How Do Jared Goff and Carson Wentz Compare to Past QB Prospects?
There’s a new edition of the RotoViz Scouting Index out, and you know what that means: updates on the 2016 quarterback class. Last time, I ranked the 2016 QB class. This time? I’ll rank 2016s top QB prospects in relation to prospects from the last couple of seasons so we can get a better idea of just how good these guys are. Let’s get to it.
First, here are the results from the latest RSI:
|QB||TIMES RANKED||AVE RK||POS SCORE||Score Rank||Change|
Not much has changed since last time, which makes sense because not much has happened. Dak Prescott got arrested for a DUI, but that didn’t change his ranking, which it shouldn’t have. That’s not a moral judgment; a DUI doesn’t materially change his odds of succeeding in the NFL. Cardale Jones passed Christian Hackenberg in the rankings. He was also recently voted the most underrated prospect in the entire draft by five members of a 25 member group of NFL personnel. Some pro days happened. Even if you generally believe that pro days do matter, they haven’t changed any of the rankings at the top of this class, so they don’t seem to matter much in this instance.
Now let’s get to the rankings. I decided to rank the three QBs projected to go in the top 40 picks (Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Paxton Lynch) in relation to the QBs drafted in the top 40 within the last four drafts, which gives us a total sample size of 15 QBs. I limited it to top 40 picks because the odds of finding a longterm starter outside of the top 40 picks don’t seem great.
I wanted to do this exercise because player comps always get really crazy around draft time. For instance, I’ve seen Carson Wentz compared to both Andrew Luck and John Elway. Those two are widely regarded to be two of the best QB prospects of all time. Phil Savage recently suggested that the Titans might want to consider trading Marcus Mariota for Wentz… despite the fact that we already know Mariota was a top two pick and that’s not a lock for Wentz. My point is, people get stir crazy and lose perspective. Hopefully even if you disagree with my rankings this will give you some additional context to work with.
In the table below you’ll find the QBs ranked and a number of stats included. Draft pick is simply what pick was used to draft them. “RAge” is their age at the end of their rookie season.1 “AY/A” is adjusted yards per attempt, a variation on yards per attempt that includes touchdowns and interceptions.2 You’ll then also find career completion percentage and final year rushing yards. Note that much like my 2016 QB rankings, these are fantasy rankings, not NFL rankings. That distinction is why I have Wentz over Goff.
|2||Robert Griffin III||2||22||11.8||67.1||699|
Mariota and Robert Griffin III had a rare combination of youth, elite passing efficiency, and demonstrated rushing ability. That’s why I thought Mariota was one of the best prospects of all time. RG3 was not far behind him in my book. None of Goff, Wentz, or Lynch profile similarly to these two.
A lot of people still aren’t sold on Blake Bortles, but I’m not sure how well-founded their reservations are. He was young, highly drafted, efficient, and had rushing ability. He ranks only behind the elite rushing QBs and Andrew Luck for me. He ranks ahead of Jameis Winston because frankly Winston’s final year efficiency was terrible, the second lowest in this cohort. He’s also the youngest in the cohort, was drafted first overall, and had an incredible 2013 season.
You then have the other two QBs from the 2014 draft, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater. Both had youth and elite passing efficiency on their side while Manziel also had great rushing production.
That brings us to the trio of 2016 prospects, but let’s skip past them for now. Of the five QBs I have ranked below them there’s only two moderate successes in Ryan Tannehill and Derek Carr. Tannehill was old and had the worst efficiency of this cohort. Carr was also fairly old and tied for the fourth worst efficiency while also having the second lowest draft position. At the bottom you have Brandon Weeden, whose status as a geriatric should have disqualified him from ever making it into this cohort. You also have Geno Smith and EJ Manuel, who got fairly short leashes from their teams before being benched.
For context, I’m projecting Wentz and Goff to be fairly high picks and for Lynch to be drafted somewhere between the mid-first round and early second round. The cohort of QBs ranked ahead of this trio have all had some level of success, with the exception of Manziel. Will these QBs look more like the QBs ranked ahead of them or more like the QBs ranked below them? Only time will tell.
Let’s move onto some individual comps. Carson Wentz looks kind of like an older Blake Bortles. Wentz was also less efficient, but I generally don’t feel very confident when comparing him to other QBs because of his small school status. Maybe he should have been more efficient given lesser defensive competition. Maybe he should have been less efficient with worse offensive talent to work with. I don’t know. It’s also worth noting that Wentz only played in seven games in 2015 and had 642 rushing yards in 2014, so there might be an argument for him as a bigger, older Manziel without the proven passing efficiency against high-level competition.
Jared Goff looks like a significantly less efficient Teddy Bridgewater, but Goff is likely to be drafted earlier. It is a little troubling to me that he is the only prospect in this cohort aside from Weeden with negative rushing yards. Even other QBs like Bridgewater, Winston, and Carr who aren’t perceived to be rushers had positive rushing yardage.
Paxton Lynch looks like a younger and more efficient version of Geno Smith and EJ Manuel. Which one ends up being a more fitting comp will probably come down to his draft position. You could make an argument for him as a younger Andrew Luck, but that comp will lose a lot of weight if Lynch isn’t a top ten pick.
Overall, this is a fine class. But its biggest strength is the depth of having three quality QB prospects. There isn’t a top-end prospect in the bunch. The best move in rookie drafts might be to target whoever ends up being cheapest, which at this point figures to be Lynch.