NFC Quarterback Padawans ¹

There were a total of 27 quarterbacks drafted or signed from the 2018 draft class. Thirteen were drafted and 14 signed as undrafted free agents (UDFA). According to nfldraftscout.com the five year draft average for quarterbacks is twelve. Five quarterbacks were drafted in the first round. You have to go back to the 1999 draft for the prior draft for 5 or more first round quarterbacks. Twenty-four of the thirty-two teams took a quarterback either drafted or UDFA. The Cardinals, Browns and Cowboys took two. Here we look at these NFC quarterback padawans or trainees.

Here is a breakdown of the quarterback situations of each team. This is part one that looks only at the NFC. I will be adding part 2 for the AFC in the near future. This breakdown focuses on the 2018 rookies and second year quarterbacks. I wanted to see who are these new quarterbacks, what is their story, and what competition do they face to make it in the NFL. After I add part 2 on the AFC, I plan to follow these quarterbacks thru the offseason and preseason and finally up to the cutoff dates to see who makes the teams and who may get to start. I hope you you enjoy the article and check back for updates.

NFC South
Tampa Bay Bucanneers
Starter: Jameis Winston (Age 24)
Veterans: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Griffin
Rookies/Second Year:

Austin Allen (Arkansas) – 2018 UDFA. Austin is the brother of Rams backup quarterback Brandon Allen. Austin went to the same college as Brandon and was his backup for two years. Austin had an outstanding junior year in 2016. He was number 1 in the SEC in passing yards (3,430) and passing yards per attempt (8.6) . Also he was number 2 in the SEC in Passing Touchdowns (25). Austin regressed in 2017 but also had lost his best receivers, played behind a poor line and missed 4 games due to injury. Austin is a tough quarterback that handles adversity well. In 2016, forty percent of his dropbacks were under pressure, which was second highest in the country.

New Orleans Saints
Starter: Drew Brees (Age 39)
Veterans: Tom Savage
Rookies/Second Year:

JT Barrett (Ohio State) – 2018 UDFA. Barrett has impressed his Saints teammates with his accuracy. At Ohio State Barrett is the only three-time team captain in school history. He led Ohio State to two Big Ten titles. Barrett started 44 games in his Ohio State career and set the school record with 38 victories. He is a dual threat quarterback. Barrett set a total of 34 Ohio State records and 5 Big Ten records. He is recognized for his athleticism, strong arm, competitive spirit and leadership.

Taysom Hill (BYU) – 2017 UDFA. “The guy is a freak athlete. I’ve never seen anyone like him at this position,” said Joe Lombardi (the Saint’s quarterback coach), who said Hill “might be the strongest guy on the team — at least pound for pound.” Hill is a dual threat quarterback. He ran a 4.44 forty at his pro day which would have been the best at the combine for quarterbacks. He has been used on kickoff coverage by the Saints. In his sophomore year at BYU Hill ranked 8th in the FBS for total offense which included 1,344 rushing yards and 19 rushing TDs.

Carolina Panthers
Starter: Cam Newton (Age 29)
Veterans: Taylor Heinicke, Garrett Gilbert
Rookies/Second Year:

Kyle Allen (Houston) – 2018 UDFA. Allen was tabbed in 2013 by Rivals.com as the nation’s best pro-style quarterback and the seventh best prospect regardless of position coming out of high school. His college career did not go as well. He transferred from Texas A&M to Houston after his sophomore year. After redshirting his junior year, he began the season as a starter. However after three games he was replaced. After the season with a year of eligibility left Allen declared for the draft. Kyle has tremendous arm strength. Kyle has a positive attitude and looks forward to competing to make the team.

Atlanta Falcons
Starter: Matt Ryan (Age 33)
Veterans: Matt Schaub, Garrett Grayson
Rookies/Second Year:

Kurt Benkert (Virginia) – 2018 UDFA. Benkert was projected to be a 6-7th round pick. The reviews on Benkert highlight a strong throwing arm with good velocity. The negative is a tendency to abandon the pocket and throw on the run. Benkert is University of Virginia’s single-season program leader in passing yards (3,207) and 200+-yard passing games (9, T1st). He also holds UVA records for single-game passing (455). Benkert is also tied for first in program history with three career passes of 80 yards or more. He also holds UVA career record for completions fewest career interceptions per pass (0.0218) and is No. 3 all-time in the UVA record book with 5,759 career passing yards and 46 career passing touchdowns achieved in only two years.


NFC North
Minnesota Vikings
Starter: Kirk Cousins (Age 29)
Veterans: Trevor Siemian
Rookies/Second Year:

Peter Pujals (Holy Cross) – 2018 UDFA. Pujals at Holy Cross was a four-year starter and the first four-time captain in the history of the program. His younger brother, who has Downs Syndrome, is a huge Bears and Packers fan. Pujals has mobility, fast processing speed and good pocket presence. He does a good job going thru his progressions. Peter was an All-Conference player three times in his career.

Kyle Sloter (Northern Colorado) – 2017 UDFA. Sloter has played in four preseason games for the Broncos. Those games were all wins and he has stats of 72% completion rate, 3 TDs, 0 Interceptions, 413 yards and a quarterback rating of 125 – the second highest of any rookie quarterback that year. In college Sloter played wide receiver and special teams in addition to quarterback. He only had nine starts as quarterback all in his senior year. After college he was all set to become a financial advisor and the company with his job offer encouraged him to chase his dream. Sloter has a good arm that allows him to hit both tight spaces and the deep ball.

