Baylor QB Bryce Petty was a Heisman snub, is an NFL Draft idiot

bryce petty baylor heisman nfl draft
Image credit to Tony Gutierrez/ AP

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
Petty, Bryce 2013 22 Baylor 100% 59.22% 9.2% 0.5% 12.6
Griffin, Robert 2011 21 Baylor 67% 69.50% 8.1% 1.6% 11.5
Kolb, Kevin 2006 22 Houston 71% 65.50% 6.8% 0.5% 10.1
Florence, Nick 2012 23 Baylor 80% 61.14% 7.3% 3.0% 9.1

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
Petty, Bryce 2013 22 Baylor 7 100% 19.1 12.6
Bradford, Sam 2008 21 Oklahoma 9 100% 4.9 10.6
Moore, Kellen 2010 21 Boise St 6 100% 5.3 10.2
Grossman, Rex 2001 21 Florida 8 100% 2.3 9.6
Wuerffel, Danny 1996 22 Florida 7 100% 2.4 9.5
Moore, Kellen 2011 22 Boise St 9 100% 3.1 9.0
Luck, Andrew 2011 22 Stanford 7 100% 3.2 8.7
Carr, Derek 2013 22 Fresno 6 100% 6.0 8.4
Leftwich, Byron 2002 22 Marshall 5 100% 3.0 8.3
Brady, Tom 1999 22 Michigan 7 100% 2.7 7.9
Pike, Tony 2009 23 Cincinnati 6 100% 3.2 7.6
Couch, Tim 1998 21 Kentucky 7 100% 2.3 7.6
Cato, Rakeem 2012 20 Marshall 7 100% 3.1 7.2
Brees, Drew 2000 21 Purdue 8 100% 2.9 7.2
Redman, Chris 1999 22 Louisville 6 100% 1.9 7.1

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
Petty, Bryce 2013 22 Baylor 100% 59.2% 9.2% 0.5% 12.6
Mettenberger, Zach 2013 22 LSU 50% 65.9% 6.1% 3.1% 9.9
Bridgewater, Teddy 2013 21 Louisville 80% 70.6% 7.4% 1.8% 9.6
Mariota, Marcus 2013 20 Oregon 83% 66.0% 6.5% 2.0% 9.2
Manziel, Johnny 2013 21 Texas A&M 67% 68.6% 8.4% 4.0% 9.1
Murray, Aaron 2013 23 Georgia 71% 64.3% 6.7% 2.9% 9.1
Bortles, Blake 2013 21 UCF 60% 69.8% 5.4% 3.4% 8.9
Boyd, Tajh 2013 23 Clemson 43% 65.5% 6.5% 3.5% 8.7
Carr, Derek 2013 22 Fresno 100% 68.3% 7.0% 1.2% 8.4
McCarron, AJ 2013 23 Alabama 57% 64.9% 7.3% 2.6% 8.3
Fales, David 2013 23 SJSU 63% 66.2% 6.5% 3.2% 8.2

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.

If you thought this article was stupid, awesome, or somewhere in between continue this conversation with me on Google+ or Twitter.

Was Jameis Winston’s 2013 Heisman Season the Best…Ever?

Image via Zennie62/Flickr
Image via Zennie62/Flickr

In a few hours Florida State QB Jameis Winston will be crowned the winner of the 2013 Heisman trophy, becoming just the second freshman (Case Keenum Johnny Manziel being the other) to earn that distinction.  While it is difficult to argue that anyone else has been more impressive in 2013, I am curious about how Winston stacks up to other 19 year old college QBs.  As you read in Tyler Wilson and the curse of the old QB, age DOES matter when evaluating college prospects, so let’s take a look at the greatest 19 year old quarterback seasons in my database.

jameis-winston

NOTE: These numbers are based on games played against bowl-eligible opponents.  Click here to read more about this methodology.

QB Year Age College Conf. % Multi-TD pass games Comp % TD:INT AY/A
Winston, Jameis 2013 19 Florida St ACC 86% 72.3% 3.7 13.0
Hundley, Brett 2012 19 UCLA PAC12 56% 65.4% 4.8 8.6
Moore, Kellen 2008 19 Boise St WAC 86% 68.0% 2.3 8.5
Mariota, Marcus 2012 19 Oregon Pac12 56% 66.2% 6.3 8.5
Kolb, Kevin 2003 19 Houston CUSA 57% 56.9% 3.3 8.3
Smith, Alex 2003 19 Utah MWC 33% 63.9% 3.5 7.8
Keeton, Chuckie 2012 19 Utah St WAC 67% 63.2% 9.0 7.7
Leak, Chris 2004 19 Florida SEC 67% 55.6% 2.5 7.3
Stafford, Matt 2007 19 Georgia SEC 63% 56.7% 1.6 7.3
Golson, Everett 2012 19 Notre Dame IND 10% 57.2% 1.4 6.7
Henne, Chad 2004 19 Michigan Big Ten 63% 59.6% 2.1 6.4

