2019 NFL Draft Quarterbacks Rated Based on Situational Data

Following up on the post on 2019 NFL Draft Quarterback Prospects Meeting Seven Rules of Bill Parcells, I now take  a look at those seniors plus the top potential first round quarterbacks. Specifically I am looking at their 2018 statistics in regard to three key situations.

  1. Third down conversion percentage,
  2. Red Zone Touchdown percentage, and
  3. Big Play percentage.

A big play is considered 15+ yards passing or 10+ yards rushing. The percentages take into account both passing and rushing plays by the quarterback. Rankings listed below are among the sixteen quarterbacks examined.

The idea being that these are three key areas that would have a large impact on game outcome. In total I looked at sixteen quarterbacks. I determined their percentages in each key situation based on data available at cfbstats.com. I then took their average percentage across all situations and also the sum of their standard deviation across all sixteen quarterbacks. From those two views here are the top seven quarterbacks based on these situational statistics.

Justice Hansen

Arkansas State

6’4″ and 224 lbs

Senior

Of the sixteen quarterbacks looked at, Hansen had the highest red zone touchdown percentage with 35.8% of his red zone attempts translating into touchdowns.  His passing touchdown percentage is up at 40%. That is almost 6% higher than the next quarterback in the group of sixteen. Hansen is a dual threat quarterback. He had the third most rushing attempts on this list and 16.5% went for big plays. That percentage was fifth in the group but tops among these top seven quarterbacks. Hansen was number one in the Sun Belt in passing touchdowns (27) and touchdowns responsible for (33). His 33 total touchdowns was 14th in the nation. Big, tough mobile quarterback with a strong arm. Hansen was Sun Belt Conference 2018 First-Team and was named the Sun Belt Player of the Year. Hansen can be seen December 29th in the Arizona Bowl on CBS Sports Network at 1:15pm (ET).

Will Grier

West Virginia

6’2″” and 223 lbs

Senior

Will  Grier came in next for red zone touchdown percentage. He is usually throwing to receiver David Sills. Sills is said to be lethal in the red zone but Grier is making the throws. Grier has converted 35% of his red zone attempts into touchdowns. He shows high in the group of sixteen for passing coming in second, third and fourth for passing for red zone, 3rd down and big plays respectively. Grier was one of three finalists for the 2018 Maxwell Award given to the best all-around player. He was also one of five finalists for the Walter Camp Award Player of the Year. Will Grier can be seen at the Reese Senior Bowl.

Dwayne Haskins

Ohio State

6’3″ and 218 lbs

Sophomore

Haskins had the second most passing attempts in the nation. He also had the second most passing plays of 20+ yards. His big play percentage comes in at 19% which is third on this group of 16 quarterbacks. Like Grier, Haskins shows tops in the group of 16 for passing. He comes in second, third and third for passing in 3rd down, red zone and big plays respectively. Haskins was one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy. Haskins can be seen January 1 in the Rose Bowl at 5pm (ET) on ESPN.

Ryan Finley

North Carolina State

6’4″ and 212 lbs

Senior

Finley comes in as number one in the group for 3rd down conversion percentage. A whopping 48.6% of his third down attempts convert to first down. He had the third lowest 3rd down rush attempts at 14 but he converted 71.4% of those. He had the highest number of third down pass attempts (124) and he converted 46% which was fourth best. NC State ranked eighth in the FBS on third down conversions (49%) even though their rushing game ranked 87th in rushing yards per attempt. Finley had the third most total passing attempts (452) and he had a big play on 21% which is second best. Finley was 2018 All-ACC Football First-Team and one of thirteen finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy. The Campbell Trophy incorporates academics, community service, and on-field performance. It is considered by many to be the “Academic Heisman.” Finley can be seen December 31st in the TaxSlayer Bowl at 7:30 pm (ET) on ESPN. Also Finley will play in the Reese Senior Bowl.

Jake Browning

Washington

6’2″ and 210 lbs

Senior

Washington ranks 108th of the 130 FBS teams in Passing Play Percentage (39.8%). So it is understandable that Jake Browning ranks last in this group of 16 quarterbacks in Passing Attempts with 334. However Browning ranks number one in the group in Big Play Percentage with 20.7% of his attempts going for a big play. On passing attempts alone that percentage goes up to 23.65%.  Though Browning had the least number of passing attempts in the group of 16, he has the fifth most passing big plays. Browning also excelled in making 3rd downs where he comes in 3rd in the group making 43.5% of his third down attempts. He is second in rushing 3rd down attempts making 50% on the fifth most rush attempts (34).  In passing in the red zone he was tie at fifth getting a touchdown on 29.3% of attempts. Jake Browning has been the quarterback for more victories than any other player in Pac-12 Conference history. You can see Browning in the Rose Bowl on January 1st at 5pm (ET) on ESPN.

Brett Rypien

Boise State

6’2″ and 202 lbs

Senior

Rypien is second in the group in third down conversion percentage (48.4%). He is first in passing 3rd down conversion at 49.17%. That is on the second most 3rd down passing attempts (120). Pro Football Focus had Rypien as one of their top five quarterbacks heading into Bowl season recognizing his clutch performance on 3rd down. Brett Rypien is the 2018 Mountain west Conference Player of the Year. You can see Rypien in the First Responder Bowl on December 26th at 1:30pm (ET) on ESPN. Rypien will also play in the East West Shrine Game on January 19th on the NFL Network.

Marcus McMaryion

Fresno State

6’2″ and 203 lbs

Senior

McMaryion is a dual threat quarterback. He had the fourth most red zone rushing attempts of the group (19) and converted to a touchdown on a group high 42.1%. Though sixth of the group of sixteen in big play rushing percentage, his 15.5% was second best among these top seven quarterbacks.  McMaryion’s overall red zone touchdown percentage of 31.6% was fourth best in the group of 16. At ten games thru the 2018 season Pro Football Focus has Marcus leading the nation’s quarterbacks in red zone passer rating (124.4). McMaryion will play in the East West Shrine Game on January 19th on the NFL Network.

The Data

The sixteen quarterbacks looked at for this analysis were

Brent Stockstill – Middle Tennessee State
Brett Rypien  – Boise State
Daniel Jones – Duke
Drew Lock – Missouri
Dwayne Haskins – Ohio State
Eric Dungey – Syracuse
Gus Ragland – Miami (OH)
Jake Browning – Washington
Jarrett Stidham – Auburn
Justice Hansen – Arkansas State
Justin Herbert – Oregon
Manny Wilkins – Arizona State
Marcus McMaryion – Fresno State
Ryan Finley – North Carolina State
Shea Paterson  – Michigan (returning to school)
Will Grier – West Virginia

I have attached the data. The cells are boxed for 3rd down, red zone and Big Play data. The seven best names based on the data are highlighted in yellow. The data has the data counts for passing and rushing attempts/made. Followed by a column each for their passing % and their rushing %. That is followed by the total %.  For the totals blue highlight denotes above group average and yellow highlight denotes significantly below the average.

QB Situational Data

 

Picks for Starting Quarterback Padawans and Winless Teams

Back in my first post in August on the first and second year quarterbacks I referred to them as padawans. A term from Star Wars for young Jedi knights in training. Now in week four there are a total of eight padawans starting. The games and staring padawan are:

Browns vs Raiders  – Baker Mayfield

Texans vs Colts – DeShaun Watson

Bills vs Packers – Josh Allen

Chiefs vs Broncos – Patrick Mahomes

Jets vs Jaguars – Sam Darnold

Buccaneers vs Bears – Mitch Trubisky

49ers vs Chargers – CJ Beathard

Seahawks vs Cardinals – Josh Rosen

I have picked three of these games as being most likely for the padawan to get a win or loss. It happened that all three games include one of the three remaining winless teams. Here are the picks.

Browns vs Raiders (-2.5)

Baker Mayfield starts his first NFL game following being put in for an injured Tyrod Taylor in week three. In that week 3 game against the Jets, Mayfield helped lead the Browns to their first victory since December 24th 2016. He was 17 of 23 for 201 yards and a 100 passer rating.

The Browns and the Raiders are teams at opposite ends of the spectrum. The Browns are excelling in three main categories that are generally recognized as influencing the outcome of a game. Those three categories are explosiveness, starting field position and turnovers. For the sake of measurement explosiveness in this evaluation is the number of 20+ yard plays of the offense minus the number of such plays the defense gives up. The Browns are plus three in explosiveness, plus nine in turnover differential and fifth place in net starting position (their offense minus the opponent offense). The Browns are one of the top five teams in these categories combined. See my post on Best and Worst Teams by Turnovers and Big Plays. The Raiders on the other hand are one of the bottom five teams in these categories. They are minus five in explosiveness, minus four in turnover differential and twenty seventh place in net starting position.

Prediction: Look for Mayfield and the Browns to win and the Raiders to remain winless.

Texans vs Colts (-1)

DeShaun Watson and the Texans have had a bad start and are now one of only three teams without a win.  The Colts are a better team in turnovers and lead the Texans with a plus one turnover differential to a minus two differential for the Texans. However in terms of explosiveness the Texans are a plus five compared to the Colts minus three. In starting field position the Colts are a decent seventh place with a positive 5.17 yards Net Line of Scrimmage (LOS) starting field position. However the Texans are even better in third place with a positive 7.47 yards Net LOS.

Prediction: Watson and the Texans win and break their three game loss streak.

Seahawks (-3) vs Cardinals

Josh Rosen gets his first NFL start following replacing Sam Bradford with 4:31 remaining in the loss to Chicago in week three. He was 4 of 7 for 36 yards and one interception . The Seahawks have a plus three in turnovers, a minus one in explosiveness and are in 18th place in Net LOS with a minus 1.63 yards. On the other hand the Cardinals are minus three in turnovers, minus seven in explosiveness and in 15th place in net LOS with a minus 0.3 yards.

Prediction:  Seahawks to win as the Cardinals with Rosen remain winless.

So two of the three padawan quarterbacks get a win and two of the winless teams remain winless.  Enjoy the games!

Most Likely Padawan Quarterback ….

Today we look again at our rookie and second year quarterbacks to see which ones are the most likely padawan quarterback….

