led the country in batted balls for a QB. I could see him as a backup in a west coast boot leg type offense like Shannahans or Kubieks but other than that nothing. However he's a great kid and I would love to see him be successful and make me eat my own words.

Points: 0

#61 by Aaron Brooks G… // Mar 13, 2012 - 2:42pm

Name this QB:

Positives... Touch passer with the ability to read and diagnose defensive coverages...Confident leader who knows how to take command in the huddle...Very tough and mobile moving around in the pocket...Has a quick setup and is very effective throwing on the move...Throws across his body with great consistency...Hits receivers in stride and improvises his throws in order to make a completion...Puts good zip behind the short and mid-range passes...Shows good judgement and keen field vision...Has a take-charge attitude and is very cool under pressure...Hits receivers in motion with impressive velocity...Has superb pocket presence and uses all of his offensive weapons in order to move the chains...Has solid body mechanics and quickness moving away from center... Elusive scrambler with the body control to avoid the rush.

Negatives... Plays in the spread offense, taking the bulk of his snaps from the shotgun... Tends to side-arm his passes going deep...Lacks accuracy and touch on his long throws... Seems more comfortable in the short/intermediate passing attack...Does not possess the ideal height you look for in a pro passer, though his ability to scan the field helps him compensate in this area...Will improvise and run when the passing lanes are clogged, but tends to run through defenders rather than trying to avoid them to prevent unnecessary punishment.

Points: 0

#62 by Thomas_beardown // Mar 13, 2012 - 2:45pm

I was going to guess Drew Brees, but I don't recall him running into defenders often.

Points: 0

#69 by Mountain Time … // Mar 13, 2012 - 10:04pm

You'd be right. Do a search for the text and Brees comes up.

Points: 0

#82 by Independent George // Mar 14, 2012 - 2:46pm

Except for that one line, though, I think everything in that description remains true.

Points: 0

#86 by Mr Shush // Mar 15, 2012 - 6:03am

Although while Brees now has excellent pocket awareness, that was something he struggled with a bit in his first two years, no?

Points: 0

#87 by Thomas_beardown // Mar 15, 2012 - 10:31am

I didn't watch him his first two years, but I would guess that he struggled finding passing lanes being only 6' tall. Which might have looked like poor pocket presence.

Points: 0

#88 by Shattenjager // Mar 15, 2012 - 11:12pm

From what I can remember as a fan of a division rival, no. I remember thinking of it as a strong point.

His Sack%+ in '02 was 114 and in '03 was 106, so, for what it's worth, he didn't actually get sacked much.

Points: 0

#75 by Aaron Brooks G… // Mar 14, 2012 - 10:39am

"Prone to heaving the ball the wrong direction" was not listed as a negative, so no, it's not Aaron Brooks.

Points: 0

#76 by Lebo // Mar 14, 2012 - 11:03am

Thought it might have been a trick question.

Points: 0

#90 by Lebo // Apr 02, 2012 - 11:17am

You gonna tell us who it is, bro? It would be appreciated. It's still bugging me.

Points: 0

#92 by Lebo // Apr 02, 2012 - 6:24pm

Wow. Brees tended "to run through defenders rather than trying to avoid them"? That is surprising. Thanks for clearing that up, Shushy.

Points: 0

#93 by Locke (not verified) // Apr 10, 2012 - 11:48pm

I'd really like to see where you're getting the stats on batted balls. In fact, I'm going to come right out and say it - you are making that up. I didn't miss a snap Wilson played last season and I recall very few balls batted down at the LOS. And it's not something I wasn't watching for - it was a something talked about and on many fans minds from the beginning. Three balls batted down is what I remember - that's what Wilson has said in interviews and I've seen scouts tweet use that same number after watching his films.

I'm curious who these "monster" RBs you think were in the backfield as well. Ball was 5'11", 210. His backup was James White who was 5'10" 195. Behind them were Gordon & Lewis both a little taller, but leaner yet at 6'1" 200 & 6'2" 210. I guess if you count the Bradie Ewing at fullback, he was a fairly big guy 6'0" 245. John Clay is long gone & the 2011-2013 crews may run hard but they're no bigger than what anyone else

Also - "Brent" Bielema did not mess with the blocking gaps. Phillip Rivers who's 6'5" has said that even at his height, he saying he throws over the lineman's heads is not really accurate - that stepping into & using passing lanes is part of playing the position. Certainly they moved the pocket around a lot both by design and on the fly and that won't be an option in the NFL to the same degree it was in college.

Points: 0

#94 by Mr Shush // Apr 11, 2012 - 8:10am

I think by "monster" he meant "very good", not "very large". And Rivers has a noticeably low action, so he may not be a great example to use. But I agree with the substance of your point: good throwing lanes are important to everyone, and it's hard to see why 5'11 should be so very much more of a problem than 6'.

And after all, if you drafted Flutie in the fourth round, you'd be pretty happy, right?

Points: 0

#95 by BaronFoobarstein // Apr 11, 2012 - 10:36am

Do I get a lifetime supply of Flutie Flakes in the deal?

Points: 0

#120 by Street (not verified) // Aug 30, 2012 - 2:49pm


Read that. Not only did DARUSS Wilson not "lead the nation" in batted balls as the poster you are referencing fabricated, he was tied with Andrew "Second coming of Montana" Luck with 2 the ENTIRE SEASON. That is a wonderful number, especially considering the made up Iowa-homer jiber-jaber about Wilson not seeing over the line well enough.

Points: 0

#113 by Erik Sklover (not verified) // May 16, 2012 - 10:40pm

Wilson only had four passes batted down all season his senior year. Playing behind the largest o-line in the country. It is bad to tell lies, you should apologize.

Points: 0

#116 by T-rey (not verified) // Aug 27, 2012 - 12:51am

Wilson did not lead the country in batted balls, he had 4 all year. None of what you have said is supported by facts.

