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Image via Wikimedia Commons

Image via Wikimedia Commons

This quarterback research article is a continuation of a RotoViz piece I wrote on rookie QBs last August.

The goal of this project is simple–find what the true expectations should be for a rookie signal-caller in the NFL.

I firmly believe the famed 2012 class that featured Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson unfairly skewed how good many believe QBs should be in their debut professional seasons.

(The ironic aspect about the 2012 class is that Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden were also a part of it, so as a whole, the group of five QBs who played significantly as rookies weren’t spectacular. Many tend to only remember the sparkling premiers of Luck, RG3 and Wilson. Don’t forget–Nick Foles was a member of this class, too.)

To use a big enough sample size while remaining relevant to the present day, when I began this study, QBs needed to meet the following criteria:

  • Drafted in Rounds 1 – 3 from 2003 to 2012
  • Attempted at least 200 passes in rookie season

That’s it.

From there, I tracked the following statistics.

  • Completion percentage: Pretty straightforward. Personally, I wish PFF’s Accuracy Percentage was tracked back in early 2000s. It’s a better indicator of a signal-caller’s accuracy than completion percentage.
  • Touchdown percentage: Using TD totals would have rewarded QBs who joined pass-happy teams and hurt those who joined teams that preferred to run more, particularly in the red zone. Is TD percentage perfect? No. But I think it gives a better indication of QB efficiency.
  • Interception percentage: If you understand why I used TD percentage, you’ll understand this.
  • Sack percentage: Slightly scheme-dependent? Probably. But to me, good QBs aren’t sacked as often as the bad ones. It’s not always on the offensive lines.
  • Yards per completion: Another attempt to level the playing field.

Here’s the chart before the start of the 2013 regular season.

(Note: I inadvertently / incorrectly included Carson Palmer in the first installment of this ongoing study. Palmer sat his entire rookie season in 2003, which makes him ineligible. Don’t worry, though. The numbers without him aren’t very different.)

ROOKIE YEAR Completion % TD % INT % Sack % Yards Per Completion
Byron Leftwich 57.2 3.3 3.8 4.3 11.8
Kyle Boller 51.8 3.1 4 7.1 10.9
Ben Roethlisberger 66.4 5.8 3.7 9.2 13.4
Jason Campbell 53.1 4.8 2.9 3.3 11.8
Kyle Orton 51.6 2.4 3.5 7.5 9.8
Vince Young 51.5 3.4 3.6 6.5 12
Matt Leinart 56.8 2.9 3.2 5.3 11.9
Trent Edwards 56.1 2.6 3 4.3 10.8
Matt Ryan 61.1 3.7 2.5 3.8 13
Joe Flacco 60 3.3 2.8 7 11.6
Matthew Stafford 53.3 3.4 5.3 6 11.3
Mark Sanchez 53.8 3.3 5.5 6.7 12.5
Josh Freeman 54.5 3.4 6.2 6.5 11.7
Sam Bradford 60 3.1 2.5 5.4 9.9
Jimmy Clausen 52.5 1 3 9.9 9.9
Colt McCoy 60.8 2.7 4.1 9.4 11.7
Cam Newton 60 4.1 3.3 6.3 13.1
Blaine Gabbert 50.8 2.9 2.7 8.8 10.5
Christian Ponder 54.3 4.5 4.5 9.3 11.7
Andy Dalton 58.1 3.9 2.5 4.4 11.3
Andrew Luck 54.1 3.7 2.9 6.1 12.9
Robert Griffin III 65.6 5.1 1.3 7.1 12.4
Ryan Tannehill 58.3 2.5 2.7 6.7 11.7
Brandon Weeden 57.4 2.7 3.3 5.1 11.4
Russell Wilson 64.1 6.6 2.5 7.7 12.4
Nick Foles 60.8 2.3 1.9 7 10.6
AVERAGES 57.08 3.48 3.35 6.57 11.62

Here are the expectations for each statistical category, or the Rookie QB Expectation Model for 2013.

Completion percentage: 57.07 percent

TD percentage: 3.48 percent

INT percentage: 3.35 percent

Sack percentage: 6.56 percent

Yards per completion: 11.61

For comparison, here are the stats for the 2013 rookie QBs.

Completion % TD % INT % Sack % Yards Per Completion
EJ Manuel 58.8 3.6 2.9 8.4 11
Geno Smith 55.8 2.7 4.7 8.8 12.3
Mike Glennon 59.4 4.6 2.2 8.8 10.6

Moving forward, here’s how the chart was updated following the rookie campaigns of those three qualifying QBs in 2013–EJ Manuel, Geno Smith, and Mike Glennon.

(Note: Byron Leftwich and Kyle Boller were eliminated to keep this a 10-year QB study)