Hands down, no debating, Winston’s 2013 season was the best 19 year old QB season ever.  His Adjusted Yards per Attempt (AY/A) was 51% better than the second best player and it’s not like this list is a bunch of nobodies.  Kolb, Smith, Stafford, and Henne were round 1-2 selections.  Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley will likely continue that trend when they declare.  Impressive stuff.

Understanding that Winston is a young phenom, let’s see how he stacks up to the best passers in ACC (recent) history.

QB Year Age College Conf. % multi-TD pass games Comp % TD:INT AY/A
Winston, Jameis 2013 19 Florida St ACC 86% 72.3% 3.7 13.0
Rivers, Philip 2003 22 NC State ACC 78% 69.4% 6.3 9.5
Hamilton, Joe 1999 22 Georgia Tech ACC 71% 65.3% 2.0 9.0
Druckenmiller, Jim 1996 24 Virginia Tech ACC 67% 57.5% 3.7 8.9
Harris, Jacory 2011 21 Miami (FL) ACC 71% 63.0% 2.8 8.8
Taylor, Tyrod 2010 21 Virginia Tech ACC 56% 57.4% 3.8 8.8
Boyd, Tajh 2013 23 Clemson ACC 43% 65.5% 1.9 8.7
Yates, TJ 2008 21 UNC ACC 50% 57.5% 3.0 8.7
Vick, Michael 2000 20 Virginia Tech ACC 25% 55.5% 1.8 8.7
Weinke, Chris 2000 28 Florida St ACC 70% 57.3% 2.0 8.6
Ponder, Christian 2009 21 Florida St ACC 57% 70.2% 2.6 8.4
Wilson, Russell 2009 21 NC State ACC 57% 57.8% 3.4 8.4

Again, Jameis Winston finds himself comfortably atop a list that includes four first round picks and a handful of other strong players.

Ok, I hear you saying “but his team is so dominant blah blah blah.”  Ok, fine.  Let’s compare Winston’s performance against quarterbacks from the most dominant teams of the BCS era…

QB Year Age College Conf. % Multi-TD pass games Comp % TD:INT AY/A
Winston, Jameis 2013 19 Florida St ACC 86% 72.3% 3.7 13.0
Tebow, Tim 2008 21 Florida SEC 82% 64.2% 7.7 10.4
Young, Vince 2005 22 Texas BIG12 88% 69.0% 3.0 10.1
Leinart, Matt 2004 21 USC Pac12 86% 61.6% 7.0 10.1

Let’s remember that Leinart won the Heisman and a national championship that year, VY should have won the Heisman and DID win a national championship.  Tebow was coming off a Heisman and also won the NC.  So, even if you’re trying to discount his performance because of his team, he clearly outperformed others in that same situation.

Thus far we’ve established that Winston’s 2013 was the best 19 year old season, the best ACC season, and the best season among QBs on dominant, title-contending teams.  To the final question: Was Jameis Winston’s 2013 Heisman Season the Best…Ever?  Here’s a look at the highest graded QB seasons in my database of more than 500+ college seasons.  Of the 11 other quarterbacks on this list, seven were first round picks and nine were drafted in the first three rounds.

QB Year Age College Conf. % Multi-TD pass games Comp % TD:INT AY/A
Winston, Jameis 2013 19 Florida St ACC 86% 72.3% 3.7 13.0
Petty, Bryce 2013 22 Baylor Big12 100% 59.2% 19.1 12.6
Griffin, Robert 2011 21 Baylor BIG12 67% 69.5% 5.0 11.5
McNown, Cade 1998 21 UCLA Pac12 71% 58.6% 2.7 10.8
Bradford, Sam 2008 21 Oklahoma Big12 100% 68.3% 4.9 10.6
Smith, Akili 1998 23 Oregon Pac12 67% 53.9% 3.3 10.5
Wilson, Russell 2011 23 Wisconsin Big Ten 89% 69.9% 5.0 10.5
Smith, Alex 2004 20 Utah MWC 80% 69.6% 7.0 10.3
Tebow, Tim 2009 22 Florida SEC 40% 68.5% 5.6 10.2
Moore, Kellen 2010 21 Boise St WAC 100% 68.7% 5.3 10.2
Kolb, Kevin 2006 22 Houston CUSA 71% 65.5% 15.0 10.1
Young, Vince 2005 22 Texas BIG12 88% 69.0% 3.0 10.1

While I am far from declaring Jameis Winston to be the greatest prospect or greatest college quarterback, I think it’s fair to say that his 2013 might have been the greatest college QB season of all time.  I know that’s a bold claim, but no matter how I slice it, I can’t come to any other conclusion.

