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Nickel Package: Five-year QB averages

3/20/2013

We spend more time evaluating tape on quarterbacks than any other position for obvious reasons. In addition to regular tape study, we spend dozens of hours re-watching tape specifically studying quarterbacks on "pressure drops." In addition to studying the tape, which makes up a large portion of the final grade, we must take into consideration certain results from combine and pro day workouts, as well as information I get from NFL teams regarding "intangibles," medical evaluations and psychological evaluations. Once all of the information is digested, it's time to give each quarterback a final grade.

One part of my grading process is to go over the past five drafts. There's a tendency to grade players higher or bundle them closer together because you're caught up in the moment. By making sure the grades are in line with the QBs from the previous five years it helps me keep things in perspective.

This year in particular I had to bring down a handful of my quarterback grades. My guess is that I pushed everyone up a bit too high initially because of the absence of an elite tier of quarterbacks in this class. By going back and taking a look at where I've had other QBs graded in the past -- based on what I felt about their NFL potential at the time -- it gave me a much better frame of reference for slotting the 2013 group of quarterbacks.

While I was going through this process, I thought it would be good to throw some of this out on Twitter (@McShay13) on Tuesday. I put out the top 10 quarterback grades for the past five drafts. In addition to taking a beating on certain grades (i.e. Blaine Gabbert, Mark Sanchez), it sparked some interesting debate and discussion as to where this year's QBs fit in compared to the five most recent classes.

It sounded like a good idea for a Nickel Package. And here we are.

Before we get into the grades of past and present, let's take a quick look at some of the quarterback traits we evaluate throughout the process each and every year.

POSITION-SPECIFIC TRAITS

1. Mental makeup

2. Accuracy

3. Release/arm strength

4. Pocket mobility

UNIVERSAL FOOTBALL TRAITS

1. Production

2. Durability -- past, present and projected

3. Intangibles -- Football character, psychological test results, football intelligence, off-the-field behavior, work ethic

4. Measurables -- Height, weight, hand span, arm length, flexibility, 40 time, 10-yard split, jumps, shuttles

These are averages from all quarterbacks in the NFL in 2012 (as given to me by one NFL team):

Height: 6-3⅛

Weight: 223

40-yard dash: 4.80

Wonderlic score: 25

ADDITIONAL QBs

Here are the two quarterbacks who were selected in the first two rounds from 2008 to 2012 that we graded in the third round or lower.

FIRST-ROUND GRADE

Geno Smith, West Virginia

Best asset: He has a combination of competitiveness and determination to go along with above-average to good physical tools across the board.

Most concerning liability: Inconsistency, from his arm strength and accuracy on deep boundary throws to his decision-making to his occasional errors when quickly going through progressions.

Best NFL fits: Jaguars, Eagles, Raiders, Bills, Jets, Cardinals

SECOND-ROUND GRADES

Tyler Wilson, Arkansas

Best asset: Mental makeup, particularly his toughness. Also his ability to adjust his arm angle and make difficult throws accurately.

Most concerning liability: Deep ball accuracy. He also has below-average size and hand-span.

Best NFL fits: Bills, Jets, Cardinals

Matt Barkley, USC

Best asset: Short-intermediate accuracy and touch.

Most concerning liability: Combination of below-average arm strength and mobility.

Best NFL fits: Bills, Jets

Ryan Nassib, Syracuse

Best asset: Mental makeup.

Most concerning liability: Deep-ball accuracy, release.

Best NFL fits: Bills, Jets, Jaguars

Landry Jones, Oklahoma

Best asset: Arm talent.

Most concerning liability: Struggles versus pressure.

Best NFL fits: Cardinals, Browns, Raiders

THIRD-ROUND GRADES

E.J. Manuel, Florida State

Best asset: Combination of size, athleticism and arm strength.

Most concerning liability: Accuracy, decision-making skills.

Best NFL fits: Eagles, Raiders, Browns

Mike Glennon, NC State

Best asset: Arm strength.

Most concerning liability: Mental makeup, particularly competitive temperament. Allows one mistake to snowball into multiple mistakes (prime example: Tennessee game 2012).

Best NFL fits: Raiders, Browns, Cardinals