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Rob Rang Q&A

Rob Rang is the Senior Analyst for, powered by The Sports XChange. Over the past seven years, Rob's work has been featured on ESPN, FOX,, USA Today, CBS Sportsline, and NBC, among others. An annual presence at the three biggest scouting functions, the East-West Shrine Game, Senior Bowl, and Combine, He is a bona fide draft expert whose mock drafts, prospect rankings, and player analysis are recognized by NFL teams, media, and fans alike as among the industry's most reliable. Rob's been a friend for years, and he's who I turn to with draft questions whenever I have them.

Since our thoughts will be turned to the draft above all this week, we thought it'd be a good idea to have a Football Outsiders Q & A with Rob. We sent out a request for questions from readers (those are the first five, from Scott Keeney, Nathan Freedman and Tom Roth), and FO filled in the rest. Rob took it from there during his craziest time of the year, for which we are most grateful. If you'd like to see more of Rob's work, go to, or view his latest three-round mock draft here.

And now, wothout further ado...

Scott Keeney: Jacob Ford, the undersized DE from Central Arkansas who seems likely to find himself an OLB in a 3-4 defense, put up some good numbers in his pro day. I've never seen Central Arkansas play; what does his film say about him? Any thoughts on how high up the draft he will climb? Given the way the Cowboys reached to get Grambling's Jason Hatcher last year (who showed some promise), I'm thinking (and hoping) they might grab Ford in the fifth this year.

Rang: Ford's burst upfield and lateral agility make him a natural pass rusher. Though he was never used as a linebacker while at Central Arkansas, or previously at the University of Memphis and Holmes Community College (Miss.), Ford was tried at outside linebacker in the Inta Juice North-South All-Star Classic. There, Ford showed enough athleticism to warrant development as a linebacker, particularly one for the 3-4 alignment. He isn't a particularly instinctive player, but has the hip swerve to turn and run in coverage and is a surprisingly effective tackler in space. Ford's athleticism and the lack of linebackers in this class could potentially move him up the board, though the fact that he'll be 24 years old by the time he plays an NFL down likely will keep him from moving into the middle rounds.

Scott Keeney: Another small-school guy, Courtney Brown, a CB out of Cal Poly, put up some eye-popping numbers at his pro-day. He had seven picks in 2005, but only one in 2006 -- apparently his opponents avoided him like a skunk in the road. Is he as good a prospect as he sounds? Did he go up against any big-time I-A WRs? What's the chance he cracks day one?

Rang: You've characterized Brown's 2005 and 2006 seasons well. We view him as a third-fourth round prospect. Unfortunately, he wasn't matched up against any elite competition. The best he faced was San Jose State's James Jones, who beat him for nine catches for 92 yards, including a long of 43. Brown has enough talent and certainly the size and speed combination to warrant a middle-round selection, but he didn't dominate his level of competition as much as his numbers may lead one to believe. Also of concern is the fact that Brown, though nearly 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, lacks aggressiveness in run support.

Scott Keeney: I've watched Boston College guard Josh Beekman play a few times, and he seems to display good footwork and move really well for someone his size. He can block in space pretty well and he can certainly drive-block. Plus, he started three games at center. Yet, judging by the online draftnik horde, it seems like he is being downgraded quite a bit. Some now have him slipping into round four. My understanding is that he did fairly well at the Senior Bowl, but had poor numbers at the Combine. Who cares? Are we looking at this year's Marcus McNeill -- a starting-caliber lineman who drops for all the wrong reasons?

Rang: It isn't so much that Beekman has dropped significantly as it is other linemen have moved in front of him. Let me explain. Entering the year, Beekman was viewed as one of the elite pure interior linemen in the draft. He remains among the best. Unfortunately for him, some talented players with perceived higher upsides have switched positions and are now being ranked ahead of him. Specifically, I would mention former OTs Justin Blalock (Texas) and Arron Sears (Tennessee) and former defensive tackle Andy Alleman. For what its worth, I view Beekman as a quality interior lineman, capable of playing either guard or center at a high level, and a value in the third round.

