Combine Rewind: The 2017 QB Class
I’ve been taking some time to break down the 2017 quarterback class as they get ready to make their way to the NFL. There is still plenty of work to be done, but with the Combine officially over, I wanted to go over the performances of the signal callers in Indy. Let’s see if we can derive some more from what transpired.
Before diving into the analysis, there are a couple of notes I’d like to make on the information given. Age is the player’s age as of December 31, 2016. “Hand” refers to the player’s hand size in inches. “Velocity” is something I did not include last season, but something I will heavily consider in prospect evaluation; ball velocity measured in miles per hour.
When RotoDoc built his quarterback success model last season for RotoViz, ball velocity was found to be about as significant as final season AYA. The three cone drill was also found to be statistically significant, meaning those will be the two drills I focus on most, though the others certainly help paint a more complete picture of athleticism.
*Note that all ages unless otherwise noted come from the RotoViz Draft Age Database
Watson was a mixed bag at the Combine. He weighted in at 221, which quelled some concerns that he would be too small. He also had above average hand size. Watson displayed strong athleticism, running a 4.66 forty and a three cone under seven seconds, but his ball velocity was terrible.
Only six quarterbacks since 2008 have recorded a ball velocity under 50 MPH, with the MOST successful one being Mike Glennon. Watson’s overall mobility means he isn’t completely dead in the water, but I am probably lower on him now than I was before the Combine.
Trubisky may have been the biggest winner of any signal caller in Indy. Much like Watson, there were some size concerns for the UNC alum, but he measured in at 6 feet 2 inches and 222 pounds. He also looked like a far better athlete than was expected, running only one one-hundredth of a second slower than Watson in the forty (4.67) and better than him in the three cone (6.87).
Trubisky also had much better ball velocity than Watson, coming in at 55 MPH. At this point, I think he is one of the top two quarterbacks in this draft class.
We didn’t learn a ton about Kaaya, as he failed to participate in a majority of the drills. He came in a little lighter than I would like, and his ball velocity was on the lower end of the spectrum. He did, however, have above average hand size. I’d grade the Combine as a net negative for Kaaya, but it was also laden with question marks.
Kizer came in very large, weighing 233 pounds and tying for the third largest hands at the Combine. He also posted a solid ball velocity of 56 MPH. Unfortunately, Kizer was a major loser in the athleticism drills.
A 4.83 forty isn’t terrible for a player of his size, though I would have expected a faster time from someone frequently billed as a plus athlete. However, a 7.4 three cone time is terrible, and Kizer was also much less explosive than his peers in the jumps. The arrow for me has been down on Kizer for much of the off-season, and it can only get lower after this performance.
My top ranked quarterback in my Armchair Scouting Reports series did nothing to hurt his stock in Indy. I was surprised to see him weigh in at just 225 pounds, but that is certainly an acceptable weight. His 4.8 forty matches up well with the comparison I made to Dak Prescott (who ran a 4.79), someone who is mobile, but more of a goal-line threat than long-distance runner.
The former baseball player had no trouble at all flashing elite arm strength, with a ball velocity of 60 MPH. That tied a Combine record. Mahomes’ 6.88 three cone was tied for third at the Combine, and his agility score (three cone plus shuttle) ranked first at 10.96. To give an idea of just how good that is, it’s three one-hundredths of a second faster than the agility score for Le’Veon Bell back in 2013.
Davis Webb, California
Webb is the first of a list of players I plan on doing Armchair Scouting Reports on still and I’m pretty excited to get into it. He was the tallest quarterback measured at the Combine, and weighed in at a solid 229 pounds. His ball velocity was second only to Mahomes at 59 MPH. At his height and weight, Webb’s speed, agility, and explosion were all very impressive. I still have to do some diving into his numbers, but the Combine left a very strong first impression for me.
Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee
It’s a shame we didn’t get any ball velocity data on Dobbs, because the rest of his Combine profile was extremely impressive. He was the fastest and most agile quarterback in Indy, though he did it at just 216 pounds. There is still some research to do on Dobbs, but he seems like an arbitrage play on Watson right now.
Nathan Peterman, Pittsburgh
I’ve seen Peterman get some buzz as a potential second or third round prospect, but that doesn’t seem to match up with his Combine performance. He weighed in at 226 pounds with above-average sized hands, but the rest of his profile is unimpressive. Peterman failed to perform well in the three-cone drill, and his ball velocity of 53 MPH leaves a lot to be desired. It will take a strong statistical resume for me to buy him.