by Andrew Healy
(Ed. Note: Surprise! Our free content version of the QBASE projection article was all ready to go this morning... and then a huge trade between Los Angeles and Tennessee superseded the first few paragraphs. The Cleveland Browns will still get to select a quarterback with their top pick, but it's the Rams who will get to choose between Carson Wentz and Jared Goff. And if rumors are correct, the Rams' choice at No. 1 will likely leave the Browns with the quarterback we thought they should take in the first place. Read on for more details... -- Aaron Schatz)
Draft the wrong quarterback. Fire the general manager. Draft the wrong quarterback. Fire the general manager. The Browns have been stuck in that cycle since coming back into the league as an expansion team in 1999. During that time, the Browns have drafted eight quarterbacks, four in the first round. They have also changed general managers nine times over that stretch, more than any other team. Whether Cleveland's latest GM, Sashi Brown, avoids the early exit of his predecessors depends on his ability to succeed where the others failed. Whatever else he does may not matter if the Browns yet again choose the wrong quarterback.
Fortunately, our Quarterback-Adjusted-Stats-and-Experience (QBASE) projection system is here to help. If it had been around for all the previous drafts since 1999, it would have told the Browns to stay away from Tim Couch, Johnny Manziel, and their other first-round flops. And it has a clear preference for the name the Browns should turn in on draft day this year.
To come up with NFL projections for this year's top quarterback prospects, QBASE looks at college performance, experience, and expected draft position. The last of these is included to account for the scouting information that college stats miss. To allow some time for development, QBASE projects a quarterback's passing efficiency in the third, fourth, and fifth year of his career according to our measure, Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (DYAR). Note that rushing value is not part of this projection. 50,000 simulations produce a range of potential outcomes for each prospect.
QBASE favors quarterbacks expected to go high in the draft who also have a relatively long resume of college success according to the stats. Those stats include completion percentage, yards per attempt, and team passing efficiency. Most importantly, all those stats are adjusted both for the quality of the defenses that a prospect had to face as well as the quality of his offensive teammates.
The projections may seem pretty pessimistic, but remember that the Browns' experience with drafting quarterbacks is just a particularly extreme case of a more general condition: most prospects fail. This year, QBASE only projects one quarterback to be a good proposition to succeed in the NFL, and it's not the one most mock drafts have going to Cleveland.
Changes From Last Year's Model
This year, the model behind QBASE changed little from last year, although I did tweak the formula just a bit in terms of how it weights experience. One thing that bothered me in the original model was that it seemed to over-penalize players who started only one or two college seasons. I felt this was likely overfitting past data. In other words, putting a big weight on years started helped the model come up with more accurate numbers for previous prospects such as Russell Wilson, but some of that is likely a coincidence about the past rather than a useful indicator for predicting the future. If you do the thought experiment of what Wilson's NFL career would look like if he had come out a year earlier, it seems unlikely that he would have been a dramatically worse player.
The updated formula basically adjusts for that idea. Rather than getting the same bonus for each year as a college starter, a prospect now gets a bigger jump going from one year to two than he gets for going from two to three, which is in turn bigger than the bonus going from three years as a starter to four. In the resulting projections, the top four-year quarterbacks (mainly Philip Rivers and Carson Palmer) are clustered closer to the other top prospects than they were previously.
Some corrections to our past data also leave just two quarterbacks in the data who only started one full college season. Last year's model incorrectly listed both Michael Vick and Ryan Tannehill with one year as a starter. With the corrections, only Mark Sanchez and Brock Osweiler qualify to be listed with just one starting season. The projections for Sanchez and Osweiler may be too harsh because of that, but still, no adjustment is going to make QBASE think Sanchez made sense as a top-ten pick.
The other big change to this year's model is the inclusion of FCS quarterbacks who played during the last ten years and were drafted in the top 100: Joe Flacco, Jimmy Garoppolo, Tarvaris Jackson, and soon (presumably), Carson Wentz. Unlike many earlier small-school prospects, such as 2000 49ers third-rounder Giovanni Carmazzi, these four players have easily available college statistics. The QBASE projection for Josh McCown has also moved up because our data now incorporates his senior year as a transfer to FCS Sam Houston State.
