Monday, April 30, 2012

NFL Draft QB Rankings

There were 11 quarterbacks drafted in this year's draft. Below DBSF ranks them based on his expected career projections for each player. (Prior to analysis it should be pointed out that what Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady have accomplished over the last few seasons, statistically at least, has been truly anomalous. As such, unless the NFL further facilitates the passing game by limiting the contact defenders can make on wide receivers or any of these QBs have a pre-30 year old Calvin Johnson on their team then the highest upside for each player should be something like a Matt Ryan, Tony Romo or mid-2000s Carson Palmer. In other words, 30 TDs, low teens interceptions and flirting with 4K yards in a season would be the best case scenario for any quarterback.)

1. Robert Griffin III -- At his peak RGIII will have about four Jake Plummer/ Donovan McNabb/ Steve McNair high-twenties TDs/ mid-teen interception career years. Add to that five to seven 500-700 yard rushing seasons and he'll just edge out Luck. A continued progression of the  Redskins' defense plus a second round running back next season and RGIII's gradual maturity at QB combined with the waning years of the current Eagles, Cowboys and Giants' teams means that RGIII's post-season success will likely far exceed that of Luck. Assuming injuries don't take a toll, the Redskins should be regular post-season contenders starting in 2014.

2. Andrew Luck -- The Colts drafted Matt Ryan. He'll throw for 28 TDs and 12 or 13 pics and might get you into a divisional playoff game. There will never be a quarterback controversy in Indianapolis but bear in mind that the talent that the Falcons' organization has surrounded Matt Ryan with still hasn't and doesn't look to bear much in the form of post-season returns. That being said, Luck will play for 15 seasons, he won't fail a piss test, and the local reporters will love him because he'll address them with respect and take their insipid questions with grace. He'll probably deliver the organization everything it could ask for outside of a Superbowl.

3. Brandon Weeden -- JP Lossman was the same pic 8 years prior. No reason to expect much different from Weeden except he'll collect greater career numbers because the organization might feel forced to play him out as this will potentially be the fourth straight early-round QB selection for the Browns not to materialize (Couch, Quinn, and McCoy to a lesser extent).

4. Nick Foles -- His stats will likely build from gaining the starting job from some bottom-quartile team by default because, surprisingly, one of the McCown boys isn't panning out. Foles will have the occasional 2 TD, 3 pic 270 yard passing game. Of course, the pics will all come in the first have and the TDs and yards will come against a second half prevent defense. Based on interviews DBSF has seen of Foles, second half successes, regardless of defensive scheming, will likely incline him to support a 'strong buy' on Nick Foles' QB stock. The rest of the NFL of course will maintain a permanent 'neutral'/ 'sell' rating on him.

5. Ryan Tannehill -- DBSF only trusts prospects described as having "tremendous upside with great tangibles but requires substantial development in the position" for kick returners and running backs--basically people who need to gain possession of the football and run in one, maybe two, directions as fast as they can. The small sample size of Tannehill's college career inhibit sound projection but DBSF expects Miami to be using its first round pick in 2015 on some current USC or Ohio State former 5-star, red-shirt freshman.

6. Brock Osweiler -- JaMarcus Russell only picked at a less detrimental point. Great arm and size, Jared Lorenzenian mobility. Consider that Osweiler threw for 33 TDs and 15 pics in college. 26 TDs and 13 pics came in his junior year. DBSF hasn't done the research but there likely aren't too many QBs that experience an increase in productivity in the NFL over the Pac-10/12 South. (Interesting side note to this pick, Elway's son, a QB for ASU quit the team in 2009, Osweiler's first season with the Sun Devils.)

7. Kirk Cousins -- For those who are buying into the Todd McShay et al hype about Cousins being the third best QB on the Shanahan family draft board also bear in mind that the same Shanahan family at one point considered John Beck to be the Mickey Mantle of the quarterback position. That's the same John Beck, of course, who looked at times in 2011 like he was being forced against his will to play QB for the Skins.

8. BJ Coleman -- Upside could be Tavaris Jackson or Seneca Wallace. He'll get in games because the two players ahead of him physically cannot receive a snap. When BJ Coleman's name appears as starting QB for your team for more than 2 games in a season, it's in an organization's best interest to strategize as to how they might achieve the optimal lottery pick.

9. People who likely will never play in the NFL but might be able to make mid-six figures for three to four years while putting in county government effort and can tell girls at clubs that they do, contrary to fact, start at quarterback for their NFL team: Russell Wilson, Ryan Lindley, and Chandler Harnish.

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