McNeill dropped because of medical questions. He was diagnosed with stenosis of the back (narrowing of the spine) and some teams viewed him as too much of a risk. This diagnosis, more than the results of any workout, led to his falling to the 50th overall pick of the 2006 draft.

Nathan Freedman: A number of successful college quarterbacks who entered the NFL played in system passing offenses on their college teams, such as all-shotgun offenses, which former Texas QB Vince Young played in, or variations on the spread offense, which first-day draft picks Tim Couch, Drew Brees, and Alex Smith came from. How do NFL scouts decide if a QB who played his college ball in a system passing offense is likely to be a successful QB in the NFL? What are some reasons that scouts have favorable or unfavorable evaluations in this draft of some QBs who played in system offenses, such as Kevin Kolb of Houston or Chris Leak of Florida?

Rang: The exact scenario you describe arises each year. Generally speaking the same characteristics are used to grade all quarterbacks -- namely size, arm strength, accuracy, poise, mobility, etc. Of great importance when rating quarterbacks coming from shotgun-heavy collegiate offenses is a passer's footwork. Some slow-footed passers aren't viewed as likely to be able to handle the transition to a more pro-style offense. Others are viewed as nimble enough that this shouldn't be a problem. Kolb and Leak are each considered athletic enough to handle this transition. A lack of pure arm strength, rather than agility, is a concern that lowers Leak among this year's quarterbacks.

Tom Roth: I'm a Texans fan, and our biggest need is the secondary, with big holes at #2 CB, SS and most of all FS. Safeties can be had later in the draft, but Leon Hall, who seems to be the consensus top CB prospect, strikes me as a real possibility at #10. I know he has great measurables, but from what I hear he was repeatedly burned by the top wide receivers when he faced them in college. Is he a legitimately elite corner prospect, or is he an athlete masquerading as a football player, like his namesake DeAngelo?

Rang: Actually, Leon Hall is precisely the opposite of DeAngelo Hall, in my opinion. DeAngelo Hall is such a spectacular athlete he can often get away with questionable technique and peeks into the backfield. Leon Hall's 4.39 Combine time is manufactured speed. He isn't that fast on the field. He is, however, a good athlete whose success is a result of dedicated film work and standout technique. He'll be beat on occasion (and was beaten badly by Ted Ginn, Jr. and Dwayne Jarrett), but 95 percent of time is able to shut down his side of the field. Scouts I've spoken with agree -- they'll take a seasoned cornerback like Hall who will give up a big play and come back to compete, rather than a cocky athlete who goes to pieces once he's given up a touchdown.

Football Outsiders: Who are the five most overrated players in this year's draft, and why?

Rang: 1. Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma: If he remains healthy, Peterson is the most immediate impact player in this draft and a future consistent Pro-Bowler. Over the last two seasons, however, he's missed at least two quarters of action in nearly half of OU's games (11/24) due to injury. Peterson has an upright running style, and I see him, at 6-foot-2, absorbing a lot of hits in the NFL.

2. Ted Ginn, Jr, WR, Ohio State: Ginn is the elite returner in this draft. I believe he is capable of making a Devin Hester-like impact next season as returner. As a receiver, however, I see a player who lacks size, courage over the middle, and is both a sloppy route-runner and an inconsistent pass catcher.

3. Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC: Maybe Jarrett doesn't belong on this list. I believe he's going to prove to be a solid starting receiver in the NFL, but that's it. Solid. Certainly not spectacular. Not a #1 guy. A possession receiver whose size, leaping ability, and hands make him effective, particularly in short yardage, but if you're looking for a big play threat, look elsewhere.

4. Jamaal Anderson, DE, Arkansas: I could be forced to eat my words on this one, as Anderson has the combination of size and athleticism to develop into a superstar. However, Anderson isn't particularly explosive off the edge, and many of his SEC-leading 13.5 sacks were manufactured by an aggressive and creative Arkansas defense. For his size, Anderson is surprisingly ineffective at the point of attack against the run, as well. He has the tools to develop into a superstar, but Anderson is far from polished.