Green Bay Packers
Starter: Aaron Rodgers (Age 34)
Veterans: Brett Hundley
Rookies/Second Year:

Tim Boyle (Eastern Kentucky) – 2018 UDFA. General manager Brian Gutekunst signed Boyle not because of his stats but because the rookie can drive the ball down the field and into tight spots with great accuracy. They like his mechanics and athletic ability. Aaron Rodgers tested pretty good at his combine. Boyle at his pro day tested slightly better than Rodgers. Boyle had a poor college career. He threw more interceptions than touchdowns. However his last year at EKU was a large improvement. He had a QBR of 119, over 2,000 yards passing and a 61% completion percentage.

Deshone Kizer (Notre Dame) – 2017 Round 2 draft pick (Browns). Kizer played 15 games but did not win a game last season for the Browns. He ranked last among all regular starters in completion percentage (53.6) last season and threw a league-high 22 interceptions, which was six more than any other quarterback. His TD to Int ratio was 0.5. Head coach Mike McCarthy of Green Bay likes what he sees in Kizer and has said “In my opinion, if he was in that (draft) class this year, he would’ve been part of that group, the first-round guys. I think he has exceptional arm talent.” Some positives on Kizer’s year with the Browns – Kizer throws the deep ball pretty well as evidenced by his 39.5 completion percentage on throws of 20 yards or more and he still maintained a 45.6 completion percentage when blitzed last year.

Chicago Bears
Starter: Mitch Trubisky (Age 23)
Veterans: Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray
Rookies/Second Year:

Mitch Trubisky (North Carolina) – 2017 Round 1 draft pick. Comparing Trubisky’s stats to 17 other active starting quarterback’s rookie seasons, Mitch’s stats are about middle of the road. Here is the article that did the comparison – Trubisky Rookie Season In Review. Some quarterbacks that did better were Luck, Rothlisberger, Newton, Watson, Winston and Wilson. Some that did worse included Alex Smith, Eli Manning, and Matthew Stafford. Trubisky’s stats were not much different from Wentz or Mahomes. It just shows not to put too much stock in a quarterback’s rookie season. However 2018 should be a big year for Trubisky. The Bears brought in some receiving help that was needed. At North Carolina Trubisky had started only 13 starts all in his final year which was his first season as the starting quarterback. UNC went 8-5 with Trubuisky that year. In Chicago Trubisky started the final 12 games. The Bears were 4-8 for those games for a season record of 5-11.

Detroit Lions
Starter: Matthew Stafford (Age 30)
Veterans: Jake Rudock, Matt Cassel
Rookies/Second Year: None


NFC West
San Francisco 49ers
Starter: Jimmy Garoppolo (Age 26)
Veterans: None
Rookies/Second Year:

Jack Heneghan (Dartmouth) – 2018 UDFA. His father is Lal Heneghan, the franchise’s former general counsel and executive vice president of football administration from 2006 to 2011. In his high school senior year Jack threw for 2,900 yards and 37 touchdowns. A two year starter in college Jack led the team to a 4-6 record his junior year and then to an 8-2 record as a senior. Jack is in the top five of all Dartmouth’s passing records with the only exception being 7th in career pass attempts.

CJ Beathard (Iowa) – 2017 Round 3 draft pick. Beathard started 5 games in 2017 and went 1-4 before being sidelined due to injury. He was replaced by Jimmy Garoppolo. Several members of the 49ers have publicly complimented the attitude and toughness of Beathard during the season, as he was sacked 19 times in his 7 appearances. 49ers general manager John Lynch has said concerning the Garopollo deal is that CJ has been the consummate professional throughout this. CJ reportedly is a film junkie and football is important to him. As a junior in college Beathard led Iowa to a 12-2 record and an appearance in the Rose Bowl, and averaged 7.8 yards per attempt on a 139.5 QB rating. CJ’s grandfather is being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2018.

Nick Mullens (Southern Miss) – 2017 UDFA. Nick Mullens is the Southern Miss Golden Eagle leader in career, single season and single game passing yards. Quarterback Brett Favre set Golden Eagle passing records in 1990 that stood for 30 years before being broken by Austin Davis and then Nick Mullens. Nick holds the Southern Miss record in passing touchdowns for both career and single season. He holds the Southern Miss record for best career quarterback rating for over 150 completions and the second best completion percentage.

LA Rams
Starter: Jared Goff (Age 23)
Veterans: Bandon Allen, Sean Mannion
Rookies/Second Year:

Luis Perez (Texas AM – Commerce) – 2018 UDFA. Perez is a top rated amateur bowler and has bowled 12 perfect games in his life. Luis Perez’s story of getting to the NFL is unbelievable and a testament to what the human spirit can accomplish. He never played quarterback until he walked into a community college and said he wanted to be their quarterback. Here is a link to the story –Pro Football Weekly article on Luis Perez – definitely a good read. He is an accurate passer and has tremendous drive.

Seattle Seahawks
Starter: Russell Wilson (Age 29)
Veterans: Austin Davis
Rookies/Second Year:

Alex McGough (FIU) – 2018 Round 7 draft pick. Four year starter at FIU and only missed 3 games due to injury. Alex holds eight FIU records including career passing TDs (48), single season passing yards (2722) and single season passing TDs (21). Alex shows good arm strength and the ability to scramble. He led FIU to its first bowl game in seven years. Early reports are that he has impressed at Seahawks rookie minicamp.

