All of this pre-draft discussion about Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Lamar Jackson, and Baker Mayfield and I can't put my thumb around why the truly most important traits for a FQB to succeed at the next level continue to get swept under the rug.
Look around the NFL in the last 15 years and you'll see a few things in common with the majority of successful QBs.
1. The ability to process the defense both before and after the snap.
2. The ability to make checks at the LOS (both in offensive line protection and to the play)
3. The ability to throw with anticipation to put WRs in position to create YAC (also known as "seeing the field")
From what I've watched and read, it seems to me like there is a clear-cut 3 QBs who stand out above the rest in these areas of their game. There is 1 QB I think stands out above those other two.
Then, there is one QB who is below the three, but also adds an interesting dynamic with his feet.
Then, there is one QB who is below the three AND below the fourth (if you actually do the research, watch the tape, and listen to former NFL QBs), but he is potentially being talked about as the best of all 5?
Can someone help explain to me why those three traits above aren't talked about enough and leaned on enough?
1. Josh Rosen
2. Sam Darnold (sees the middle of the field especially well)
3. Baker Mayfield
4. Lamar Jackson
5. Josh Allen
However, I am just ranking these five here. I do not think Allen is the No. 5 QB in this class.
Do it for me. Don't see that at all in Rosen or Darnold. Allen might quietly have it being rejected and carried off the premises using his head as a battering ram to open the door by every major program. Mayfield is supposedly Favre-esque but he's so smol!
but I recognize that my opinion is really uninformed. From what I know, he seems to have great upside and needs a year or two of training which fits our situation perfectly.
There are certain traits that teams think are coaching, whereas physical attributes aren't. For example....
You can't teach size. You can't teach arm strength. You can't teach speed and quickness.
You can teach reading defenses. You can teach footwork.
When someone has all of the physical attributes that teams want in a QB, the upside is higher(if they can learn the other stuff).
4. The clear adult in the room - maturity (e.g. Eli, Elway)
5. Absolutely can't stand losing; an ability to kick it up a notch in the final minutes with a good track record of pulling games out of the fire.
As an example of both, as a Clemson fan, I "knew" Watson would succeed in the pros, he had those last two, as well as #s 1 & 2. It was #3 (throwing in anticipation) that got him the rap of inaccuracy.
(But I'd coach that if I had Mike Williams et al at WR to grab 50 - 50 balls and Venables' defense to get the ball back quickly.)
That's why Rosen and Mayfield are at the top of my qb list, with Darnold next and Allen a distant fourth. For example, I love the way Rosen leads his receivers so they can catch the ball in stride and make more yards after the catch.
And items like "does he love the game" or "does he hate to lose" or "look at his behavior" can be very subjective things that lead to extended content.
There's also a propensity for the league in general to fall in love with measurables. For a sport that loves to lean on cliches like "stats are for losers" and had to be dragged by the neck to embrace any new methods of analytics, there's nothing the league loves more than the orgy of metrics and numbers that is the combine. Regardless of how many times it's led to spectacular flops, teams are always chasing the QB that looks like Josh Allen or Brock Osweiler, because the things they're weakest at can allegedly be coached up.
Sometimes it can work, other times you get a guy with all the measurables and none of the coaching takes root.
is a biggie for me. I like how both Darnold and Rosen have fought to bring their respective teams back in games. Both have shown they don't like to lose and will do whatever it takes. You have to look a little closer at Rosen to see what burns in him.
for an entire season. Your worst nightmare is a QB who will force you to play his back up more than he plays. Big factor in the long hard season that is the NFL, when you are the prime target of defenses every game
has to have the makings of a varsity athlete
To avoid the sack and the big hut. Distinct from mobility more generally. Romo was far more mobile than Eli, but he got hit a lot harder even in the pocket, and often with better lines.
At least with regards to the top traits needed to succeed.
The problem is, in today's college game there is no way to evaluate those skills.
Neither the offenses nor the defenses are anywhere near what is played in the NFL.
In college the game is predicated on getting to the next play as fast as possible to prevent substitutions and changing the defensive scheme. The QBs one or 2 reads max. The disparity in talent between players on the field is much greater in college than in the Pros. So Offenses move fast, look for a favorable matchup, and attack it.
In the NFL defenses are bigger and faster. The weak links are relatively speaking not as weak as college. Coaches are much more effective at scheming around the weak links. The offense and defense are far more sophisticated. THe windows that a player has to work with (I.E. the anticipation you mention) is much smaller.
Its unfortunate, but the only way to evaluate if a player has the ability to succeed in the pro environment is to throw them out there in the pro environment. College football just doesn't translate well for QBs.
because of behavior or being injury prone. Rosen is #2 in spades.