Baylor QB Bryce Petty had a phenomenal 2013 season, but oddly wasn’t invited to New York for the Heisman presentation. I’m not saying he should have won, but him finishing 7th is a joke. Then, in a strange pre-bowl move, he announced that he will be back for his senior season. While I commend the young man for wanting to get an education, I wonder if this is a really bad business decision. Let me explain…
The Heisman Snub
Ok, so Jameis Winston’s Heisman season was (among) the best ever. But if your revisit the chart at the bottom of that article, you’ll see that Petty’s 2013 was WAAAY up there in my all time single-season rankings. Nonetheless, Petty was not invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony. It’s interesting to me that Petty could have similar key-game numbers as RG3, lead his team to an 11-1 record (RG3 was 9-3 regular season), but get passed over for lifetime achievement nominee AJ McCarron and Johnny Manziel (system QB?). Just for fun, let’s compare Petty’s 2013 to RG3’s 2011 to understand how otherworldly Petty was. For fun, I am including other Art Briles proteges Kevin Kolb and Nick Florence
|QB||Year||Age||College||% multi-TD pass games||Comp %||TD %||INT %||AdjY/A|
Every time Baylor took the field against a bowl-eligible opponent, Petty threw multiple TDs. His touchdown rate was the best of Briles’ pupils as was his interception rate. Granted, his completion percentage was the lowest, but it was, at worst, average. Overall, his adjusted yards per attempt was the best by a considerable amount. Yes, one yard per every attempt is a big deal.
Of all the stats in that previous chart, there’s one that really catches my attention. Can you guess it? It’s not the cohort-leading TD% or INT%, instead it’s the % multi-TD pass games. To throw multiple touchdowns in 100% of his key games is a rare feat. How rare? Only 13 other players have done it since 1995. Five of them went on to be 1st round picks. Two of them went on to be Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Others have won the Heisman or been a finalist. It’s not bad company to keep. Yet, there is Bryce Petty atop the 100% club, when sorted by AY/A.
|QB||Year||Age||College||games vs bowl eligible||% games w/ multi-TD passes||TD:INT||AY/A|
|Moore, Kellen||2010||21||Boise St||6||100%||5.3||10.2|
|Moore, Kellen||2011||22||Boise St||9||100%||3.1||9.0|
Petty’s 2013 was one of the truly unique performances of the past two decades, yet he was left out of the Heisman conversation. His decision to return for 2014 has led many to believe that he will be a Heisman front runner in 2014. While I agree with that premise, here is why it was dumb for him to return.
The NFL Draft Idiot
When it comes to NFL Quarterback prospects, age matters. As you can read in this RotoViz article, and this follow-up, players who play their final college season at Age 23 have a tougher time with the NFL transition.
If Bryce Petty entered the 2014 NFL Draft, his rookie age (as defined by the age on 12/31 of that year) would be 23.6, which is right in the middle of the pack of all QBs entering the draft for the past ~20 years.
If Bryce Petty waits to enter the 2015 NFL Draft, his rookie age would be 24.6, which would make him one of the 15 oldest QBs to get drafted since 1996. By comparison, consider that guys like Alex Smith, Matt Stafford, and Aaron Rodgers were all 22.1 or younger. That’s 2.5 years LESS of premium coaching and professional commitment that Petty would lack. In the Darwinian world of the NFL, 30 months matters a lot.
Think about it for a second. The goal of the NFL Draft is to enter it when your value is highest, as to maximize your draft pick, salary, and probability of playing. Guys who leave early tend to leave when they’re at their best. Guys who play their final college season at age 23 are usually of this variety “well, I was never good enough to leave early. I can’t stay any longer. I guess I’ll just go to the NFL Draft now.”
But the thing with Petty is that he IS good enough to go to the NFL Draft. In fact, his 2013 season grades as the BEST PASSING PERFORMANCE of any of the draft eligible QBs. Here is how he compares to a few notable names (bowl games not included):
|QB||Year||Age||College||% games w/ multi-TD passes||Comp %||td %||int %||AdjY/A|
|Manziel, Johnny||2013||21||Texas A&M||67%||68.6%||8.4%||4.0%||9.1|
In closing, Bryce Petty had an outstanding year, which I expect to continue in the Fiesta Bowl. He posted better numbers than RG3 or any other Art Briles’ quarterback, he joined the exclusive 100% club, and ultimately grades as one of the highest performers of the 2013 season. I cannot imagine that his stock will ever be higher than it is right now. Especially considering Marcus Mariota’s decision to return to school, this draft is wide open when it comes to QB. By staying in school, Bryce Petty is missing out on a chance to “sell high” on himself. It will be fun to see if/when he goes nuts against UCF if he might be temped to change his decision and declare for the draft.