2016 QBASE Projections
Carson Wentz (North Dakota State)
|Mean Projection in Years 3-5:||274 DYAR|
|Bust (< 500 DYAR)||61.9%|
|Adequate Starter (500-1499 DYAR)||24.3%|
|Upper Tier (1500-2500 DYAR)||10.0%|
|Elite (>2500 DYAR)||3.8%|
Projecting college quarterbacks to the NFL is inexact enough without adding the complication of a collegiate schedule built around FCS schools. Here, we are presenting our projection for Wentz that makes the most generous assumptions we think make sense for the quality of opposing defenses and the quality of his teammates. The projection essentially calls Wentz's overall situation at North Dakota State -- which includes some good surrounding talent that helped win the school a fifth consecutive FCS title -- relatively, but not extremely, favorable for posting good stats. (In building the new model, other FCS quarterbacks in our database are treated similarly.)
Here are Wentz and the quarterbacks since 1996 who have both similar QBASE projections and similar opponent adjustments in the model. The projection sees Wentz as similar to some major-conference quarterbacks, such as Drew Stanton and Akili Smith, who faced relatively weak competition.
|QBASE for Prospects with Wentz-like Profiles|
The hope here is obviously that Wentz will resemble Joe Flacco, a small-school quarterback whom QBASE would have underrated. But while we should be extra cautious with the projections for players from unique situations such as Wentz and Flacco, QBASE is not generally biased against small-school quarterbacks. In addition to Jimmy Garoppolo, it also gives considerably higher rankings to quarterbacks such as Ben Roethlisberger (1,227 DYAR) and Chad Pennington (1,113 DYAR), even though they have even larger corrections for playing weak mid-major schedules.
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Our estimates for Wentz's chances of being a bust, 62 percent, are certainly higher than one would hope to see in a No. 2 pick. His statistical profile (62.5 percent completion rate as a senior with 7.9 yards per attempt, 17 touchdowns, five interceptions) fits with other highly drafted quarterbacks who struggled in the NFL. But we want to be even more cautious than usual with our estimates since Wentz comes from a situation that's hard to put into the proper context. Our model has its misses -- and Flacco, who played in a similar situation at the University of Delaware, is one of the biggest.
Nevertheless, while Flacco is the hope if the Browns draft Wentz, he is also the exception to a broader rule. Successful NFL quarterbacks usually show in college not only throws that leap off the film, but also clear and consistent evidence of efficiency, whether they have played at Miami of Ohio or Miami of Florida. Wentz's projection reflects the kind of thin statistical resume that has often predicted first-round busts in the past.
Jared Goff (California)
|Mean Projection in Years 3-5:||1,211 DYAR|
|Bust (< 500 DYAR)||28.3%|
|Adequate Starter (500-1499 DYAR)||34.1%|
|Upper Tier (1500-2500 DYAR)||23.5%|
|Elite (>2500 DYAR)||14.2%|
While Goff is not a sure thing, his estimated chances of succeeding in the NFL are only a little bit lower than Marcus Mariota's, QBASE's favorite prospect from the 2015 draft. Goff had the kind of numbers in his final collegiate season (64.5 percent completion rate, 8.9 YPA, 43 TD, 13 INT) that successful NFL quarterbacks usually have. He posted those numbers against a good, but not great, set of defenses (ranked No. 30 in college football by our estimates). He had little help in terms of NFL-caliber talent at receiver or on the offensive line. The only teammate at those positions who projects to be drafted in the first four rounds this year or next is potential third-round receiver Kenny Lawler.
Goff becomes QBASE's No. 9 quarterback prospect of the last 21 years. Mariota occupied that same spot last year, but has moved up in the reshuffling since another year of data has been added to the model.
|QBASE Top 10 Prospects Since 1996|
Players from earlier years are part of the model that creates the projections, so the takeaway here is not that Goff is likely to be as good as his fellow Cal alum just below him on the list. Goff placing so highly instead says that his resume resembles those of other prospects who succeeded as NFL quarterbacks. Our projection gives Goff the best shot this year, almost 40 percent, of being the kind of upper-tier player who solves a team's long-term quarterback dilemma.
