Commentary

Christian Ponder tops Jake Locker

In comparing the two QBs, scouts need to forget the eye test and trust the metrics

Updated: March 31, 2011, 5:41 PM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Jake Locker and Christian PonderIcon SMIChristian Ponder hasn't generated as much buzz as Jake Locker, but he may be a better NFL QB.

One of the central lessons of the book "Moneyball" is that scouting eyes can be deceiving.

Billy Beane had every physical tool a scout could possibly want in a prospect but he didn't pan out as a successful major leaguer -- Beane's emotional makeup was such that he was not going to develop into a good hitter.

Author Michael Lewis wrote that the scouts might have been able to see this had they bothered to note that Beane's high school batting average dropped from over .500 in his junior year to just over .300 in his senior season. But scouts ignored it. In their collective mind's eye, all they saw was someone whose skills were so prodigious that he was destined to become a great major leaguer.

One might think that a "scouting eye" mindset might diminish in an era when metric studies are nearly ubiquitous, but the case of Jake Locker proves otherwise.

Locker's physical skills are phenomenal and are the main reason he is still considered a possible first-round draft prospect, even after a poor senior year. And over the long haul of his collegiate career those skills have not translated into consistently good on-field play.

There are a number of metrics to back up this assertion. Let's start with some of the basics.


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