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  1. #1
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    What I'm looking for in a franchise QB

    Taking a franchise QB prospect in the top 10 picks of the draft is a daunting task. Will you end up with the next Matt Ryan/Joe Flacco, or the next Alex Smith/Jamarcus Russell?

    There will never be a pefect formula for this, and if there were, I doubt I'd be the one to discover it, but for what its worth, here are the things I'm looking for:

    1. MPTs (Minimum Physical Traits)
    Top QBs don't all come in the same shape and size, but I do think there are a few minimum traits that, if lacked, will doom a QB to no better than mediocrity. They are: arm strength, physical bulk, and "pocket footwork."

    Arm strength refers to the ability to get the ball out and to a receiver quickly. It is a function of two factors: (1) release speed and (2) velocity. One factor can compensate for another, but the best QBs have both.

    Physical bulk, I believe, is more important than height. I'd rather have a well-built 6'1 QB, than a 6'6 string-bean. Otherwise, an injury-filled career is too big a risk.

    Finally, "pocket footwork" is, in my opinion, far more important than running ability. Give me a guy who knows how to step-up, side-step and roll out over a guy who can take off and run for first downs.

    2. Contagious Confidence
    People often mistakenly mistake brashness or vocal presence for leadership. To me, its more a question of a guy who displays confidence in his demeanor, what he says, and how he plays when the chips are down. Give me a guy who can throw 3 interceptions in the first half, shrug it off, and throw for 3 TDs in the second half.

    3. Unaided College Productivity
    Combines and workouts serve a purpose, nothing compares to productivity in game conditions. There's a caveat, though... beware of "aided" productivity. A college QB who racks up great stats in a non-pro style offense, against outmatched competition, or through "all-purpose" yardage will rarely be able to duplicate their productivity when they reach the NFL. You also have to throw out won/loss percentage, to a large extent. There are simply too many great college teams that merely carry their QB along for the ride. I'd rather have a smaller-school guy who plays in a pro-style offense and puts up great stats against teams with similar talent on the roster.

    So... how do I evaluate the top current prospects for the 2010 draft?

    Well, in terms of MPTs, I look at Locker and Clausen as the top prospects. McCoy and Bradford have some "bulk" issues that concern me, though in Bradford's case, his fragility may be overstated. In terms of footwork, I'd give McCoy the highest grade (though I'm not sure I've seen any college QB with better footwork than FSU's Christian Ponder).

    In terms of "contagious confidence," my subjective viewpoint is that McCoy and Clausen receive high marks. I need to see more of Locker to really evaluate him in this regard.

    Finally, on productivity, we'll have to wait and see. I am a bit weary Big 12 passing stats. Clausen is haveing a great statistical year against very good competition, but I'd like to see it sustained for the duration of the season. Locker is also work in progress.

    All of this may change, but right now I have Clausen and Locker neck-and-neck for my top rating, but that could definitely change between now and April.


  2. #2
    39thebeast's Avatar
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    Re: What I'm looking for in a franchise QB

    Good analysis I have to agree 100%. When it comes to those 2 guys Locker and Clausen even though I have seen all Clausen's games and only 1 of Locker's, so i may be biased.

    1. Clausen has lightning quick release great mechanics. Locker has improved leaps and bounds mechanics wise, but he is nowhere near a finished product IMO. They both are great in the pocket and keep their eyes down field even when pressured. They both have taken a fair amount of hits, and are pretty much the same size. Even when limping and hurt Clausen has been resilient, the kid tough as nails. He got hurt left the game came back and lead a TD winning drive, amazing.

    2. When it comes to your second point Jimmy Clausen has had a ton of comeback victories all year, but the most impressive to me was a loss. He was horrible in the first half against USC, the second half he lit it up and he was one reciever slipping away from winning the game.

    3. Both in Pro style offenses, but Clausen has more talent. Both don't have great lines. Washington has a better running game, Notre Dame is decent at best. Clausen has 2 great receivers, but most of the year has only been working with one. Scary what he could do with Floyd and Tate at full strength. Clausen's numbers are better 16 touchdowns and 2 ints with a passer rating of 161.1. Locker 12 tds 8 interceptions with a passer rating of 123.46. Clausen hasn't missed a start and Locker hasn't ever finished the season.