Points: 0

#143 by SeahawksFan12 (not verified) // Jan 15, 2013 - 6:13pm

So, how was your forecast on Russell Wilson?

Points: 0

#146 by Tommmy (not verified) // Feb 22, 2013 - 9:06am

Eat your words!!!! Russell Wilson deserved ROTY!

Points: 0

#147 by MitchB (not verified) // Mar 03, 2013 - 11:24pm

And how do they taste?

Points: 0

#10 by Displaced Bolthead (not verified) // Mar 12, 2012 - 4:25pm

In all fairness to Luck, the Stanford receivers are sloooooow. He literally had to throw his receivers open. From what little I saw of Wilson, he threw to the open receiver. That's a big difference.

As for the transfer factor and Cam Newton, I'd say Newton is an anomaly. For a guy coming out of a spread offense in college, he played like he had a ball and chain on him in the pros. Granted, he did run, but only when everything broke down or when it was a designed play.

Points: 0

#14 by Dfields (not verified) // Mar 12, 2012 - 5:13pm

Luck did have Owusu, who is crazy fast, but also crazy injured. It might be worth a look to see his numbers with and without Owusu.

Points: 0

#19 by speedegg // Mar 12, 2012 - 5:45pm

That would have been cool if Owusu played in the Fiesta Bowl. Would have loved to see Luck throw deep bombs to Owusu and hear Phil Simms say something stupider about his lack of arm strength.

Points: 0

#107 by Hawkeye (not verified) // May 01, 2012 - 7:51pm

I suppose you didnt see Luck's African-named wide-out (whos actual name escapes me) run a sub 4.4 at the combine. Last I checked, that means youre fast. really fast.

Points: 0

#11 by justanothersteve // Mar 12, 2012 - 4:34pm

IMO, Andy Reid should grab Wilson in the fourth round. He's already a Vick clone in that he's only slightly shorter and slower, but he's also not a d-bg and is smart enough to learn the entire Wisconsin playbook before the season even started. Then when Vick gets hurt (and we all know he will), Reid could plug in Wilson and not change the offense.

Points: 0

#24 by chemical burn // Mar 12, 2012 - 6:27pm

I was thinking the exact same thing, especially since Reid has such a strong history of coaching up QB's - he's the guy I want taking an iffy prospect. Interestingly, I think that list of all-time LCF prospects proves if you are a QB, you do not want to go to Cleveland under any circumstances. I also have a feeling, the Washington culture might work to minimize the talents of whoever QB's there, be it Campbell or the new guy...

Also, how much is Leaf/Manning getting thrown around as a comparison (sorry haven't been following the off-season too closely)? Leading up to their draft, both were seen as surefire prospects 1A & 1B and it just seems like a repeat of that scenario is more likely than two legends going 1 & 2 overall...

Points: 0

#12 by Will Allen // Mar 12, 2012 - 4:46pm

If Russell was 6 foot 3, I think he likely would be a top-10 pick.

Points: 0

#15 by bubqr // Mar 12, 2012 - 5:29pm

Size aside, Wilson was really not impressive on what I saw from the senior Bowl practices + game. Seems like a great kid though.

Points: 0

#16 by Aaron Brooks G… // Mar 12, 2012 - 5:31pm

The East in the Senior Bowl was playing without an experienced center, weren't they?

Points: 0

#96 by Ryan Thomas (not verified) // Apr 16, 2012 - 11:33am

The comments on Russell Wilson are Knocking him for transferring to a new school, and that defenses were merely focusing on montee ball. where do you factor in a quarterback coming into a brand new offense, taking the starting job, mastering the playbook, and on top of that, his qb rating dramatically increasing in his first year of a brand new system?

Points: 0

#99 by GoPackGO (not verified) // Apr 18, 2012 - 11:56am

Russell Wilson is going to be a steal this draft ! He is gonna be a beast, he is one of the most hard working , humble guys there is. I don't necessarily see him being a drew brees but a good accurate consistent guy like a Matt Ryan kinda guy. He played behind one of the largest offensive lines in the country and set a NCAA record for a passer rating of 191.8 and out did everybody. I think that shows how much effect his height has on his game. No I understand that NFL defensives are much quicker, but I am not saying he is going to be Aaron Rodgers , Drew Brees or Brady just saying he will be better than average. Go Russell Wilson !!

Points: 0

#141 by DJ2406 (not verified) // Jan 08, 2013 - 1:38am

You sir, should replace Kiper!

Points: 0

#17 by Kal // Mar 12, 2012 - 5:41pm

Hey now - Luck did actually beat Oregon once. Sure, the other two times they lost by 20+ points, but that first time was pretty sweet. Well, aside from the fact that Gerhart was the real hero.

Hmm. Never mind.

Points: 0

#5 by Tim Dravis (not verified) // Mar 12, 2012 - 3:41pm

Just for kicks, what is Austin Davis' LCF score? I know he is not an elite prospect. Could he be a solid backup?

Points: 0

#7 by D // Mar 12, 2012 - 4:02pm

I'd like to throw in a request for Kellen Moore as well.

Points: 0

#20 by Aaron Schatz // Mar 12, 2012 - 5:49pm

Two responses.

1) re: Kellen Moore, Mike Tanier would like to respond that the LCF does not apply to nine-year old boys.

2) I can't run a ton of guys who are going to be chosen in the lower rounds. You're going to end up with a lot of people thinking those are "official FO projections" or some such thing. I almost didn't even write about Wilson, but there is a chance he goes in the first three rounds and he's a very interesting case.

Points: 0

#26 by D // Mar 12, 2012 - 6:38pm

I was just hoping you might for s**** and giggles, though I understand why you can't (I remember that is why you stopped doing some of your preseason predictions). Guess that is the price for increased mainstream exposure.