Free agent that deserves another shotJack Heneghan.

Dartmouth Career Ranks
Jack Heneghan Dartmouth Career Ranks

Heneghan signed as an undrafted free agent with the 49ers. Finally getting a chance to play in the last preseason game, Heneghan completed eight of nine pass attempts for 58 yards. He engineered a 16-play, 90-yard touchdown drive late in the game to give the 49ers a lead. Heneghan had a passer rating of 93.5. He even  salvaged a botched snap, picking the ball up and rushing it up the middle for a 10-yard gain. Heneghan was under center for two of the 49ers’ three touchdown drives on the night.

Heneghan is in the top five of seven Dartmouth career passing records and seventh in pass attempts. He earned All-Ivy League Honorable Mention at quarterback in 2017. Heneghan has been praised by high school, college and NFL coaches for his work ethic.

Practice Squad player to be promoted or snatched – Phillip Walker (Colts)

Walker was one of the top quarterback padawans in the preseason. He completed 61% of his 49 passing attempts. Walker had an average of 9.1 yards per pass attempt and 14.9 yards per completion. He had eight passes of 20+ yards which was tie for second most among padawans. Walker had a preseason passer rating of 101 and 39% of his pass attempts made first down. He had four touchdowns to two interceptions.

A 2017 undrafted free agent, Walker is the Temple Owls all-time leader in wins by a starting quarterback (28), passing yards, passing touchdowns,  completions, attempts, total yards and total touchdowns. Walker led the Owls to their first conference title in 49 years (2016) and their first ever back-to-back bowl appearances in school history (2015 and 2016).

Walker was awarded a single digit jersey his senior year which are awarded to the team’s toughest players as voted on by the players. He was a four-year starter and started 47 consecutive games since earning the starting job midway through his freshman year.

In the final game of his Temple career sometime in the 1st quarter Walker injured the right ring finger of his throwing hand. The finger had gone all the way up into his hand. It appeared to be broken. He pulled it back into place and continued playing. Walker kept competing and fighting as his team, once behind by 24 points, got to within five with under four minutes left. They wound up losing 26-34.

At Temple Walker went 28-19 as a starter with each year improving with two Bowl games and the final year winning the conference championship. Some may be put off by his height being only 5’11” but he is tough and a competitor. Temple coach Matt Rhule – “We put the ball in his hands to win the game.”

This scouting report from twoqbs.com:

“Walker’s best fit in the NFL will be on a team that embraces his athletic ability and his arm talent as a deep passer. Walker, albeit undersized, is an above-average athlete with a strong arm. He has the rushing ability and arm talent to be a threat on third-and-long, and that alone sets him above many others in his tier of quarterback. As a passer, Walker does his best work as an intermediate and deep passer, largely due to his impressive velocity. Walker’s mechanics too often get in the way of his accuracy, but his process from snap to throw is that of a high quality backup or serviceable starter.”

Non-Starter to Start – Chad Kelly

Chad Kelly moved up from the third string quarterback into the backup spot this preseason bypassing first round draft pick Paxton Lynch. Lynch was subsequently released. Kelly had the best passer rating (92.8) and completion percentage (66.7%) among Bronco quarterbacks in the preseason. He averaged 7.8 yards per attempt and 11.7 yards per completion. Kelly had five passes of 20+ yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Chad had a bad end to his college career at Clemson with an argument with coaches, off field fights, and injury. Kelly transferred to Ole Miss where he had two good years before a torn ACL sidelined him for the final 3 games of 2016. Kelly has a quick release, makes quick decisions, has a strong arm and has been referred to a a gunslinger or “baller”. At Ole Miss Kelly has career records of second in completion percentage (64) and third in passer efficiency rating (152.3). He is third all time in passing yards and passing TDs.

Kelly has matured since his rambunctious early college days. Here is Kelly in a 9News interview this preseason. “It’s the NFL and you’re the head man of a Fortune 500 company. You’ve got to act like, and approach every day, like you’re the boss and you want to be the man. You’ve got to come in with a level head. Keep on working hard and get those guys around me to follow suit.’’

I feel Kelly gives the highest probability of the quarterback/backup combinations. The quarterbacks looking over there shoulder seeing a young padawan are

  • Chad Kelly/Case Keenum
  • Nathan Peterman/ Josh Allen
  • Joe Flacco/Lamar Jackson
  • Tyrod Taylor/Baker Mayfield
  • Sam Bradford/Josh Rosen

Starting quarterback to excel – Patrick Mahomes

Mahomes had the best preseason of starting padawan quarterback. He had a 72% completion rate on 43 attempts. His average yards per attempt was 8.5 and his average yards per completion was 11.8. He had three passes of 20+ yards with one going 40+ yards. His passer rating was 103.5. Thirty-seven percent of his pass attempts made first down and he had two touchdowns to one interception.

Offensively Mahomes has a strong supporting roster. The chiefs have Kareem Hunt at running back and wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill. They also have tight end Travis Kelce. Pro Football Focus ranked their offensive line as 18th going into 2018. “The Chiefs are the definition of a solid, if unspectacular, unit.” – Pro Football Focus.

In week 17 of the 2017 season with a playoff spot secured the Chiefs started Mahomes for his debut. He helped lead the Chiefs to a victory over Denver 27-24. Mahomes is recognized for a very strong arm and can make throws with velocity and accuracy. Patrick also has a strong work ethic. In Texas Tech career records Mahomes is third in passing yards (11,252), first in adjusted yards/attempt (8.8), third in passing touchdowns (93) and fourth in passing efficiency rating (over 100 attempts) with 152. He is four times on the Texas Tech passing yards top ten records list with games of 734 (1st), 598 (5th), 586 (6th) and 540 yards (10th). His 734 yard passing game tied the FBS record. Mahomes also threw 5 touchdowns in the game loss (66-59) to Oklahoma. “Someone told me (about tying the passing record) in the locker room,” Mahomes said. “But, like I said, we didn’t win the game, so it really didn’t matter.” At the combine Mahomes scored in high all time percentile for 20 yard shuttle (93%), 3-cone drill (84%) and broad jump (73%).

The other padawan staring quarterbacks are Sam Darnold, Nathan Peterman, Deshaun Watson, and Mitch Trubisky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quarterback Newbies Opening in Week One

Opening week NFL season will see five quarterback padawans (1st-2nd year players) starting. All five play on teams that are the underdog in the match-up. Statistics of how they play will be tossed around. Quarterback stats are great for comparing quarterbacks. But to me the real measure of a great quarterback is in his win record. The great ones come thru in the clutch. They find a way to win games. They keep their teams in the game.

Here are the top ten most winningest quarterbacks of all time. Six of the ten are in the Hall of Fame. Another one will be eligible in 2021 and will probably be a first ballot vote in. The other three are still playing and will all make the Hall of Fame with two of those three probably first ballots.

  1. Tom Brady                  223 wins
  2. Peyton Manning      200 wins
  3. Brett Favre                 199  wins
  4. John Elway                 162 wins
  5. Dan Marino               155 wins
  6. Drew Brees               149 wins
  7. Ben Rothlisberger    148 wins
  8. Joe Montanna         133 wins
  9. Fran Tarkenton        130 wins
  10.  Johnny Unitas         124 wins

So with that in mind lets look at the chances of these quarterback newbies getting a win this weekend.

9/9 Sunday 1:00 BUF vs BAL (Home)

BUF QB Nathan Peterman
Favorite: BAL by -7
Peterman will have a tough go to move the ball on this Ravens defense. The Raven’s secondary is one of the best and deepest n the league. Cornerback Jimmy Smith is out due to suspension. However the projected starters of cornerback Brandon Carr, strong safety Tony Jefferson, free safety Eric Weddle will be joined by cornerback 2017 first-round pick Marlon Humphrey. In 2017 Humphrey played in 16 games and quarterbacks had a 53.5 passer rating when targeting Humphrey. That was the fifth lowest in the league amng cornerbacks. Humphrey was one of 12 cornerbacks who did not give up a touchdown all season. The Ravens are also strong at run defense. Pro Football Focus ranked them as sixth best against the run. Their missed tackle percentage on run plays for 2017 was 10% which was 5th best in the league. I don’t see Peterman leading the Bills to a victory.
Prediction: Loss for Bills and Peterman.

9/9 Sunday 1:00 HOU vs NE (Home)

HOU QB DeShaun Watson
Favorite: NE by -6
I see Deshaun Watson and the Texans pulling off the upset in Foxboro. I give the edge to the Texans in defense, run game and the passing game. The Texans eased Watson into the preseason on his return from the ACL injury that ended his rookie season after seven games. Watson was having a successful rookie season and made the PFWA All-Rookie Team. Watson has the slight edge in receivers with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. The Patriots have wide receiver Chris Hogan and tight end Rob Gronkowski. The Texans have the better running back in Lamar Miller over Patriot new addition Jeremy Hill. Overall I give a slight edge to the Texan defense over the Patriots defense. With defensive ends JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney the Texans should put pressure on Brady.
Prediction: Win for Watson and the Texans

9/9 Sunday 4:05 KC vs LAC (Home)

KC QB Patrick Mahomes
Favorite: LAC by -3
These two teams are loaded at wide receivers. I give the slight edge to the Chargers as they have three elite receivers (Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin) to the Chiefs two (Sammy Watkins, Tyreek Hill). The running back advantage goes to the Chiefs (Kareem Hunt) over the Chargers (Melvin Gordon). Chief tight end Travis Kelce excels at the tight end position over the Chargers even if just signed Antonio Gates plays for the Chargers. The defense advantage goes to the Chargers with players like defensive ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram and cornerback Casey Hayward. Mahomes can escape pressure and in college Mahomes totaled more rushing touchdowns than Deshaun Watson over his final two years of college. Patrick Mahomes looked good in the preseason completing 72% of his passes and having a passer rating of 103.5.
Prediction: Win for Mahomes and the Chiefs

9/9 Sunday CHI vs GB (Home)

CHI QB Mitchell Trubisky
Favorite: GB by -7.5

Trubisky was thrown into the fire his 2017 rookie season after Mike Glennon was benched for a 1-3 start. Trubisky went 4-8 with a 77.5 passer rating, 59% completion rate and seven passing touchdowns to seven interceptions. He rushed for 248 yards averaging 6 yards a carry and had two rushing touchdowns. Trubisky had ten fumbles with three lost. In the 2018 preseason Trubisky did nothing to standout. On 18 attempts he had a 61% completion percentage, a 70 passer rating, an average yards per attempt of 5.2 and an average years per completion of 8.5.  Only 22% of his pass attempts made first down and he had no passes of 20+ yards. He had one passing touchdown and one interception.