5. Jarvis Moss, DE, Florida: Quick, tell me how many games Moss started. How many sacks over his career? Based on the number of times you've probably seen Moss listed highly in mock drafts, you might think he was an SEC superstar. In reality, Moss left after his junior season, the only year he started a game, and leaves with a total of 15 sacks. He has the speed off the edge to provide a third down pass rush, but that's it. At only 250 pounds he lacks the bulk and strength to play the run. Moss isn't athletic enough to handle the transition to outside linebacker, either.

Football Outsiders: Who are five projected second-day picks who could surprise?

Rang: 1. John Beck, QB, BYU: Mark my words, Beck is a more successful pro quarterback three years from now than at least half of the passers drafted ahead of him.

2. Kevin Boss, TE, Western Oregon: I am convinced that if Boss had not torn his labrum (left shoulder) halfway through his senior campaign he'd be competing to be the first senior selected at the position.

3. Derek Landri, DT, Notre Dame: In an awfully weak class at defensive tackle, Landri is one of the few capable of mounting any kind of interior pass rush.

4. H.B. Blades, ILB, Pittsburgh: The son of Bennie and nephew of Brian and Al, H.B. Blades may lack his elders' prototype size and athleticism, but he has their instincts and physicality.

5. Sam Olajubutu, OLB, Arkansas: A two-time First Team SEC selection, Olajubutu is going to be drafted somewhere on the second day because he is 5-foot-9, 227 pounds. No point in waiting for a few years ... I'm telling you right now, this kid proves to be among the steals of the 2007 draft.

Football Outsiders: Is the bias against smaller-school players is more or less prevalent than it has been in the past?

Rang: Much less so now that in the past. There simply have been too many examples of "small school" players developing into significant NFL players. The addition of several senior all-star games over the past five years has made it even more unlikely that talented players, regardless of the level of their schooling, can slip through the cracks of today's NFL scouting.

Football Outsiders: If you were fielding a team -- eleven on each side and a return man -- which would you put at each position? Assume that you're "staffing" a 4-3 defense and an offense with two receivers, a tight end, a fullback and a halfback. These are not necessarily the most talented players (i.e., Calvin Johnson), but the ones you have been most impressed by in your observations and would play best together.

Rang: This is one of the questions I'm most often asked. Because of its popularity, I've created a team, affectionately named "Rang's Gang" that you can review at You can follow the link here.

Football Outsiders: What is the biggest adjustment for college players coming to the pros? And are there certain college systems of schemes that particularly help or hinder a player at the next level?

Rang: Speed. Everything is faster in the NFL. From the speed of the athletes to the tempo of the game to the overtime rules, everything is faster in the NFL. I'm of the opinion that pro-style offenses and defenses obviously prepare players for the league better than others, but even more importantly, the level of competition is a great developmental tool for prospects. The bigger, stronger, and faster the athletes in college, the more prepared the player will be when competing against the world's best.

Football Outsiders: What is the one most important aspect of a quarterback you must see when evaluating his chances in the NFL?

Rang: Two things, actually: accuracy and poise under pressure. Take arm strength and mobility and make it a sideshow at the circus; they are two of the least important characteristics in my mind when grading pro quarterback prospects.

Football Outsiders: Are there Combine drills you'd like to see abolished (i.e., 40-yard dashes for offensive linemen), or tests you think should be implemented?

Rang: The only aspect about the Combine I'd like to see abolished is the restriction of media into the event. For the first time in league history members of the media were allowed in this year. I see no reason, given the NFL Network's televising of the events, that appropriately credentialed media should not be allowed into the facility.

Football Outsiders: Who is the single most impressive college player you've ever observed?

Rang: Sorry, I couldn't limit myself. I'm going to give you my top five. These are not in any particular order:

Carson Palmer, QB, USC
LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, TCU
Reggie Bush, RB, USC
Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
Steve Hutchinson, OG, Michigan


49 comments, Last at 02 May 2007, 2:07pm

1 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

Here's hoping for Johnson my fellow Raider fans (wherever you are).

2 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

I wish I could have asked a question-but instead I will ask for the rest of the board.

