The 2021 Draft- We Need This One

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Another interesting and, at times, humorous, article from Seth Galina, PFF's Senior Draft Analyst, about QB vibes.


The problem with ranking this year's quarterback class is that, man, it’s all based on vibes.

When we talk about the top half of the quarterback crop — Trevor Lawrence, Mac Jones, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance — all of them played in quarterback-friendly offenses with elite talent around them to form the bully team in their respective conferences. And all five of them produced at the level we would have expected of them.

In their last seasons on campus, none of them accidentally made a habit of throwing to the other team. None of them made a habit of consistently bad ball placement on throws. None of them made a habit of escaping otherwise clean pockets. They all did the right thing on almost every snap.

This is where the vibes come in. Zach Wilson did nothing for two seasons and had a great year playing against what often looked like holograms of real football players during BYU’s fantastic one-loss season in 2020. And now, somehow, if recent reports are correct, he is higher than Trevor Lawrence on an NFL team’s draft board.

How? Because of the vibes. Wilson wears a headband, carries the ball low like some sort of cool quarterback and can scramble. If that’s the type of quarterback you like, then great. He’s your QB1. I’m not here to argue. Those are Grade A vibes.

Out in South Carolina, we have Trevor Lawrence, the tall, Sunshine-from-Remember-The-Titans-looking gunslinger who has been touted as the first pick in the draft since he was in high school. You can’t argue with those vibes, either.

Justin Fields has the “I broke my ribs and then torched Clemson on national television” vibes, and Mac Jones has “if you like disgustingly accurate pocket passers, I’m your guy” vibes.

We are going to be at each other's throats for the next two months clamoring for the guy who fits our aesthetic of what a quarterback should look like or play like because they are all so similar in other areas. One of them is the top dog in one category, and another is tops in a different category. We’re going to end up splitting hairs quite a bit here until the 2021 NFL Draft arrives. I’m not here to argue about which quarterback you vibe with the best; that’s a personal choice, and I respect it.

With all that said, my vibe all-star is Trey Lance. He can run, he can throw and he looks cool as hell doing it. North Dakota State’s star freshman of 2019 looked like an adult man playing against teenagers in the team's run to the FCS National Championship.

He fits into a lot of the same categories where the other four quarterbacks reside. He’s really a Power Five quarterback playing behind a Power Five (at least FBS) offensive line against FCS competition. The Bison are the FCS bullies, so Lance played with a great supporting cast. The receiving corps was fine, but the scheme and all the hard play action built into it gave him opportunities to hit open receivers game after game.

It was just like what Alabama did to teams, but at the FCS level. Lance is also bigger than everyone else. There are times when he looks bigger than some of the linebackers he’s playing against. It wasn’t really fair at times.

The team was better than everyone else, but Lance still stands out, and I vibe with him because of three key aspects of quarterback play that I love to see: getting through progressions, quick-game throwing and elite running ability.

Getting Through Progressions​

North Dakota State runs the college offense passing concept du jour, Y-cross, and Lance performs very well when it’s called. The concept is a full-field read where the quarterback will look to the “vertical” side first before getting his eyes back to the middle of the field for the “cross” route. And then, usually, there is another intermediate in-breaking route behind it.

It’s an “all-weather play,” as Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley would describe it. You can really get a good idea of quarterback play from just watching this concept alone. Lance is great at it and is able to work through his progressions from the vertical side to the cross to the backside.

Quick-Game Passing​

This was a surprising feature of Lance's game because quick-game passing in college football is dying. Yet, Lance is very good at it. The RPO craze apparently hasn’t hit Fargo, North Dakota, yet. In 13 games in 2019, NDSU called a play with an RPO attached only 59 times. For reference, North Carolina, the other extreme, called a play with an RPO attached 431 times in 12 games this past season. Instead of RPOs, NDSU uses quick-game passing to move the ball.

Lance is an elite quick-game thrower, posting a 94.1% adjusted completion rate in 2019, the second-highest mark in a season since 2018 among quarterbacks with at least 25 dropbacks. There aren’t a lot of sexy quick-game throws, but he flashes timing and accuracy on these concepts.

Running Ability​

This is the obvious trait, but it’s the one that is the most easily translatable at the next level. As noted, Lance was bigger than most players who were trying to defend him at FCS level, and so the tape is excellent for old-fashioned hijinks with players bouncing off him left and right.