The defensive edge goes to the Bears. There is a question as to how much each will play due to late starts but linebackers Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith should vastly improve the Bear’s linebacker roster. The Bears were in the top ten teams in minimum yards per game allowed in 2017. Offensive weapons wise,  I give the edge to the Bears. They have elite weapons in running back Jordan Howard, receiver Allen Robinson (if healthy) and tight end Trey Burton. The Bear’s offensive line is not as good as the Packers. However they are not far off. The big difference is the quarterbacks with Aaron Rodger having the significant advantage based on past performance. However Rodgers could be a tad rusty and he does not have a great supporting team.

Prediction: Trubisky and the Bears pull the upset and win.

9/10 Monday NYJ vs DET (Home)

QB Sam Darnold
Favorite: DET by -6.5

Sam Darnold did okay in the preseason but not great. Teddy Bridgewater was better but that is water under the bridge so to speak. So Sam gets the start. The Jets have one of the worst pass rush defenses in the league and Detroit has a top ten ranked receiver corp with Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Kenny Golladay. Add to that the Jets secondary is nothing exceptional with the exception of safety Jamal Adams. On the flip side the Lions secondary is pretty good with Darius Slay and Glover Quinn. I do not see Sam Darnold being able to keep up with Mathew Stafford. Darnold averaged just 8.4 yards per completion in the preseason and had zero passes of 20+ yards. The Jets should have the advantage in the run game. However it will not be enough to keep up with Detroit.

Prediction: Loss for Darnold and the Jets.

Enjoy the Games!

Quarterback Padawans Revisited Following Preseason week Four

(This article is constantly being updated the week of the cut-down to 53 as rosters and practice squads are still fluid).

We revisit the rookie and second year quarterbacks to see who has excelled for the full preseason. The previous week raking is shown in parenthesis following the name (NR=Not ranked, HM=Honorable Mention). There are now 14 up from 12 as more quarterbacks were introduced in week four. I list the top 33%.

The Top Fourteen

1 ) Steeler Joshua Dobbs (1) finished the preseason in game four going 8 of 12 for 151 yards, one passing touchdown, three rushing attempts for 18 yards and an additional rushing touchdown. He had one fumble. Dobbs had the best preseason quarterback rating of all Steeler quarterbacks. I would not be surprised if the Steelers cut or trade Landry Jones and keep Roethlisberger, Dobbs and third rounder Mason Rudolph on the 53 man roster.

2) Buffalo Nathan Peterman (2) did not play in game four. His preseason passer rating of 124.7 was fifth best in the league. He was tied for third most passing plays of 20+ yards (8). Peterman led the league in preseason completion percentage (80.5% on 41 attempts).  He is listed on the Bills depth chart as 1st string with AJ McCarron. It looks like Peterman should be the day one starter.

3) Colt Phillip Walker (3)  had the highest preseason passer rating among the Colts quarterbacks (101.2 with 49 passing attempts). In the week four game he was 19 of 31 for 263 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also ran four times for 20 yards and lost one fumble. He is currently QB3 on the depth chart behind Luck and Jacoby Brissett. I would not be surprised if the Colts kept all three on their 53 man roster.

4) Chief Patrick Mahomes (5) finished the preseason with a 72% completion percentage and a 103.5 passer rating. Both best among Chiefs quarterbacks. Mahomes is the Chiefs starter.

5) Bronco Chad Kelly (4) has beaten out Paxton Lynch to secure the quarterback backup spot. This as announced by coach Vance Joseph and confirmed by John Elway. Kelly had the best passer rating (92.8) and completion percentage (66.7%) among Bronco quarterbacks in the preseason.

6) Saints quarterback Taysom Hill (NR) will most likely be QB3 on the 53 man roster. The Saints traded for Teddy Bridgewater. Hill plays a valuable role on special teams. Saints quarterback coach Joe Lombardi before the trade – “I think he’s (Hill) going to be on special teams regardless,” . Hill’s preseason stats include a 73.5% completion percentage on 49 attempts, five passes of 20+ yards and a 90.9 passer rating.

7) Chief Chase Litton (7) for the preseason was 24 of 41 for 299 yards, one touchdown, zero interceptions. He was 39% on pass plays 1st down conversion, had 3 pass plays of 20+ yards and had a passer rating of 89.4. Litton is fourth on the Chiefs current depth chart for quarterback. However he is third in preseason passer rating pushing Matt McGloin for a third quarterback spot.

8) Packer DeShone Kizer (9) looks to maintain the backup role as he finished with the second best preseason passer rating on the Packers trailing Aaron Rodgers. Kizer had four passes of 20+ yards in the preseason with two being for 40+ yards. He had three touchdowns and one interception.

9) Brown’s Baker Mayfield (10) started off very strong week one making the number one spot. While he didn’t continue that outstanding performance he was in the top 10 every week.He finishes the preseason at number 9, tops among the 2018 round 1 quarterbacks and only second to Mahomes for round 1 picks in the last two drafts. Mayfield had a league high 10 preseason passes of 20+ yards.

10) Brown’s Brogan Roback (NR)had a nice week four game going 7 of 14 for 130 yards and one touchdown.  His preseason passer rating was 97.5.  Roback was cut by the Browns on Friday August 31st in a first pass at trimming the roster.

11) Steeler Mason Rudolph  (NR) went 5 of 9 for 102 yards and two touchdowns  and a 135 passer rating in the week four game. He had four passes of 20+ yards in the preseason and had a 90.6 passer rating for the preseason. If the Steelers do not want to risk a third round draft pick on the practice squad they may wind up cutting Jarvis Landry and keeping Dobbs and Rudolph on teh 53 man roster.

12) Viking Kyle Sloter (11) had a 114  preseason passer rating on 56 attempts which ranked eight.1 passer rating. h in the league and tops among Viking quarterbacks. He also had a 73.2% completion percentage, four touchdowns and zero interceptions for the preseason. He could challenge Trevor Siemian for the backup quarterback role behind Kirk Cousins.

13) Panther Kyle Allen (NR) finally got to play in week four and he made the most of it. He was 25 of 36 for 250 yards, one touchdown and a 98.1 passer rating. He is currently fourth on the Panthers depth chart. The competition between Kyle Allen, Taylor Heinicke and Garrett Gilbert is a close one.

14) Seahawk Alex McGough (8) had six passes of 20+ yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the preseason. McGough was in the top 12 padawans for each of the last three weeks. Brett Hundley was traded in as the backup quarterback. It is a close competition between McGough and Austin Davis for a third quarterback spot or McGough could go on practice squad.  In college McGough was a four year starter at FIU and only missed 3 games due to injury. Alex holds multiple FIU passing and total offense records.

Most Improved

From week one preseason to the final game which players showed the biggest improvement.

Chief Patrick Mahomes started off slow in week one completing 5 of 7 passes for an average of 4.7 yards per attempt and 6.6 yards per completion.  He had zero touchdowns and zero passing plays of 20+ yards. Only 29% of his passing plays went for a 1st down and his passer rating was 81. By week four his cumulative stats were he had completed 31 of 43 with an  average of 8.5 yards per attempt and 11.8 yards per completion. Now 37% of his passing plays were for a 1st down. He had two touchdowns, three passing plays of 20+ yards and a passer rating of 103.5.

In week one Raven Lamar Jackson had a 39% completion percentage on 28 attempts. He averaged 5.4 yards per pass attempt and 13.8 yards per completion. He had one touchdown with one interception, a 21% first down conversion rate on passing plays, three passing plays of 20+ yards and a passer rating of 54.5. His week four cumulative stats included a 50% completion percentage on 68 attempts, a 6.0 yards per pass attempt average and 12 yards per completion. He had three passing touchdowns to one interception, a 25% 1st down conversion rate and six passing plays of 20+ yards. His passer rating was 77.3.

In week one Joshua Dobbs completed 9 of 13 passes (69%) for an average of 7 yards per attempt and 10 yards per completion. He had one touchdown to one interception, he converted 31% of his passing attempts to first down.  He had one pass play of 20+ yards and a passer rating of 82.5. By week four his cumulative stats were he completed 29 of 43 attempts (67%) with an average of 10 yards per attempt and 15 yards per completion. He had four touchdowns to two interceptions, he converted 40% of his passing attempts to first downs, he had eight passing plays of 20+ yards and a passer rating of 112.

Under Performing Expectations

Which young quarterbacks that had high expectations have not played up to those expectations in the preseason.

Texan Deshaun Watson has made 9 completions on a total of 15 attempts for a 60% completion percentage.  He has averaged 6.1 yards per attempt and 10.2 yards per completion. He has one touchdown to one interception. Thirty three percent of his passing attempts go for a first down. He has two passing plays of 20+ yards and zero of 40+ yards. His passer rating is 72.1.

Bear Mitchell Trubisky has completed 11 of 18 attempts (61%) with an average of 5.2 yards per attempt and 8.5 yards per completion. Twenty-two percent of his pass attempts go for a first down. He has one touchdown to one interception. Trubisky has zero passing plays of 20+ yards. His passer rating is 70.1.

Most Regressed

Which young quarterbacks started off good in week one but by the end of the preseason their cumulative production had regressed.

Cowboy Cooper Rush started week one 15 of 23 (65.2%) with a 6.3 average yards per attempt and 9.7 average yards per completion. He converted 34.8% of his pass attempts for 1st down and had one touchdown to zero interceptions. He had 1 passing play of 20+ yards and a 97.2 passer rating. His cumulative stats by week four included being 46 of 74 (62.2%) with a 4.8 yard average per attempt and a 7.8 average per completion. Cooper had one touchdown to four interceptions. He was converting 23% of his passing attempts to first downs. He still only had the one passing play of 20+ yards and his passer rating was 56.