He has Ginn as overrated as a WR. Ginn (or his father) has said that he believes he could be a great corner. He was going to be a corner I do believe his freshman year at Ohio State (or started out there). So of course my question is: Will a team have the balls to try him at corner his rookie season-he is going to be raw at either position (if the scouting reports about him are true). If I had a late 1st rounder or an extra one and no pressing needs-I would totally draft Ginn and place him at corner (cough Patriots cough).

3 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

Why not? The Patriots let Willie Andrews try the WR position, and Bam Childress try as a corner, and I would hardly imagine that they are unique. If he's willing, whatever team drafts him would be dumb not to give him a few reps there in training camp if he wants to try it.

Don't look for him to be a multi-position player, though. It's almost impossible for players to do that now-adays, because offensive and defensive team meetings and film studies typically happen at the same time.

Also, I wouldn't expect the Patriots to do something like that. If they were short at both WR and CB, maybe (but probably not with a 1st rounder...that's the sort of thing you try with a mid-rounder). But they are now jammed with WR's, and if they decide they need a corner (i.e. because talks with Samuel aren't going well), they're probably better suited to drafting an actual pure corner who has experience with the position.

4 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

Wow, that's some pretty impressive company for Calvin Johnson.

5 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

re: 4

That's not really surprising. Johnson was fantabulous in college. I hope the Eagles trade up for him.

RE: the guy in the Vikings-Cardinals thread. If the Vikings made it to the playoffs that year they would not have beaten the Eagles.

6 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

Really? And how in the hell are the Eagles going to jump 22-25 spots to get Johnson? Trade the next three drafts?

I wish I could have asked about John Wendling, the safety out of Wyoming. I've never seen him play, but everything I've read has given me a huge mancrush on him. I think the Eagles could steal him in the second round, assuming they draft a corner in the first round.

7 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

I could easily see any team (save the Redskins) get Calvin Johnson. First this year, first next year, and first in 2009... and maybe throw in a 3rd this year... maybe. Sure that's a bit inflated for a team already in the top 16 jumping up... but I think it's a reasonable trade for someone in the back 16.

I'm not sure if the fans would crucify the GM... but... why couldn't it happen? I can easily see the 'Skins offering this. Just look at the Broncos, they've offered picks in the first 3 rounds this year. I think it might take 1 more pick to get it down (2nd next year), but if you are willing you can do it.

Just like how we fantasize about the draft aution... this is how teams are able to play their chips now.

8 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

It is a bit of a wonder that so many focus more on arm strength than on accuracy, when a qb can have a Hall of Fame career with below average arm strength, but will never be above average with accuracy which is not above average. As to poise under pressure, it is easier to be poised when one has decent mobility.

No, a qb doesn't need to move like Vince Young or Michael Vick, but a clubfoot has a tough time remaining poised, especially if they take a regular beating. Drew Bledsoe threw a fair amount of godawful interceptions, and I think his inability to elude a pass rush played a significant role. Also, when a qb has little mobility, he become much easier to stunt against, absent All-Pro quality receivers; defensive coordinators have much less to fear in regards to the qb buying time with his feet and then making a throw downfield.

No, mobility doesn't come close to matching accuracy, or decision-making, in terms of important qb qualities, but too many rocket-armed guys have their immobility discounted more than it should be.

9 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

re: 6

If Wendling is good, the Eagles might take him.

As for Johnson, you never know.

10 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

7: That's quite a blockbuster deal. Three first round picks and a third to move up to draft a wide receiver? I know that Calvin Johnson is an incredible prospect, but I doubt any team would even give a passing thought to risking its next two drafts for a position that relies so much on other factors.
In all seriousness, it would be a crazy, desperate trade to make; the only way I would ever give up my next two first round picks would be for a player that (a) is the next big franchise QB, like Peyton Manning or Carson Palmer or (b) is at a position that is the lone piece missing from a near certain Super Bowl championship this year.
Looking at it, I can think of two contending teams where a stud WR could have pushed them over the hump last year: New England and San Diego. The Patriots have already addressed the position this offseason, so they're out. I suppose a trade like that would sort of make sense for the Chargers, but it could also be argued that they were the best team already last year, and could very well have won the Super Bowl had some breaks gone their way, so giving up that much in the long run for a single player today would seem too risky.