Arizona Cardinals
Starter: Sam Bradford (Age 30)
Veterans: Mike Glennon
Rookies/Second Year:

Josh Rosen (UCLA) – 2018 Round 1 draft pick. Most have heard of Rosen’s college career. He is said to be doing well in camp. Cardinals coach Steve Wilks has praised Rosen often, saying the 21-year-old out of UCLA is everything the Cardinals thought when they drafted him. When asked if it was “unrealistic to think that a rookie quarterback could make a run at the starting quarterback? “No, it’s not,” Wilks said. “I talked about it from Day 1, the best 11 (players) are going to play. Sam is the starter and when he’s healthy, he’s great. But everybody is competing to be out there on the field. Competition is a great thing. It makes us all better.”

Chad Kanoff (Princeton) – 2018 UDFA. Three year starter at Princeton. Kanoff broke many Princeton and Ivy League passing records. He earned Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year. Kanoff has a strong arm and athleticism. He throws with accuracy and velocity. In 2017 he completed 73.2% of his passes setting a Princeton and Ivy League record for single-season completion percentage. Chad tied the Ivy League record for most 400-yard passing games (three) and 300-yard passing games (eight) in a single season. He was also second on the Princeton rankings and fourth on the Ivy League rankings in career completion percentage (64.5%).


NFC East
Dallas Cowboys
Starter: Dak Prescott (Age 24)
Veterans: None
Rookies/Second Year:

Dalton Sturm (San Antonio) – 2018 UDFA. Sturm was a college walk-on that went on to be a starter, earned a scholarship and now is on an NFL roster. Dalton only had DII offers out of high school. He felt he could play DI and passed the offers to be a walk-on and 4th team quarterback at UTSA. A three year starter at UTSA. Dalton led the UTSA team to their first bowl appearance in 2016. Sturm is a dual threat quarterback, can make plays out of nothing, and has been good not turning over the football. Sturm is the school’s all-time leader in passing efficiency (134.7), he tied the single-season record for passing touchdowns (20 in 2016) and set single-game records for passing yards (367), passing touchdowns (4), passing efficiency (257.9) and total offense (395).

Mike White (Western Kentucky) – 2018 Round 5 draft pick. White joined Mason Rudolph as the only two FBS quarterbacks that threw for 4000+ yards each of the last two seasons. White is recognized for a strong arm, good accuracy and as a pocket passer. Listing top WKU quarterbacks with over 50 career attempts will give you Brandon Doughty followed by Mike White for completion %, yards, TDs and quarterback rating. White was more likely to go into baseball from high school and was recruited b y many top baseball schools around the country. However his senior year in high school he earned his first start at quarterback and did great.

Cooper Rush (Central Michigan) – 2017 UDFA. In 2017 Cooper had the best preseason among rookie quarterbacks. He had a quarterback rating of 135.9, a completion percentage of 74.5%, 398 yards, six touchdowns and zero interceptions. In college Cooper’s story is similar to Mike White. Listing the top Central Michigan quarterbacks by records Cooper would be second behind Dan Lefevour in completion %, yards, Touchdowns, and Quarterback rating. Rush led CMU to three bowl games. In the 2014 Bahama Bowl Cooper led his team back in the fourth quarter trailing by 35 points to almost win the game but losing it at 49-48 on a failed 2 point conversion. His 75-yard multilateral Hail Mary in the game was nominated at the 2015 ESPY awards for Best Play but Odell Beckham won for his TD catch against Dallas.

New York Giants
Starter: Eli Manning (Age 37)
Veterans: Alex Tanney
Rookies/Second Year:

Davis Webb (California) – 2017 Round 3 draft pick. As a freshman at Texas Tech, Davis was only one of four true freshmen at quarterback to ever start for Texas Tech. Of those four quarterbacks, Webb had the most yards and touchdowns. He started 6 games and went 3-3. In his freshman season he started in the 2013 Holiday Bowl, led Texas Tech to an upset win and was named Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP. The following year in 2014 Webb was 6th in the Big-12 in passing yards and 3rd in passing touchdowns despite only playing 8 games due to injury. In his junior year he was backup to Patrick Mahomes and transferred to California for his senior year. Despite playing only one year at California, Webb made the Cal record lists as 2nd in single season passing yards (4,295), 3rd in single game passing yards (522) and 7th (478), 10th in career passing touchdowns (37) which also was 2nd in single season passing TDs. Webb was also 5th in completion % for over 100 attempts (61.6%) and 4th in quarterback rating for over 100 attempts (135.6). Webb was invited to the Senior Bowl where he was named Senior Bowl MVP by leading the South to scores on each of the three drives he played. At the combine his athleticism showed by showing among quarterbacks 3rd in vertical jump, 3rd in 3 cone drill, and 5th in both the forty and broad jump. Webb is recognized for a strong arm and a exceptional work ethic.

Kyle Lauletta (Richmond) – 2018 Round 4 draft pick. Two year team captain. Senior Bowl MVP. Among quarterbacks at the combine Lauletta came in 1st in the 20 yd shuttle; 4th in the 3 cone, broad jump, and vertical jump; and 6th in the forty. Lauletta started in 35 games going 24-11. Lauletta made Phil Steele’s FCS All American Second Team in 2017.A three year starter, Lauletta made the CAA All Conference team each year – twice on 2nd team and in 2017 on 1st. In 2017 he was selected as the CAA league Offensive Player of the Year. He is on the Richmond record lists for Touchdowns thrown in a game six times in the top ten, three times on the season touchdowns top ten, and number one in career touchdowns (73). Kyle is five times on the top 10 passing yards in a game, three times in the top four for season passing yards, and number one in career passing yards (10,465). Lauletta is twice in the top 10 for longest pass play. He is twice in the top 7 for season completion percentage and is number two in career completion percentage (63.5%). Lauletta’s strengths are anticipatory throws, fast processing and quick release, red zone savant, leadership, toughness and throwing on the move. He is extremely accurate on short and intermediate throws.