    Right now the edge IMO has to go to Clausen, but we have plenty season to go

  3. #3
    RebelYell's Avatar
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    Re: What I'm looking for in a franchise QB

    Bradford, Locker and Clausen are all 225 lbs. Bradford played 2008 at 215 but gained 10 lbs this past offseason. The coaches said it made a massive difference in his arm strength and said they wanted him to be at 230 if he played his senior year. Clausen did the exact same thing. He gained about 10 lbs this last offseason and he's a much better player on the field for it.

    I've watched Locker a few times and I've looked at his stats. To me, he looks good versus bad defenses and he struggles versus good defenses. That's not a good sign.

    For your rankings I'll sell Bradford:

    For MPT he wins in my mind. Great size, arm strength and most of all, his accuracy are amazing. His lack of interceptions is impressive. He's played against the best defenses in the nation and played well. His speed and running ability are his biggest negative but on the opposite side, he's one of the best at throwing while running.

    Confidence: I have no clue. To me, this can be difficult to determine because we don't know what these guys are like in the locker room or on the practice field. I know he hasn't been in trouble and Clausen has. I think Locker is clean. I don't know about Locker or Clausen but I know Bradford is smart on and off the field.

    Productivity: The team was supposed to go undefeated and without him they will likely lose 5 games. That tells me something about his importance. I hate to bash a kid because he plays on a great team otherwise we'd never get a USC QB. Even as a Freshman, Bradford was considered a top NFL prospect and if he had come out last year he was likely going to Detroit instead of Stafford. We'll see at the combine what the other factors prove.

    I think the biggest negatives are that:

    1) Bradford plays in the spread offense. I hate to disqualify a guy simply for that because spread offense QBs have turned into NFL studs.
    2) He doesn't line up under center ENOUGH. He does sometimes but not enough in my opinion. That will delay his progression that first year some. The counter good is that he is a pocket passer. He doesn't tuck it and run like Tebow so defenses play him accordingly. I think Tebow's running ability translates to huge passing opportunities.
    3) We don't know if he can effectively read defenses. Supposedly he can but the Oklahoma system doesn't ask QBs to do it.

    My ranking is:
    Bradford
    Clausen
    McCoy

    I like Tim Hiller from Western Michigan a lot. Maybe more than McCoy as a prospect.

    Why I dislike Locker the most. He was an unknown prior to beating USC. Barely played last year because he was injured. After USC several NFL analysts listed him as the possible #1 QB and poof - right to the top he went. Since then his play has been sub-par but his rank has stayed on top. Reminds me of Josh Freeman or Akili Smith. Great size and arm but not enough production and proof. The more I watch Locker, the less I consider him a true NFL prospect.

    Why I worry about Clausen: He appears to be goofy to me and make some poor off the field decisions. I guess it's just his maturity that has me mostly concerned. In the NFL you want not only a true talent, you want a guy who is never satisfied and doesn't get confused about what he needs to do to be great. I'm not sure about Clausen in this regard. But honestly, the guy has great physical tools and his play this year is impressive.

    Why I worry about McCoy: Footwork (same as Bradford), he's more of a runner like Tebow and I wish he'd gain some bulk (he has that ability at 6'3). Honestly, I can't find a lot wrong with the guy physically. He could very easily turn into Brees.

    JMO but Bradford, Clausen and McCoy are all going to be better than Stafford. I like Sanchez a lot long term (more than Stafford) and I think he's in the group with these three.

    LASTLY: If Locker were playing in the SEC, I think he would be exposed like Jevon Sneed. Sneed was supposed to be a top 10 draft pick until the SEC defenses showed his true ability.
    Last edited by RebelYell; -10-28-2009 at 04:01 PM.

  4. #4
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: What I'm looking for in a franchise QB

    Bradford is a tough read given the injury. If it could be presumed that he will be 100% after he rehabs, I'd agree he would score fairly high on my scale. As you noted, the biggest concern is the style of offense he plays in, which may have inflated his stats. You do make a good point, though, in noting that his backup has not produced similar results.

  5. #5
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    Re: What I'm looking for in a franchise QB

    Clausen makes some decisions that Brett Favre would shake his head at.

  6. #6
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    Re: What I'm looking for in a franchise QB

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    Clausen makes some decisions that Brett Favre would shake his head at.
    To be fair to Clausen though, he doesn't have a heck of a lot of talent playing at a high level around him. He's a gun slinger and personally, that's rather attractive at times. Out of the QBs listed, I'd have the most confidence in him going in for the last 2 minute drill with my team down 6 points. Part of Av's contagious confidence is right there in his gun slinger mentality.