Titan Luke Falk started week one as 10 of 19 (52.6%) with a 5.5 yards per pass attempt and a 10.5 yards per pass completion. He had one touchdown to zero interceptions. Twenty-six percent of his passing attempts were for a first down. He had one passing play of 20+ yards and a 86.5 passer rating. By week four his cumulative stats include being 32 of 58 (55.2%) with a 5.1 yards per pass attempt average and a 9.3 yards per completion average. He still only had the one touchdown but added one interception. Twenty-five point nine percent of his passing attempts made a first down. He had three passing plays of 20+ yards and a passer rating of 67.9.

Packer Tim Boyle started week one as 7 of 15 (46.7%) with an 8.7 yards per attempt average and 18.6 yards per completion average. He had two touchdowns with zero interceptions. One third of his pass attempts made first down. He had two pass plays of 20+ yards with one for 40+ yards. His passer rating was 116.7. By week four his cumulative stats included 26 of 53 (49.1%) with a 5.5 yards per attempt average and a 11.3 yards per completion average. He now had three touchdowns to two interceptions. Twenty eight percent of his pass attempts made first down. He now had four pass plays of 20+ yards with still only the one of 40+ yards. His passer rating was was 69.2.

But What About ….

Who are the quarterbacks that we expected to see more of in this series but did not appear much? What happened with them?  They did okay. They did not do bad and therefore were not highlighted. However they did not either excel.

Cardinal Josh Rosen has a cumulative 55% completion percentage, a 5.1 yards per attempt average, a 9.3 yards per completion average, 31% of his passing attempts go for a 1st down, he has two passing plays of 20+ yards and zero of 40+ yards, he has one touchdown to zero interceptions and an 80.8 passer rating all on 29 passing attempts. Except for the touchdowns to interceptions nothing else stands out as excelling. Even the touchdowns is low compared to other padawans.

Jet Sam Darnold was 29 of 45 (64.4%) with a 5.4 yard average per attempt and a 8.4 yard average per completion. He had two touchdowns to one interception and one third of his pass attempts went for a first down. He had no pass plays of 20+ yards and had a passer rating of 83.9. Of the top fourteen padawans all had at least three pass plays of 20+ yards except for Kyle Allen. Allen at least had a 6.6 yard average per attempt and a 10 yard average per completion. I would expect a “franchise” quarterback to push the ball more downfield.

Buffalo Bill Josh Allen was 24 of 44 (54.5%) with an average of 4.8 yards per attempt and 8.8 yards per completion. He had two touchdowns to zero interceptions and 20.5% of his pass attempts made a first down. He had three pass plays of 20+ yards and was sacked seven times. His passer rating was 82.6. The only statistic that stands out is the two touchdowns to zero interceptions. Otherwise everything else is just okay.

And the Cuts Begin

The following quarterback padawans had been cut in the process of reducing rosters to the required 53. I will update this list as the cuts progress.

  • Brad Kaaya – Had only four pass attempts in the 2018 preseason. He was waived-injured. (Colts)
  • John Wolford – a late addition to the Jets most likely just to fill in for week four. (Jets)
  • Brogan Roback – one of the top fourteen of the preseason. His completion percentage was only 50% on 18 attempts. But he had a 97.5 passer rating and a padawan high 16.9 yards per completion. Roback was competing against Tyrod Taylor, Baker Mayfield and recent veteran free agent signing Drew Stanton for a roster spot. (Browns)
  • Peter Pujals – only saw playing time in week four (Vikings)
  • Jack Heneghan – only saw playing time in week four (49ers)
  • Austin Allen – on 19 attempts finished with a 37% completion rate and a 15.4 passer rating (Buccaneers)
  • Kurt Benkert – had only a 44% completion percentage and a 35 passer rating on 64 attempts Benkert had zero touchdowns to four interceptions. (Falcons)
  • Tanner Lee – had a 50% completion percentage on 30 attempts (Jaguars)
  • Garrett Grayson – had a 37% completion percentage and a 47 passer rating on 19 attempts. (Falcons)57.6% completion percentage on
  • Kyle Allen – a top fourteen padawan. Allen had a 65.8% completion rate on 38 attempts and a 93.1 passer rating. Allen had a shot competing against Garrett Gilbert and Taylor Heinicke for a backup role behind Cam Newton. (Panthers)
  • Phillip Walker – a top fourteen padawan. Walker had the highest preseason passer rating among Colts quarterbacks (101.2). He had a respectable 61% completion percentage on 49 attempts. Walker could push the ball downfield having eight pass plays of 20+ yards, a 9.1 average yards per attempt and a 14.9 average yards per completion. The 14.9 was third best among the padawans. Walker competed against Jacoby Brissett for Andrew Luck’s backup. (Colts)
  • Garrett Gilbert – had a 57.6 completion percentage on 33 attempts and a 93.6 passer rating. Though he started out strong in the preseason the other padawans passed him by in their performance statistics. (Panthers)
  • Luke Falk – had a 55% completion percentage on 58 attempts and a 68% passer rating. He averaged 5.1 yards per attempt and 9.3 yards per completion. He was sacked seven times, had one touchdown and one interception. (Titans)
  • Danny Etling – had only a 53% completion percentage on 38 attempts and a 52 passer rating. He had one touchdown to two interceptions. Etling averaged 4.7 yards per pass attempt and 8.9 yards per completion. He had only one pass of 20+ yards and had a 21% first down conversion rate on pass attempts. (Patriots)
  • Nic Shimonek – had a 65% completion percentage on 20 attempts and a 72.9 passer rating. Shimonek averaged 4 yards per attempt and 6.2 yards per completion. He had zero touchdowns ad zero interceptions. Only 15% of his pass attempts made first down. He had zero pass plays of 20+ yards. (Chargers)
  • Logan Woodside – had a 56% completion percentage on 18 attempts with an average 5.6 yards per attempt and 10 yards per completion. He had zero touchdowns with zero interceptions and 22% of his attempts made a first down. He had a passer rating of 71.5 and had 2 passes of 20+ yards. (Bengals)
  • JT Barrett – had 55% completion percentage on 11 attempts with an average 5.7 yards per attempt and 10.5 yards per completion. He had zero touchdowns to one interception and zero pass plays of 20+ yards. His passer rating was 33.5.
  • Chase Litton – was a top fourteen padawan. He had a 58.5% completion percentage on 41 attempts with an average 7.3 yards per attempt and 12.5 yards per completion. Thirty-nine percent of his pass attempts made a first down and he had a passer rating of 89.4.  Litton had one touchdown with zero interceptions. He had three passes of 20+ yards with two going 40+ yards. Litton was competing with Chad Henne and Matt McGloin as Mahomes backup. (Chiefs)
  • Luis Perez – played only in week four. He had a 53% completion percentage on 15 attempts with an average 2.9 yards per attempt and 5.4 yards per completion. He had zero touchdowns with one interception and a passer rating of 31.2. (Rams)
  • Chad Kanoff – had a 41.7% completion percentage on 36 attempts with an average 4.9 yards per attempt and 11.9 yards per completion. A quarter of his pass attempts got a first down and he had one touchdown with zero interceptions. He had 2 passes of 20+ yards with one for 40+ yards. His passer rating was 66.7. (Cardinals)
  • Alex McGough – made the top 14 padawans. He had a 58% completion percentage on 62 attempts with an average of 6.7 yards per attempt and 11.6 yards per completion. McGough had three touchdowns to one interception and 26% of his pass attempts made first down. He had six passes of 20+ yards and a passer rating of 87.8. McGough had to compete against new free agent veteran signing Brett Hundley and Austin Davis for the backup role.
  • Davis Webb – had a 53% completion percentage on 53 attempts with an average 5.3 yards per attempt and 10.1 yards per completion. He had one touchdown, zero interceptions and 26% of his pass attempts made first down. He had three passes of 20+ yards with two going 40+ yards.

Other Padawans Making a 53 Man Roster

As of the latest update nine of the top fourteen padawans have made the 53-man rosters of their teams.  An additional four of the top fourteen have made practice squads. That leaves only one of the top fourteen as free agents (Brogan Roback). After the top fourteen here are the other padawans on a roster in order of their preseason performance starting after the top ten. The order is from better to worse. The padawans cut are not shown.

11) Lamar Jackson (Ravens)

12) CJ Beathard (49ers)

13) Sam Darnold (Jets)

14) Josh Allen (Bills)

15) Josh Rosen (Cardinals)

16) Tim Boyle (Packers)

17) Mike White (Cowboys)

18) DeShaun Watson (Texans)

19) Mitchell Trubisky (Bears)

20) Cooper Rush (Cowboys)

21) Kyle Lauletta (Giants)

And After Waivers

Luke Falk (cut by Titans) was claimed off waivers by the Miami Dolphins. He is now on a a roster that carries three other quarterbacks – Brock Osweiler and David Fales backing up Ryan Tannehill.

Kurt Benkert (cut by Falcons) cleared waivers and was added to the Falcons practice squad.

Danny Etling (cut by Patriots) cleared waivers and was added to the Patriots practice squad.

Chad Kanoff (cut by Cardinals) cleared waivers and was added to the Cardinals practice squad.

Chase Litton (cut by Chiefs) cleared waivers and was added to the Chiefs practice squad.

Tanner Lee (cut by the Jaguars) cleared waivers and was added to the Jaguars Practice Squad.

Davis Webb (cut by Giants) cleared waivers and was signed to the Jets Practice Squad.

Alex McGough (cut by Seahawks) cleared waivers and was signed to  the Seahawks Practice Squad.

Brad Kaaya (cut by Colts) cleared waivers and signed to Colts Injured/Reserve.

Phillip Walker (cut by Colts) and signed to Colts Practice Squad.

JT Barrett (cut by Saints) and signed to Saints Practice Squad.

Padawans Currently as Free Agents

The following eleven padawans are from the forty-two originally on rosters that are now free agents.