Philadelphia Eagles
Starter: Carson Wentz (Age 25)
Veterans: Nick Foles, Nate Sudfeld, Joe Callahan, Christian Hackenberg
Rookies/Second Year: None

Washington Redskins
Starter: Alex Smith (Age 34)
Veterans: Colt McCoy, Kevin Hogan
Rookies/Second Year: None


¹(Note: I apologize to all not into Star Wars. A Padawan is a young Jedi in training usually with a Jedi Knight or Master. Mitch Trubisky is like Luke SkyWalker – a trainee thrust into battle)

Giant Franchise Records and the 2018 season

I decided to gather some data on Giant records and what current Giants are listed as approaching these records. I used the site https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nyg/career-rushing.htm for data. It lists the Giant career leaders as

All time passing – Eli Manning
All time rushing – Tiki Barber
All time receiving – Amani Toomer
All time scoring – Pete Gogolak

If Beckham continues to play as he has and remains a Giant he should surpass Toomer and maybe even has a shot to surpass Gogolak. Tiki’s records will be harder to break but maybe Barkley could be that guy. Eli has already set most Giants passing records.

Here are the records. For current Giants I show what they now have and then  a reasonable expectation for 2018 and what place that would move them into.

Interceptions
1st – Emlen Tunnell 74 interceptions
Landon Collins – 48th 8 interceptions (2 will up to 42nd)
Janoris Jenkins – 67th 6 interceptions (2 will up to 48th)

Pick six
1st – Emlen Tunnell, Dick Lynch, Jason Sehorn – 4 Pick 6
Janoris Jenkins – 9th 2 Pick 6 (1 will tie for 4th)
Landon Collins – 24th 1 Pick 6 (1 will tie for 9th)

Passes defensed
1st – Corey Webster (98 PD)
Landon Collins – 11th 28 PD (6 will move to 8th)
Janoris Jenkins – 12th 27 PD (9 will move to 8th)
Eli Apple – 28th 15 PD (8 will move to 18th)

Forced Fumbles
1st – Osi Umenyiora (32 FF)
Olivier Vernon – 29th 3 FF ( 2 will move to 18th)

Sacks
1st – Michael Strahan (141.5 Sacks)
Olivier Vernon – 21st 15 Sacks (6 will move to 15th)

Scoring
1st – K Pete Gogolak (646 points)
Odell Beckham – 24th 38 TDs (228 points) (10 TDs will move to 20th)
Aldrick Rosas – 86th 74 pts (74 points will move to 47th)
Sterling Shepard – 104th 10 TDs (8 TDs will move to 63rd)
Evan Engram – 149th 6 TDs (6 TDs will move to 91st)

Receiving Yards
1st – Amani Toomer (9,497 yards)
Odell Beckham – 11th 4,424 yds (1374 will move to 2nd)
Sterling Shepard – 42nd 1,414 yds (707 will move to 30th)
Evan Engram – 86th 722 yds (722 will move to 40th)

Catch % – WRs and TEs with over 100 career targets
1st – TE Larry Donnell (68.3%)
Sterling Shepard 65.6 – 4th
Odell Beckham 62.9 – 6th
Evan Engram 55.7 – 16th

Rushing Yards
1st – Tiki Barber (10,449 yards)
2nd – Rodney Hampton (6,897 yards)
3rd – Joe Morris (5,296 yards)
Wayne Gallman – 67th – 476 yds (476 will move to 44th)

Rookie Yards from Scrimmage
1st – WR Odell Beckham – 1340 yards
2nd – HB Alex Webster – 903 yards

Rookie Rushing Yards
1st – FB Tuffy Leemans (830 yards)

Yards from Scrimmage
1st – Tiki Barber (15,632 yards)

Rushing Yards per Attempt (RB/HB/TB/FB with minimum 100 career attempts)
Ward Cuff 1766 yards at 5.4/att
Derrick Ward 1750 yards at 5.1/att
Tiki Barber 10,449 yards at 4.7/att
Ahmad Bradshaw 4,232 yards at 4.6/att
Jarrod Bunch 629 yards at 4.6/att
Brandon Jacobs 5,087 yards at 4.5/att
Dave Meggett 1,228 yards at 4.5/att
David Wilson 504 yards at 4.4/att
Frank Gifford 3,609 yards at 4.3/att
Orleans Darkwa 1,036 yards at 4.3/att
Wayne Gallman 476 yards at 4.3/att

Passing Completion % (Min 1500 pass attempts)
1st – Eli Manning – 59.8%

Passing Yards
1st – Eli Manning – 51,682

Passing touchdowns
1st – Eli Manning – 339

TD % (Min 1500 pass attempts)
1st – Charlie Conerly (6.1 %)
2nd – Fran Tarkenton (5.4 %)
3rd – Eli Manning (4.3 %)

Interception % (Min 1500 pass attempts)
1st – Kerry Collins (2.8 %)
2nd – Eli Manning (3.1 %)

Passing Yards per Attempt (Min 1500 pass attempts)
1st – Fran Tarkenton (7.3 yds)
2nd – Phil Simms (7.2 yds)
3rd – Eli Manning (7.0 yds)