(For the record, does great for GS, C% and R/P (assuming that a low number is ideal) and awful at everything else (small, non-AQ, negative rushing yards and slight decline in senior year)

Points: 0

#29 by Mr Shush // Mar 12, 2012 - 8:00pm

I submit that in the later rounds it's likely that LCF's key input - games started - actually gains a negative correlation with pro success. I think an important part of the mechanism there is probably that scouts do a better job with more tape. If the scouts have a lot of tape of someone and think he's a 3rd day pick, he's probably not very good, whereas if they make that call on limited evidence they may just be wrong.

Points: 0

#25 by BaronFoobarstein // Mar 12, 2012 - 6:29pm

Log on as "FO_Fan_1337 (not verified)" when you post them. Then respond to that fiend as Aaron Schatz denouncing him for his cheek.

Also, is there a page with past prospect data somewhere?

Points: 0

#27 by Aaron Brooks G… // Mar 12, 2012 - 7:14pm

Can you clarify how Kellen Moore substantially differs from Andy Dalton? Remarkably accurate soft-tossers who played for lower profile schools in the west that blew up when they were QBs.

I mean, how different is this from Chad Pennington?

Points: 0

#30 by D // Mar 12, 2012 - 8:37pm

I think its mostly because he's small (6 foot nothing 197 pounds). The big comparison people keep making is Chase Daniels, though Daniels was a better athlete and worst passer.

Points: 0

#97 by Sean Piper (not verified) // Apr 17, 2012 - 10:14am

I understand about not wanting to publish the numbers on lower round projections, but I think there's a legitimate argument to run the numbers on Kellen Moore and Case Keenum. You have the winningest and most prolific quarterbacks in college history. Between the 2 of them, they own just about every major QB record. How can you not project them?

Points: 0

#98 by Mr Shush // Apr 18, 2012 - 7:27am

Because hugely prolific college quarterbacks who lack NFL physical tools are precisely the type of players that LCF will do a terrible job of projecting. That's the whole reason the two round cut-off exists.

Points: 0

#100 by Shattenjager // Apr 18, 2012 - 6:35pm

It does not at all affect your point, but it is a three round cut-off now.

Points: 0

#102 by RiceOwl03 (not verified) // Apr 19, 2012 - 8:43am

What tools does Case Keenum lack? His velocity was 55mph at the combine, while not earth shattering, is not a weak arm (Colt Brennan was 46mph at the combine). He has a high football IQ, a quick release and makes creative plays while avoiding sacks. I'm not advocating for him to be a high round pick, because he has 1 knee and is only 6'0. I just think that this statistic is pretty bad if it can only be used on ~5 people every year. It should be able to predict both the Ryan Leaf/Jamarcus Russell as well as the Tony Romo/ Tom Brady. Thats the problem with stats.

Points: 0

#103 by Mr Shush // Apr 19, 2012 - 10:01am

Stats are a very, very long way from being able to identify the Tom Bradys and Tony Romos. A metric which does a good job of telling the difference between Jamarcus Russell and Carson Palmer may not be a panacea, but it's a lot better than nothing.

Points: 0

#6 by pound4pound (not verified) // Mar 12, 2012 - 3:43pm

Appropriate that Luck's and Peyton's projections are within 2 percentage points of one another.

Points: 0

#13 by PapaNarb (not verified) // Mar 12, 2012 - 4:49pm

Is it possible to show the projections of the past top QBs to come out? (Maybe just keep it to the first round of the last 5 drafts) It'd also be interesting to understand how the current crop of QBs stacked up against Matt Stafford, Sam Bradford, Matt Ryan, etc.

Points: 0

#18 by Mood_Indigo (not verified) // Mar 12, 2012 - 5:42pm

LCF does not appear to consider some important aspects of QB play: the ability to read defenses and make changes at the line of scrimmage. Luck not only changed the play at the LoS countless times, he called his own plays in several series in multiple games out of a selection of half-a-dozen candidate choices in each situation.

Points: 0

#21 by apk3000 // Mar 12, 2012 - 6:00pm

That's where the "we assume front offices have done some real scouting for the likely draft round" part comes in.

Points: 0

#22 by Bill_Monty // Mar 12, 2012 - 6:13pm

I find out my Redskins have moved up for RG3, and also that he projects as the best QB prospect in the last 15 years *And Then I Hit My Dougie*

Points: 0

#70 by Mountain Time … // Mar 13, 2012 - 10:09pm

Hitting people is bad, even if they are named Doug.

Points: 0

#23 by Karl Cuba // Mar 12, 2012 - 6:22pm

When Aaron compares Foles to Dalton he mentions the Foles' release, where he has a hitch in his delivery. I agree with him that the two are comparable. However, Dalton was a high floor, low ceiling type of prospect who's lack of arm strength restricts his ability to drive the ball into tight windows down the field, this began to show up more as the season progressed. He will probably struggle with this throughout his career but his diligent approach (and AJ Green) will allow him to adapt and he should be at least an average quarterback, which represents good value for a second round pick. Jay Gruden's short passing offense is a perfect fit for him but he thrives in it because of his very quick release and anticipation. Foles has a very similar skill set but without the lightning release, which means that he will likely struggle even in a Grudenish scheme where the ability to get rid of the ball quickly is vital. He'll have to improve his release to prosper at the next level.

When I watched a Tannehill game from 2010 I thought that he was an awful prospect, constantly throwing off his back foot and floating the ball as a result. Boy did he improve when given the chance to prepare as a starting quarterback. I'd expect that this points to his ability to absorb coaching which should boost his prospects as much as his improved technique.

Points: 0

#28 by Megamanic // Mar 12, 2012 - 7:33pm

Just an observation. Do you think that the Chargers could have worked out a formula something like this in the wake of "Leafgate" given the two QBs they have drafted in the first two rounds since then?

Points: 0

#31 by Bowl Game Anomaly // Mar 12, 2012 - 8:57pm

It's a fun theory, but the reality is you take whoever is available. Hell, technically the Chargers didn't even draft Rivers, they drafted Eli Manning.