His 10.7 yards per rush on scrambles is the eighth-highest mark in college football among quarterbacks with at least 25 scrambles since 2015. NDSU also fed him on designed quarterback runs, with the classic “inverted veer/power read” being the offense's best bet for a good gain on the ground:


power.gif


Concerns​

Obviously, the first issue is the lack of opponent strength. Yes, North Dakota State is an FCS team playing against other FCS teams, but it’s hard not to get the feeling that this is close to a Power Five program masquerading as an FCS squad. They are that dominant. The difference in team quality hasn’t had an effect on the supposed draft stock of Zach Wilson, so if that’s the case, we can’t really use it against Lance, either.

Lance does have accuracy issues, and it’s not a small affair. We charted him as throwing an accurate pass on only 47% of his throws in 2019 and 2020. That’s really bad. Lamar Jackson was the same way. They both understand how to play the position and know which person to throw the ball to, but they just can’t always get it there accurately all the time. It’s certainly a problem — but a fixable one.

Overall Vibes​

If these are the aesthetics you like, Trey Lance is your guy — and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Vibes are important, and since no one knows anything about quarterback prospects, vibes might be the only thing solid we can stand on. He checks most of the boxes we want to see from a modern quarterback: size, escapability, arm strength and decision-making.
So Runs well but has accuracy issues...hmm...
 
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chevss454

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"Nagy, a former Patriots scout who now runs the Senior Bowl, explained on Twitter the meticulous methods Bill Belichick and his staff would use to evaluate draft prospects each year.
Belichick and former Patriots personnel chief Scott Pioli, Nagy said, created a “very specific” grading scale aimed at projecting the role a given player would have in the third year of his Patriots career."

So Harry has to produce this year...
 
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"Nagy, a former Patriots scout who now runs the Senior Bowl, explained on Twitter the meticulous methods Bill Belichick and his staff would use to evaluate draft prospects each year.
Belichick and former Patriots personnel chief Scott Pioli, Nagy said, created a “very specific” grading scale aimed at projecting the role a given player would have in the third year of his Patriots career."

So Harry has to produce this year...
I always thought the scouting system was.
High Motor-Check
Injury history-Check
Team captain-Check
Rutgers-Check
Alabama-Check
Safety-Check
 
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I have a feeling the "third year" thing may now be 1st or 2nd year.
 

Hawg73

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I have a feeling the "third year" thing may now be 1st or 2nd year.
I think we'd all prefer that and I hope you're correct because I don't know if we have the depth to be that patient. I also don't know if Bill will think it
necessary to change anything based on one down year, but I hope he can draft 4 guys that can help soon. That doesn't sound like much to ask, but it'd
actually be a major improvement.

On the current roster I could suggest that Byron Cowart is a guy that they planned to bring along with the "3rd year" theory, but he had to play a lot more than they
would've preferred in year two due to injuries to Beau Allen and Adam Butler. And not bringing in anybody else that could, you know, play inside. Cowart got killed at times and
couldn't anchor nearly well enough, but didn't show any quit. He also flashed some considerable play-making potential and needs only a little more muscle and experience
and we might have something in him. He really got thrown to the wolves last year and I think he made progress, but he's got to make another sizable jump in year 3.

I'd call him a fairly typical Belichick draft pick. Blue chip prospect coming out of HS, didn't have nearly the college career predicted of him, but has some athletic traits
that are unusual in a big man. They used a 5th rounder (159) on him hoping to work on his technique and help him realize his early promise.

This year, I'm looking for a big rookie that can at least hold his ground inside and give us snaps right away. I see it as a need that is underrated with all the focus on QB
and WR and one of the major reasons why the defense went downhill last season. It shouldn't be too much to ask or require a premium investment.
 
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Pro Days that should draw the Pats' interest based on positional needs: - North Dakota State, March 12 - Alabama, March 23 - Penn State, March 25 - Boston College, March 26 - Miami, March 29 - Ohio State, March 30 - Florida, March 31
 
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summary.jpg


Consistent each year
lawrence.jpg


1 great year
wilson.jpg


Pretty darn consistent - Jr yr only played 8 games
fields.jpg


1 reasonably good year. He could be the most overrated of the QBs in this draft. Gamble on that 1 year?
lance.jpg


More Friday.
 
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For a little context, as a general rule, the completion % of college QBs drops by 8-10% for his 1st 2 years in the NFL if given the opportunity to play.
It's something NFL GMs and HCs expect will happen.
 

Big/Sky/Fly

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"Nagy, a former Patriots scout who now runs the Senior Bowl, explained on Twitter the meticulous methods Bill Belichick and his staff would use to evaluate draft prospects each year.
Belichick and former Patriots personnel chief Scott Pioli, Nagy said, created a “very specific” grading scale aimed at projecting the role a given player would have in the third year of his Patriots career."

So Harry has to produce this year...
Is he related to Duh Bears HC?
 
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