Draft King Analysis|
July 29, 2012
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
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Coming soon: the top 2013 NFL draft-eligible defensive college football players. But I can't let today pass without commenting on the noteworthy news that former Cal QB Kyle Boller signed with San Diego on Friday and decided to retire yesterday. Grand opening, grand closing. His 28 TD vs. 10 INT senior season with the Golden Bears (and his 6'3" 220 pound frame) helped propel him into being a first-round pick by Baltimore in 2003, but out of curiosity I looked up his completion percentage from college, where he earned the starting job during his true freshman season in 1999. As for the numbers, to take a line from the Weezer video for Buddy Holly: "Not so good, Al."
There are many reasons that Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III went in the top two spots in this past April's draft, but one of the major factors is that Luck completed 71.3% of his passes and RG3 completed 72.4% of his throws in 2011. To be sure, accuracy isn't everything; Boise State QB Kellen Moore and Northwestern QB Dan Persa lead all I-A/FBS quarterbacks in completion percentage last fall, but neither one had the frame or height or speed to even end up being drafted this past April. Moore ended up in camp with the Lions, while in May the still-unsigned Persa suffered the second torn Achilles tendon of his career. Persa could quite possibly never play the quarterback position again.
So, while accuracy isn't the sole factor in determining the quality of a quarterback prospect, it is a very important element in the modern NFL, where rule changes primarily made for safety reasons allow for more throwing over the middle (which used to leave receivers vulnerable for crushing hits that have now been banned) and overall favor quarterbacks who can throw on target on a regular basis.
You have to be accurate to be successful, but you have to also be able to take a pounding (see: Ben Roethlisberger), and having great speed doesn't hurt either. RG3's freakish speed overshadowed how fast Luck ran in workouts, but if you can throw the ball with accuracy and scramble when needed and have the size and mental/physical toughness to handle the position, you are an ideal NFL quarterback. In a related note, there's a reason why guys like that are in such high demand -- there are very few of them out there, particularly with youth to go along with it.
But, above all else, accuracy is king in the modern NFL. Interceptions and off-target passes aren't acceptable, not with such a thin margin between success and failure for most teams.