Adjusted Passing Yards per Attempt (Min 1500 pass attempts)
1st – Fran Tarkenton (6.7 yds)
2nd – Phil Simms (6.5 yds)
3rd – Eli Manning (6.5 yds)

Yards per Pass Completion (Min 1500 pass attempts)
1st – Charlie Conerly (13.7 yds)
2nd – Fran Tarkenton (13.2 yds)
3rd – Phil Simms (13.0 yds)
4th – Eli Manning (11.7 yds)

Yards per game played (Min 1500 pass attempts)
1st – Eli Manning (239.3 yds)

Quarterback Rating (Min 1500 pass attempts)
1st – Eli Manning (83.5)

Net Yards per pass attempt (Min 1500 pass attempts)
1st – Eli Manning (6.35 yds)

Adjusted net yards per attempt (Min 1500 pass attempts)
1st – Eli Manning (5.90 yds)

Sack % (Min 1500 pass attempts)
1st – Eli Mnaning (4.6%)

4th Quarter Comebacks
1st – Eli Manning (26)

Game winning drives
1st – Eli Manning (35)

Looking forward to the season. It will be interesting to see how some Giants move up the leader board and if Barkley could set a Giant rookie season record.

On a side note when researching this post I was amazed at the number of interceptions that Emlen Tunnell had. I read up on Tunnell and recommend reading his Wikipedia page for an interesting read.

2018 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Prospects

The following list of wide receivers have been filtered to show those that have achieved a 30% or higher team market share of receiving yards. There is a strong correlation between market share production and pro-bowl potential. This has been researched extensively by James Cobern at draftcobern.wordpress.com.

In the list I have highlighted the data that is the roughly in the highest third of the list and summed the number of highlights at the end of each row. The aqua highlighted names are my favorites for draft picks. The yellow highlighted names are also prospects that I like.

Bold names are receivers that meet certain physical characteristics related to arm length and hand size. I used the following criteria

  • 6-2 or taller with  32 5/8-inch arm length
  • 6-1 or shorter with 29 ¾-inch arm length
  • 8 7/8-inch hand size

The column success rate measures what percent of the receivers plays were deemed successful in relation to down and yardage gained.

Wide Receivers – Click to go to image

Tre’Quan Smith is a big receiver with good speed and solid hands. He is a red zone threat and tied for 2nd most receiving TDs among draft eligible receivers. Smith is also one of college football’s best deep threats. He was tied for 6th among draft prospects with 20 receptions of 20+ yards and had the most touchdown receptions on deep passes among all FBS wide receivers. He will go up and fight for jump balls and makes some spectacular catches. Smith is also an exceptional run blocker. He has some issues with drops though that has improved in 2017.

DaeSean Hamilton has an intense work ethic. He’d run routes at 6 a.m. on the practice field. He’d catch balls on the Jugs machine, sometimes 100, or 200 with a teammate. Hamilton is 9th in active career leaders for receptions and receiving yards. In 2017 he was 7th in receptions of 20+ yards. According to Pro Football Focus he was first among FBS receivers with a catch rate of 73.3% on deep passes (20+ yards) for receivers with a minimum of 10 deep targets. Dane Brugler, senior analyst at NFLdraftscout.com has Hamilton rated as one of the top three receivers for route running.

James Washington was ranked 24th in receptions in 2017 but 1st in receiving yards. He was 4th in receiving TDs and 1st in yards per game. Washington was tied for 2nd in plays of 20+ yards. According to Pro Football Focus his 815 deep receiving yards was 1st among FBS receivers. Not just a deep threat, Washington’s QB had a perfect passer rating when targeting him on slant routes. Washington also averaged 9.3 yards after the catch on slants in 2017. James has a strong work ethic and has not missed a game in four seasons.

Micah Holder is my dark horse prospect being rated as 108 out of 321 wide receivers. His pro day results were very good.  He had a 40″ vertical which would be tied for tops at the combine among receivers. He also did good in the short shuttle and 3 cone drills for what would have been 3rd and 10th respectively. Besides having 31.7% of the team’s receiving yards, Micah has a good catch rate and success rate. His review at draftanalyst.com depicts a sure handed receiver that runs good routes and makes difficult catches.

Here is the file of receivers as an excel spreadsheet – wide receivers.xls

Draft Quarterbacks and Giants

I have pulled together this data on some of the draft quarterbacks. I have been reading draft analysis material from James Cobern at draftcoberm.com. He has done work on analyzing past quarterbacks to find any common attributes for pro-bowl and all-pro players. You can read his quarterback analysis here at – draftcobern.com – nfl-draft-quarterback-production-analytics. Basically he found a strong correlation between TD/INT ratio and completion percentage and star quarterbacks. He combined these two along with a strength of schedule variable to come up with the Complete QB Stat Score. You may have seen his videos on youtube. In those he also proposes that there is a strong correlation between great quarterbacks and their high school production.

Using his data I came up with a list of the draft quarterbacks that meet his criteria for potential pro-bowl or all-pro quarterbacks based on their college performance. Here is the list to which I added their college and high school statistics. I have highligted positive stats in green and negative stats in yellow. For the high school data I simply highlighted the whole line if they had a strong high school production. On the college stats the highlighting I sometimes used generalities such as QBs should have a TD to interception ratio above 2 or have a completion percentage of 60% or better. For other stats I took the average of these QBs and marked the ones above average in green. For the rest – age, bmi, games started (GS) and games won (GW) – i used a criteria from this machine learning model on predicting quarterback success. For instance the model found that quarterbacks with a win percentage less than 56.1% in their college career had 96.6% chance of being a bust in the NFL. The model is at duelingdata.blogsport.com. Cobern only analyzes FBS players but I added one FCS quarterback that looked promising. I have no QBStat score on him. The list is ordered and grouped based on projected round of selection according to draftscout.com.