Paxton Lynch (Memphis)
|Mean Projection in Years 3-5:||104 DYAR|
|Bust (< 500 DYAR)||67.2%|
|Adequate Starter (500-1499 DYAR)||21.3%|
|Upper Tier (1500-2500 DYAR)||8.7%|
|Elite (>2500 DYAR)||2.9%|
At first blush, Lynch's 2015 numbers (66.8 percent completion rate, 8.5 YPA, 28 TD, 4 INT) look promising. The bloom comes off the rose, however, when you correct for Lynch running up his numbers against the No. 86 slate of opposing defenses. While QBASE finds enough in the raw numbers for prospects such as Ben Roethlisberger to produce a high projection despite weak competition, Lynch's stats do not quite rise to that bar.
Even with QBASE's pessimism about Lynch's outlook, the projection gives him about a 33 percent chance of being at least an adequate starter. Quarterbacks with those odds of success have historically gone in the second round, so the projection would view it as a reach if, as some mock drafts currently suggest, the Broncos selected him with their first-round pick.
Connor Cook (Michigan State)
|Mean Projection in Years 3-5:||-301 DYAR|
|Bust (< 500 DYAR)||77.7%|
|Adequate Starter (500-1499 DYAR)||15.2%|
|Upper Tier (1500-2500 DYAR)||5.7%|
|Elite (>2500 DYAR)||1.5%|
Cook projects as a below-replacement-level NFL quarterback. His basic stats in 2015 (56.1 percent completion rate, 7.7 YPA, 24 TD, 7 INT), in an era when college quarterbacks routinely complete more than 60 percent of their passes, recall other NFL flops such as Jake Locker.
Cook did not even face a particularly strong set of opposing defenses. The defenses Michigan State faced ranked No. 51 in our estimates. Moreover, Cook had the benefit of playing with the most NFL-caliber teammates of any prospect in this year's class. Those teammates include All-America left tackle Jack Conklin, likely a first-round pick in the draft this year. That Cook failed to do better in college despite favorable circumstances makes him a long shot to succeed in the NFL despite going in the second round in many mock drafts.
Christian Hackenberg (Penn State)
|Mean Projection in Years 3-5:||-414 DYAR|
|Bust (< 500 DYAR)||80.1%|
|Adequate Starter (500-1499 DYAR)||13.6%|
|Upper Tier (1500-2500 DYAR)||5.1%|
|Elite (>2500 DYAR)||1.2%|
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Compared to Cook, Hackenberg played against a slightly harder college schedule and had less support in NFL-caliber offensive teammates. But Hackenberg projects further below replacement level because his expected draft position is lower and his 2015 stats (53.5 percent completion rate, 7.0 YPA, 16 TD, 6 INT) are even worse.
No quarterback in QBASE's database (top-100 picks since 1996) has succeeded with remotely similar stats. The list of previous top-100 picks with completion rates under 55 percent in their last college seasons -- Brock Huard, Dave Ragone, Kyle Boller, Marques Tuiasosopo, and Quincy Carter -- augurs poorly for Hackenberg's NFL prospects.
(Ed. Note: In the original article on ESPN, we listed Josh McCown as a quarterback with a completion rate under 55 percent in his last season. McCown had a completion rate of just 51 percent in his final year on the FBS level, but a completion rate of 60 percent as a senior transfer at FCS Sam Houston State.)
|Mean Projection in Years 3-5:||421 DYAR|
|Bust (< 500 DYAR)||54.9%|
|Adequate Starter (500-1499 DYAR)||26.6%|
|Upper Tier (1500-2500 DYAR)||12.8%|
|Elite (>2500 DYAR)||5.7%|
The projection rates Prescott far ahead of Lynch and Cook, prospects currently expected to go earlier in the draft. Often compared to Tim Tebow earlier in his college career, Prescott did not have as much NFL-caliber talent surrounding him, even with projected 2017 first-round wide receiver Fred Ross. Prescott's projection here accounts for that, as well as his performance against the toughest set of opposing defenses (No. 14 in FBS last season) of any quarterback prospect in this year's draft.
