No One Knows Anything About Quarterbacks Part 2

BY ADAM GREENE

How am I evaluating quarterbacks to the point of outperforming every NFL talking head on the planet?

It’s simple. And it’s sane. And it’s obvious. It all begins with trusting what I actually see on the field.

No. 1, and this is important, arm strength means nothing to me. I don’t care if a guy can throw it 80 yards because those throws come so rarely in the NFL, it’s inconsequential. I don’t care how tall he is or how big his hands are. I don’t care about what happens at the NFL combine at all. To misquote Kenny Powers, I care about who’s best at the real sport. Not exercising.

Dan Marino is one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL and he could barely throw the ball 50 yards if he tried. NFL flop Kyle Boller could toss it 70 yards from his knee. A big arm is a weapon in a QB’s arsenal, like athleticism and footspeed. It’s not the whole bag. If you played big time college football, you can throw it far enough. Anybody with a noodle arm has switched positions long ago.

To me, the most important skill a quarterback can show is his ability to read a defense. Pre snap and post snap. Can he go through his progressions if the first guy is covered? Or the second guy? You want to know why so many “athletic” quarterbacks in the NFL get sacked so much? It’s because they have no idea what they’re looking at after the ball is snapped and their first guy is covered.

Second, and it’s a close second, is pocket presence. Does a guy know how to move in the pocket to avoid the rush, step up and keep his eyes downfield? This is what sets a guy like Mahomes apart from Goff. Mahomes can sense the rush, move around. He keeps his eyes downfield and keeps jersey clean. Goff doesn’t move as well, can’t sense the rush and is a sack fumble waiting to happen.

Pocket presence is why Tom Brady has six rings and is going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Also, cheating. But pocket presence too.

Third is accuracy. While many might feel that’s too low, if a QB can recognize what he’s seeing (read the defense), keep his feet moving and eyes downfield (pocket presence) then the ball doesn’t have to be pinpoint on target. It’s a plus, and certainly that’s what you want, but it’s not as important as the other two. Goff is more accurate than Prescott or Wentz. Last year, he wasn’t nearly as good as either guy.

Lastly, we’re back to the eyeball test. What do I see when I look at his film? I also factor in the opponents the guy faced in college. If you played in the Sun Belt, then I’m not going to feel great about the defensive backs you lined up against every Saturday. If you’re on an SEC team (like Dak Prescott was, for instance), and played against future NFL corners, safeties, linebackers and pass rushers nearly every weekend, that has to matter. I’m way more impressed with a 300 yard, three TD no pick game against Alabama than a 500 yard, five TD game against Wyoming.

I’m going to do my draft evaluations in three groups, because there’s no reason to dig too thoroughly through these QB prospects. The odds of more than two of them really turning into actual NFL caliber are slim. More than three? Astronomical.

The fact that we’re still talking about Prescott, Wentz and Goff as all legit NFL quarterbacks after four seasons is freakish. It just doesn’t happen.

That vaunted QB class of 1983 everyone talks about? Where six QBs were selected in the first round? You know how many turned into franchise QBs? Three (Marino, Jim Kelly and John Elway) and of those three only one won a Super Bowl.

This is what I’m going with.

1. Guys that look like potential franchise quarterbacks

2. Guys that have potential to be something special, but are back ups at worst

3. Guys that will get some head coach and/or GM fired.

Let’s have some fun with it. And if you want to play along at home while you’re on quarantine and make some money in the process, you can do that right here.

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