Brogan Roback (cut by Browns)

Garrett Gilbert (cut by Panthers)

Jack Heneghan (cut by 49ers)

Austen Allen (cut by Buccaneers)

Garrett Grayson (cut by Falcons)

Peter Pujals (cut by Vikings)

John Wolford (cut by Jets)

Nic Shimonek (cut by Chargers, Redskins)

Kyle Allen (cut by Panthers)

Luis Perez (cut by Rams)

Logan Woodside (cut by Bengals, Titans).

Quarterback Padawans Revisited Following Preseason Week Three

The preseason is winding down with a wrap on week three. We revisit the rookie and second year quarterbacks to see who has excelled so far for this preseason. The previous week raking is shown in parenthesis following the name (NR=Not ranked, HM=Honorable Mention).

The Top Twelve

1 ) Joshua Dobbs (1) of Pittsburgh maintains his number 1 spot even though he did not play in week three. Dobbs has shown why he should be the third quarterback in the depth chart ahead of rookie Mason Rudolph. Interesting developments in Pittsburgh as both Landry Jones and Joshua Dobbs have done well in the preseason. Third round selection Rudolph appears to be a candidate for the practice squad.

2 ) Nathan Peterman (3) of Buffalo moves up one spot after another solid preseason week. Peterman was 16 of 21 for 200 yards and one touchdown. For the preseason Peterman has a passer rating of 124.7 which is fifth best in the league and tops among Bills quarterbacks. Of the Bills quarterbacks AJ McCarron is next with a passer rating of 87.5 followed by Josh Allen at 82.6. Peterman is making a strong case to be the starting quarterback.

3 ) Second year quarterback Phillip Walker (10) of the Colts completed 4 of 6 for 69 yards. Walker’s preseason average yards per attempt of 10.2 yards is second among the padawans. His yards per completion of 16.6 yards leads all padawans. Walker’s preseason passer rating of 109.1 leads all Colt quarterbacks. The Colts cut quarterback Brad Kaaya on Friday.  Will Walker usurp Jacoby Brissett for the backup quarterback role or will he be stashed on the practice squad?

4 ) Chad Kelly (4) of the Broncos remains at the number 4 spot for the third week in a row.  He completed 7 of 11 passes for 73 yards. Denver has updated their depth chart to now show Kelly as the backup quarterback with Paxton Lynch now number three.

5 ) Patrick Mahomes (11) of the Chiefs takes another big leap up this list. He was 18 of 24 for 196 yards and one touchdown. He also ran twice for 11 yards. Mahomes’ passer rating has increased each week of the preseason three games. Of the first round quarterbacks of the last two years that have played three preseason games only Lamar Jackson can also make that claim.

6 ) Tim Boyle (6) of the Packers holds on to the number 6 spot even though he did not play in week three.  Through the three preseason games Boyle has the second best passer rating of the four Packer quarterbacks with 105.7. Rodgers (119.8) has the best and Kizer (88.8)  trails Boyle with Hundley last (81.2).

7 ) Chase Litton (NR) of the Chiefs makes a debut on this list with a week three performance of 4 of 7 for 67 yards and one touchdown. He also had one run for nine yards. Currently buried fourth on the quarterback depth chart Litton could use a good week 4 performance to justify a practice squad spot.

8 ) Alex McGough (12) of the Seahawks moves up again in week three with a performance of 5 of 14 for 140 yards, one touchdown, one interception and two sacks. He started off bad with two incomplete passes and then a pass off the receivers hands was intercepted. However he came back on his next drive and led the Seahawks 75 yards in nine plays for a touchdown.  He went 3 of 4 for 50 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown pass. McGough also rushed for 19 yards on the drive. He has shown he deserves to be the backup quarterback over Austin Davis. Davis has had a poor preseason with the second lowest passer rating in the league of 38.4.

9) DeShone Kizer (5) of the Packers falls down the list this week but remains in the top twelve. Kizer was 11 of 23 for 120 yards and was sacked twice and fumbled once. Recognized for his arm strength, Kizer is tied for first among the padawans in plays of 40+ yards with two. It is a three way tie with CJ Beathard and Davis Webb. Kizer’s yards per completed pass of 14.9 yards is third among padawans with more than three completions.

10) Baker Mayfield (7) of the Browns was 8 of 12 for 76 yards, one interception, two sacks and one fumble. It is the third week Mayfield is in the top 12.  This preseason Mayfield has seven passes of 20+ yards. That is tie for second most in the league.

11) Viking Kyle Sloter (HM) has a preseason passer rating of 111.4 which is best among Vikings quarterbacks and ninth in the league. This preseason he has three passing touchdowns and zero interceptions. The touchdowns is tie for tops among the padawans and no other padawan has three touchdowns with no interceptions. His 73.2 preseason completion percentage is third among padawans with more than four attempts.

12) CJ Beathard (NR) of the 49ers was 7 of 8 for 83 yards and one sack.  Beathard is a football junkie, tough and professional. In the preseason he has had five pass plays of 20+ yards which is tie for second among the padawans.

Honorable Mention

Garrett Gilbert (8) of the Panthers was 5 of 9 for 46 yards and one touchdown. He is one of five padawans that has two or more touchdowns with zero interceptions in the preseason. His preseason passer rating of 101.8 is 0.1 behind Taylor Heinicke for the top Panther preseason passer rating.

Davis Webb (NR) of the Giants was 5 of 11 for 73 yards and one sack. He has performed better than Kyle Lauletta in the preseason and of the two deserves to be Manning’s backup.

Under Performing Expectations

Deshaun Watson (2) of the Texans after a stellar week two followed it with a poor performance in week three. He was 3 of 6 for 15 yards and one interception. He ran once for five yards. Watson was not used much in the preseason attempting only 15 passes over three games. His 72.1 passer rating for the preseason lags the other Houston quarterbacks. It will be interesting to see if he plays in week four.

Quarterback Padawans Revisited Following Preseason Week Two

Half way thru the preseason here are the rookie and second year quarterbacks that have stood out over their preseason games.  The top twelve takes into account all preseason games played this year. The player’s rank from last week is in parenthesis after their name. (NR = Not ranked, HM = Honorable Mention, 1 = top rank). The player’s week two stats are listed.

The Top Twelve

1 ) Joshua Dobbs (10) of Pittsburgh had another good week. He completed 12 of 18 passes for 192 yards, 2  touchdowns and an interception. In the preseason Dobbs has completed five passes of 20+ yards for second most among the padawans.

 

2) Deshaun Watson (NR) of the Texans. On his lone series, Watson led an 11-play march, including a fourth-down red-zone score. Watson was 5 of 8 for 73 yards and a touchdown. In the preseason 44% of his nine attempts have gone for a first down.

3) Nathan Peterman (7) of the Bills completed 8 of 10 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. In the preseason Peterman has completed 85% of his 20 pass attempts. In week two his passer rating of 147.1 led all padawans.

4) Chad Kelly (4) of Denver maintains his four spot on the list after week two. Kelly completed seven of nine passes for 90 yards and a touchdown. Kelly holds the fourth best passer rating (116.9) among preseason quarterbacks with a minimum of 10 completions.


5) DeShone Kizer (NR) of the Packers was 7 of 12 for 149 yards and two touchdowns. In week two Kizer’s passer rating (142) was third among quarterback padawans. After week two Kizer has two passes of 40+ yards which is in a three way tie for first among all quarterbacks.

6) Tim Boyle (2) of the Packers completed four of seven passes for 37 yards. Boyle has a strong arm. He is fourth among rookie quarterbacks in passing yards (167) and average passing yards (7.6 yards). Boyle is tie for second among rookies in passing plays of 20+ yards with three.

7) Baker Mayfield (1) of the Browns was 7 of 13 for 75 yards. He was in on six possessions and led two scoring drives on his final two drives. So far in the preseason Mayfield has six passes of 20+ yards which is tie for second in the league.

8) Garrett Gilbert (3) of the Panthers was 3 of 5 for 23 yards. A sixth round pick in the 2014 NFL draft, Gilbert has yet to play in a regular season game. He is credited as a 2nd year player as he has spent the four seasons as an offseason and/or practice squad member only.

9) Chad Kanoff (HM) of the Cardinals completed 5 of 10 for 43 yards. Kanoff’s 13.6 yards per completion is ranked sixth among the padawans. He is said to have a strong arm.

10) Phillip Walker of the Colts completed 2 of 4 for 26 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He only got in the game with 6 minutes remaining. However he makes the top twelve from a strong performance in week one. (Walker was overlooked in week one therefore no ranking for last week).

11) Patrick Mahomes (NR) of the Chiefs was 8 of 12 for 138 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He rushed twice for 16 yards. He showed off his strong arm in this touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill.

12) Alex McGough (NR) of the Seahawks was 9 of 12 for 97 yards and one touchdown. On his touchdown drive, McGough completed all six passing attempts marching the team 70 yards for the score. His touchdown was a 12-yard strike.  He also had a 39 yard pass to Cyril Grayson. McGough’s 76% completion percentage for the preseason leads all rookie quarterbacks with more than two attempts.

Honorable Mention

Kyle Sloter (6) of the Vikings was 10 of 15 for 82 yards. Sloter has played quarterback, receiver and tight end in college. Kyle Sloter is a gamer.

Josh Allen (11) of the Bills was 9 of 13 for 60 yards and one touchdown. Allen also ran for three attempts and 18 yards. According to Pro Football Focus Josh Allen has the second best ball location accuracy (70%) among the 2018 first round quarterbacks.

Under Performing Expectations

Mitchell Trubisky of the Bears was 9 of 14 for 90 yards , one touchdown and one interception. He also had a fumble for a safety.  Trubisky has averaged 5.2 yards per pass attempt. Only 22% of his pass  attempts achieve a first down. He has rushed three times for seven yards.

Lamar Jackson of the Ravens was 7 of 15 for 49 yards and one touchdown. He rushed four times for 26 yards. Over three preseason games Jackson has completed only 42% of his passes, had 19% go for 1st down and has a passer rating of 62. However he does have 17 rush attempts with a 4.2 yard average. That is good for second best among quarterbacks with a minimum 10 attempts.