11 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

Football Outsiders: What is the one most important aspect of a quarterback you must see when evaluating his chances in the NFL?

Rang: Two things, actually: accuracy and poise under pressure. Take arm strength and mobility and make it a sideshow at the circus; they are two of the least important characteristics in my mind when grading pro quarterback prospects.

Which is why I was so glad when the Bruce Gradkowski era began in Tampa. The good feelings lasted as long as his YPA.

12 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

A guy who should be in Canton, but quiet demeanor gets him overlooked, much like Crackhead Irvin going in ahead of Monk despite Art having superior stats and character.


18th! ROUND DRAFT PICK. 245th Overall!
14 seasons played with JUST the Redskins!

He was voted to the Pro Bowl (9)nine times, selected as an All-Pro (5) five times and was named the NFL defensive player of the year in 1972. He was also entrusted by George Allen to call defensive signals for his defense. He was LT before LT! Too bad the NFL didn't record sack stats!
19 INTS, 2 for TD's! 16 fumbles recovered, 3 for TD's!
Considered still the GREATEST linebacker in Redskin history!


13 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

Bruce Gradkowski was really crappy last year. I got all worked up hoping he could help the Eags by beating the Giants. He totally sucked that day.

14 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

Re: 10
If you are that team that is just one player away... pull the trigger. You'll still have your 2nds-7ths (except for the third). In fact, I think NE fans would be crying out to make that deal...

15 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

#12, because linebackers are probably the most underrepresented position in the HOF. Hanburger belongs, as does Chuck Howely, among others.

16 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

re: 15

We kindly beg to differ.

17 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

I think John Beck goes 2nd or 3rd round, not 2nd day.

18 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

Thank you... Arm Strength and Mobility overrated.

It's a breath of fresh air to see somebody who did his own Due Dilligence. I was most interested in seeing his overrated prospects. It sounds like he thinks Peterson could be an (injury) bust instead of an (ineffective) bust. A lot of people feel Jarret won't be that game changing WR. I'd agree with Ginn, I'd think he will be more of a Hester return man than a great receiver. I think going to the Rams would be the absolute best scenerio for Ginn. I'm also very intrigued by Beck ( didn't see much of him in college).

19 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

In what the HOF terms the modern era, there have been 32 offensive linemen inducted, and only 16 linebackers. With regard to players who had most of their careers take place since the creation of the AFL, there have been 24 offensive linemen inducted, and 12 linebackers. Yes, there are more offensive linemen on the field, but it isn't quite a 2:1 ratio.

Having said that, I want to see guys like Keuchenberg inducted as much as anyone.

20 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

14: If you are that team that is just one player away… pull the trigger. You’ll still have your 2nds-7ths (except for the third). In fact, I think NE fans would be crying out to make that deal...
Except that's a huge price to pay for one player. This isn't like in the NBA, where a team might truly be a center away from a title - one player, especially a WR, doesn't make that much of a difference by himself.
I was trying to get this across with my ramblings about San Diego. It's quite clear they need WR help. However, if you take away any one of a few fluky plays against the Patriots, they win that game and get the Colts and Bears, who they match up very, very well against. What held the Chargers back last year was part luck, part inadequate WRs, and parts of other, miscellaneous things.
I know playing the what-if game is dangerous, but that's essentially what they'd be doing if they gave way all those picks for Johnson; it would be, "If we had a stud WR last year, we'd have won the Super Bowl." It could just as well be, "If we hadn't had every single critical break go againsts us in one game last year, we'd have won the Super Bowl."

21 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

Excellent article; good work.

Seeing Moss and Anderson listed among the overrateds makes me a bit less enthusiastic about Denver's draft, seeing as one of those 2 is rumored to be going to Denver is just about every mock draft. (then again, maybe that's a good thing, as mock draft are usually wrong)

I enjoyed seeing arm strength listed as an overrated criteria, particularly in a draft where the potential number one pick may be so solely on that factor.

