Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

09 Jan 2014

2014's Quarterback Conundrum

Over at Rotoworld, Greg Peshek charted out every throw by potential first-round picks Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, and Derek Carr.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 09 Jan 2014

25 comments, Last at 12 Jan 2014, 11:45am by Will Allen


by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 01/09/2014 - 12:52pm

You really have to admire the amount of work that's gone into this.

by RickD :: Thu, 01/09/2014 - 7:51pm

Yes. Charting every pass over the course of a season for four quarterbacks would take an insane amount of time.

by bernie (not verified) :: Thu, 01/09/2014 - 1:43pm

I don't really follow college football, so I haven't seen much of Manziel other than the highlights they release. There seems to be a lot of hype about him, making plays with his legs, being unpredictable etc. Is there any chance he becomes the next Tebow?

by JIPanick :: Thu, 01/09/2014 - 2:04pm

I guess that depends on what you mean by "next Tebow".

If you mean "ridiculously over-hyped player", then yeah there's a chance.

If you mean "NFL quarterback who goes in the first round in spite of not being able to actually throw the ball", then no. He can throw.

by BBB (not verified) :: Thu, 01/09/2014 - 2:09pm

His use of legs is a lot more akin to how Russel Wilson plays than Tebow.

Tebow is a bruiser Manziel would get crushed if he was consistently running up the middle in college or pro ball

by AnonymousBoob (not verified) :: Thu, 01/09/2014 - 2:50pm

Yeah. The Tim Tebow of this season is Jordan Lynch. Huge man, great running skill, throwing capability more suited for a tight end.

by Brendan Scolari :: Thu, 01/09/2014 - 6:27pm

Lynch is listed at 6'0", 216 lb. That's not any bigger than Manziel.

by collapsing pocket (not verified) :: Fri, 01/10/2014 - 11:51am

Perhaps Lynch just looks bigger compared to his competition. Either way, the comparison still works. Lynch's biggest asset is his legs, same as Tebow's. Neither is a great passer. Manziel has the accuracy to try make a go of it in the NFL.

by tuluse :: Fri, 01/10/2014 - 12:14pm

Manziel does have some funky mechanics at times, I feel like those will be a bigger problem in the NFL where passing windows are smaller, and the pocket collapses faster (and defenders are generally more disciplined).

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 01/10/2014 - 4:36pm

I think Manziel's mechanics get helter-skelter when he's Tarkentoning around in the backfield, but in those situations, he's usually clean enough to get those passes off. He actually looks decent when throwing from a clean pocket.

I suspect he's good for about 1 Eli INT per game, though.

by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 01/10/2014 - 5:39pm

His hips fire before his shoulder but the ball comes out with good velocity and decent accuracy, it shouldn't be a massive problem.

by AnonymousBoob (not verified) :: Fri, 01/10/2014 - 6:32pm

I am shocked by that. He is a power rusher and he always seemed bigger than that (and I have watched a ton of MAC football since he's been there). I would have pegged him for 6-2 240.

He does run over people though, at least in the MAC. I would guess it's his lower body strength as well as less than stellar defensive competition.

by tuluse :: Fri, 01/10/2014 - 6:37pm

Power runners are rarely tall. You need a low center of gravity. For comparison, Marshawn Lynch is 5'11" 215lbs, he doesn't have any problem running through NFL defenders.

by Brendan Scolari :: Thu, 01/09/2014 - 6:28pm

Manziel is a much better thrower than Tebow ever was, and as others have said, his running style is more easily translated to the NFL game.

by steveNC (not verified) :: Fri, 01/10/2014 - 8:21am

In terms of "intangibles", which may not be worth mentioning, but Johnny has exhibited a certain boyish enthusiasm while, surprisingly, so far only Tebow has shown us man-zeal.

by jonnyblazin :: Thu, 01/09/2014 - 5:42pm

I'm not much of a college football person, but I tried to catch a few snaps of Louisville to see Bridgewater. I couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about, are there any good comps people see him as in the NFL?

by humanjunglegym (not verified) :: Fri, 01/10/2014 - 9:28pm

Did the same thing myself and had the same reaction. Looked like a solid NFL player but nothing special.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/09/2014 - 6:45pm

The fact that Manziel had more than 38% of his completions take place more than 11 yards downfield, and more than 18% more than 20 yards downfield is very ,very positive, especially since his completion rate on passes more than 10 and 20 yards downfield was the best.

I really didn't see any of these guys play at all, however, with Manziel topping the list at three games over two years, so I don't have any idea as to what their chances are. In contrast, I saw every game Russell Wilson played in his last year in college, which is why I suspected so strongly that he was being greatly undervalued.

by RickD :: Thu, 01/09/2014 - 7:54pm

Looks very good for Bridgewater. And looks like one needs to be cautious about Derek Carr. Manziel might have been so overhyped that he's now underrated, if you get what I mean.

by anotherpatsfan :: Thu, 01/09/2014 - 10:21pm

Interesting. Unless I am reading this wrong (quite possible)I would not have thought the average college QB would complete 75 percent of his passes -- or 51 percent of his deep passes -- absent drops. Seems like an awful lot of drops.

by CBPodge :: Fri, 01/10/2014 - 7:27am

I think its based on the top 8 QBs in the draft (from reading between the lines), which seems high but not *too* high.

by andrew :: Fri, 01/10/2014 - 8:46pm

Even mock drafters from Irkutsk have the vikings settling for Derek Carr at #8. The price of playing hard down the stretch, again.

by Will Allen :: Sun, 01/12/2014 - 11:45am

This makes me Ponder a rehash of history. Just draft the best football player in the 1st round, and try to win 9 or 10 games with Cassell, while taking a flyer on a qb in the 3rd round.

by jimm (not verified) :: Sat, 01/11/2014 - 11:11am

excellent article..I had them ranked Bridgewater, Manziel, Bortles, Carr, and this article didn't make me change my mind at all.

I think the top 3 are excellent prospects. Not sure about Carr - when I watched him he seemed inaccurate 10+ yards down the field and this study bears that out. He also looked skittish at times. But man he can get rid of the ball in a hurry and almost never takes a sack.

My guess - Carr has enough warts to drop to number 8 and he ends up with the Vikings.

by mehllageman56 (not verified) :: Sun, 01/12/2014 - 1:49am

I really like Bridgewater a lot, and come to warm up to Manziel since Waldman's article on him. Bridgewater just seems like he can read the defense really well and put the ball where it needs to go almost all the time. I'm not sure about Carr, but Bortles really puzzles me. It seems to me he has a weird throwing motion, yet the ball gets there quick enough.

What do I know, I was excited last year after watching youtube video of Geno.