Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

20 Apr 2010

ESPN: Lewin Career Forecast for 2010 QBs

This week's Tuesday ESPN feature is the last bit of draft preview from us: a Lewin Career Forecast breakdown of Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen, Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, and Tony Pike.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 20 Apr 2010

16 comments, Last at 25 Apr 2010, 11:23am by Eddo


by fek9wnr (not verified) :: Tue, 04/20/2010 - 3:46pm

I like the LCF as an idiot check into the groupthink surrounding top QBs (particularly ones with amazing physical attributes, like JaMarcus Russell).

However, I think it runs into a problem with guys like Colt McCoy. To be honest, I have no idea if he will be a good QB in the NFL - he very well may end up as one. However, his stats are highly skewed by Texas' scheme and overall talent. If you put Jimmy Clausen behind Texas' o-line all three years he was at ND and have him throw 50-60% of his passes within 5 yards of the line (from what I've seen of Texas, this seems like a fair estimate), then I'd bet his career completion percentage would be closer to McCoy's than Rex Grossman's.

Clausen got pounded harder during his first two seasons than any QB I've seen since David Carr on the expansion Texans, and didn't have any chance whatsoever to put up high completion numbers. I'm amazed that he recovered to post the numbers he did last season. Trying to read anything into his career numbers besides the fact that ND had a historically awful offensive line seems foolhardy.

by tuluse :: Wed, 04/21/2010 - 2:11am

That's why it only works with QBs that go in the first two rounds.

Those are QBs that scouts have already determined are talented enough to be NFL QBs.

by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 04/20/2010 - 5:25pm

There's probably something to be said for the difference between top-end offenses running a spread in college vs. more pro-style or less talented squads. Colt McCoy (and Bradford, Tebow, etc.) all have better Lewin numbers than they probably deserve (Bradford at least threw downfield occasionally).

That said, the adjustment is already made; people already rate Clausen higher because he played for Charlie Weis rather than a spread guy. That's why he's considered a first round pick even though he has a noodle arm, iffy college numbers and a bad rep for attitude (I know precisely nothing about his actual attitude, and don't want to get into the fray on that one).

I'd love to see an "air yards" comparison for college quarterbacks.

by Joseph :: Tue, 04/20/2010 - 6:27pm

I think both Tebow's and McCoy's write-ups should say this: "The wild card for both of these guys is the team that picks them. (Doesn't that go without saying, to some extent?) But what I mean is that if they go to a team where they can sit on the bench for 1-2 years before entering the starting lineup [think: Vikings; Broncos; Jaguars; and some others], then they will have a much better chance for success, similar to Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, and others. If the team that drafts them expects them to start right away or at some point in 2010, they may not turn out as well."

by Zippy (not verified) :: Tue, 04/20/2010 - 6:48pm

It seems like this system becomes worthless as the rise of the bubble screen jacks up everyone's completion percentages beyond 60%. Maybe there have been special insider tweaks to the system that make it more robust.

by Travis :: Tue, 04/20/2010 - 10:17pm

Tebow only started 41 games in college - Chris Leak started at QB in all 14 games in Tebow's freshman year.

by DW (not verified) :: Wed, 04/21/2010 - 8:44am

I looked at the original article and couldn't help noticing it's only one for four for 2008. The Lewin forecast was down on Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco and up on Brohm and Henne. Ryan and Flacco are now solid starters while Brohm is a back up in Buffalo. Only Henne looks like a good Lewin call. So the system's not holding up too well.

by capt. Anonymous (not verified) :: Thu, 04/22/2010 - 5:38am

Going to get killed for this but its just fun for me to throw it out there.

I have been working on forecasting college qbs. I don't want to share anything except the results. This is more to just see if anyone else is working along the same lines somewhere out there.

Lewin got me started and I added some tweaks that were inspired by Jason Campbell. I needed to find out what the QB's Lewin got right all had it common and by golly even Tom Brady passed the test. I call these group of qb's the club. I'm trying to eliminate the scouting bias. Obviously it might take some more work and these observations take years to make.

Colt, Claussen, and Lefever(spelling) are all in the club.

Tebow is out.
Bradford is out.

Matt Ryan is in
Matt Leinart is out
I can't do Flacco

I can't think of any other young qb's who the verdict could
still be out on off the top of my head and I'm too lazy to look right now.

Chase Daniel is in, so it would be interesting to see if

by Dave51 (not verified) :: Thu, 04/22/2010 - 9:42am

Interesting, are you going to keep us updated as to how your system performs? And how does it see Kevin Kolb?

by Brando (not verified) :: Thu, 04/22/2010 - 4:29pm

I recall that the system rated Kolb very high (started alot of games in college with a high completion %).

by Eddo :: Thu, 04/22/2010 - 12:07pm

This sounds interesting... could you give us some indication of what you're using to judge the QBs, though? For example, what is the difference between McCoy and Tebow, Ryan and Leinart, etc.?

by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Fri, 04/23/2010 - 1:44am

I'm going to mark this as most likely silly.

With such a small sample size, it is very likely to pick up on some mere coincidences.

Good luck though.

Also, I really miss the days when you offered some of your articles on this website and I didn't have to roll my eyes because I'm not a sucker enough to give ESPN money.

Oh well.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 04/23/2010 - 10:36am

I agree. It seems like every decent piece of work is now on ESPN. There's not a whole lot of value staying on this page.

by Eddo :: Fri, 04/23/2010 - 12:25pm

"It seems like every decent piece of work is now on ESPN."

Except, you know:
Quick Reads
Varsity Numbers
Scramble for the Ball
guest articles

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 04/23/2010 - 12:58pm

Those articles are still here, but a lot of the comment previously in them is gone.

by Eddo :: Sun, 04/25/2010 - 11:23am

Such as?