22 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

Re 8:
Then why aren't the Shane Matthews' of the world any good? Why do older QBs get less productive if arm strength isn't important?

There's a certain threshold of arm strength that a pro QB needs. Once that's there, I grant you that arm strength is largely irrelevant, but that doesn't mean that arm strength altogether is irrelevant.

23 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

I didn't say it was irrelevant, mactbone. I said a qb can have a legitimate HOF career with below average arm strength, but cannot be above average with less than average accuracy. Tarkenton may have been the greatest qb ever (factoring the quality of his teammates for the first 2/3 of his career), and Montana is thought by many to have been so. Tarkenton's arm strength was markedly below average, and I'd say Montana's was slightly below average. The closest equivalent, from the creation of the AFL onward, I can think of, in terms of inaccuracy, is Namath, who I don't believe should be in the HOF, and whose biggest problem was not inaccuracy, but accurately throwing to spots he should not have been throwing to. It is really interesting to hear some of Namath's teammates, from Namath's prime, speak of his lack of discipline, on and off the field, and how it affected performance.

An offensive coordinator can usually compensate for a weaker than average arm that is extremely accurate. Inaccurately thrown passes cannot be compensated for nearly as well.

24 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

With older players, it's not always that the QB will lose some zip on his passes ( and become ineffective), but the fact that he still thinks he's that young stud, when in reality he has to compensate for the diminishing skills.

There are tons of mobility/strong armed busts. These coaches see those freakshow talents and think that if they could only "coach him up" then they really have something special there.

Sort of like how in Moneyball the old scouts see a 6'2, 235 pound guy built like a rock and see "power hitter", while playing less attention to his average, OBP etc. They think that they can teach him how to hit.

Beane on the other hand goes for the guy that already has a good eye ( and can hit), and who can eventually grow into that power.

In football terms you might have the choice between a smart/accurate leader type, or some raw prospect with an arm, or mobility, or huge size.

13- I wouldn't write off Gradkowski just yet.

25 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

I wouldn't trade my whole draft for anyone in NFL history and I'm including Elway and Jim Brown and Jerry Rice or anybody else you want to name. Those guys legends now, they were just rookie punks when they got drafted. Unless a GM knows with all certainty that Prospect X is a sure-fire Hall of Famer, he needs as many picks as possible because a fair number of those picks will wash out and nobody knows with all certainty whether a given prospect will be any good. Calvin Johnson might be that good. He might be the next Charles Rodgers. The Saints traded a whole draft for Ricky Williams. It seems that trade didn't do a whole hell of a lot for that franchise.

26 Re: Rob Rang Q&A


The broncos offered 1st 2nd and 3rd round picks this year AND their #1 next year.

27 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

On the basis of injury risk alone, a team is unwise to trade that many players for a single guy, no matter how good that single guy is. To go John Facenda (imagine voice), "Football is a sport of attrition, where cruel injury fates determine careers with utter ruthlessness."

28 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

To move up most teams have to trade 2 players for 1. I think 3 for 1 is reasonable, but any team not in the top 15 is going to have to give up 4 players to get CJ.

I don't think it's unreasonable. It will most likely be 2 players from this draft, and 2 from 2008, which makes it a bit easier to handle.

29 Re: Rob Rang Q&A


The broncos offered 1st 2nd and 3rd round picks this year AND their #1 next year.

To who? The Raiders? I'd take it.

30 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

I have a question about arm strength.

First, I agree that it's overrated. NFL history is replete with great QBs -- Bernie Kosar, Joe Montana, etc. etc. -- who had subpar arm strength.

But here's what I don't understand. Aren't arm muscles just like any other muscles? I mean, can't they be made stronger? Especially when a young college kid gets the benefit of a full-time pro workout regimen.

I guess what confuses me is how people will take a Chris Leak, or someone like that with a subpar arm, and act like that's as strong as his arm will ever be, end of story. Can't 22-year-olds improve their arm strength? Have there been any cases of college QBs who notably improved their arm strength after a few years as a pro?

- Alaska Jack

31 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

Brady has gotten noticeably better at throwing the long ball since 2001 but I'm not sure if his arm strength has actually improved or if he's just gotten better accuracy and touch on long passes.