Points: 0

#32 by erniecohen // Mar 12, 2012 - 9:58pm

Even more evidence that it was stupid for NYG to pay to take Manning over Rivers + picks

Points: 0

#37 by Jonadan // Mar 12, 2012 - 10:59pm

Unless Rivers is enough better than Manning to get NYG a third Super Bowl win, I'm not thinking "stupid" is the right word here. Unnecessary? Maybe. Dumb luck? Maybe. But criticizing something that's worked just fine seems a little odd to me.

"When you absolutely don't know what to do any more, then it's time to panic." - Johann van der Wiel

Points: 0

#40 by JIPanick // Mar 13, 2012 - 12:57am

Assuming they received the same level of defensive play and the same level of luck, the hypothetical Rivers-Giants could easily have three or more rings. That's beside the point, though,

Stupid ideas do work out, sometimes, and I don't see how trading a great QB plus for a merely good QB can be considered "intelligent", regardless of how lucky the franchise got afterward. "Stupid" may be overstating things, but is certainly not entirely inaccurate.

Points: 0

#47 by Aaron Brooks G… // Mar 13, 2012 - 9:04am

It's amazing how much can be concluded from the unproven assertion that DYAR correctly accounts for both "D" and the relative talent of the rest of a QB's offense.

Points: 0

#50 by Independent George // Mar 13, 2012 - 10:32am

I'm not an expert on the subject, but most analysts I've read talk about Rivers' weird delivery, while Eli is often described as mechanically perfect.

Looking at them strictly as prospects, doesn't it make perfect sense that Coughlin would prefer the more fundamentally sound prospect and try to shape him to fit his system rather than adapt his system to fit Rivers' different strengths? And that Marty would take whatever he could get at QB and focus on getting Merriman with the bonus pick? No question the Giants tipped their hand too early, forcing them to overpay, but both teams got what they wanted. It made sense on draft day, and it makes even more sense looking back.

Points: 0

#64 by apk3000 // Mar 13, 2012 - 2:53pm

Supposedly, Marty fell in love with Rivers coaching him at the Senior Bowl, FWIW.

Points: 0

#35 by Megamanic // Mar 12, 2012 - 10:49pm

the reality is you take whoever is available

The Chargers traded down both times from #1 overall avoiding drafting the consensus #1 QB each time (Vick and Manning). This is also post-moneyball so it's not out of the question that someone at the Chargers thought "We have just blown $13.5M on Leaf, maybe there's some of that Sabermetric stuff that could have predicted the disaster - what if we hire a couple of geeks to see if there isn't some correlation we can use to improve out drafting" This would probably have been John Butler although AJ Smith was there as well. I don't know. It's just a curious coincidence that the Chargers traded away from the "better prospect" to draft the "Lewin forecast darling" twice in 4 years and ended up with the two highest rated QBs (by Lewin forecast) of the last decade and a half...

Points: 0

#44 by Mr Shush // Mar 13, 2012 - 6:11am

Especially given that they reportedly liked Rivers better than Eli straight up anyway.

The Texans showed a similar pattern with SackSEER darlings over the years - Babin, Williams and Barwin all came off very well indeed in those projections.

Points: 0

#49 by Bowl Game Anomaly // Mar 13, 2012 - 9:12am

A lot of people liked Rivers better. At the time of the draft, there was speculation that if Eli's last name was Johnson instead of Manning he would have been picked about 15-20 spots lower.

Points: 0

#79 by Rocco // Mar 14, 2012 - 2:14pm

I don't think it exists anymore, but a writer formerly here wrote that he would have been a 3rd round pick if his last name were Jones and not Manning, which was absurd at the time and looks dumber now.

Points: 0

#85 by Bowl Game Anomaly // Mar 14, 2012 - 8:02pm

Probably Barnwell. Picked lower, yes, 3rd round, no way.

Points: 0

#34 by Karl Cuba // Mar 12, 2012 - 10:48pm

Or the Browns; Quinn, McCoy and they were trying to get Griffin.

Points: 0

#38 by Brendan Scolari // Mar 12, 2012 - 11:43pm

"For quarterbacks who come out as seniors, the difference in NCAA passer rating between their junior and senior seasons. (For quarterbacks who come out as juniors or redshirt sophomores, this variable is always 5.0, which is the average increase for the seniors in our data set.)"

Then why do you use that variable for Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, both of whom came out as juniors?

Points: 0

#58 by Aaron Schatz // Mar 13, 2012 - 2:33pm

Redshirt juniors. Sorry, I guess I should have said "players with four years experience" instead of "seniors."

Points: 0

#39 by James B (not verified) // Mar 12, 2012 - 11:44pm

I was wondering, have you ever looked into family relations to football as a forecast factor? Peyton and Eli Manning would be the obvious positive example, and I for one was far less surprised by Newton's successful transition when I saw that his father played(even though without success), as well as his brother. It seems like being subjected to the idea of playing in the pros from a young age can improve the transition to the pro game.

Points: 0

#42 by MJK // Mar 13, 2012 - 2:28am

You make a comment that the LCF is not meant to be used instead of scouting reports, but along side of scouting reports. I maintain that you are drawing a artificial distinction. By it's nature, the LCF *IS* factoring in scouting reports. In fact, scouting reports are the single most important variable going into the LCF, more inportant that completion percentage, or games started, or anything else.

You are taking a pool of hundreds of college QB's, and throwing out the vast majority of them right off the bat. Why? Because they are not projected to go in the first three rounds. Why not? Because scouts feel that they are not first three round prospects.

The very fact you're limiting yourself to top round QB's is inherently taking scouting reports into account.

The LCF is, in this sense, not strictly a statistical tool. It's a decision analysis tool, that leverages expert opinion to narrow a decision tree to a subset, and then uses some statistics to prioritize the remaining branches.