Quarterbacks – Click to go to image

My opinion on the quarterbacks

1) I was surprised to see that Rosen’s career TD to Int ratio was worse than Darnold’s. Granted Darnold has additional issues with fumbles but I always hear about his interceptions but not so Rosen.

2) My take on pick 2 is if Webb is not the future then pick Darnold. If he is gone Mayfield looks like a viable alternate.

3) If the Giants forego a QB at pick 2 then Rudolph looks good for a later pick such as later round one if we trade down or the top of round two.

4) After those three (Darnold, Mayfield or Rudolph) I would forego taking any quarterback later unless we pick up a sixth or seventh round pick. Rather be aggressive with the UDFAs and get one of either Ferguson, Barrett, Woodside, Wolford, Schor, or Hill. Even though Wolford and Hill have poor college career stats they both had outstanding high school production and they both had good final years in college.

Here is an excel file of the quarterbacks shown here – qbs.xlsx

 

Draft Quarterback Prospect Sam Darnold

What are the “experts” assessment of 2018 draft quarterback prospect Sam Darnold? How does he measure up to the other top prospect(s)? To find out I gathered the rankings and ratings of many draft analysts and present them here in this blog. References that do not have Darnold as the top quarterback are highlighted in bold. Without further ado here are my findings.

QB Sam Darnold

a. NFL.com Draft Tracker highest graded quarterback draft prospect since Andrew Luck in 2012

Table of current prospects with 1st round prospects from last 6 drafts.
Table of current prospects with 1st round prospects from last 6 drafts. Grade is in bold at end of line

b. Pro Football Focus overall number two ranked draft prospect right behind Baker Mayfield. See PFF draft board – 03/01/18 (Overall: 1-Mayfield, 2-Darnold,6-Rosen)

c. Mike Mayock’s top ranked quarterback of 2018 draft. See Mayock’s positional rankings – 03/13/18 (Position rank: 1-Darnold, 2-Allen, 3-Rosen, 4-Mayfield, 5-Jackson,Rudolph)

d. Daniel Jeremiah’s highest graded quarterback prospect of the last 3 drafts. Rosen is third. See Jerimiah top 10 QBs of past 3 drafts – 03/19/18  (Past 3 drafts: 1-Darnold, 2-Wentz, 3-Rosen)

e. nfldraftscout.com top rated quarterback prospect. See ndraftscout.com big board (Overall: 2-Darnold, 5-Rosen, 7-Allen, 13-Mayfield, 17-Jackson)

f. Mel Kiper’s second rated quarterback right behind Josh Allen.  See Mel Kiper’s Big Board & Position rankings – 03/02/18  (Overall: 5-Allen, 6-Darnold, 7-Rosen, 10-Mayfield)

g. Todd McShay’s top quarterback. See  Todd McShay’s Big Board(top 2 only – Insider pay) – 01/22/18

h. Dane Brugler’s top quarterback. See Dane Bruler’s Big Board – 04/03/18 (Overall: 6-Darnold, 9-Rosen, 10-Mayfield, 30-Allen, 32-Jackson)

i. WalterFootball’s top quarterback. See WalterFootball QB Rankings

j. Rob Rang’s top prospect. See Rob rang’s top 50 Big Board – 03/22/18

k. Josh Norris (Rotoworld) has Rosen as the top prospect with Darnold trailing a distant 2nd at 21 on his top 50. See Josh Norris Top 50 Big Board – 03/24/18

l. Matt Miller’s top quarterback followed by Allen and Rosen. See Matt Miller’s Big Board – 03/12/18

m. Joe Goodberry (Athletic) sees Mayfield, Jackson and Rosen as potentially franchise quarterbacks. He sees Darnold and Allen as developmental quarterbacks with high upside. He also like Rudoph and Laulletta in round 2 or 3. See Goodberry Podcast on quarterbacks

n. Kyle Crabbs (NDTScouting) rates Baker Mayfield as one of six blue chip prospects in the draft and the only quarterback. He rates Mayfield and Rosen as 2 good bets to be franchise quarterbacks. Next come Jackson (“his ceiling is tremendous’) and then Darnold who did not even make his top 40 Big Board. See Kyle Crabbs Top 40

o. Matt Waldman has Rosen best chance most well rounded QB pocket passer in class capable of rolling out like Matt Ryan. Darnold and then Rosen at advantage in a west coast offense to start right away. General feel is that he likes Rosen best. Does not like Allen. Is also high on Jackson sounds like a number two for him after Rosen. He says Jackson may be the best quarterback in the pocket. See Podcast interview Fantasy labs – 01/18/18

p. Greg Cosell speaks highly of Rosen, Darnold and Mayfield but concedes that his personal favorite would be Rosen. He speaks of what is the team looking for in a quarterback. Rosen is the best pocket passer but is not a statue. However Darnold is a baller. Darnold has a quick release and can make big time throws. He is young and heasr he is a good kid – moldable. Mayfield is accurate and a good pocket passer.

q. Mark Schofield states “But for me, Rosen is the cleanest, most scheme-diverse quarterback in this class, and if I were a team that needed a quarterback Rosen would be the player I would covet. With Darnold, there is a lot to like. He’s athletic, with an impressive arm and the ability to throw on the move very well, which, when combined with his aggressive nature, makes for a dangerous combination. He also shows the ability to throw with anticipation, perhaps more advanced than most other quarterbacks in this class at that trait.” See Schofield’s QB mock draft

There you have it. There are 19 days left to the NFL draft. These evaluations can change by then but more likely they will not.  I hope this presents a good picture to you of where the experts stand on these talented quarterbacks. I welcome any comments or feedback.