Quarterback Padawans Revisited After Preseason Week One

Previously I wrote about the AFC and NFC Quarterback rookies and second year players competing for roster spots. There are 42 so-called quarterback padawans. Today I revisit these players to see who are the top twelve of these quarterback padawans following preseason week one. In addition which players did not make the top twelve for which there were high expectations. (Twelve was picked due to that number being above an average measure for the 42 quarterbacks)

The Top Twelve

1) Baker Mayfield of Cleveland had the highest quarterback passer rating among rookie and second year quarterbacks in week one of the preseason. His rating of 125.4 was twelfth best among all quarterbacks. Mayfield went 11 of 20 for 212 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He rushed three times for thirteen yards and got a first down on each rush. Mayfield had five passing plays for 20+ yards, the best across the league. He showed poise, accuracy and the ability to scramble to throw or run. Mayfield is considered to be  the Browns future franchise quarterback.

2) Green Bay’s Tim Boyle went 7 of 15 for 130 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He had two passes of 20+ yards including a 54 yard touchdown pass. His quarterback passer rating of 116.7 was fourth best among rookies and second year quarterbacks. Boyle showed off his arm strength, poise under pressure and zip on the ball.  He stood in there and delivered the ball with pressure coming. Boyle had only a 47% completion percentage but was the victim of at least three dropped passes. Boyle will have a battle to make the team as he is currently the 4th string quarterback behind Hundley and Kizer. He could make the practice squad.

3) Panther Garrett Gilbert was selected in round 6 of the 2014 NFL draft. However he spent 2014 thru 2016 either on only an offseason roster or on a practice squad. The upcoming 2018 season is considered his second active season. In preseason week one Gilbert went 7 of 12 for 93 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. He had a passer rating of 110.8 which is third best among rookies and second year quarterbacks.  Coach Rivera says Gilbert’s strengths are “His arm strength. He makes good decisions and delivers a good ball,”.  Gilbert is the front-runner to backup Cam Newton.

4) Denver’s Chad Kelly went 14 of 21 for 177 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Forty three percent of his passing attempts went for a first down and he had two 20+ yard passes including a 36 yard touchdown. Mr. Irrelevant was anything but that in his NFL debut following a redshirt 2016 season due to injury. Kelly showed toughness, mobility, zip on the ball and ability to throw into tight windows. He is a competitor. See every play on Youtube. If Kelly continues to play like that he could easily move from third string to Case Keenum’s backup.

5) Cowboy’s Cooper Rush completed 15 of 23 (65.2%) for 145 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. He showed poise and accuracy. One snap was over his head but he maintained composure, caught the snap and made a pass downfield for a gain. Cooper had a nice touchdown pass on the run to Lance Lenoir with good placement into the corner of the end zone. Rush is the front-runner to backup Dak Prescott.

6) Viking Kyle Sloter was a 2017 undrafted free agent that only started nine games as quarterback in college. He also played receiver in college. Sloter completed 9 of 11 for 69 yards, one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown. Sloter showed his speed in a 14 yard touchdown run. Only Sloter and Lamar Jackson had both a passing and rushing touchdown among the padawans. Sloter’s 123 quarterback passer rating was third best among the padawans. Last preseason he had the second highest rookie passer rating.

7) Buffalo’s Nathan Peterman completed 9 of 10 attempts (90%) for 119 yards, one touchdown and one interception. His 11.9 passing yards average was seventh best in the league. Sixty percent of his passing attempts went for a 1st down which was fourth best in the league. Peterman had a 110 quarterback passer rating. He went 7-for-7 for 75 yards and a 28-yard touchdown on the opening drive. His one interception was off a ball that went off the receiver’s hands. Peterman is in competition with A.J. McCarron for the starting quarterback role.

8) Saint’s Taysom Hill completed 8 of 9 passing attempts for 72 yards. Forty-four percent of his pass attempts went for a first down. In addition Hill rushed seven times for 52 yards and four first downs. No quarterback rushed for more first downs. “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 competing with Tom Savage  to be Drew Brees’ backup. He is currently behind Savage on the unofficial depth chart.

9) Jet Sam Darnold completed 13 of 18 for 96 yards and one touchdown. Darnold looked poised and in control in the game. He was 9 of 11 for 74 yards and a touchdown in the first half. However in the second half he was only 4 of 7 and 22 yards. He completed 72% of his passes but averaged only 5.3 yards per attempt. His longest pass play was 18 yards. He ran twice for eight yards and zero rushing first downs. Darnold is expected to be the franchise quarterback the Jets have long searched for.

10) Steeler Joshua Dobbs led two scoring drives in the preseason opener.  At the end of the first half Dobbs ran the two minute offense . Dobbs started at their 25 yard line with 1:58 remaining in the half. He led the team 75 yards completing 6 of 9 including the 29 yard touchdown pass with 18 seconds remaining. Prior to that drive Dobbs led another scoring drive that included Dobbs running an option around end for 18 yards. All together Dobbs was 9  of 13 for 91 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also ran twice for 19 yards.

11) Bill’s Josh Allen was 9 of 19 for 116 yards and one touchdown. He also ran three times for 29 yards and two 1st downs. He showed his big arm with three passes of 20+ yards. Allen is a big physical player and showed the ability to escape tackles. See every Allen play on YouTube.

 12) Steeler Mason Rudolph went 7 of 12 for 101 yards averaging 8.4 yards per attempt. He played the entire second half and led three drives resulting in field goals. Rudolph is fourth on the Steelers depth chart but he was a third round draft pick.

Honorable Mention

Arizona Chad Kanoff only had five pass attempts but he made the most of them. He was 3 of 5 for 66 yards, a 14 yard touchdown pass, two first downs and a 48 yard pass. Kanoff has a strong arm, athleticism, velocity and accuracy. He is fourth on the depth chart.

Colts Brad Kaaya only had four pass attempts and he was 3 of 4 for 24 yards and two first downs. Kaaya is known for a quick release and a high football IQ.

Conspicuously Absent

Houston’s Deshaun Watson returned from his season ending ACL injury of last November. He was in on only the first drive and completed 1 of 1 attempts for four yards. “I think it was important for him to go through the whole warmup process and preparation for the game and get out there and operate the offense,” Coach O’Brien said. “Without having watched the film, I thought he did what we asked him to do.”

Chief’s Patrick Mahomes completed 5 of 7 for 33 yards. He was in on two drives both of which ended in punts. Here is a nice view of a  Mahomes’ pass for a first down completion to the tight end. More to come next week.

Bear’s Mitchell Trubisky was 2 of 4 for four yards. “This is so early right now, it really is,” Coach Matt Nagy said. “… It will be fun as we go here to get them some more snaps, let them get into a rhythm and, really, for all the guys to get into a rhythm offensively. He’s going to have eight snaps to take a look at and see what was right and what was wrong, but it’s hard to judge off of eight plays.” 

Raven’s Lamar Jackson has now played in two preseason games which included the Hall of Fame Game. Over two games Jackson is 11 of 28 (39%) for 152 passing yards (5.4 yards per attempt). Jackson has had three passes for 20+ yards. He has had 13 run attempts for 46 yards, one rushing touchdown and a long rush of 10 yards.  Jackson’s 1st down conversion percentage on rushes is 15%. Jackson is third on the four man quarterback depth chart.

Cardinal’s Josh Rosen is 6 of 13 for 41 yards and has one pass of 20+ yards. He played behind a second team offensive line and had a number of bad snaps. Rosen is listed as the backup quarterback on the depth chart.

Giants’ Davis Webb was 9 of 22 for 70 yards. Webb is listed as the backup quarterback on the depth chart.

AFC Quarterback Padawans

This is Part 2 of a previous post on the NFC quarterbacks. Here we continue to look at the new AFC quarterbacks that were acquired in 2017 or 2018 from the draft or as undrafted free agents.  The team rosters are pretty much set concerning quarterbacks following the OTAs and minicamp. When preseason training camps open at the end of July, I will post updates on how these new quarterbacks are fairing or add any ones brought in from the 2017 or 2018 draft classes.

It is interesting to see how the college quarterbacks transition to the NFL. The recent release by the Raiders of Christian Hackenberg was addressed by comments from coach Jon Gruden.  Gruden bemoaned the limited off-season practice time allotted to coaches to develop new quarterbacks. He went on to say “It really depresses me how we can’t spend more time with these young quarterbacks, and it is really going to be an impactful situation on the NFL in the future.” He had referred to the collective bargaining agreement that placed restrictions on offseason practices. But I diverge, so here are the new AFC quarterbacks.

 

AFC East
Buffalo Bills
Starter: AJ McCarron (Age 27)
Veterans: None
Rookies/Second Year:

Nathan Peterman (Pittsburgh) – 2017 Round 5 draft pick. Nathan’s first three years in college he was redshirted and then a backup at Tennessee. After three years he transferred as a graduate transfer to Pittsburgh. At Pittsburgh he got to start after two games. In his two years as starter at Pitt he finished 8th in career passing yards (5,142), 9th in single season passing yards (2,855), 6th in career passing touchdowns (47), 5th in career completion % for over 180 attempts (61.1%) and 2nd in pass efficiency rating (151.1). Nathan led the highest-scoring offense in Pitt history in 2016 (532 points) and finished that year the ACC leader in Pass Efficiency (163.4). In 2017 Nathan became the backup for Tyrod Taylor. In week 10 Nathan made his debut against the Saints with 5 minutes left in a losing game. Trailing 47-3, Peterman completed 7 of 10 passes for 79 yards and one touchdown in the loss. In week 11, Nathan was named the starter as Taylor had been struggling. In this his first career start Nathan threw five interceptions in the first half and was relieved by Taylor. In week 14, Nathan again started against the Colts due to an injury to Taylor. He completed 5 of 10 passes for 57 yards and a touchdown. He suffered a concussion and had to leave the game in the 3rd quarter. The Bills went on to win. On January 7, 2018 Peterman was brought into the Bills Wild Card game with 1:43 remaining due to an injury to Taylor. Nathan converted two first downs but then threw a game ending interception. The Bills lost 10-3. In scouting reports Peterman is recognized for strengths in anticipation, quick release and good pocket presence. Some reports noted that a gun-slinging attitude and his anticipation can get him in trouble. According to ESPN’s Mike Rodak, Peterman is a serious contender for the Bills starting quarterback and has been sharing first team reps with McCarron.