Points: 0

#43 by Jerry // Mar 13, 2012 - 3:28am

The point, of course, is not that Foles is necessarily a better prospect than Cousins; there may be differences between the two that any scout would notice but aren't reflected in the stats that LCF is built around. Rather, it's that both are significantly better prospects than Osweiler. If that seems like it's stating the obvious, see Aaron's comments about Manning/Leaf.

Points: 0

#66 by Karl Cuba // Mar 13, 2012 - 4:31pm

The old fashioned scouting method is pretty hit and miss too.

Points: 0

#74 by jebmak // Mar 14, 2012 - 8:31am

That is how I understand it too (though better put than I could make it).

Points: 0

#45 by Theo // Mar 13, 2012 - 6:58am

Robert Griffin, 161 carries for 644 yards.
Didn't you just say that the maximum was 600?

Points: 0

#48 by Topher Doll (not verified) // Mar 13, 2012 - 9:04am

Considering how accurate FO usually is, looking at the history of LCF it's kind of sad how very average it is considering how much work you seem to put in it. I can be similarly accurate with the basic 26-27-60 method. Add in such poor rankings of Donovan McNabb, Matt Stafford, and Cam Newton (to name a few) and such high rankings of Brady Quinn, Kellen Clemons, Jason Campbell, and Chad Henne. Now obviously no system is perfect, but this really goes to show when Brady Quinn is a top 10 prospect in you projection model, and you are predicting only fairly accurately, you might want to rework your system. Either you've got the wrong formula, and over thinking college QB's just hurts the study, or it's just really hard to predict QB success.

This just seems too inaccurate for work done by FO, maybe my standards have just been set too high by you guys. When you are so good for so long, to see you do so average, it's just strange.

Points: 0

#53 by chemical burn // Mar 13, 2012 - 11:26am

Well, I think you can also look at it this way: some of its biggest misses like Quinn and Campbell went to teams that have long history of terrible QB play and that there's an argument that the front offices/coaching staffs have proven they have an inability to develop players, even across different HC regimes. That Campbell has been slightly above average for his entire career despite playing for the Redskins and Raiders I think speaks to the system's favor - there's probably a good QB buried in him under a decade of crappy management/coaching.

And while they had good years in 2011, the jury is pretty decisively out on Stafford and Newton. Both show potential, but one was a rookie who surprised everyone by over-performing and the other dude has seemed like he'll be good if he can stay on the field and has CJ to throw to. I think no player exists in a statistical vacuum and the story of making the jump from college to the NFL has as much to do with landing at a functional franchise with a good QB coach, as it does having the raw talent. Anyway, I would say the B/B- results of LCF are at least promising considering how frequently professional GM's and coaches total whiff on prospects. Keep in mind, this a league where Jamarcus Russell and Alex Smith went #1 overall...

Points: 0

#54 by Thomas_beardown // Mar 13, 2012 - 11:31am

I may be recalling incorrectly, but I thought Stafford and McNabb both had good, just not great, LCFs.

Points: 0

#67 by chemical burn // Mar 13, 2012 - 6:59pm

McNabb's was done in the infancy of the system too - but yeah, if I'm remembering he had a good amount of games started and a low completion percentage, which the system didn't love, but didn't hate either. Stafford I have no idea, just assumed the OP knew what he was talking about (come to think of it, the OP could easily think that a mediocre projection for Stafford is off the mark because he's an elite QB, which is something that it wouldn't even occur to me to think.)

Points: 0

#55 by Theo // Mar 13, 2012 - 12:08pm

My guess is that when you predict the future, you don't know what happens between your prediction and when the player has played some games.
LCF doesn't predict team mates, the mental aspect of the game, injuries, coaches... these unforseen variables can have a ripple effect that can create an alternative timeline.

Points: 0

#59 by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) // Mar 13, 2012 - 2:37pm

You're telling me. I once entered an alternate timeline where Biff was the most powerful man in Hill Valley, AND he was married to my mother. It was heavy.

Points: 0

#65 by BaronFoobarstein // Mar 13, 2012 - 2:53pm

Is there a problem with the Earth's gravitational pull?

Points: 0

#77 by FrontRunningPhinsFan // Mar 14, 2012 - 12:55pm

I love this site.

Points: 0

#80 by poboy // Mar 14, 2012 - 2:21pm

The reason the LCF is so inaccurate is that it appears to be one big misuse of regression analysis, and therefore isn't really predictive of future performance.

It isn't FO's fault, exactly: the dataset of QBs drafted is too small to draw meaningful conclusions, and any attempt to do this sort of predictive analysis is destined to fail. Still, the LCF is pretty junky. Fun to read about, though.

Points: 0

#84 by Rocco // Mar 14, 2012 - 5:24pm

I think part of the problem is the raw data from college isn't particularly useful. With more and more teams using short passing games and WR screen passes you see higher completion %s. Plus the disparity in talent amongst the tiers of teams is significant. The LCF is interesting and the factors it takes into consideration make a lot of sense but it hasn't been all that accurate yet. Or maybe it's saying that these QBs would have been good had they ended up in better situations?

Points: 0

#105 by usernaim250 // Apr 28, 2012 - 1:41pm

No system of talent evaluation is all that accurate. The meaningful standard is whether LCF outdoes NFL GMs. Simply by avoiding some of the biggest mistakes in the history of the NFL, it surely does that. As far as your complaints about Quinn, he fell, but was very seriously talked about as a top five pick. So as much as LCF missed on him, so did everyone else.

As for Jason Campbell, he played on a team with very poor receivers and for most of his tenure a very poor line in Washington, and was nonetheless somewhat effective, with ratings in the mid 80s. He was having a terrific season this year before his injury. He's better than the #1 overall pick in that draft (Alex Smith), and merely predicting that has to be a win for LCF. Just because he's not Peyton Manning, he's not a miss. He's good. Not a wasted pick.

Similarly Henne has positive DVOA for 2009 and 2010 on severely undertalented offences. He's much better than the guy taken right before him (Brohm, who some had as a first rounder). Neither was a jackpot but both are above average for qb's taken in the first two rounds simply because so many QB's end up having no value at all.

