Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

28 May 2014

Overvalued? College Teammates and the Biggest Mistakes in the NFL Draft

How much does the success of a collegiate's supporting cast mean for his NFL chances? Andrew Healy investigates.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 28 May 2014

11 comments, Last at 01 Jun 2014, 10:12am by Noah Arkadia


by ebongreen :: Wed, 05/28/2014 - 1:12pm

Rivers, neither the headline nor the article has a link; I can't click through. :-(

by smilerz :: Wed, 05/28/2014 - 1:35pm

The link is here for those looking to click through:

by Alexander :: Wed, 05/28/2014 - 11:54pm

I think the QB "looking too good" because of teammates is inconsequential in many ways because QBs seem to be just generally overvalued in the draft by teams. I hear a bunch of people, and it seems that a bunch of GMs, believe that you "can't win without a good QB".

The problem with that is that in the NFL, winning QBs are almost immediately perceived as good. Russel Wilson and Kaepernick are great examples, because they basically play the Kyle Orton role (in Chicago) at a slightly higher level, but are held up as examples of great QBs. In my opinion, they are actually evidence that you can win with a Decent QB, provided you pay him almost nothing, and fill the rest of the roster with good players.

In fact, having a great QB, is the EASY way to be good, the Colts probably would have averaged 4 wins a game without their 2 amazing quarterbacks. SO yes, draft Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, and probably even Matt Stafford or Matt Ryan (in the new CBA) high, but you cant use Tom Brady as an example for drafting a QB.

by mehllageman56 :: Thu, 05/29/2014 - 12:19am

Kaepernick and Wilson ranked 8th and 9th in DYAR last year, and 7th and 8th in DVOA. They are much better than Kyle Orton. They also ranked higher than Luck and Stafford, probably because they turn the ball over less.

As a Jets fan, I know that a team can win without a good QB, since my favorite team went to 2 consecutive AFC championship games with Mark Sanchez. But that team must be really loaded around that QB, and it is really rare for a team like that to pull off a Super Bowl victory.

by serutan :: Thu, 05/29/2014 - 11:26am

Ex: 2000 Ravens, 2002 Bucs.
Was wr

by Jeff88 :: Sat, 05/31/2014 - 10:37am

Both of those quarterbacks were better than Mark Sanchez! Plus Brad Johnson was a pro bowler, and rarely turned over the ball.

by Noah Arkadia :: Thu, 05/29/2014 - 11:28am

No, I get it. He's saying that QBs can be made to look good by the excellence of their teammates. It's true that Sanchez didn't look good, but that was because the excellence of that team was all on defense. Meanwhile, take a look at Matt Cassell, or even Matt Flynn and his fantastic performance with the Packers. Kaepernick in particular seems like an iffy passer who would be exposed in a lesser team.

Who, me?

by Duff Soviet Union :: Fri, 05/30/2014 - 7:15pm

The excellence of that team wasn't ALL on defense. They had a good O-Line / running game and decent receivers.

If you removed every QB from their team and then redistributed with a lottery (might get Manning, might get Jamarcus), those Jets would probably have been the best team in the league. Sanchez just killed them.

by LionInAZ :: Sat, 05/31/2014 - 7:18pm

Matt Flynn was never all that even with the Packers. He had a few starts that looked brilliant because he was up against secondaries that were depleted/second-rate. I would have thought his inability to win the starter job on both the Seahawks and Raiders put the story of his competence to rest.

by Noah Arkadia :: Sun, 06/01/2014 - 10:12am

Of course it does. Exactly the point. Flynn's terrible and he looked brilliant a few times: with a great offense. So the question remains, to what degree can you hide a mediocre QB if you have great offensive talent. And sure, against better defenses Flynn doesn't have an epic day, but I bet he'd still look good.

About Sanchez, the line was good true, but the rest was nothing special. Not nearly good enough to make a bad QB look good, not even someone who isn't Sanchez. Trent Dilfer could certainly have won with that team, but he wouldn't have looked truly good, just like he didn't when he won the SB with the Ravens. He looked alright, nothing more.

But put the right QB in the right system with the right talent around him and he goes from dud to superhero, like Cassel did. Only trouble with this theory is there aren't enough examples that prove it. I wonder if there are many counterexamples, though.

Who, me?

by Alexander :: Sun, 06/01/2014 - 12:45am

But even so, its not like NFL teams predicted such performances pre-draft, or they wouldnt have been drafted where they were. Thus, using them as examples of anything draft-related to justify draft decisions just makes no sense.