If you thought this article was stupid, awesome, or somewhere in between continue this conversation with me on Google+ or Twitter.

Marcus Football

Johnny Football Fever is taking America by storm!  By most accounts Johnny Manziel will become the first freshman to ever win this Heisman trophy this weekend over Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o and Kansas State QB Collin Klein.  But what if I told you that the soon-to-be first freshman to ever win the Heisman isn’t even the best freshman QB in America?

Huh?

Read on.

Meet Marcus Mariota.  He is the starting quarterback of the Oregon Ducks.  Like Johnny Manziel, he is also a redshirt freshman QB on a top 10 team.  Similar to Johnny, Marcus is a dual-threat QB who ran the ball about 100 times this season.  What he and Johnny don’t have in common is a plane ticket to New York City.  How is this possible?  No, seriously, how?

Ok, maybe you’re not ready to knock Johnny down a peg, so let’s look at Collin Klein.  At the very least, why is Collin Klein a  Heisman finalist?  Yes, let’s start there.  Let’s start by examining the case for Marcus Mariota over Collin Klein.

To win the Heisman, players need to play great in the biggest games.  Let’s cut straight to the chase and examine Mariota v Klein against the four toughest defenses on their respective schedules (using Phil Steele’s Pass Efficiency Defense ratings)

Avg Rank of Opponent’s Defense:

  • Mariota- 10.75   (arizona state, stanford, washington, oregon st)
  • Klein- 23   (texas, oklahoma, tcu, texas tech)

# Games with 2+ TD passes

  • Mariota- 1/4
  • Klein- 0/4

Passes/ Game

  • Mariota- 24.3
  • Klein- 19.5

Completion %

  • Mariota- 63.9 %
  • Klein- 62.8 %

Passes per TD  (lower is better)

  • Mariota- 13.86
  • Klein- 78

Passes per INT  (higher is better)

  • Mariota- 48.5
  • Klein- 39

Passer Grade in My System  (anything over 95= potentially elite prospect)

  • Mariota- 96.2
  • Klein- 86.6

Rushing

  • Mariota- 37 rushes, 349 yards (9.4 YPC)
  • Klein- 72 rushes, 296 yards  (4.1 YPC)

Total Touchdowns

  • Mariota- 9
  • Klein- 7

By pretty much every measure, Mariota wins out over Klein, either as an effective passer or an explosive runner.  I CANNOT WAIT to see Oregon face Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl.  As you’re watching that game, remember this article when you’re surprised by how excellent Mariota plays.

But what about Mariota v. Manziel?  Again, we’ll look at their four toughest games.

Avg Rank of Opponent’s Defense:

  • Manziel-  8   (Florida, Alabama, LSU, SMU)
  • Mariota- 10.75   (Arizona St, Stanford, Washington, Oregon St)

# Games with 2+ TD passes

  • Manziel- 2/4
  • Mariota- 1/4

Passes/ Game

  • Manziel- 38.3
  • Mariota- 24.3

Completion %

  • Mariota- 63.9 %
  • Manziel- 62.8 %

Passes per TD  (lower is better)

  • Mariota- 13.86
  • Manziel- 25.5

Passes per INT  (higher is better)

  • Manziel- 51
  • Mariota- 48.5

Passer Grade in My System  (anything over 95= potentially elite prospect)

  • Mariota- 96.2
  • Manziel- 83.3

Rushing

  • Mariota- 37 rushes, 349 yards (9.4 YPC)
  • Manziel- 55 rushes, 303 yards  (5.5 YPC)

Total Touchdowns

  • Mariota- 9
  • Manziel- 9

By my count, that’s a pretty even race with the underlying numbers revealing VERY similar talents.

If and when Johnny Manziel wins the Heisman this weekend, be happy for him.  I will be.  The kid came out of nowhere to have a phenomenal season.  That said, don’t be surprised if one year from now it is Marcus Mariota who hears his name called as the Heisman Trophy winner for the 2013 season.