Points: 0

#52 by Lebo // Mar 13, 2012 - 10:59am

I have a question about NCAA eligibility:

I know next to nothing about American college sports. However, based on what I've read it seems that Brandon Weeden spent time playing baseball before then going to college and playing football. I assume that his baseball career was a professional one. If not, my question is irrelevant.

Question: If Weeden was a professional baseballer then how did he play college football? My (very limited) understanding is that having any type of professional sports career (or simply an agent) made you ineligible for NCAA competition. Didn't this very thing screw over Jeremy Bloom a few years back?

Points: 0

#56 by justanothersteve // Mar 13, 2012 - 12:36pm

I don't remember when, but it's been quite some time since the NCAA first allowed athletes to be pros in one sport and still play college sports in another. The most common is probably pro baseball and college football. Russell Wilson has also played minor league baseball. I think the issue with Bloom had to do with professional endorsements.

Points: 0

#72 by Mr Shush // Mar 14, 2012 - 6:31am

Texans full back/h-back/tight end/emergency quarterback James Casey also played pro baseball - he was drafted by the White Sox in 2003 and retired in 2006.

Points: 0

#57 by Theo // Mar 13, 2012 - 12:57pm

Weeden: he didn't play college football, so remained eligible to do so after his baseball career. He played pro in another sport than football - and that's why he could play college football.
Bloom: he had outside endorsements from being a pro skier and was therefor ineligible.
That's all I could find about it.

Whether it's fair is another story. It happens so little, that I don't think you should change an entire rule for it.

Points: 0

#63 by Aaron Brooks G… // Mar 13, 2012 - 2:46pm

Russell Wilson also played minor league baseball (and hit the curveball about as well as Pedro Serrano).

Points: 0

#60 by Lebo // Mar 13, 2012 - 2:40pm

Thanks for the clarification, guys. That was really bugging me.

Points: 0

#83 by alwaysremember21 // Mar 14, 2012 - 3:45pm

So hes still the most interesting man in college football?

Points: 0

#104 by JoeHova // Apr 28, 2012 - 11:15am

So, now that Wilson was drafted within the first 3 rounds, what does that mean for his projection? Is he now the best prospect in this class of QBs?

Points: 0

#106 by sadhappy (not verified) // May 01, 2012 - 6:58am

Is he still an asterisk now that he was drafted in the 3rd round?

Points: 0

#108 by Mr Shush // May 02, 2012 - 5:35am

I would say yes. The commentary to me seems to imply that the concerns about his height and the likelihood that he would be drafted on day 3 are secondary to the distorting impact of his transfer on the difference between his junior and senior performance.

Points: 0

#109 by BlueTalon (not verified) // May 16, 2012 - 3:30am

Nevertheless, the transfer was mentioned only as a complication or oddity, not a disqualifying factor. It was the presumed post-3rd-round draft status that was the disqualifier.

Points: 0

#110 by Mr Shush // May 16, 2012 - 6:27am

Clearly he does now technically qualify, but the phrase "First and foremost" leads me to believe that the primary reason for the asterisk is the one that remains in place.

Points: 0

#112 by BlueTalon (not verified) // May 16, 2012 - 9:42pm

With all due respect to you and Aaron Schatz, I think the change in college was mis-handled by FO, and the asterisk inappropriately applied to that situation. If you read Aaron's write-up on RGIII, it is not dissimilar to the comments about Wilson. The sudden increase in Griffin's passer rating between his junior and senior years raised eyebrows. Prior to the 2012 season, pro scouts didn't have Griffin ranked as a 1st round pick. Aaron's conclusion was that the first few games of the 2011 season were evidence the scouts had it wrong, implying the LCF was valid in Griffin's case.

I would suggest the same measure be used for Wilson. Did the first few games of the 2011 season show Wilson to be a QB worthy of a higher rating in his senior year?

Among the 7 variables listed for the LCF, certain things were NOT listed, such as coaching changes, losing players to graduation or suspension, gaining new talent via recruiting or transfer, changing conference affiliation, etc. Those things obviously have an impact on every QB's performance and success, yet they are ignored. The LCF variables all focus on the QB's individual performances, not on the circumstances surrounding the QB during those performances. I submit to you that Wilson's transfer between his junior and senior years is different from the other examples in scale only, not in category or type.

In Wilson's case, the transfer resulted in Wilson having a better O line and running game to support him, but it also meant facing better defenses. And it meant that, before he ever saw the field, he had to learn a whole different system along with its vocabulary, and he had to know it and execute it well enough to win the starting job over the other QBs who had been there longer. And of course, it meant having to throw over/around some of the biggest linemen in the country.

I find it curious that Aaron would mention the Wisconsin running game as a factor in Wilson's jump in passer rating, while overlooking all the potential negative factors that could have kept if from happening had Wilson not been as good as he was.

Points: 0

#114 by Mr Shush // May 17, 2012 - 9:40am

I agree that it's fundamentally a difference in scale. I just think it could potentially be quite a big difference in scale, and as such constitutes the sort of substantial extra unknown that would justify the asterisk. It's not like they're refusing to issue a projection for him. They're just adding a note to the effect that they're significantly less confident in it than they are in most of their projections - which seems reasonable to me.

Points: 0

#111 by etray (not verified) // May 16, 2012 - 1:37pm

Wilson will become a the starter for the seattle seahawks withen two seasons.

Points: 0

#115 by Anonymesh (not verified) // May 19, 2012 - 6:38pm

As a Seahawk fan I am, and having reviewed the film on Wilson I'm very excited about the Flynn/Wilson competition for the starting spot.

You see the majority of the pundits discounting Wilson for his height and Flynn for his lack of experience as a starter, yet both have elite intangibles in work ethic, leadership, decision making and character.