QBASE does not predict Prescott to be a likely NFL success. But his 45 percent chance of being at least an adequate starter gives him enough upside to make him very much worth a Day 2 draft pick.
Here are the full historical QBASE projections using the updated model, which also incorporates an additional year of data. Note that some of the system's mistakes, including Matt Ryan, Brian Griese, and John Beck, are discussed in depth in last year's article introducing the system.
|QBASE Projections 1996-2016|
|Player||Drafted By||Pick||Year||Predicted DYAR
In Years 3-5
in Years 3-5
|Player||Drafted By||Pick||Year||Predicted DYAR
In Years 3-5
in Years 3-5
|Player||Drafted By||Pick||Year||Predicted DYAR
in Years 3-5
in Years 3-5
|Player||Drafted By||Pick||Year||Predicted DYAR
In Years 3-5
in Years 3-5
|* Year 3 only
** Years 3 and 4 only
*** Not yet reached Year 3
(Ed. Note: a condensed version of this article originally appeared on ESPN Insider.)
66 comments, Last at 30 Sep 2017, 4:48pm
#9 by Karl Cuba // Apr 14, 2016 - 7:15pm
What's interesting is that the Browns are reportedly on a moneyball approach so it's likely to end up seeing prospects in a similar light to these results. Apparently the Rams have traded most of two drafts' worth of picks with Wentz as the object of their affections so the moneyballers are likely to get the most moneyball qb.
#2 by Dan // Apr 14, 2016 - 4:00pm
Are there any other quarterbacks that QBASE would like this year if they manage to get drafted in the top 100 picks? Guys like Brandon Allen, Kevin Hogan, Matt Johnson, and Vernon Adams at least have good raw stats.
#7 by Raiderjoe // Apr 14, 2016 - 5:25pm
Did not tead article yet onyl comments. Not sold on him (only cuause did not see him a ton) but J. Brissett North Aroliam State has some good ability. Not sure how he reads defense but have seen eenoguhh to say he seems solid in pocket. Not one of those wussy quarterbCks who get antsy and stupid in the pocket
#8 by Karl Cuba // Apr 14, 2016 - 7:09pm
He does stand in there in the face of the rush. Slight wind up with the ball dropping below his elbow means his release is slower that it could be, that would need work and he doesn't always set his feet along the line of the throw which causes some inaccuracy. Worth a punt on a low round selection though.
I quite like Brandon Doughty, decent feet with a beautiful deep ball.
#6 by James-London // Apr 14, 2016 - 5:24pm
Re the Broncos trading up for Paxton Lynch, the additional year on his rookie deal as opposed to picking him in the 2nd round makes the trade more justifiable.
If you think he's your guy the additional year on the rookie deal is likely worth the draft cost.
Of course, I have no idea whether Lynch or any other QB is any good at all.
Phil Simms is a Cretin.
#12 by BroncosGuyAgain // Apr 14, 2016 - 11:25pm
If the Browns are actually in an analytic approach (which is very distinct from a "Moneyball approach), they will ignore Qbase and Lewin Career Forecast. Any trained statistician will quickly discern that these models have no predictive value and are only intended to sell books.
I am not a scout. As such, I have never seen Carson Wentz play and have no opinion of him. I have seen Goff play, and I thought he was terrible (by NFL standards). But it seems that lots of NFL scouts like him. You should trust them more than me. I wouldn't draft anyone in this class higher than the third round (unless I looked at Wentz's tape and saw supporting evidence). Let's acknowledge that this is a very imprecise science. Everyone was wrong on Tom Brady. At least one team was wrong on Akili Smith. Probably several.
#17 by JohnxMorgan // Apr 15, 2016 - 4:55pm
If the method were speciously constructed or otherwise fatally flawed, a trained statistician would ignore the results. I am not saying that is the case with QBASE, but if it were the case, there would be no need to be judicious or patient. Anymore than a trained chef would respectfully taste and consider a soup made of sewage, garbage and rat entrails.
