Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

19 Feb 2013

Mandatory Monday: Age-Old Question

Forgot to post this yesterday, due to Daddy Duty. The ages of quarterback prospects, why it matters, and 120 hours in the life of Titus Young. Also at Sports on Earth: my wide receiver Top Fives continue with the Dolphins, and the Jets should be up by Wednesday.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 19 Feb 2013

23 comments, Last at 21 Feb 2013, 7:15pm by Jerry


by justanothersteve :: Tue, 02/19/2013 - 10:07am

Interesting thoughts on Gabbert, but isn't the perception of Leinart and Barkley is they lost draft status by staying in college. Many people thought Leinart would have been the #1 pick had he come out a year earlier and Barkley was considered a likely high first rounder. It seems that staying in school helps expose flaws that are otherwise overlooked by QBs who come out early. I don't think this phenomenon is limited to USC QBs. I have no doubts that Gabbert's flaws would also have been exposed had he stayed at Mizzou and being drafted much lower.

by dryheat :: Tue, 02/19/2013 - 1:09pm

I certainly think it exposed how important football was to Leinart. Instead of getting a contract as the #1 draft pick, he preferred living the BMOC lifestyle for another year in a beautiful location with many beautiful and willing females. He would have been off my board, or at least in the middle rounds, the following year due to his priorities.

by usctrojan11 (not verified) :: Tue, 02/19/2013 - 2:02pm

he cared about being the first qb to lead his team to three ap titles more than playing for a bad sf team.

as for geno smith, that just how foolish mockers are. no nfl tea has geno smith ahead of matt barkley.

by usctrojan11 (not verified) :: Tue, 02/19/2013 - 2:04pm

leinart is an example of a guy who never got a fair shot as a starter. he had a coach that hated guys like him in whisenhunt and then warner decided to play well again after sucking from 2002-2006.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 02/19/2013 - 2:51pm

I seem to remember that the moment Kurt Warner got an opportunity as a starter he stepped up and took it ... he didn't need a 'fair' shot at it.

And really where's Leinart been since Arizona, Houston (ok they're decided on Schaub) but Oakland? Oakland is crying out for a decent starting QB ...

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 02/19/2013 - 4:41pm

I can't really hold Arizona and Oakland against Leinart -- those are two organizations who wouldn't know a good QB if it slapped them in the face. Whisenhunt lucked into Warner (who suddenly rediscovered his good version); I don't think there was any planning there.

by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 02/19/2013 - 11:28pm

And Whisenhunt TRULY lucked into Warner because he inherited him in Arizona, it wasn't even his idea to sign him.

I still hope to eventually hear the behind-the-scenes story of what exactly caused them to cut Leinart that year during the preseason. Leinart was finally going to start, Anderson and Skelton were looking pathetic while Leinart had decent numbers, and out-of-the-blue they cut Leinart citing something lame like he was checking down too often. Not even a trade for a late-round pick; they outright released him and got nothing in return, dooming themselves to a season where Anderson and Skelton combined for under 50% completions. That absolutely wasn't a football decision; I think Leinart either must have told Whisenhunt where he could go or he was screwing around with his wife or daughter.

by Hurt Bones :: Tue, 02/19/2013 - 5:27pm

Yeah, Leinart might have completed 60%+ of his passes and thrown more touchdowns than interceptions if he hadn't to throw to stiffs like Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.

by Goo_P (not verified) :: Wed, 02/20/2013 - 9:55pm

"he had a coach that hated guys like him"... You mean shitty QBs?

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 02/19/2013 - 10:22am

Can anyone tell me why Geno Smith is still highly touted after his implosion this season once defenses realized he can't handle pressure?

Also, I wonder how much of this is attributable to BYU:
"On the other end of the spectrum, a rookie who is any older than 24 had his college success at an age when he should have been having pro success and probably benefited too much from being a "man among boys.""

BYU has a history of churning out pretty good players who are all older than average due to the Mormon mission requirement. Also, redshirting is rampant in football, whereas it's rare in basketball and almost unheard of in baseball. I suspect some of the lack of interest in age has to do with this.