  7. #7
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    Re: What I'm looking for in a franchise QB

    Quote Originally Posted by RebelYell View Post
    To be fair to Clausen though, he doesn't have a heck of a lot of talent playing at a high level around him. He's a gun slinger and personally, that's rather attractive at times. Out of the QBs listed, I'd have the most confidence in him going in for the last 2 minute drill with my team down 6 points. Part of Av's contagious confidence is right there in his gun slinger mentality.
    What? He's got a top notch WR, a top notch TE, and a good O line. He just makes some very dumb decisions

  8. #8
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    Re: What I'm looking for in a franchise QB

    Is ESPN wrong when they state he has 2 interceptions on the year?

  9. #9
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    Re: What I'm looking for in a franchise QB

    No, they aren't. That's all he has. However, he had five dropped last week.

  10. #10
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    Re: What I'm looking for in a franchise QB

    I was just looking at the Notre Dame draft prospects on offense this year.

    Tate WR - 5th-6th round prospect
    Young OT - 6th-7th round prospect
    Eric Olson OG - 5th-6th round prospect

    Top notch? not really
    Interceptions? Not really

    We'll see.

  11. #11
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: What I'm looking for in a franchise QB

    Tx,

    You are obviously a McCoy fan. How would you rate him in my three categories?

  12. #12
    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: What I'm looking for in a franchise QB

    I think he makes som e bad reads, and he tries to thread it in a few times too many. However, he has had no running game to speak of this year until last week. He really has had only one receiver reliable all year (Shipley) and he's really had a good year despite all that. You say Clausen has no one to throw to, McCoy has a Freshman and a Sophmore opposite of Shipley. I don't think any of them are worthy of the top 1 or 2 picks in the draft but if I had to choose, I'd take McCoy. He doesn't run anywhere near as much as Tebow, much to popular perception. He's a passer. He's a winner. Enough for me.

    As for your categories:

    1. He's a Drew Brees clone physically. Arm strength he's deadly 35 yards down the field and in. Which is where most passes are thrown. Could use some work on his footwork though.

    2. If you watched the opening of the Texas-Mizzou game, you would see how infectious Colt is. Going 3-1 against OU in his career, never losing a bowl game (yet) and came storming back against Texas Tech last year shows how teams play off him.

    3. I wouldn't so anxious to throw out the spread offense guys. It seems to me that teams in the NFL are doing pretty good with the spread offense (New Orleans for instance). Colt runs about as much as Brees does this year, rarely if ever.

    Actually, some have Tate and Young as high as Round 3
    Last edited by txramsfan; -10-29-2009 at 01:17 PM.

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    Re: What I'm looking for in a franchise QB

    Quote Originally Posted by RebelYell View Post
    I was just looking at the Notre Dame draft prospects on offense this year.

    Tate WR - 5th-6th round prospect
    Young OT - 6th-7th round prospect
    Eric Olson OG - 5th-6th round prospect

    Top notch? not really
    Interceptions? Not really

    We'll see.
    People are saying Tate could slip into the first round. Young has been terrible this year along with the rest of the lien, but he will probably still go in the the top 4 rounds, the rest of the lien stinks. Malcolm Floyd is a top sophmore WR, but he has been hurt all year, Rudoplh is only ok IMO.

  14. #14
    PeoriaRam's Avatar
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    Re: What I'm looking for in a franchise QB

    Quote Originally Posted by RebelYell View Post
    To be fair to Clausen though, he doesn't have a heck of a lot of talent playing at a high level around him. He's a gun slinger and personally, that's rather attractive at times. Out of the QBs listed, I'd have the most confidence in him going in for the last 2 minute drill with my team down 6 points. Part of Av's contagious confidence is right there in his gun slinger mentality.
    I wouldn't play the "no talent" card with Notre Dame. Fat hoodie typically drags in highly rated recruits annually to South Bend (which is at this point the only justification for his continued employment-end digression).

    I am also vaguely disturbed that comebacks are needed to dispatch the likes of Purdue, Washington, Boston College, and Michigan State.

    Granted, if Notre Dame beats Pitt, we'll likely see him go up against elite competition in Bowl season, so we can evaluate him then.

    Also....do you really want to combine a "gunslinger" with our receiving corps? That strikes me as a recipe for a 30% completion rate.

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    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: What I'm looking for in a franchise QB

    I'm going to see Notre Dame play Washington State tomorrow night in San Antonio. I will get to see Clausen in person. I've watched McCoy all year in person so this will help me sort of judge the two. Wazzu is 1-6.

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