#25 by BroncosGuyAgain // Apr 17, 2016 - 10:40pm
A trained statistician has an objective, defined view of "no predictive value". Judiciousness requires subjectivity. A good statistician ignores these emotional inputs and relies on objective data. Predictive value is measurable and objective. It requires no judiciousness. Objective data supports my statement.
#13 by oxr // Apr 15, 2016 - 12:30am
"If the Browns are actually in an analytic approach (which is very distinct from a "Moneyball approach)"
Yeah, the Fire Joe Morgan archives should get linked a lot this year, I hope. (And I get the sentiment, but if they're not why on earth hire DePodesta? To me, the question is whether the organization can maintain a thought for more than an offseason.)
"I have seen Goff play, and I thought he was terrible (by NFL standards)."
I don't comment here much, but I was thinking about chiming in on the thread (that ended up being) about giving up on American football. One of the things that keeps me fascinated is the difference between how I see a play and how experts see it - and the ways in which experts disagree, depending on what they're watching a given play for. So the quote above is one I relate to, but I'm curious to find out what I don't see in Goff. Of course, who knows how he's going to turn out. Speaking of which, this:
"Any trained statistician will quickly discern that these models have no predictive value and are only intended to sell books."
is a little harsh.
#20 by Bright Blue Shorts // Apr 16, 2016 - 6:28am
RJ - You ever read Rob Huizenga's "You're ok, it's just a bruise" which is about his time as physician on the 80s Raiders teams ?
It's really quite insightful into the way Al dealt with players like Marcus Allen and Steve Beuerlein, and the misdiagnosis of Bo's injury among other things.
#22 by Raiderjoe // Apr 16, 2016 - 12:34pm
Oddly enoigh, I know about it, have sene it. Never read it. It was published during a period of time I didn't read football books oddly. Read S.I. and seaosn previews mags but not books. Will now look for it in used bookstores
#14 by Aaron Brooks G… // Apr 15, 2016 - 11:32am
Regarding Cook, who was his pro-talent? I suspect that references his offensive line, but that needs to be understood in the context that every pro-level player missed multiple games last year. O-line was an infirmary for MSU. The offense was Cook to Burbridge, or pray for rain. That OSU game he missed set NCAA offenses back 10 years.
#26 by Flounder // Apr 18, 2016 - 7:18am
Don't remember where it comes from (pff?) but Cook had the highest accuracy on throws into tight coverage in this class. He actually can have excellent accuracy. It's always been the short throws, screens, swing passes, etc., that he has been awful at. If he gets to a team with a good QB coach that can improve his short accuracy, he's got a real shot.
But on the whole, yeah, his NFL chances probably aren't very good.
#47 by Eleutheria // Apr 20, 2016 - 2:51pm
I think I'm overrating cook for this very reason. I watched so many times where he threw a perfect pass into an incredibly tight window and was left awe.
Trying to reconcile the QB who with his stat line.
If I was a GM in need of a QB and Cook was on the board in the third round I'd probably take him despite what this article says. Sure there's a great chance he'll bust, but I also think he has the potential to be elite, and thus he's worth the risk.
#19 by shaeto // Apr 16, 2016 - 5:25am
You're overlooking some huge elements of this pick. This guy is going to have to be Number-One-Overall-Pick-Los-Angeles-Rams-Franchise-Quarterback (TM). Which one of them is most ready for their reality show? Which one of them has the most entertaining family members to follow around? What is their nightclub of choice? You can't get distracted by all this football talk, this is LA, you have to think of the really important stuff.
#29 by Noahrk // Apr 18, 2016 - 1:23pm
I wouldn't know, I never watched any film of Leaf in college. Just in case there's a misunderstanding, I don't mean how he conducts himself or how he looks, but the kind of throws he makes. Many college QBs make throws you'll never see in the NFL, but with Goff it's like you're watching an NFL game.
#23 by Sifter // Apr 17, 2016 - 7:08am
Given his fairly good Qbase score, I wonder if it would be good business to offer a late round pick for Geno Smith (assuming Jets forge a deal with the Amish rifle). He hasn't been a complete bust right, there's still some potential left? That'd be a plan of mine rather than trading away a big chunk of your future for Wentz.
