Every year the statistical website, Football Outsiders, looks at quarterback prospects before the Draft. They present a formula which is tweaked annually to try and project how well quarterbacks will adapt to the NFL. This year, they really revamped it, and came up with a new name, QBASE.
I thought it was worth taking a look at what they had to say about Bryce Petty, the Jets' fourth round pick.
For a summary, they base this formula on three pieces of criteria.
1. College performance, adjusted for opposition and teammates: The strongest predictor of NFL success. To account for a changing college game, we look across three aspects of performance:
- completion percentage,
- adjusted yards per attempt,
- and team passing efficiency from Football Outsiders' S&P ratings.
The best prospects succeed across all three of these areas, so we take the minimum performance across the three areas. A quarterback who has an inflated completion percentage because of a screen-heavy offense (e.g., Brandon Weeden) will score lower in QBASE due to his lower adjusted yards per attempt.
2. College experience, adjusted for quality: Our previous measure of total games started has been replaced with a measure that counts seasons with at least 150 attempts, with adjustments to count poor seasons less than good ones. Experience counts, but successful experience counts more. This variable can capture the better quality of players who get more starts and more opportunities to improve, as well as the underappreciated idea that players who succeed in a smaller sample may not live up to that short-term success. Mark Sanchez could have gotten lucky to do so well in his one season as a starter. Four-year starter Russell Wilson? Not so much.
3. Projected draft slot: Based in large part on scouts' ratings of quarterbacks' intangibles, accuracy, and other attributes for recent years, the draft slot accounts for how scouting information predicts players' NFL success. We used mock drafts to project draft slot for this year's quarterbacks.
They offer a look at how various Draft prospects hold up against their rankings through the years. Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer, Donovan McNabb, and Russell Wilson are at the top. Trent Edwards, Ryan Tannehill, Brock Osweiler, and Josh McCown are at the bottom.
How does Petty stack up? Before we get there, I'd like to address two complaints people usually have about projections like this.
- Football Outsiders didn't put this list together with any bias against the Jets. This was published before the Draft.
- This is only a projection. Every player is different. Some players end up way better than their projection. Others end up way worse. This projection says there is over a 60% chance Jameis Winston will be a bust purely based on his on field ability. My guess is this particular one is high. These projections should be taken as a ballpark.
Bryce PettyMean Projection (Years 3-5 of career): -292 DYAROdds:Bust: 80.2%Adequate Starter: 13.7%Upper Tier: 5.2%Elite: 0.9%Petty projects to be substantially worse than replacement level, in large part because QBASE questions the opposition that he faced in 2014. Petty accumulated his college stats against the 70th-toughest slate of opposing defenses. His 6.1 percent chance of developing into an upper-tier quarterback makes Petty unworthy of a third-round selection.