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What I'm looking for in a franchise QB

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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
    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

    Comment


    • #3
      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, 02:01 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        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.

        Comment


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

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

          Comment


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

            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.

            Comment


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

              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

              Comment


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

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

                Comment


                • #9
                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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, 11:17 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: What I'm looking for in a franchise QB

                          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.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: What I'm looking for in a franchise QB

                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              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.

                              Comment

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                              • eldfan
                                Considering Clausen for the Rams next QB
                                by eldfan
                                Considering Clausen for the Rams next QB
                                by VanRam on Nov 24, 2009 3:58 PM CST in 2010 NFL Draft 35 comments

                                Ok, with Bulger's tibia fracture barely days old and the (likely) end of his career with the St. Louis Rams, it's time to start talking QB of the future. Not that we haven't been talking about that since the last draft, but such chatter earned a new lease on life with Bulger's injury.

                                Carneros got it started yesterday with this post, and I'm going to feed the fire some more today. First, a quick review of the Rams QB options moving forward. Boil it down to the essence, and the Rams have three options at QB for 2010: 1) sign a free agent (personally, I like Jason Campbell if they go this route), 2) draft a QB or 3) keep one of the in-house options, Bulger (if he can return) or Boller. Note that 2 and 3 are not mutually exclusive.

                                And now, I submit for your consideration Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen.

                                With Sam Bradford on the mend, Clausen is racing to the top of draft boards, at least among QBs. I think he'll be the first QB taken in the draft. I guess we'll have to see how much fan damage he incurred on a punch to the face this weekend. Will the Rams take him? Should the Rams take him?

                                Why Clausen?

                                Let's start with the stats, more specifically, the stats that can tell us something about success at the next level. According to the Lewin Career Forecast, the two most important things to look at when trying to gauge NFL success are a QBs career starts and completion percentage.

                                Clausen's a junior this year. He took over starting duties early in his freshman year, true freshman year, and ended up starting in nine games, and started every game in two seasons since then. For his college career, he has a 62.2 percent completion rate, a stunning 67.3 percent this season.

                                His TD to INT ratio of 23-4 speaks to his accuracy as a QB.

                                One thing I like about him is his ability to find receivers and create plays where others cannot. That's something the Rams have really been missing. Yes, St. Louis lacks the established talent at WR, but after watching this season of west coast offense move forward in fits and starts, it would be wise to have a QB that could find receivers or even go through the reads.

                                I'm not qualified to judge much about college players, especially the "intangibles". Talk of Clausen's acumen for the game, ability to read defenses and assuredness resonate for a long suffering fan of this team. Here are a couple of scouting reports from FFToolbox and Walter Football.

                                As a junior, there's still no gaurantee that Clausen will declare for the draft this year. I'd be pretty shocked if he didn't given the fact that his stock is skyrocketing. In fact, with Bradford unlikely to be ready for the Combine, I wonder if Clausen does separate himself from the rest of the...
                                -11-25-2009, 09:31 AM
                              • npow81
                                If Clausen Didn't Play for Notre Dame...
                                by npow81
                                I don't think he would be regarded as a first round talent.

                                I think its remarkable how much different people view qbs depending on who they play for. Which is relevant only to the level of competition they play against and who they actually play for (and NDs schedule really isn't anything to shout about aside from SC and maybe BC)

                                I think this is especially true for ND, considering they are on TV virtually every week.

                                While I think Clausen has talent, I think his issues (pocket presence, delivery, lack of winning, etc.) should raise some questions enough that he shouldn't be in the first round.

                                Frankly I don't regard him as anymore than a second rounder (which gauging by some of yours love for him I sure you will disagree)

                                I guess you can put it this way, if Tony Pike or Dan Lefevour played for ND would they be regarded as first rounders?

                                In my mind they are near the same level, so the stark contrast in perceived value makes me wonder...is this the case

                                (If you don't think so, what are the qualities in Clausen that differeniate him...because I don't see it.)
                                -02-17-2010, 09:57 PM
                              • AvengerRam_old
                                Which Pros Do The QB Prospects Remind You Of?
                                by AvengerRam_old
                                Which recent NFL QBs do the top prospects remind you of?

                                Here's my list (and, keep in mind, these are the Pros I think they could resemble. There is no guarantee that any of them will be as good as the players I'm comparing them to).

                                Sam Bradford -- Kurt Warner
                                Like Warner, Bradford has good, but not elite, size and good, but not elite, arm strength. For both QBs, the biggest assets are quick release, accuracy and field vision. They are also both rhythm passers who can get on a roll and take apart a defense.

                                Jimmy Clausen -- Drew Brees
                                I am convinced that Clausen, like Brees, is not much taller than 6'0. They both like to sling the ball and have great confidence in their arms, though neither has a true gun. Clausen has to work on his precision to be as productive as Brees, but Brees took a few years to develop in the NFL too.

                                Colt McCoy -- Jeff Garcia
                                McCoy uses his tools very well and is dangerous with his feet. He doesn't always look pretty, but he makes plays. Like Garcia, he's a good fit for a West Coast offense.