#32 by Axe2Grind // Apr 18, 2016 - 5:23pm
When you use the projected round of the QB's draft, how is that not influenced by the team needs and the draft positions of those teams each year. Many years, several team are desperately searching for a QB so they fight over the few eligible QBs even if they are not good candidates for a franchise QB. The scouting is trying to project the round they are likely going to be drafted in a specific year given the teams looking for a QB and their draft position and picks not if they actually have first round skill. Just like almost no running backs are projected first round picks yet some of those guys are immensely talented; real NFL caliber talents. QBs are overvalued in the draft because of need and the lack of supply.
If all the QBs in your table were available to draft, would any of this year's be in the first round? None stand out like Luck did his year. Has there ever been a year when a QB hasn't been drafted in the first round? Just because their projected as a first round pick in my mind, doesn't equate to a good potential. I think most years, teams draft them just hoping their analysis is wrong because they don't actually grade as a good starter.
I think Russell Wilson got drafted because they saw a good prospect who was atypical in their physical model of a NFL qb and thought a 3rd round was the most they would risk on that potential. Didn't they trade for Matt Flynn too the same year and Whitehurst the year or two before. They were just hedging their bets and got lucky. If they had any confidence in his talent, they wouldn't have gone with plan A (Flynn) before the draft. This year, like so many years, some teams are going to literally participate in the quarterback lottery and hope they have a winning ticket. The RAMs decided to push all in because anyone remotely close to a franchise player was going to be gone by their pick.
#33 by Thomas_beardown // Apr 18, 2016 - 6:39pm
In 2013 the highest drafted QB was EJ Manual at 16th, and he was the only QB in the first round. So it's clear the scouts did their jobs and decided all the QBs sucked that year (and they were right).
#36 by Mr Shush // Apr 19, 2016 - 10:11am
On the other hand, in 2011, the best draft class in recent history, only four picks out of the top sixteen have yet to go to a pro bowl. One of them is the decentish when healthy but injury-plagued Nick Fairley. The other three are Jake Locker (drafted immediately before Tyron Smith), Blaine Gabbert (drafted immediately before JJ Watt) and Christian Ponder (drafted two picks before Robert Quinn). I thought at the time that it was insane those three guys were being seen as first rounders, and it turns out that's because they shouldn't have been. In the interests of transparency, I under-rated Newton (who I thought was too risky at #1 - a hangover from the days of the old rookie contracts - but would become an excellent upside play from perhaps #10 or so onwards) and Dalton (who I thought was a good choice where he went but wouldn't have liked much higher). Newton vs. Watt may in fact be the toughest choice at #1 in a 20/20 hindsight draft for any year I can think of, but I would lean towards Newton.
#39 by Thomas_beardown // Apr 19, 2016 - 8:03pm
I didn't mean to imply scouts are always right (or that executives always listen to them), but clearly there is some value in their grades.
Also, the input used in projected draft position, not actual draft position. I think Ponder went much higher than expected.
#38 by TXinsider // Apr 19, 2016 - 7:21pm
The other three are Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder
Drafted by TEN, JAX, and MIN.
One day someone will create a projection system that takes into consideration how most players cannot be judged fairly without first considering the team that drafted them, as many acknowledged studs would have also left a poor legacy if they were drafted by the dregs of the league.
#40 by MilkmanDanimal // Apr 20, 2016 - 10:26am
Luck was drafted by an abysmal team who were clearly incapable of doing anything whatsoever without high-level QB play, and it's not like Grigson has exactly drafted notably well to re-stock that team. One QB later, and that team is actually good. Andrew Luck drafted by any of those three teams instantly makes them significantly better. Locker's accuracy was very much in question in college, Ponder was accepted to be heavily over-drafted at the time, and Gabbert just wasn't good. If you put any of those three guys in Indianapolis the year Luck was drafted, the Colts still suck.
#43 by TXinsider // Apr 20, 2016 - 1:27pm
Weighted DVOA indicates they were last in offense last year. Well, ok, Luck was hurt and Hasslebeck more efficient. Still though, 22nd in 2014, 20th in 2013, and 19th in 2012, with decent records all years, suggests that Indy wasn't quite as bad as their SFL campaign would have us think.
