Instead of getting work done yesterday, I decided to do a quick review of Quarterbacks in all of the draft classes we’ve had. You know, because that’s normal.
So to start, I have a little formula I apply to QBs to get a general sense of how they compare to other QBs. I do this for many positions, but the Quarterback position is the easiest as there are only 3 main attributes I look at – AWR, THP, THA. That’s not to say I don’t consider other attributes, like height, speed, injury, etc. But this is the starting point. I won’t share the formula – that’s top secret stuff. But I’ve used it consistently and went back over the old draft classes and applied it to all the QBs that have come out. All told, there have been 131 Quarterbacks in our respective draft classes over the past 11 years. On average, a QB in our draft classes has a rating of 407.4. Here’s a little info about them.
So the best QB to ever come out, in terms of raw ability? That honor goes easily to Andrew Luck who was part of the first GZL class in 2011. Luck had an AWR of 75, THP of 96 and a THA of 92. That’s pretty impressive and enough for a rating of 452. What’s also interesting is that for all of the advantage Luck had going into his career, it hasn’t translated into a great deal of success. Luck has bounced around a bit, currently playing for his third team. He has only made 1 Pro Bowl in his career and has a career rating of 79.7. After 5 seasons in Kansas City and 4 more in Buffalo did he finally lead a team to the playoffs. He has a 1-2 mark in the post-season. So it’s clear that potential doesn’t necessarily lead to success.
Here’s the Top 10 QB Prospects of All-Time
2011 – Andrew Luck, 452 rating (Drafted 1.1)
2012 – Blaine Gabbert, 442.8 (1.1)
2014 – Geno Smith, 440.3 (1.1)
2015 – Kendall Irving, 440 (1.1)
2016 – Jonathan Higgins, 438.5 (1.1)
2013 – Robert Griffin III, 438.5 (1.6)
2017 – Bo Callahan, 436 (1.7)
2013 – Matt Barkley, 434.8 (1.2)
2021 – Carson Wentz, 434 (1.2)
2022 – Connor Cook, 433.8 (1.8)
Not surprisingly, all of these players were taken in the Top 10 of the draft.
For anyone still reading this far, here’s a list of the best QB classes as a whole. This takes into account all the QBs for that given year. 2015 was the best year for QBs with Irving and Tyler Bray (430), EJ Manuel (429), Tyler Wilson (427), Mike Glennon (424.8) and Ryan Nassib (424.5) serving as the class of the class. The class of 2017 was the worst collectively. That year saw 3 QBs taken in the first round – Bo Callahan, Johnny Manziel and Malik McNabb but the numbers suggest only Callahan was worthy of a first rounder. I did a detailed analysis of each QBs rating and where they were ultimately were drafted and it suggests Manziel was worth an early 2nd rounder and McNabb was best suited as a 3rd rounder (more on that later).
Class of 2015 – 413.3 overall rating
2016 – 412.1
2020 – 411.5
2013 – 410.5
2021 – 409.1
2012 – 406.6
2018 – 406.6
2019 – 405.1
2014 – 402.9
2011 – 402.8
2017 – 400.1
In case anyone is interested, as the person who put together the draft class, the Class of 2022 looks to come in slightly below average at the position with an overall rating of 405.7.
OK, so as I alluded to above, I did an exhaustive analysis to try to peg a QB’s rating to where the QB gets drafted. For example, there have been 5 QBs with a rating of over 440. All 5 of those players were drafted 1st overall. But what about a player a player with a rating not as sterling? Take for example, Derek Carr. Coming out for the draft, Carr looked good with a 64 AWR, 90 THP and 84 THA. Pretty good, but not great. His rating from these attributes was 413.5 and at the time they persuaded me to take him with the 49th pick overall. Did I get a good deal or reach? Here’s what the numbers suggest. Since 2011 there have been 13 QBs chosen with a rating from 410-414. The highest pick of these QBs was McNabb (32nd overall), the lowest was Mark Cameron (picked 145th overall). The average for this group of QBs was being picked 90th overall, or roughly the 27th pick of the 3rd round. So with this in mind my pick of Carr 49th overall seems like a reach. I’ve created a whole breakdown of player rating and relative draft position but I don’t know if sharing it here will make a lot of sense. But let me know if you’d like to see it.
With this in mind, I have a better sense of who some of the biggest reaches and values at the QB position have been over the years. I think I could create a formula to show the biggest disparity in rating and draft position, but that sounds like a lot of work, so I’ll just use my eye balls. Here’s what I’ve come up. Biggest reaches over the years have been Ryan Tannenhill, Brandon Weeden and Steve Gainey. Tannehill was selected 8th overall by the Bengals and came into the league with a 66 AWR, 93 THP and 82 THA. That’s not too shabby and it’s enough with a rating 418.8. But there have been 10 QBs with a rating of 415 to 419 and the average draft position for those players has been about 50th overall, about 2.18. Ironically, Tannehill, who is now on his 4th team, has had a much better career than Andrew Luck by some measures. Tannenhill has only made 1 Pro Bowl (his fantastic single season in Tampa) but just won a Super Bowl in Denver.
Brandon Weeden, selected by the 49ers in 2013 may be the biggest bust in history. Weeden came in with decent attributes (66 AWR, 90 THP, 84 THA) but based on history should have been taken in the late 2nd or early 3rd round. Not 7th overall. Weeden ended up passing for fewer than 5,000 yards in his career, with only 23 TDs and 30 picks.
Some of the best bargains ever were Tyler Wilson, Dana Osborne and Mark Cameron. Not that Osborne or Cameron ever amounted to much. For example, based on his attributes, Osborne should have been taken in the late 2nd, not the middle of the 4th.
For anyone who’s interested, the worst QB ever to come out was Charles Garcia, one of only 7 QBs with a rating of under 380. Garcia left college with a 48 AWR, 88 THP and 65 THA. For some reason the Bills drafted him late in the 7th round. He never played.