 

2018 NFL Draft Prospect – Running Back Royce Freeman 

School: Oregon
40 Yard Dash: 4.54
225 Lb. Bench Reps: 17
Vertical Jump: 34
Broad Jump: 09’10”
20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.16
3-Cone Drill: 6.90

Royce Freeman is a big back that is elusive, patient in letting blocks develop, and has enough wiggle or power to get by DBs. He may not excel at any one thing but he does everything well. His only areas that are lacking are his pass protection needs work and he is not a fast back but also not a slow one.

Receiving: Though not used extensively in the passing game Royce has one of the best reception percentages in the RB class. He caught 92% of his targets in 2016 and 82% in 2017. Freeman caught 80-of-89 passes thrown to him over his college career. In his sophomore season Freeman had only one dropped pass all season with 26 receptions.

Red zone: Royce has one of the highest red zone conversion rates as 33% of his red zone rushing attempts went for a touchdown. Freeman had double digit rushing touchdowns in 3 of his 4 seasons.

Big Plays: Royce is good at breaking big plays (10+ yards). He is second among draft eligible running backs for long rushing plays and third for long plays from scrimmage.

Durable: Royce played all four years and missed only 2 games with the last one by choice.

Productive: Royce played in 51 games and averaged less than 3 yards/carry in only 3 games. For his last year his lowest game average was 5.08 yds/carry. Royce has the 3rd most career 100-yard rushing games since 2000 with 31. He is number 7 on career rushing yards since 1956. In 2017 he had only 11 carries that lost yardage for 4.51% of his total carries. That percentage was 2nd best among top 9 draft eligible running backs.

Athletic: Royce had a good combine meeting RB targets on the 40 yd dash. He came in with the third among running backs for the three cone and 20 yd shuttle, as well as 4th in the 60 yd shuttle.

Elusive: As of mid-November 2017 Royce was on the top 10 list of missed tackles per season since 2014. He was at number 9 with 81 missed tackles in his 2015 sophomore season. In 2015 his PFF elusiveness rating was fifth among running backs with at least 95 attempts. In 2016 his rating was second among 39 draft eligible running backs.

Projected Round: 3

Misery Loves Company

Fifteen teams opened the season with 25-1 or better odds to win the Super Bowl. Of those 15 teams 10 are heading for disappointing seasons. Some are worse off than others but all are looking at potentially disappointing seasons as they approach the half way mark. Major injuries have played a large part in almost half of them. With each team is shown the opening odds, their current record and their last win/loss streak.

Cowboys     10-1     3-3     1W
The Cowboys have surrendered 35 or more points three times in six games. Over their last three games they have given up the 9th most points per game. Their three wins have come against teams that have a combined record of 4-17.

Packers     12-1     4-3     2L
Lost Aaron Rodgers for the season. QB Brett Hundley has played in seven games and has 33 career completions. His 2017 completion % is 53% and his quarterback rating is 41. Green Bay’s yards per pass differential for the last three games is 30th in the league. That is the difference between offensive yards/pass minus opponents yards/pass.

Falcons     16-1     3-3     3L
Through this season the Falcons are on track to have the second largest offensive decline in NFL history for points per game between seasons. Overall, only the Cleveland Browns (19.4 percent) and Carolina Panthers (12.9 percent) have seen a higher rate of their drives end by interception this season (12.8 percent). As of week six, Ryan had completed four of 19 pass attempts that have traveled more than 20 yards in the air —the lowest completion rate in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF has also deemed that just 21.1 percent of those 20-plus-yard throws were accurate, also the worst mark in football.

Broncos     20-1     3-3     2L
Broncos are 9-2 when Trevor Siemian attempts 35 passes or less and 2-7 when he attempts more than 35. The Broncos ended their 2nd longest scoring streak in NFL history when the Chargers shut them out last week.

Raiders     20-1     3-4     1W
Oakland is 27th in the league in yards per pass differential for the year, the last three games, and away games. The Raiders are one of three teams in NFL history to have no interceptions thru the first six games. As of week seven they still have no interceptions.

Panthers     20-1     4-3     2L
The Panthers have the 2nd most interceptions on offense , the 26th ranked quarterback rating, and have the 28th ranked yards per pass attempt differential at home. They have the 29th ranked rushing average. First round 8th overall draft pick, Christian McCaffrey, is averaging 2.5 yards/carry.

Ravens     25-1     3-4     2L
Through week 7 the Ravens are the NFL’s 31st ranked offense. The Raven’s TD against the Vikings with 03 seconds remaining was the first offensive TD scored by the Ravens in over 10 quarters. The Ravens lost guard Marshal Yanda for the season. Yanda made the pro bowl every year for the last six seasons.

Colts     25-1     2-5     2L
Not only did the Colts lose Andrew Luck for what may be the whole season, their pass defense also is dead last in opponent yards per pass attempt for the season, the last three games, and away games.

Giants     25-1     1-6     1L
You know the story, but in one game they lost 67% of their wide receiver roster which included their top three receivers. Half of their opening roster WRs are done for the season.