Unfortunately the wayback machine can't replace Luck with either Locker, Ponder or Gabbert and put the lucky one on a similar pedestal that Luck was granted. What I'm saying is the resultant performance for whichever one was awarded that pedestal would most likely be viewed more favorably today. Instead they were drafted by clueless teams so they're all terrible.
#49 by Eleutheria // Apr 20, 2016 - 3:09pm
However this where I think the statistics underrate Andrew Luck. I don't want to call it clutch but basically I think Luck's play style is perfectly suited for performance in close games and terrible for blowouts. So that fact that Indy normally scrapes by in wins produces bad statistics, which is why Colts greatly beat their Pythag expectation in all three years Luck started every game.
#52 by Will Allen // Apr 20, 2016 - 3:41pm
Christian Ponder would have been terrible regardless of which team drafted him. He couldn't stick on a roster last season, for cryin' out loud, when half the league was scrambling for backups. If the Vikings had Luck playing QB for them in 2012, istead of Ponder, they likely win 12 games, instead of 10.
#58 by Will Allen // Apr 21, 2016 - 1:20pm
If you couldn't, as a veteran qb still in your 20s, stick on a roster for 8 games last season, when teams were like sailors on shore leave, and qbs were like booze and hookers, then you are truly too awful for words, regardless of environment.
#62 by nath // May 03, 2016 - 3:21am
All three of those quarterbacks were bad in college. But they're tall with pretty arms so the league thinks they can be franchise QBs. How you play doesn't matter to most teams nearly as much as whether you look the part.
#41 by MJK // Apr 20, 2016 - 11:56am
So, interesting question if you're the Browns. Assume the Rams make it clear (through pre-draft negotiations, etc.), that they're going for Wentz. Also assume that you have a good trade offer for the #2 pick from someone who really likes Goff.
A) Take Goff, given his high projection to "solve" your QB situation with 72% probability, knowing that you also need to build depth, or
B) Trade the #2 pick, try to take Prescott or Lynch later, and hope that either he or Griffin emerges as a starter, but use the extra picks to build other depth around them?
A rumored trade is that the Eagles would give up their own #8 pick, two 3rd rounders, and a 1st and 3rd next year to move up to the #2 pick.
Figure about a 30% chance that Prescott or Lynch will be an adequate starter or better, and maybe a 20% chance that Griffin can rehabilitate his career. (We'll ignore the 10^-6 probability that McCown is the answer). A gives you a 72% chance you get your starting QB, B gives you just a 44% chance, but several more reasonably high draft picks...
I think I would choose A and take Goff. What do others think?
#50 by Eleutheria // Apr 20, 2016 - 3:13pm
I think a general rule for drafting in football is if you see a QB you like you take him. It's much easier to find a replacement for other positions and a good QB can last in the league for well over a decade. The trade of would have to be pretty spectacular for me to give up Goff.
#44 by Axe2Grind // Apr 20, 2016 - 1:40pm
The fact that so many teams reach for a QB in the draft makes the Tom Brady's and Russell Wilson's of the NFL such big stories. Those franchises have had remarkable success not because their scouts made a determination different than all the other teams. If the talent had been so obvious to them, they would reasonably assume other teams could see it too. Therefore, they would have drafted them much earlier like so many other first round picks mentioned from previous drafts. Its really just dumb luck that made those teams so successful. It would almost suggest teams consider drafting a QB or two every year in the later rounds, just in case they turn out to be a diamond in the rough, given that no other position seems to have as much impact on team success.
#51 by Eleutheria // Apr 20, 2016 - 3:35pm
The best example of you you wouldn't comes from Hockey. Detroit was willing to draft Datsyuk early in the 1998 draft, but then one of their scouts figured out that none of the other teams had scouts who had seen him play. So they waited till the sixth round to draft him (and he's widely been considered one of the leagues best players for the last decade).
If you have a good reason to suspect other teams are underrating a player, drafting them late makes sense.