Given the short average career of even decent football players, in other words, it may be the mileage more than the years.

by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 02/19/2013 - 11:33pm

Gino Smith finished the year with 42 TDs and 6 INTS while completing 71% of his passes. When did this supposed implosion occur during all that? His numbers were good to great in basically every game. The problem was that if he led them to 50, their defense would give up 60.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 02/20/2013 - 1:38pm

He was 24 TDs and 0 INTs through week 5, which included games against Marshall, James Madison, a bad Maryland team, and really good games against Baylor and Texas. Texas was perceived as a good defense, but was mired in a stretch where they were averaging about 45 points allowed per game.

After week 5, Smith is 18-6, and gets throttled by Texas Tech, KSU, and Syracuse.

He did have a notable game against Kansas, where all 24 of his passes were caught -- 23-24, with 1 INT.

I'm not saying he's a bad QB, but I'm saying that once defenses got some familiarity with him, he went from Andrew Luck to Seth Doege.

by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 02/20/2013 - 3:39pm

Watched the game. G. Smith playeud good cs Texas Txhc. Defense stunk like old garbage truck stuck in Missouri mud pit for 44 years

by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 02/20/2013 - 8:16pm

The only game you list where Smith played badly was against Kansas State. But the other two weren't horrible efforts. Almost remarkably good given how badly they lost. Crazy they could win the turnover battle vs. Texas Tech 2-0 and still lose 49-14.

vs. Kansas State
21/32, 143 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
vs. Syracuse
19/28, 201 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
vs. Texas Tech
30/56, 278 yards, 1 TD, O INTs

I'm not really sold on Smith being great in the NFL, but it speaks well of him that he didn't throw a ton of INTs trying to keep them in games when the opponents were scoring on nearly every possession.

by cisforcookie (not verified) :: Wed, 02/20/2013 - 1:09am

But the best players generally don't redshirt and don't stay 5 years, so it's not super relevant to pro prospects.

Also, I think you might be living in a fantasy world if you think BYU produces better than mediocre pro prospects. Once you get past steve young, the picture is not flattering. Compare, for example, BYU to North Carolina, a program with a mixed record of success. UNC simply annihilates BYU in producing top prospects. BYU has produced 9 pro bowlers in its entire history. UNC has 19. BYU is more comparable to Wake Forest, though that might be being unfair to the deacons. And none of those teams is even in the same galaxy as the top programs. (miami has 54, USC has 66, LSU is lightweight at 41)

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 02/20/2013 - 1:40pm

I'm not saying BYU is super prominent, but they are a fairly famous program who will consistently churn out NFL prospects who are older than average.

It's not like 23 year-old rookies are outside the norm for football. Go back through some of the older players from the 60s and 70s -- it wasn't uncommon. Football isn't baseball.

by young curmudgeon :: Tue, 02/19/2013 - 12:35pm

"Jordan Rodgers is Aaron Rodgers' brother, and frankly he is getting some scouting benefit of the doubt for being Aaron Rodgers' brother. If his last name were Bastianich, he would not be ranked on many prospect lists."

That is, of course, quarterback prospect lists. If we're talking about chef prospect lists, being named Bastianich would get him near the top.

by theslothook :: Tue, 02/19/2013 - 5:14pm

I think the important lesson to take away from the dolphins top 5...do NOT trade let any of your players go to the patriots if you can help it. THis goes double if you happen to play in the same damn division! I wonder what they must be thinking every time welker gashes them for 7 yard plunges.

by andrew :: Tue, 02/19/2013 - 11:32pm

great read.

small typo:

The Rams are always in the market for a wide receiver, and Young has talent to burn, but it you cannot last a full season

...but IF you cannot last a full season...

by JonFrum :: Wed, 02/20/2013 - 9:19pm

I graduated high school at 17, but most of my classmates were 18. Add four years, and you've got 21 or 22. Add a red shirt year, you're up to 22 or 23. How do they get up to 24 years old? I seem to recall reading about parents keeping their kids back in school so they'd be bigger for high school football. Is this what's going on?

by justanothersteve :: Wed, 02/20/2013 - 10:36pm

Some kids who don't have the academic scores to get into college go to prep schools like Oak Hill Academy (though they are more known for basketball). I don't know if that's the only answer, but it happens.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 02/21/2013 - 12:27pm

Tanier is counting age as age on opening day (September 5, 2013).

Basically, that's an old 18 year-old HS grad, who loses one year to either redshirt or a transfer.

by Jerry :: Thu, 02/21/2013 - 7:15pm

Since no Extra Point has been posted, here's a Tanier piece that would have been a great Walkthrough.