The tale of six college quarterbacks
The glittering genius of the Cold, Hard Football Facts is that we admire only numbers and productivity.
We put little stock in a player's pedigree. And we put even less stock in the "pundits" and their outdated weapon of choice, the opinion.
So it is today that we dive into one of the biggest stories of the 2010 NFL Draft by looking at the college productivity of six legendary quarterbacks here in the modern pass-happy era.
The numbers aren't even close. One player dominates. One player leaps screaming off the list. That dominant individual, of course, is Player F. This quarterback:
• Was the most accurate of any of these six passers.
• Dominated the average per attempt category -- our favorite number -- by better than 1 yard per attempt over the No. 2 player on the list.
• Boasts a passer rating so sky high it defies description, nearly 20 full points better than the No. 2 player on the list.
Elsewhere, Player F was No. 2 in total TD passes -- but easily No. 1 in TD pass percentage. Player F threw a TD on 8.9 percent of his pass attempts -- easily outpacing Player A, who threw a touchdown on 6.6 percent of his pass attempts.
Finally, Player F protected the ball much better than any of the other quarterbacks on this list. Player F threw an interception on just 1.52 percent of attempts -- easily outpacing Player C, who threw an interception on 2.60 percent of attempts. And you know what we've always told you: quarterbacks who throw picks lose games. Quarterbacks who don't throw picks win games.
Dying to know who they are, aren't ya? Well, the numbers represent the college career stats of six of the greatest quarterbacks in the modern history of the SEC. Here goes:
• Player A is
• Player B is
• Player C is
• Player D is
• Player E is
• And, finally, Player F is
The list tells us many things.
First, it tells us the SEC has dominated the draft in recent years, as you probably already knew. But five guys at the most important position on the field taken No. 1 overall in a 12-year stretch is a remarkable accomplishment, even by the lofty standards of the dominant conference in college football.
Second, it tells us that NFL talent evaluators are out of their freaking minds.
Tebow, as you know, is the biggest question mark in the 2010 draft among the pigskin punditistas. He's the highest rated passer in the history of SEC football. He was easily a better passer than Peyton Manning or Stafford or Couch or any of the guys whose ability to pass was never really questioned by NFL talent analysts.
And yet NFL evaluators, for some reason, aren't sold on Tebow. Couch and Russell are two bona fide NFL busts, even though pro football talent evaluators couldn't usher them into the league fast enough. Yet these same talent evaluators harbor grave doubts about the ability of the greatest and most efficient passer in SEC history to pass the ball at the next level.
Other executives seem obsessed by the trivia over Tebow's mechanics, while overlooking the rather irrefutable fact that he dominated college football like no player in memory and despite the fact that he was, by any objective measure, a much better passer than Couch, Russell, Stafford, and either of the Manning brothers.
Tebow didn't just pass the ball far more effectively than any of these No. 1 overall picks. It pays to remember that, in his spare time, he set the SEC career record for rushing touchdowns. And he won a Heisman Trophy. And two national titles. Other than that, he didn't do much.
The anti-Tebow crowd will argue, weakly, that he was surrounded by greater talent than those other passers. The anti-Tebow crowd, of course, is confused.
Let's look at Peyton Manning. Last we remember, he played with not one, not two, but three receivers taken in the top two rounds of the draft:
JaMarcus Russell played with arguably the most talented teams of the past decade. They won national titles in 2003 and 2007 and he watched as 34 of his LSU teammates were grabbed in the NFL draft.
Stafford? Well, Georgia is a prolific pipeline of NFL talent. Stafford was one of three starting offensive players from the 2008 Bulldogs taken in the first 50 picks of the 2009 draft (
Ole Miss is hardly the SEC's best hotbed of talent. But almost the entire offensive line that protected Eli Manning was good enough to earn a shot in the NFL, including not one but two of his centers:
Couch? Sure, he didn't have much around him. In fact, he's one of just three first-round draft picks to come out of Kentucky in the last 25 years. But in any case, his passing numbers pale in comparison to those produced by Tebow.
The anti-Tebow crowd could also throw out the old
Tebow was, by any measure, a better player, a better quarterback and, yes, a better passer than any of these No. 1 picks.
We understand that college success does not translate to NFL success. The long history of Heisman winners turned NFL busts underscores that argument.
However, in the gamble that is the NFL draft, we'll roll the dice on the proven and unmatched passing talent of Tebow rather than on the sorry track record of pro football talent evaluators.