Seattle is also the perfect organization to handle developing two potential franchise qb's simultaneously. They are removed from the cancerous chaos that is east coast sports media, and they have built from top to bottom a coaching staff that if there were a ranking for polishing raw talent and coaching players up would most certainly be in the top 5.

Seattle is an under-the-radar team, the receiving corps in particular has far more talent than the Jackson/Whitehurst era would lead you to believe.

Rice/Durham/Williams big bodies, soft hands for the edges.
Tate/Baldwin after 2012, they will be considered one of the best slot tandems in the league.

and finally, Ricardo Lockette. fastest player in the league period. Can be the star of his generation if he gets his head out of the clouds.

Points: 0

#118 by The Danger! (not verified) // Aug 27, 2012 - 1:27am

Looks like Russell Wilson will be starting week one for the Seahawks after outperforming Flynn (who in another article, you said had a bright future as a starter).

After three weeks he posted a better passer rating than, well, everyone in the NFL. (Yes I know its preseason)

Care to adjust your Asterisk*?

Points: 0

#119 by Sadhappy (not verified) // Aug 27, 2012 - 2:12pm

I think maybe that asterisk should come off, as I suggested back on May 1.

A follow up article would be interesting at least.

Points: 0

#121 by ratay1 // Sep 06, 2012 - 12:45pm

aaron, i'm hoping to see something that reconciles your spring 2012 LCF view of russell wilson with the "i just won the starting job for an NFL franchise" russell wilson. should we be discounting anything the model has spit out? incredibly high on this guy and i'm feeling like the logic the model uses is sound, despite the fact this kid wasn't drafted in the first 3 rounds.

what say you?

Points: 0

#122 by Mr Shush // Sep 06, 2012 - 5:32pm

I reckon it's rational to say that the "official" projection (best QB prospect in years) is too high, but we should still expect him to be very good.

Points: 0

#129 by Michael Terry (not verified) // Dec 13, 2012 - 1:23pm

Well, it's the last month of the season, and Wilson has done nothing to dispel the projection of best prospect in years. While Luck and Griffin keep getting the hype, Wilson keeps on producing. Major college record for passing efficiency. Led the NFL in passer rating in the preseason. He is well within reach of Manning's rookie TD record, and has the second best ESPN QBR in the entire NFL since week 5. The asterisk is looking funnier and funnier. Luck and RG3 have done awesome things this year, too, no doubt. But anyone who claims that it's clear that Wilson won't have a better career than both of them is fooling themselves.

Points: 0

#123 by Anonymouse (not verified) // Nov 14, 2012 - 5:26pm

Fascinating. I look forward to seeing how these projections play out.

Points: 0

#124 by Levi Brown sti… (not verified) // Dec 03, 2012 - 1:42am

Russell Wilson is boss. Good job Lewin forecast predicter.

Points: 0

#125 by merrymaid // Dec 07, 2012 - 3:57pm

Russell Wilson is my hero!

Points: 0

#126 by D Hawk (not verified) // Dec 07, 2012 - 4:26pm

Too bad you completely discounted the projection for Russell Wilson. You could look like a GENIUS right now. Instead, you come off a bit trollish because you didn't trust your own tool.

Points: 0

#127 by Mr Shush // Dec 07, 2012 - 7:43pm

Um, no. The projection said Wilson was the greatest prospect ever. That would still look foolish. "He's probably not as good as his projection, but there's a good chance he's far better than the average third round pick," was the reasonable conclusion to draw, and I think that's what they implied. It's certainly what I concluded.

Points: 0

#130 by JoeHova // Dec 17, 2012 - 3:07pm

Aaron implied nothing of the kind. He didn't imply that Wilson would be better than the average 3rd rounder, he said Wilson's projection would be moot because Wilson wouldn't be taken in the top 3 rounds. Wilson was compared to Joe Hamilton, Joe Germaine, and Troy Smith. Wilson's numbers were dismissed because he transferred and defenses had to concentrate on Montee Ball. I'm very curious how you were able to translate all of that to "there's a good chance he's far better than the average third round pick."

Points: 0

#131 by Mr Shush // Dec 17, 2012 - 9:05pm

I think I must have been remembering (or misremembering) something from a subsequent (post-draft) article, frankly. Or just projecting my own interpretation onto Aaron.

Points: 0

#132 by madbohem (not verified) // Dec 26, 2012 - 3:38am

Actually, the Asterick explaination does come off as not trusting your own math. You can claim it otherwise, but it is what it is.

The fact that someone can change schools and succeed shouldn't have been something to discount his abilities, it should speak volumes about his ability to take in a whole new system in short order, especially when evaluating a draft pick who basically has to do this very thing going into the NFL.

The second reason you gave was taking your eye off numbers to stare at his height. While you might not have yet compiled enough numbers, there is actually another QB in the Hall of Fame of similar stature, so this idea that no one Wilson's height ever achieved anything is only limited by the stats you have collected to a certain point, not the historical reality, that its possible.

I don't really mind the Asterick so much if it were solely about his height, but you went out of the way to state I am not saying he is a sleeper... thus you were leading an opinion rather then reporting the numbers.

Points: 0

#128 by A. Simmons (not verified) // Dec 08, 2012 - 4:19am

Good call on Russell Wilson. Your tool worked. He does indeed look like the best short QB ever taken. The best third round first year starting QB ever taken. He looks like a 1st round, top 5 QB. He's very much on par with Luck or RG3. As a Seattle fan, I have to give you kudos even though you listed Wilson as an asterisk. Your tool predicted correctly, even though you didn't think the projection would be accurate due to the NFL's aversion to short QBs.

Now if you figure out a tool to pick out top flight interior defensive pass rushing talent, that would be great.

Points: 0

#133 by RJ (not verified) // Dec 26, 2012 - 3:15pm

Funny! Despite the author rationalizing himself into a pretzel trying to explain away Wilson's ranking, RW's amazing performances are the ultimate validation for this tool!

