Nov 29, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs quarterback Derek Carr (4) calls a play against the San Jose State Spartans in the second quarter at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Bulldogs 62-52. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
A lot will be written over the coming weeks about the four quarterbacks at the top of the draft. By the time it’s over, Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, Derek Carr and Johnny Manziel will have been taken apart and put back together, analyzed and scrutinized, broken down and built back up again, until the very sight of their names sparkling across a computer monitor will be enough to make you nauseous.
So we might as well dive right in with some big-shot Rotoworld analytics, complete with beautiful charts. This piece by Greg Peshek breaks down the four QBs in terms of accuracy, depth of targets and handling pressure, attempting to remove all offensive-system-based bias and get a clearer picture of how the four players really stack up.
This is a really useful exercise when you take into account the way certain guys benefit from playing in certain systems. For instance, a few years ago Blaine Gabbert was downgraded by a lot of people because he played in a spread offense in Missouri. The way Gabbert has worked out in the NFL – or rather, not worked out – indicates the critics of Gabbert were correct.
On the other hand, you have a guy like Cam Newton who also played in an unorthodox system, and had no problem translating his talents to the NFL. Some guys are just so talented, the system is irrelevant.
How do you know if a guy is really that good or is just the product of a system? Well that’s the question Peshek is trying to answer with his rigorous statistical breakdown. There are a lot of numbers to sift through, but one conclusion comes through pretty clearly:
Derek Carr might not be as good as people think.
Peshek’s piece comes to these conclusions about Carr:
He throws an inordinate number of his passes behind the line-of-scrimmage. He is not particularly accurate in the intermediate passing game. He is brutally inaccurate on deep balls. He doesn’t handle pressure well.
Adjusting Carr’s numbers to remove the benefit he receives playing in a screen-heavy system, Peshek concludes that Carr would lose 3.5% off his completion percentage.
The other quarterbacks have their warts too – Blake Bortles throws a lot of balls behind the line and isn’t particularly accurate throwing down the field – but Carr comes out the clear loser at least in this analysis. Teddy Bridgewater comes out glowing and Johnny Manziel actually looks pretty good too, all things considered.
It’s only one piece out of the hundreds that will be written about these quarterbacks, but it’s an interesting, pretty thorough and convincing break down. It’s not going to be enough to change your mind if you’re a Carr fan, but if you’re on the fence about him, this might push you off. If you’re anti-Carr, you now have another clip of ammo at your disposal.