Josh Allen (Wyoming) – 2018 Round 1 draft pick. Josh Allen will open training camp as the third-string quarterback. He will have to earn his reps behind AJ and Peterman. Allen took reps with the first team in mini-camp and the players liked what they saw. Some compliments thrown around are – strong arm and very intelligent. At the combine Allen threw a pass about 70 yards down field. At the Senior Bowl, one of Allen’s throws was clocked at 66.14 mph. No throw at the NFL Combine has ever been clocked at faster than 60. His combine events showed great athleticism coming in 1st among quarterbacks for broad jump and vertical and 2nd and 3rd for 3-cone and forty respectively. He is also recognized for good mobility, making plays on the run and being tough to catch and bring down. Allen is fast becoming a fan favorite by doing things like stopping to take wedding pictures with a wedding party he saw at New Era Field.

Miami Dolphins
Starter: Ryan Tannehill (Age 29)
Veterans: Brock Osweiler, Bryce Petty, David Fales
Rookies/Second Year: None

New England Patriots
Starter: Tom Brady (Age 40)
Veterans: Brian Hoyer
Rookies/Second Year:

Danny Etling (LSU) – 2018 7th round draft pick. Danny’s first two years at Purdue he went 2-10 as a starter. The last game of his freshman year he threw for 485 yards and 4 touchdowns in a loss. After his sophomore year he transferred to LSU and had to sit out a year due to NCAA rules. In his junior and senior seasons at LSU, Danny started the final 23 games of his LSU career posting a 16-7 record. For his LSU career, Danny ranked among the Top 10 in LSU history for passing yards per game (No. 3 at 191.1 yards per game), completion percentage (No. 6 at 59.7 percent), passing yards (No. 8 at 4,586), and completions (No. 9 at 325). Danny does not turn the ball over. His LSU 1:77 interceptions to attempts ratio ranks second in the history of the SEC for quarterbacks with at least 500 attempts. In his senior year Danny had 2 interceptions. Danny graduated with a 3.9 grade point average in mass communications. He also achieved Eagle Scout status as part of the Boy Scouts. Besides protecting the ball, Danny is also known for throwing a good deep ball and a quick release.

New York Jets
Starter: Josh McCown (Age 38)
Veterans: Teddy Bridgewater
Rookies/Second Year:

Sam Darnold (USC) – 2018 Round 1 draft pick. Darnold’s college record as a starter is 20-4. As a two year starter Sam made USC record lists as 7th in career passing yards (7,229), 1st in season passing yards (4,143) and 4th in single game passing yards (453). He was 6th in career passing touchdowns (57), 8th in single season touchdowns (31) and appeared three times on the top ten single game touchdowns scoring 5 touchdowns in three different games. Sam was 2nd in career completion percentage (64.9), 3rd in career yards/attempt (8.5) and 4th in career pass efficiency rating (153.7). His redshirt freshman season he was 9th in the FBS for completion percentage (67.2) and Passing Efficiency Rating (161.1). His 4,143 passing yards in 2017 was 5th best in the FBS. Word from Jet’s camp is that they have thrown the whole playbook at him and he has been able to handle it. Sam will start training camp third on the depth chart but one team source says Sam has a real chance to open the season. Sam turned 21 years old on June 5th. If he opens the season he would be the second youngest NFL quarterback to start going back to 1960.


AFC North
Baltimore Ravens
Starter: Joe Flacco (Age 33)
Veterans: Robert Griffin III, Josh Woodrum
Rookies/Second Year:

Lamar Jackson (Louisville) – 2018 Round 1 draft pick. It will be exciting to see Jackson play. His statistics from college are insane. As a quarterback at Louisville he not only holds the school career rushing yards record (4,132) but he also holds the career rushing average for over 100 attempts (6.3 yards). Add in the career rushing touchdowns school record (50), twice on the top ten single season rushing touchdowns and two games with four rushing touchdowns each. He is obviously a rushing dual threat quarterback. However he also holds a place on Louisville record books for passing. He is 7th in completion percentage with over 250 attempts (57), 4th in career passing yards (9,043), 4th in career passing yards/attempt for over 250 attempts (8.3 yards), 5th in career passing touchdowns (69) and 4th in career passing efficiency rating for over 50 attempts (142.9). He is twice on the top ten list of single season passing touchdowns and twice on the top ten list for single game passing touchdowns with games of 6 and 5 passing touchdowns. He won the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, AP Player of the Year (2016) and was a Unanimous All-American (2016) just to name a few. Ravens linebacker CJ Mosley says “Once he gets out of the pocket, it’s like watching a young Michael Vick…”. The Ravens are looking at getting Lamar involved this year maybe even using a two quarterback formation.

Cincinnati Bengals
Starter: Andy Dalton (Age 30)
Veterans: Matt Barkley, Jeff Driskel
Rookies/Second Year:

Logan Woodside (Toledo) – 2018 Round 7 draft pick. Logan grew up a fan of the Bengals and is quite happy to have been drafted by them. He had a prolific career at Toledo. Logan holds the school record for career passing yards (10,514), career yards/attempt (9.0), career passing touchdowns (93), career passing efficiency rating (162.9), single season passing yards (4,129), single game passing yards (505), single season passing touchdowns (45), and single game passing touchdowns (6). In 2016 he was 4th in FBS for completion percentage (69.1) and first in passing touchdowns (45). In 2016 Woodside threw at least three TD passes in every regular season game, and threw four or more in six consecutive games. His career passing efficiency (162.9) was second in the FBS in 2017 and twelfth all time. His career completion percentage (65.1) was third in the FBS in 2017. Woodside was named the 2017 MAC Offensive Player of the Year. In his three years starting at Toledo Logan went 29-9 and led the team to three bowl appearances. Logan is recognized for being an accurate passer, having a quick release and pocket mobility. At the combine he ranked in the 78th percentile in the 3-cone drill and 83rd percentile in the 20-yard shuttle. He has always played with a chip on his shoulder having been overlooked in college offers, discounted for his size (6’2″) and level of competition. Logan was one of two quarterback candidates for the 2017 Senior Class Award honoring senior student-athletes in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition.

Cleveland Browns
Starter: Tyrod Taylor (Age 28)
Veterans: Drew Stanton
Rookies/Second Year:

Brogan Roback (Eastern Michigan) – 2018 UDFA. Brogan has good arm strength and distributes the ball around well. His accuracy needs work as well as limiting turnovers. In his five years at EMU he started 35 games with a 10-25 record. In EMU records Brogan is third in career completion percentage (58%), second in passing yards (8,624), second in adjusted yards/attempt (6.3), first in passing touchdowns (57) and fourth in passing efficiency rating (123.2).

Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) – 2018 1st Round draft pick. Baker Mayfield made FBS career record lists (since 1956) for 4th in Passing Touchdowns (131), 3rd in Passing Yards/Attempt (9.8), 2nd in Pass Efficiency Rating (175.4), 11th in Pass Completion Percentage (68.5) and 7th in Passing Yards (14,607). He broke Oklahoma passing records in Completion %, Yards per Attempt and Passing efficiency Rating. In Passing Yards and Passing TDs he was second only beat by Landry Jones. He is recognized for being tough, competitive, a leader, accurate, mobile to extend plays and elite in the red zone to name a few. Tyrod Taylor is the Browns starting quarterback. The Browns have indicated that they want Taylor to start as long as possible, and Mayfield to get some time to develop. “I wasn’t brought here to just start,” Mayfield said. “I was brought here to help turn things around. Whatever my role is, that’s what I’ll do. ”

Pittsburgh Steelers
Starter: Ben Roethlisberger (Age 36)
Veterans: Landry Jones
Rookies/Second Year:

Joshua Dobbs (Tennessee) – 2017 4th Round draft pick. Dobbs is a very athletic quarterback. At the combine Dobbs ranked in the 93rd and 94th percentile for the 3-cone and the broad jump respectively. He also was 85th percentile on the forty and 70 percentile on the vertical. Those percentiles are for all quarterbacks since 1999. Dobbs finished his Tennessee career with a 23-12 record (including 3-0 in bowls) as starting quarterback, tying for the fifth-most wins by starting quarterback. Joshua had 85 career total touchdowns which was second in school history behind only Peyton Manning. For the school single season total TDs Joshua tied Manning at 39 TDs for first place. For career total offense Joshua has third place (9,298 yards), second and sixth place for single season total offense and has four games on the record list of the top ten single games total offense (all over 400 yards). Dobbs has third place in school career rushing TDs (32). He is fifth in Tennessee history for both career passing yards and passing touchdowns. Dobbs is fifth in school history for career completion percentage for over 150 attempts (61.5%). Dobbs is a dual threat quarterback, has a passion and fever for football and is driven to perfect his game. He has a quick release , good pocket poise and works through his progressions. Tennessee University presented Dobbs with the 2017 Torchbearer Award, the highest honor for an undergraduate student, which recognizes accomplishments in the community and academics. Dobbs graduated with an aerospace engineering degree and a business minor. In high school Dobbs was an exceptional high school scholar athlete with a 4.0 GPA and graduated with 13 years of perfect attendance.

Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State) – 2018 3rd Round draft pick. The winningest quarterback in Oklahoma State history. Led the Cowboys to a 32-9 record as a starter. Finished his career holding no fewer than 54 school records, including single-season and career marks for passing yards, passing touchdowns and pass efficiency … His 13,618 career passing yards ranks fourth in Big 12 history … His career mark of 324.2 passing yards per game is third in Big 12 history … Among FBS quarterbacks active in 2017, he ranked in the top three in passing yards per completion, passing yards per attempt, total passing yards, passing yards per game, total offense and total offense yards per play … OSU’s most active player in community service activities.1 Offensive coordinator, Randy Fichtner, said “Mason’s been everything we’ve asked, for sure,Throws, obviously, a nice ball. The physical things are all there. ” Ben Roethlisberger comments about Rudolph – “He’s got a big arm, He overthrew [Antonio Brown] even though AB’s not going to admit it. He seems to understand the offense, seems to not have any issues in the huddle, so I thought he did really well.”