ROOKIE YEAR Completion % TD % INT % Sack % Yards Per Completion
Ben Roethlisberger 66.4 5.8 3.7 9.2 13.4
Jason Campbell 53.1 4.8 2.9 3.3 11.8
Kyle Orton 51.6 2.4 3.5 7.5 9.8
Vince Young 51.5 3.4 3.6 6.5 12
Matt Leinart 56.8 2.9 3.2 5.3 11.9
Trent Edwards 56.1 2.6 3 4.3 10.8
Matt Ryan 61.1 3.7 2.5 3.8 13
Joe Flacco 60 3.3 2.8 7 11.6
Matthew Stafford 53.3 3.4 5.3 6 11.3
Mark Sanchez 53.8 3.3 5.5 6.7 12.5
Josh Freeman 54.5 3.4 6.2 6.5 11.7
Sam Bradford 60 3.1 2.5 5.4 9.9
Jimmy Clausen 52.5 1 3 9.9 9.9
Colt McCoy 60.8 2.7 4.1 9.4 11.7
Cam Newton 60 4.1 3.3 6.3 13.1
Blaine Gabbert 50.8 2.9 2.7 8.8 10.5
Christian Ponder 54.3 4.5 4.5 9.3 11.7
Andy Dalton 58.1 3.9 2.5 4.4 11.3
Andrew Luck 54.1 3.7 2.9 6.1 12.9
Robert Griffin III 65.6 5.1 1.3 7.1 12.4
Ryan Tannehill 58.3 2.5 2.7 6.7 11.7
Brandon Weeden 57.4 2.7 3.3 5.1 11.4
Russell Wilson 64.1 6.6 2.5 7.7 12.4
Nick Foles 60.8 2.3 1.9 7 10.6
EJ Manuel 58.8 3.6 2.9 8.4 11
Geno Smith 55.8 2.7 4.7 8.8 12.3
Mike Glennon 59.4 4.6 2.2 8.8 10.6
AVERAGES 57.37 3.52 3.30 6.86 11.6

Here are the most up-to-date (post-2013 season) expectations for each statistical category:

Completion percentage: 57.37 percent

TD percentage: 3.51 percent

INT percentage: 3.30 percent

Sack percentage: 6.86 percent

Yards per completion: 11.6

Therefore, we have our Rookie QB Expectation Model for the possible qualifying rookie QBs in 2014–Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr, and Jimmy Garoppolo (or any rookie QB for that matter).

For perspective on those percentages, here are some sample seasons using the new expectation figures:

200 attempts: 114 of 200, 1,322 yards, 7 TD, 6.6 INT, 13.72 sacks

300 attempts: 172 of 300, 1,995 yards, 10.5 TD, 9.9 INT, 20.58 sacks

400 attempts: 229 of 400, 2,661 yards, 14 TD, 13.2 INT, 27.4 sacks

500 attempts: 286 of 500, 3,237 yards, 17.5 TD, 16.5 INT, 34.3 sacks

600 attempts: 334 of 600, 3,992 yards, 21 TD, 19.8 INT, 41 sacks

There’s a final piece to this study, one I hope to continue. Because I began this research project with the 2013 QB class, I want to track expectations for their second NFL season based how sophomore QBs before them performed.

This time, a QB simply needed to hit the 200-attempt plateau in his second professional regular season after meeting the rookie season criteria to be included.

Here’s the chart.

YEAR 2 Completion % TD % INT % Sack % Yards Per Completion
Ben Roethlisberger 62.7 6.3 3.4 7.9 14.2
Jason Campbell 60 2.9 2.6 4.8 10.8
Vince Young 62.3 2.4 4.5 6.1 10.7
Trent Edwards 65.5 2.9 2.7 5.8 11
Matt Ryan 58.3 4.9 3.1 4 11.1
Joe Flacco 63.1 4.2 2.4 6.7 11.5
Mark Sanchez 54.8 3.4 2.6 5.1 11.8
Josh Freeman 61.4 5.3 1.3 5.6 11.9
Sam Bradford 53.5 1.7 1.7 9.2 11.3
Colt McCoy 57.2 3 2.4 6.5 10.3
Cam Newton 57.7 3.9 2.5 6.9 13.8
Blaine Gabbert 58.3 3.2 2.2 7.3 10.3
Christian Ponder 62.1 3.7 2.5 6.2 9.8
Andy Dalton 62.3 5.1 3 8 11.2
Andrew Luck 60.2 4 1.6 5.3 11.1
Robert Griffin III 60.1 3.5 2.6 7.7 11.7
Ryan Tannehill 60.4 4.1 2.9 9 11
Brandon Weeden 52.8 3.4 3.4 9.2 12.3
Russell Wilson 63.1 6.4 2.2 9.8 13.1
Nick Foles 64 8.5 0.6 8.1 14.2
AVERAGES 59.99 4.14 2.51 6.96 11.655

Completion percentage: 59.99 percent

TD percentage: 4.14 percent

INT percentage: 2.51 percent

Sack percentage: 6.96 percent

Yards per completion: 11.65

Quite the improvement across the board, right?

Well, actually, the collective sack percentage went up, which was a little surprising, but all the other numbers in Year 2 were better than to Year 1.

That’s not surprising.

We must remember that not including the handful of signal-callers who didn’t attempt at least 200 passes in Year 2 (probably because they were bad) helped to boost the numbers here.

For perspective on these percentages, here are some sample seasons using the second year model:

200 attempts: 119 of 200, 1,386 yards, 8.2 TD, 5 INT, 13.9 sacks

300 attempts: 179 of 300, 2,096 yards, 12.4 TD, 7.53 INT, 20.8 sacks

400 attempts: 239 of 400, 2,795 yards, 16.5 TD, 10 INT, 27.8 sacks

500 attempts: 299 of 500, 3,494 yards, 20.7 TD, 12.5 INT, 34.8 sacks

600 attempts: 359 of 600, 4,193 yards, 24.8 TD, 15 INT, 41.7 sacks

Make of these numbers what you wish. I guess comparing them to actual seasons QBs have had in the corresponding year would be the most useful.

In the end, though, I simply wanted to created a fair expectation model for young QBs in today’s NFL.

Hopefully this study has done just that.

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1 comments
Cardsfan716
Cardsfan716

Take an University Level Stats class. What nonsense