This is the 2nd installment of a monthly offseason piece I’ll be doing here at DaBearsBlog, helping fill the content void of the long offseason. Each one will be a numbers-crunching look at something Bears related in which I attempt to earn the “Data” moniker so kindly bestowed on me by the comments section regulars and, more importantly, answer a Bears question that I’ve been wondering about. If you have anything you’d like me to look into, let me know in the comments or email me at email@example.com and I’ll see what I can do.
By all accounts, it seems the Bears will be acquiring the man they hope will be their quarterback of the future this offseason. Ryan Pace was spotted scouting pretty much all of the top quarterbacks in person throughout last fall, and his end of the season press conference was centered around a discussion of what he’ll be looking for in a franchise quarterback.
With that in mind, it would be wise for any Bears fan to pay close attention to the quarterbacks at the top of the draft this year. I started doing just that back in November, when I looked at quarterbacks drafted between 2011 and 2015 and found teams looking for a starter should focus on the top of round 1 or round 2 (http://bit.ly/2lhS3t0). Luckily for the Bears that fits either of their first two picks.
Building an Ideal QB Profile
Now I want to focus on what they should be looking for with one of those picks (thanks to DBB’s Andrew Dannehy for giving me this idea). Here’s how I went about doing that:
- I looked at all 1st and 2nd round QBs drafted between 2011 and 2015 and compiled a bunch of data about their physical measurements, passing stats from their last year in college, and team success in college. The full list can be seen here: http://bit.ly/2kQ8v2L.
- I split the QBs into guys who are established starters (Newton, Luck, Mariota, Winston, Tannehill, Bridgewater, Dalton, Carr), guys who might be starters going forward (Kaepernick, Garoppolo, Bortles), and everybody else.
- I averaged the data together for each group and especially compared starters vs. everybody else (non-starters). 6 traits were identified that were significantly different.
- For each trait, I sorted the quarterbacks from best to worst and looked for a “benchmark” value, which most of the starters hit and most of the non-starters missed. This always fell such that 5 or 6 of the 8 starters were above the benchmark; there was typically a significant dropoff after this point such that this was a logical cutoff.
Based on this, here’s the ideal profile I found to look for in a highly drafted QB coming out of college:
- He should win at least 77% of his college starts (6/8 starters hit, 3/9 nonstarters)
- He should win a conference title (6/8 starters hit, 4/9 nonstarters)
- His final college season should feature at least 8.7 yards per passing attempt (5/8 starters hit, 3/9 nonstarters)
- His final college season should feature a touchdown on at least 7.3% of his throws (6/8 starters hit, 3/9 nonstarters)
- His final college season should feature a TD/INT ratio of at least 3.7:1 (6/8 starters hit, 2/9 nonstarters)
- His final college season should feature a college passer rating of at least 166 (5/8 starters hit, 2/9 nonstarters)
There didn’t seem to be any difference in the physical profiles of the QBs based on their height, weight, or hand size at the Combine. The important part of the Combine for QBs is their interviews, but we don’t get that data. Ignore the measurables; they are basically irrelevant for QBs.