#57 by Axe2Grind // Apr 21, 2016 - 12:53pm
I think you have a point. You certainly have to maximize your value by taking a player at the lowest position you think possible before another team grabs them. If the QB is from a smaller school and not one of the more visible college programs, there is a chance some teams haven't invested much resources scouting them. However, any potential franchise QB is likely going to stand out on film or in person. When a QB can make certain throws or shows leadership and pose in the pocket, its tough to not notice.
For most positions in football other than the QB, a less skilled player can be helped out by the scheme they play so teams can make do with lower talent players. The quarterback however, is isolated for most of their play and their skills directly impact the offensive performance of the other players. You can tell when a QB is just a game manager. You know the team is just making do with what they got until a better prospect comes along.
#60 by LyleNM // Apr 21, 2016 - 3:09pm
Teams should be careful about assuming whether other teams are or are not scouting players. I recall reading how the Eagles were sitting with the 77th or 78th pick and thinking that they were going to get Russell Wilson because they didn't think the teams at 74, 75, 76 had shown any interest in him. If he's your guy and you want him, you should probably take him when you have the chance.
#55 by Alternator // Apr 20, 2016 - 6:59pm
Cassel (7th round), Hoyer (UDFA), Mallet (3rd), Jimmy G (2nd).
The Patriots practice exactly this, and have upped the ante as Brady has aged and the injury risk has increased. Cassel proved to be a below-average to average starter, and Hoyer was a low-end starter, but that's the key: both were good enough to earn starting gigs, and Cassel even did well at it for a few years.
#45 by HPaddict // Apr 20, 2016 - 1:45pm
"If you do the thought experiment of what Wilson's NFL career would look like if he had come out a year earlier, it seems unlikely that he would have been a dramatically worse player."
Perhaps I do not quite understand the intended content of this statement but, per my understanding, the expressed sentiments are the exact wrong way to interpret statistical tools such as QBASE. Yes, perhaps Wilson's senior year was only minimally beneficial to his development as a QB; generally, he, and other QBs, may develop faster/further under the tutelage of NFL coaches even if real game reps are limited. However, statistical tools are not designed to inform based on the underlying truths, here being that Russell Wilson is a good NFL QB, but to infer conditional probabilities based on known information.
In other words, unless the information that proves 'Russell Wilson will be Russel Wilson' can be accessed, QBASE should not care. Instead, QBASE should care about the accuracy of its predictions regarding the class of college QBs of whom Wilson is but a single example.
#53 by Eleutheria // Apr 20, 2016 - 3:50pm
Yeah I agree and too me I think starting more is a positive for three reasons:
1. Larger sample to evaluate performance.
2. Good enough to start more games. If I started 4 years in college that means I was good enough to start as a freshman.
3. I'm better developed and more experienced.
I think cherry picking a player and retroactively guess how he'd play leaving college a year early is flawed.
#46 by Eleutheria // Apr 20, 2016 - 2:10pm
"Mariota occupied that same spot last year, but has moved up in the reshuffling since another year of data has been added to the model."
Isn't that a taboo in statistics, over fitting th model to incorporate new data? Or am I reading too much into it?
#64 by Andrew Healy // May 20, 2016 - 2:37pm
You're reading too much into it. The model is just using all the relevant information to increase precision.
But I worried a ton about overfitting. That's the point of the Russell Wilson example. Not that we want to fit the model specifically to account for him, but that the model should make theoretical sense in addition to fitting past data. The very big risk in predictive models is to take variables that worked in the past by chance and then use them to predict the future (where they will likely fail). I'm arguing that the experience variables are unlikely to be as useful in predicting the future as they have been in predicting the past.
#63 by jsmith12899 // May 18, 2016 - 1:09pm
Picking last in a round is obviously not equal to picking first. Picking last is almost like picking first the next round. To give a better sense of where players should go, we should also compare the pick number and use that as the primary comparison. Then, using that comparison, almost every player is a "reach" or a "steal" to some extent. Using the number of picks is also better because it's more granular. Is it a giant reach if they pick a round ahead or not? Using rounds to determine "reach" is problematic.