Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

13 Aug 2010

ESPN: Ranking Returning College QBs

Expanding the use of the POE measure we often use to evaluate running backs, here's a look at what Points Over Expected can tell us about how returning quarterbacks did in 2009. Case Keenum, Ryan Mallett, Kellen Moore, Andrew Luck and others make the list. Jake Locker? Terrelle Pryor? Christian Ponder? They did not rank as high.

Posted by: Bill Connelly on 13 Aug 2010

9 comments, Last at 18 Aug 2010, 1:04am by loverboy


by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Fri, 08/13/2010 - 7:29pm

Can someone please explain what the fascination a lot of people seem to have with Jake Locker? I get that he is ridiculously athletic, and I will concede that he has a strong arm and a prototypical body. But at some point doesn't he need to show that he can actually play quarterback?

I think the three most important attributes for a QB are 1) accuracy, 2) ability to make good decisions, and 3) ability to stay healthy. I think he is far from proving that he has any of those skills.

by John (not verified) :: Sat, 08/14/2010 - 5:33pm

Who was the last big-armed QB with similarly large question marks to do well in the NFL? There are obviously plenty of counter-examples.

by drobviousso :: Sun, 08/15/2010 - 5:58pm

Cutler? Assuming you call his career "doing well".

by tuluse :: Sun, 08/15/2010 - 6:32pm

Except Cutler was really good at Vanderbilt

by alexbond :: Sat, 08/14/2010 - 8:39pm

I'm a huge UW fan and a personal acquaintance of Jake's, and I can attest he is one of the most over-rated QBs in terms of NFL projection in the college game now. He's sooooo fast and sooooo strong that he can outrun and beat up college defenders, but in the NFL, nearly every defender is also extremely fast and extremely strong, and he won't be able to dominate simply through the physical supremacy. His arm is a cannon, and he has moments of accuracy, but his decision making remains iffy (lots of 1 and 2 read plays still) and his pocket presence is comical - he loves to turn his hips parallel to the line of scrimmage and hop back and forth when under pressure, which pretty much guarantees an inaccurate pass. A great college QB, but an iffy prospect. Vince Young is his upside, I believe.

by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Sun, 08/15/2010 - 2:05pm


Favre had a big arm and a rep for being tough. Beyond that, he was a huge question mark for NLF teams.

by jpeta :: Sun, 08/15/2010 - 10:02pm


I thought one of the tenents of FEI and S&P+ ranking systems were the removal of all non-FCS data from consideration. That always made sense to me. Yet, as I look at the 2009 individual POE results from the article, I'm fairly certain they include FCS games. (For instance Zach Collaros had 181 rushes and passing attempts in 2009, just as the table shows, but 9 of those passes were against SE Missouri St.) Should those attempts be included given the lack of other FBS opponents SE Missouri St. had? Finally, does S&P+ filter out any of the conventional stats for QBs such as kneel downs?

by Bill Connelly :: Tue, 08/17/2010 - 5:20pm

For S&P+ figures, FCS games are included. But from an "output versus expected output" point of view, players don't really derive any extra advantage in playing those teams. Play an FCS team, and you better smoke them worse than everybody else did to still end up on the correct side of the "points over expected" equation.

And yes, kneel downs are considered "team" rushes and are not counted in QB figures.

by loverboy (not verified) :: Wed, 08/18/2010 - 1:04am

I am Jake Locker's lover, and I love the way he turns his hips..