I think that part of the reason it's difficult to improve "arm strength" is that it's not so much the actual strength of the arm as it is the leverage and torque you can put on the ball, which is pretty dependent on things like how long your arm is and other structural things like that.

32 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

Two things-

A) Sure it's possible to improve your arm strength a bit, but it's like baseball- why do some pitchers throw 95mph, some top off at 85? It's not cuz the 85 mph guys just don't like to lift weights.

2) Awesome appearance by John Facenda

33 Re: Rob Rang Q&A


Exactly correct. In the NFL you need a certain level of arm strength. Beyond that it's diminishing returns. All those Florida QB's didn't have the "minimum" required (Matthews, Wuerffel, and now Leak in my opinion).

Kosar's lack of arm strength was made up for by the fact he was and presumably still is a genius. By the end of his career he had the arm strength of a bad high school option QB and he could still make plays.

I think Montana's arm strength was better than people realized. I don't remember those 49er teams throwing a lot of deep balls. I do remember Montana throwing quite a few quick slants on a rope with great accuracy. How many 70 yard throws does a QB make in the NFL anyway?

Regarding Calvin Johnson:

I think scouts, coaches and such see him as Randy Moss without any of the associated baggage. What would you give up for a hard-working rookie Randy Moss?

34 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

QB arm strength does help, even beyond the basic cutoff point. The faster you can zip a ball, the smaller of a window you need to complete a pass. A receiver who's open to Brett Favre could be pretty well covered to Danny Wuerffel.

Watching Wuerffel start for the Redskins
during the Spurrier Era was painful; he was smart, he was tough, and he was accurate, but guys had to be wide freakin' open, or the defensive backs would be able to make plays on the all-too-slow ball. Shaun King on the Bucs had the same problem.

A super-strong arm and the resulting ball velocity will cover up for bad reads sometimes. You can hit guys who are covered simply because the ball gets there so fast, the defensive backs can't quite make a play on it. Also, you can make throws to more areas of the field, forcing the defense to account for more possibilities.

That being said, yeah, it's overrated as a quality. I'd wager that a guy with decent arm strength and above-average accuracy is a much more valuable player than one with above-average strength and average accuracy.

35 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

I think I would trade a draft away for someone that I knew was going to be that important to the team for the next 5-10 years. I'd take a Marino or Montana or Manning if you absolutely knew that he was going to turn into something like that.

But fresh out of college? Not a chance in hell.

36 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

30- Good question. How come a guy like Pedro Martinez could at one time throw nearly 100 MPH ( at 170 Pounds) where as some guys 50 pounds heavier and stronger never could?

Not sure about the physics of the whole thing, but I'd guess that it was related to arm/shoulder/rotator cuff strength, fast twitch muscle fiber ratio, arm length, core strength, leg strength, and of course technique.

It wouldn't be like sitting the kid down at the bench press ( or push press) and "making" him have a stronger arm. You probably "could" develop a stronger arm, but who knows by how much. These top picks were playing college ball at a competitive level.

Jeff George could throw one hell of a pass, but it doesn't do you any good when that pass is caught by the other team.

37 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

36. Regarding Pedro - have you ever seen a picture of his hands? His fingers look about 3 inches longer than normal. I always wondered how much effect that had on throwing the ball.

Most hard throwers in football or baseball are big men with long arms - but there are of course exceptions to the rule.

The steroid era in baseball sure seemed to jump the average fastball about 5MPH, I suspect there is some of that in football. I noticed them clocking ball speed at the combine - you don't read about that much.

38 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

Arm strength is important, don't think that's it is not. As someone pointed out earlier, you can run a route, and that route be open for a QB with a strong arm, but covered for a QB with a weaker arm. Don't get me wrong, I think as a hole scouts tend to overate it, but it's important nonetheless.

Accuracy is a great evaluation tool, but it's very hard to measure. You can use completion percentage as a way of doing it, but even that's tough. After all, a fairly inaccurate QB can have a high completion rate if he throws a lot of screens, slants, etc. On the other hand, a very accurate QB can have a low completion percentage if he throws a lot of tough, deep throws.