Points: 0

#134 by RJ (not verified) // Dec 26, 2012 - 8:03pm

It's worth mentioning that if Russell Wilson throws two touchdowns this coming week against the Rams, he'll break the record for the most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback in the NFL.

Points: 0

#135 by Row (not verified) // Dec 26, 2012 - 9:40pm

Either you believe in your system
Or you don't. Putting Wilson in
The asterisk category shows you
Don't trust your own numbers.
If you don't, why should anyone?
If you just want luck and rg3 to be at the
Top you don't even need a system.

Points: 0

#136 by boblawblah (not verified) // Dec 27, 2012 - 1:56pm

Great job with the R.Wilson projections...although in your asterisk section I think you may have placed too much emphasis on his height without explaining why shorter quarterbacks usually don't make it in the nfl. True, their ability to see over the pocket is not the same as someone who is 6-4, and this can prove to be a hindrance (along with being more prone to have balls batted down). However, I think the reason most "short" qb's don't make it in the nfl related to their height, but not a sole factor of their height. Short qb's tend to lack the arm strength required in the nfl to make deep out throws and to throw down the field accurately (be able to hit an WR who has a step on his man in stride). In addition, a short qb may also have additional problems if his release point (also, arm length is a factor as well as release point) is lower and if he does not have a quick release (this allows for more batted balls and more time for DB's to break on throws). Further, shorter qb's tend to have smaller hands, which affect ability to grip the ball, throw in adverse conditions, etc (this last point may be reaching a little, but it may also have some effect...it however small).

This is where R.Wilson doesn't really "fit the mold" as a "short" qb. True, he is short, but his arms are the length of a person who is 6 ft 2 (the same with his hands...he has large hands for his size). In addition, he releases the ball at the top of his throwing motion. Factor in his lightning quick release and his arm strength (which is above average for nfl standards), and you have a short qb who does not display any of the weaknesses usually associated with short qb's. This is evidenced by the fact that only a few of his passes were batted down (despite playing behind an O-line that has NFL size at Wisconsin. It is further evidenced by his ability to be accurate on his deep throws, which is a function of his accuracy, arm strength, and anticipation. I think that explains why Wilson has succeeded where other short qb's have not.

(it should also be noted that few people have Wilson's work ethic, maturity, and poise...which has played a huge part in his success)

Since the nfl is a copycat league, I think teams would be wise to consider these factors if they think about drafting a short qb in future drafts, in an effort to duplicate the success the Hawks had with drafting a qb. It is true that Wilson had success even though he is short. Although he lacks height, other factors, usually related to height, were actually in Wilson's favor (arm length, arm strength, high release point, hand size, quickness of release, etc.).

Points: 0

#137 by RickG (not verified) // Dec 29, 2012 - 6:44am

I'll jump on the Wilson bandwagon after the LCF clearly does work well for this class of QB's. Aaron, I'm an amateur statistician and have had to deal with outliers. I know that the gods of randomnization play funny games with data and tosses us a doozy once in a great while. But you went and had to justify throwing out Wilson's number because of his height, which belies what the other data says.

Don't you think if his size had significant detriment to his game it would have shown up in the other categories? Do you think he could have been as efficient or had the kind of turnover quality if his size mattered? As Wilson said himself, he's been a relatively short QB all his life. Success followed him from school to school and now the NFL.

I love FO's analysis. It usually paints an accurate picture. Why don't you try believing it yourself?

Points: 0

#138 by mehlLageman56 (not verified) // Dec 31, 2012 - 6:07pm

Height does have an effect on the efficiency of quarterbacks. I think Seattle and Wisconsin have been able to deal with that effect by rolling Wilson out a lot when going for short passes. I doubt low quarterback height has as much effect on bombs; Jeff Blake had a lot of success with deep throws as well. Wilson's mobility cancels out his lack of height.

Points: 0

#139 by Cuenca Guy // Jan 06, 2013 - 2:45pm

When you're playing behind 6'6" offensive linemen, height probably doesn't matter as much as we think. Obviously being 6'5" or 6'6" will make a difference, but the difference between 5'10 5/8" and 6'1" is probably pretty minimal.

Points: 0

#142 by Col Bat Guano (not verified) // Jan 14, 2013 - 3:31pm

Seattle did not use rollouts to help Wilson for short passes.

Points: 0

#140 by Russell Wilson (not verified) // Jan 06, 2013 - 9:38pm

Russell Wilson is the man!

Points: 0

#145 by DangeRuss Wilson (not verified) // Feb 21, 2013 - 9:58pm

Moot indeed.....Moot indeed.

Points: 0

#148 by Russell's Mom (not verified) // Apr 09, 2013 - 10:02pm

I can't help but laugh out loud at the Brady Quinn and Colt McCoy forecasts. The Palmer, Pennington, and Campbell forecasts are also mildly amusing.

Seems like a system that still needs a good bit of work.

Points: 0

#149 by Mr Shush // Apr 10, 2013 - 4:29am

It seems like you're implying Palmer underperformed his projection. He actually blew it away, with a total DYAR of 3823 across his third to fifth seasons in the league. Hard to blame LCF for the fact that he got hurt and never came all the way back.

Pennington's 2632 is also considerably better than his projection, despite the fact that he missed a ton of time in that period due to two injuries (and not beating out Testaverde until Game 5 in 2002. Again, his disappointing subsequent career is about injuries, not a bad projection.

Campbell certainly underperformed his projection, but his total of 966 is hardly a disaster, for him or the system.

Quinn, McCoy, Kolb, Leinart - those are bad misses. Quinn the most troubling, I would say - the scouts should have caught McCoy and Kolb, and they shouldn't have been drafted early enough to qualify.

Points: 0

Save 10%
& Support Aaron
Support Football Outsiders' independent media and Aaron Schatz. Use promo code SCHATZ to save 10% on any FO+ membership and give half the cost of your membership to tip Aaron.