                                Tony Pike -- Eli Manning
                                Pike does not have Manning's arm strength, but he does have his pocket presence. Both are tall and a bit lanky. They also are both very streaky. When they look good, they look very good. When they look bad, they look very bad.

                                Ryan Mallett -- Ben Roethlisberger
                                This is somewhat of a generous comparison, as Mallett is nowhere near as accurate as Big Ben. That said, they are both big, strong QBs who can stand in the pocket and withstand a pass rush, and they both have very strong arms. For Mallet to have the kind of initial success that Big Ben had, he probably needs another year in college.

                                Tim Tebow -- Vince Young
                                Like Young, Tebow is everything you don't look for in a passer. Odd throwing motion, slow release, and only average accuracy. Both players rely on athletic ability to keep defenses off balance. Tebow does not have Young's arm strength, but he seems to be a more stable personality.
                                -01-04-2010, 07:13 AM
                              • r8rh8rmike
                                St. Louis Rams Get A Look At Jimmy Clausen
                                by r8rh8rmike
                                St. Louis Rams get a look at Jimmy Clausen
                                BY BILL COATS
                                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                                04/10/2010

                                The Rams' pre-draft audition of quarterback prospects continued and apparently ended Friday with Jimmy Clausen's pro day at Notre Dame's indoor practice facility in South Bend, Ind. General manager Billy Devaney came away impressed with Clausen, who completed 57 of 59 passes during the 30-minute workout.

                                "Clausen looked outstanding," Devaney said. "He threw the ball with velocity, he was extremely accurate, he made all the throws. He's a natural passer; he showed that."

                                Clausen, who had been recovering from surgery to repair torn tendons in his right big toe, hadn't performed for NFL talent scouts until Friday. Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo also was in attendance, as was offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and quarterbacks coach Dick Curl.

                                "I was just excited to be able to come out and throw the ball around," Clausen said. "I got a little tired while I was out there, but I think it went really well. It was good to be able to throw with my legs and not just my arm."

                                Previously, the Rams attended Sam Bradford's pro day March 29 at Oklahoma and worked out Texas' Colt McCoy privately on Thursday in Austin. Devaney had strong praise for their showings, too.

                                Coming off a 1-15 season, the Rams have the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, which will kick off with first-round selections April 22 in New York. The second and third rounds will be held April 23, with the final four rounds to be completed April 24.

                                It's been widely speculated that the Rams will select a quarterback, and Bradford appears to be a strong front-runner.

                                The release of Marc Bulger, the team's starting quarterback for most of the past eight seasons, further fueled conjecture that the Rams will opt for a quarterback in the first round.

                                Devaney emphasized that no decision has been reached yet, although he said "we're done" looking at quarterbacks. He declined to compare the three prospects.

                                "The evaluation process now will continue next week when we get together with the scouts and coaches," Devaney added. "We'll get everybody's input and see where we are at that point."
                                -04-10-2010, 07:22 PM
                              • shower beers
                                Jimmy Clausen the best NFL-ready junior quarterback in league history
                                by shower beers
                                ***DISCLAIMER: The following article is an article independent of shower_beers. The opinions expressed in this article are of another party, and in no way endorses this opinion as his own ***


                                Here's something juicy to hold everyone over until draft time.


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                                Posted Dec. 29, 2009

                                Junior Quarterbacks - Jimmy Clausen

                                I bet you never thought in the past month that Notre Dame junior quarterback Jimmy Clausen is one of the most underappreciated quarterback prospects in the history of the NFL Draft. But after reading this blog entry, you just might change your mind.

                                First, I am going to tell you why you might not like Clausen, and let's be real here, there is a lot of bias against him. Some criticism is warranted, but a lot isn't.

                                Notre Dame is the most hated football program in America, period. They are the Duke of the gridiron. Automatically, you hate Clausen because he went to Notre Dame, just like you hated J.J. Reddick because he went to Duke. If you want to make an analysis as objective and professional as possible, then you need to cut the crap and get over the Notre Dame hate if you have it - and a lot of that is out there. Think about it: if you put Sanchez on Notre Dame and Jimmy Clausen at USC, then Sanchez is the hated prospect and Clausen is the beloved underclassman.

                                Maybe you don't like Clausen because of the blond, spiky hair, or the limo appearance he had when he was a senior in high school to declare for Notre Dame. These aren't "low profile" characteristics and automatically, you might have disliked him.

                                For whatever reasons you're down on Clausen, please put them in the back seat and have an open mind when reading this blog entry.

                                Clausen just amassed one of the most impressive junior seasons among pro-style quarterbacks in the past 10-20 years.

                                Let's remember that Clausen had a very bad offensive line this year for Notre Dame. Sure, he had good weapons, but the running game was poor and receivers Michael Floyd and Kyle Rudolph missed significant action (eight games missed total between them).

                                When Floyd went out, Clausen stepped up. With a bum turf toe, he didn't play at all in the second half and led the team to a game-winning drive to beat Purdue. The following week, he posted 422 passing yards against Washington. Over the next three games (USC, Boston College, Washinton State), Clausen threw for 774 yards, six touchdowns and zero interceptions....
                                -03-08-2010, 09:19 AM
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