AFC South
Houston Texans
Starter: Deshaun Watson (Age 22)
Veterans: Brandon Weeden, Joe Webb
Rookies/Second Year:

Deshaun Watson (Clemson) – 2017 Round 1 draft pick. On November 2, 2017 Deshaun Watson tore his ACL ending his rookie season. He had played in 7 games and started in 6. His rookie season Watson was second among quarterbacks (over 50 attempts) in average yards per attempt (8.3 yards), second in 1st down % (41%) and third in passing efficiency rating (103). He broke many records including tied most passing TDs in a single game by a rookie (5), most passing TDs in a calendar month by a rookie, tied most passing passing TDs by a rookie in one half (4), first player in NFL history to pass 400+ yards, 4+ TD passes, and 50+ rush yards in a single game, tied most TD passes through a quarterback’s first six career NFL games (15) and longest streak of games with 3 or more passing TDs by a rookie (4). He made PFWA 2017 All-Rookie Team. This rookie season followed an impressive college career in which he won MVP of the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship, was a two-time recipient of the Davey O’Brien Award -one of only four quarterbacks who can make that claim, and was a two-time winner of the Manning Award. At Clemson he compiled a 32-3 record as a starter, best winning percentage in school history for a quarterback. Watson is praised for his work ethic, leadership, big-game poise – having ‘it’ factor. Watson participated in the Texans OTAs and minicamp this year and practiced without a knee brace.

Indianapolis Colts
Starter: Andrew Luck (Age 28)
Veterans: Jacoby Brissett
Rookies/Second Year:

Brad Kaaya (Miami) – 2017 6th Round draft pick. A three year starter at Miami, Brad stated all games as a true freshman and went 6-7. He was named ACC Rookie of the Year and Offensive Rookie of the Year by both ASCMA and Coaches. Brad’s final record at Miami was 22-16. Brad’s standing in the Miami record book2 is third in Completion % (60.6), first in passing yards (9,968), second in yards/attempt (8.4), third in passing TDs (69) and third in passing efficiency rating (146.2). Brad is recognized for a quick release, a high football IQ and throws a good ball in a clean pocket. Scouting reports questioned his accuracy under pressure and he did not demonstrate a threat as a running quarterback in college.

Phillip Walker (Temple) – 2017 UDFA. Phillip Walker was born in Elizabeth NJ and went to Elizabeth High School. At Temple Walker is the Owls all-time leader in wins by a starting quarterback (28), passing yards, passing touchdowns, completions, attempts, total yards and total touchdowns. Phillip lead the Owls to their first conference title in 49 years (2016) and their first ever back-to-back bowl appearances in school history (2015 and 2016). Walker went 28-19 as a starter with each year improving with two Bowl games and the final year winning the conference championship. Walker was awarded a single digit jersey his senior year which are awarded to the team’s toughest players as voted on by the players. Throughout his Temple career, the 5-foot-11, 205-pound Walker has played through several injuries – a separated shoulder, an ankle that blew up like a balloon, and there were many other bumps and bruises that he accumulated as a four-year starter. Yet he started 47 consecutive games since earning the starting job midway through his freshman year. In the final game of his Temple career sometime in the 1st quarter Walker injured the right ring finger of his throwing hand. The finger had gone all the way up into his hand. It appeared to be broken. He pulled it back into place and continued playing. Walker kept competing and fighting as his team, once behind by 24 points, got to within five with under four minutes left. They wound up losing 26-34. Two months after being signed as an UDFA by the Colts in May 2017 this is what head coach Chuck Pagano had to say about Walker – “He’s an undersized guy, and you want a 6-2, 6-3 guy, but he can spin the ball,” Pagano said. “He’s a smart guy. He picked things up really well. Like I said, we sent Brian up there to work him out really late in the process. I think a Tuesday or a Wednesday before this draft started on Thursday and he came back and just fell in love with the guy. Identified him on tape, our scouts had him on tape but fell in love with him. He had great command out there of the huddle. He took charge. He picked things up really quick and made some nice throws out there.”

Jacksonville Jaguars
Starter: Blake Bortles (Age 26)
Veterans: Cody Kessler
Rookies/Second Year:

Tanner Lee (Nebraska) – 2018 Round 6 draft pick. In his college career Lee was 10-23 as a starting quarterback over three years. His first two years were at Tulane where he went 5-14. He then transferred to Nebraska and after sitting out 2016 due to NCAA rules he went 4-8 in his 2017 season. In the two years at Tulane, Tanner made 9th on Tulane record career passing yards (3,601) and 10th on career passing TDs (23). In his one season playing at Nebraska, Tanner made 3rd on single season passing yards (3,143) and appeared twice on the schools single game passing yards top ten with games of 431 and 399 yards. However Tanner had a career attempts to Interception ratio of 28.1 and a TD to Interception ratio of 1.2. Both poor ratios concerning turnovers. Even though Tanner had a poor win-loss record and issues with turnovers scouts are impressed with his strong arm.

Tennessee Titans
Starter: Marcus Mariota (Age 24)
Veterans: Blaine Gabbert
Rookies/Second Year:

Luke Falk (Washington State) – 2018 Round 6 draft pick. Luke had a record breaking career at Washington State. He is known for being an accurate passer. His completion percentage has been in the top five in the FBS each of his last three seasons. His career completion percentage is ranked 13th in the FBS since 1956. His career passing efficiency rating of 142.8 sets a Washington State record and was 12th in the PAC-12 since 1956. In addition to excellent accuracy Falk excels in intangibles such as work ethic, toughness and leadership. Luke is deadly in the red zone. He is tenth among FBS career leaders since 1956 for passing touchdowns (119), twice made the top ten in the FBS for season passing touchdowns, and set the Washington State record for passing touchdowns. Of his 119 passing touchdowns 80 came from within the red zone. Over his last three years at Washington State Falk had a completion percentage of 60.3% and a passing efficiency rating of 169.1 in the red zone.


AFC West
Denver Broncos
Starter: Case Keenum (Age 30)
Veterans: Paxton Lynch
Rookies/Second Year:

Chad Kelly (Mississippi) – 2017 Round 7 draft pick. Kelly was selected with the final pick of the 2017 draft making him Mr. Irrelevant. Chad’s uncle is Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. Chad had a bad end to his college career at Clemson with an argument with coaches, off field fights, and injury. Kelly transferred to Ole Miss where he had two good years before a torn ACL sidelined him for the final 3 games of 2016. Kelly has a quick release, makes quick decisions, has a strong arm and has been referred to a a gunslinger or “baller”. At Ole Miss Kelly has career records of second in completion percentage (64) and third in passer efficiency rating (152.3). He is third all time in passing yards and passing TDs. Kelly’s issues and injuries from college plunged his draft stock but General manager John Elway drafted Kelly based on Jim’s recommendation. Kelly redshirted his entire rookie 2017 year on injury. He was leading the rookies in this year’s rookie minicamp.

Kansas City Chiefs
Starter: Patrick Mahomes II (Age 22)
Veterans: Chad Henne, Matt McGloin
Rookies/Second Year:

Patrick Mahomes II (Texas Tech) – 2017 Round 1 draft pick. In week 17 of the 2017 season with a playoff spot secured the Chiefs started Mahomes for his debut. He helped lead the Chiefs to a victory over Denver 27-24. Mahomes is recognized for a very strong arm and can make throws with velocity and accuracy. Patrick also has a strong work ethic. In Texas Tech career records Mahomes is third in passing yards (11,252), first in adjusted yards/attempt (8.8), third in passing touchdowns (93) and fourth in passing efficiency rating (over 100 attempts) with 152. He is four times on the Texas Tech passing yards top ten records list with games of 734 (1st), 598 (5th), 586 (6th) and 540 yards (10th). His 734 yard passing game tied the FBS record. Mahomes also threw 5 touchdowns in the game loss (66-59) to Oklahoma. “Someone told me (about tying the passing record) in the locker room,” Mahomes said. “But, like I said, we didn’t win the game, so it really didn’t matter.” At the combine Mahomes scored in high all time percentile for 20 yard shuttle (93%), 3-cone drill (84%) and broad jump (73%).

Chase Litton (Marshall ) – 2018 UDFA. Chase was 20-14 in his starts at Marshall. Litton displays good arm strength, quick release and a good ability to analyze defenses. He throws well on the move and is technically sound in the pocket. Processing speed post-snap and turnovers have been raised as concerns. In Marshall records boo Litton is fourth in passing yards (8,335), passing yards/attempt (7.0), passing touchdowns (72) and passing efficiency rating (133.9).

Los Angeles Chargers
Starter: Philip Rivers (Age 36)
Veterans: Geno Smith, Cardale Jones
Rookies/Second Year:

Nic Shimonek (Texas Tech) – 2018 UDFA. Perseverance, patience, a strong work ethic, confidence, a competitive spirit and a team attitude – coupled with a strong arm and decent accuracy – those are the traits that got this one year college starter onto an NFL roster. A fifth year senior, Shimonek sat behind CJ Beathard Nic’s freshman year at Iowa, transferred to Texas Tech sitting out his 2014 season due to NCAA transfer rules, and spent two years on the depth chart behind Patrick Mahomes. For his 2016 season Nic was the backup to Mahomes and saw some limited play in four games finishing with 464 yards and six touchdowns through the air on 38-of-58 passing (65.5%) . In 2017, his first year starting, Nic played in all 13 games starting 12 and helped lead his team to the Birmingham Bowl. He finished his senior year in the Texas Tech record book as fourth in Completion Percentage (66.4), thirteenth in yards (4,445), third in adjusted yards per attempt (8.6)3, tenth in passing touchdowns (39) and third in passing efficiency rating (153.2). Shimonek reunited on the Chargers with his Texas Tech WR Dylan Cantrell. The two even played together in an All Star game in high school.

Oakland Raiders
Starter: Derek Carr (Age 27)
Veterans: Connor Cook, EJ Manuel
Rookies/Second Year: None


¹ Oklahoma State Roster (http://okstate.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=3940)
² Miami records of minimum 100 passing attempts.
³Texas Tech passing records minimum 50 attempts
(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)³

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)