Cardinals     25-1     3-4     1L
Cardinals lost QB Carson Palmer for possibly the season with a broken arm. Backup QB Drew Stanton finished the game with the lowest QB rating for the season at 20.5. As a backup QB over the prior nine seasons Drew has played in 33 games and has a career QB rating of 65. In addition the Cardinals have the lowest rushing average in the league.

Just a piece of trivia – Since the 2001 Super Bowl only two teams have won the Super Bowl that had preseason odds greater than 25-1. That was the 2007 SB Giants (30-1) and the 2001 SB Patriots (60-1).

Giants don’t need no stinking run game!

 

I came across an interesting article here, that proposes “When it comes to winning in the NFL, passing is king. Rushing hardly matters.” It uses passing and running efficiency as the measure. Efficiency being the difference of offensive yards per attempt minus defensive yards allowed per attempt.

Here is the list of teams by Passing Efficiency in 2017. Teams with a positive passing efficiency and a losing record are highlighted in orange. Teams with a negative pass efficiency and a winning record are highlighted in yellow. The Giants are tied for 9th best in passing efficiency at a positive 0.6 yards. The eight teams better than them all have winning records. Twelve of the 15 teams with a positive passing efficiency have winning records. Two of the top four teams in passing efficiency are the only undefeated teams remaining.

Here is the list of teams by running efficiency as of week three. Worth noting is that the Giants at 29th are followed by the winning teams of Steelers and Patriots.

One thing the Giants have done well is draft the receiving skill position. As of week three Evan Engram leads all rookie WRs/TEs in receptions and yards. Among Sterling Shepard’s draft class, Sterling is second in career receptions, yards and touchdowns. Among Odell Beckham’s draft class, Odell is 1st in career yards and touchdowns and 2nd in career receptions.

  • Week 3 Beckham became the fastest player in NFL history to reach 300 receptions.
  • Beckham is 21st on the list of active career leaders for receiving TDs. All before him have at least 3 more years in the league.
  • Shepard holds the longest reception by a wide receiver for this season.
  • Shepard is the only receiver (WR/TE) in the NFC East with a 100+ receiving game this year.
  • The Giants receiving completion ratio of 73.5% is the best in the NFC and 2nd best in the league.

Here are the Giant receiving draft picks of the last 4 years, their rank in the draft class for career stats, and in parenthesis the stat numbers.

Evan Engram (rookie)
1st round – 5th WR/TE taken
Rec 1st (13)
Yds 1st (138)
TDs 5th (1)
1st Downs 2nd (6)

Sterling Shepard (2nd year)
2nd round – 6th WR/TE taken
Rec 2nd (81)
Yds 2nd (883)
TD 2nd (9)

Odel Beckham (4th year)
1st round – 3rd WR/TE taken
Rec 2nd (301)
Yds 1st (4,237)
TDs 1st (37)

Jerell Adams (2nd year)
6th round – 27th WE/TE taken
22 career targets and zero drops with a completion ratio of 77%.
If you take WRs/TEs in 2016 that had zero drops with a completion percentage of 75% or better and 10 or more targets there are only 6 active players counting Jerell.

Last year’s two top teams for pass efficiency during the regular season were in the SuperBowl. Their run efficiency standings were 14th and 16th with a 0.1 and a 0.0.

The Giants have progressed getting better in passing efficiency each of the last four years. They currently have the best passing efficiency since the 2011 Super Bowl team. The one major anomaly with this data is what happened in the 2013 season that had the second best pass efficiency for the Giants. That year Eli had a career high 27 interceptions and the Giants had a league-high 44 turnovers. The table below shows the Giants passing offense and passing defense by year. The yellow highlights the passing efficiency for each year.

Here are the Giants pass efficiency numbers per game so far

The Giants were just outplayed in the Dallas game but the Giants should have won both the Detroit and Philly games. Those losses can be tied back to sloppy play of penalties, turnovers, bad coaching decisions and poor special teams play. In the Detroit game the following 4 plays contributed to the loss

  1. Brad Wing punt goes out of bounds and the Lions start their first TD drive on the Detroit 46 yard line (1st quarter, 9:51)
  2. Eli interception gives Lions 1st and 10 at NYG 29 for their second TD drive (quarter 2, 11:45)
  3. Giants 1st and goal on the 1 yard line get an offensive holding call on Brett Jones which puts them back to the 11 . They wind up settling for a field goal. (quarter 3, 7:16)
  4. Lions return a Brad Wing punt 88 yards for a TD (quarter 4, 13:17)

In the Philly game the following 5 plays contributed to the loss

  1. Going for it at 4th and 1 with Darkwa run from the 1 yard line instead of taking the field goal points. The Giants were down by only 7-0 at the time (Quarter 2, 0:24)
  2. Pass interference on Eli Apple gave 36 yards gain to Philly on their last TD drive (quarter 4, 5:53)
  3. Penalty of Illegal Shift on Ereck Flowers for 5 yard loss on final Giants drive with the lead and 39 seconds remaining (Quarter 4, 0:39)
  4. Penalty of Offensive holding on Ereck Flowers for 10 yard loss on final Giants drive. (Quarter 4, 0:37)
  5. Brad Wing punts for only 28 yards and the Eagles start at their 38th. (Quarter 4, 0:19)

This team is built for passing efficiency. Over the last four drafts six of the twelve first three round picks have gone to receiving skill positions and defensive backs. The salary cap has 34% of the cap going to cornerbacks and defensive ends. The Giants spent the most on 2017 cap dollars on each of those positions than all other teams.

With a roster of top receivers, Eli as quarterback, a strong secondary and a good pass rush the Giants are still in the running for winning the division!