I've always thought that's one reason why so many people put such an emphasis on arm strength. It's easy to evaluate, so at least you know what you have on that front. With accuracy, who really knows? Sure, you can figure that one out to a degree, but it's very difficult among a lot of prospects.

39 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

For the fan, it is indeed very, very, difficult to evaluate accuracy. Presumably, however, teams which are risking tens of millions have broken down every single pass that Brady Quinn threw at Notre Dame, and have a better sense of it. I also presume that they have the data on, say, Matt Leinert at USC, or Eli Manning at Ole Miss, and thus have some points of reference. It'd be interesting to see that internal data.

40 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

Completion percentage can also be distorted by the quality of the receivers. Good receivers get open more often, and catch everything thrown at them. Obviously, bad receivers do the opposite. Even looking at the number of "drops" doesn't account for the inability of the receivers to get open. Also, a QB who plays behind a poor line will have to throw it away more often, thus lowering their completion percentage.

41 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

I think arm strength is quite like "punch".
It can't be coached, you have it or you don't.
Some boxers can knock out you with one hit, some can't, that's it, no relation between your build and your punch.

And it works the same way, you need it but you can't win if it's your only quality.

A good technician can survive a puncher if he avoids the hits, jabs, and turns around him. But ultimately, you have to hit, so without punch, you won't win.

The same in football, a QB needs to read the D, scan the field, know his play, find his receiver open, but if he can't throw the ball fastly enough, the db will be here whith the receiver when it arrives.

We often speak about boom-or-bust rbs, is there an equivalent for a qb ?
If a qb is repeatedly intercepted very deep (equivalent of a punt) or throw incomplete pass and force his team to punt, and then sometimes, he throws the long ball for a FG or a TD, can he be as valuable as your dink-and-dunk QB (Carr '06) ?
I mean truely short passes !

42 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

Rams just traded for Dante Hall. I'm pretty sure this means they're not sold on Ginn.

43 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

If you insist on using stats for evaluating accuracy, I'd consider YAC as important as pure completion percentage. It's one thing to get the ball to a receiver where he can catch it, and another thing altogether to get it where he can catch it in stride and run away from defenders. A QB who's just accurate enough that his receivers have to stop, slide, turn around, or whatever to catch the ball may be decent in the NFL; a QB who can consistently hit his receivers so they don't even break stride has a chance to be truly great. The best way to tell this is by observation; if you can't look at a bunch of film, messing with YAC could give a decent estimate.

44 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

Trogdor- good point. Bill Walsh was supposedly a stiffler to Montana about exactly where the throw should be. Hitting the guy in the numbers would sometimes not be good enough.

Also, dink and dunk offenses with lots of screens and short throws will yield higher completion percentages. It's hard to grade accurate throws. Maybe a better measure would be the grading scale used for lineman.

45 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

dead on with the qb comments

brady quinn has the strongest arms, benches the most but that does little on the field for a qb

look how how weak peyton's upper body is

it's about your vision and your throwing wrist and like he said, poise--willingness to take a big hit

46 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

There isn't any way to make it non-subjective, but I think the best way to do it would be similar to offensive lineman. Assign a value of 1 through 4 to each pass, broken into short, intermediate, and long ranges, and whether the qb was being pressured. If I was an owner thinking about giving 30 million in guaranteed cash to college qb, I'd want every single pass he threw in college graded in this manner, along with the data of recently previously drafted qbs taken in the first round, like Eli Manning, Matt Leinert, Philip Rivers, Jay Cutler, David Carr, etc., etc.

47 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

To the lions

48 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

I think it's pretty interesting that the two big things he names for QB prospects (accuracy and poise) seem to correlate pretty well to the things in the FO projection system (completion % and games started).


49 Re: Rob Rang Q&A

Why is it so hard to gauge a quarterback's passing accuracy? I'd imagine you put up some archery targets or a swinging tire and just have them throw at these from different distances or on the run. Closest to the middle = most accurate. There must be more to it, or this is what they would do.