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How To Scout A Quarterback (Part 5): The Best of the Rest in Level of Competition

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We covered the top four last week, how did Quarterback prospects 5-11 fare against elite competition?

NCAA Football: Georgia Southern at Mississippi Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to Part Five of our “How To Scout A Quarterback” series, in which I go over the methodology and categories that actual pro NFL scouts use when grading their quarterbacks.

If you missed earlier parts of the series, you can find them here:

If you missed the earlier articles in this series, you can find the other parts below:

Part One: Parcells Rules

Part Two: Stats, Red Flags and Measurables

Part Three: Velocity and Injuries

Part Four: Level of Competition: The Top Four

The last article, which incidentally was missing Carson Wentz’s level of competition stats (totally my bad) has been updated as well.

Now, let’s get on to the second half of the top ten 2017 Quarterback Prospects, going in alphabetical order, of course:

C.J. Beathard

Division:

Big Ten

Games vs:

2 Michigan, 5 MSU, 5 Stanford, 10 Wisconsin, 20 Florida

Completions/Attempts:

71/134

Completion %:

52.9%

Yards:

739

TD's:

4

INT's:

6

TD/INT:

.6667

Avg. Yards/TD/INT per game:

147 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

W-L:

1-5

C.J. Beathard’s got a lot going for him as a potential NFL backup. He has a lot of reps and was able to manage a pro-style play-action run-heavy offense.

But did he do well against the top competition? Not really. In fact, it could be argued that as a passer Beathard struggled mightily. In their win against Michigan, Beathard only went for 8/19 and 86 yards with a TD and a pick.

The Hawkeyes were most effective when they could take the ball out of his hands. All in all, he is a senior quarterback who’s likely a Day 3 pick to be a developmental backup in the league.

Final Grade:

Red Light

Joshua Dobbs

Conference:

SEC

Games vs:

#1 Alabama, #8 Alabama, #8 Texas A&M, #12 Northwestern, #16 Mizzou, # 24 Nebraska

Completions/Attempts:

110/183

Completion %:

60%

Yards:

1,207

TD's:

2

INT's:

3

TD/INT:

-1

Average Game:

201 yards, 0 TD’s, 1 INT

W-L:

3-3

Dobbs is an interesting prospect, as he was solid and performed very well as a quarterback in the SEC, setting records and lifting Tennessee to new heights. However, when faced with the toughest defenses and in difficult games, his skills as a passer diminished rapidly, with inconsistency and he was generally subpar outside of a 398 yard performance against Texas A&M. He’s a Day 3 developmental prospect who is intriguing and smart, but will need time, investment and the ability to use his athleticism to find success in the NFL. Likely a backup option long-term.

Final Grade:

Red Light

Jerod Evans

Division:

ACC

Games vs:

3 Clemson, 17 Tennessee, 17 North Carolina, Miami, Arkansas

Completions/Attempts:

90/146

Completion %:

61.6%

Yards:

1,055

TD’s:

8

INT’s:

3

TD/INT:

2.67

Average Game:

211 yards, 1.5 TD’s, .5 INT’s

W/L:

3-2

While in an earlier statistical article I noted that the stats between Mitch Trubisky and Jerod Evans’ single year starting were incredibly similar and that they have similar skills, Trubisky is clearly ahead of Evans in the level of competition department. But don’t sleep on Evans.

He did win the majority of the games versus top competition in the one season he played including in their bowl game (which Trubisky threw 2 picks) but all in all it’s not the type of dominance you’d look for. Even so, he gets a yellow light as he didn’t wow with his totals, even if you throw out the Hurricane Game (he played well despite throwing for a small number of yards including 2 touchdowns which is why I included it, though I debated heavily).

All in all, the big difference between him and Mitch Trubisky? Evans, while not lighting the stat sheet on fire, overall played better and even won his bowl game. That IS important still to NFL scouts to see, and while it doesn’t QUITE tip the scales for me to give him a green light (just over 1 TD and 1 pick average isn’t the standout you need to show in these games) I think he’s a sleeper at the QB position.

Either way, he gets the same grade Trubisky got from me in this area.

Final Grade:

(Close to green, but) Yellow Light

Brad Kaaya

Division:

ACC

Games vs:

2 Florida State, 6 Clemson, 12 Florida State, 14 West Virginia, 17 North Carolina

Completions/Attempts:

110/191

Completion %:

57.5%

Yards:

1,548

TD’s:

11

INT’s:

4

TD/INT:

2.75

Avg. Game:

309.6 yards, 2 TD’s, 1 INT

W-L:

1-4

Kaaya is a bit of a conundrum as while he is a multiple record holder at Miami (once called “Quarterback U”) and put up gaudy stats their team never really won a lot of games. Which is unfortunate, because Kaaya is really talented and played well against some tough teams.

While he did have 3 different offensive coordinators in 3 years, so not all of the blame falls on him, he still performed at a high level overall. It takes a team to win a game, and Kaaya played well enough to pass the test despite a lack of wins. I don’t know how high his ceiling is at the next level, but I think he’ll at some point become a starter and is able to take on NFL competition.

Final Grade:

Green Light

Chad Kelly

Division:

SEC

Games vs:

1 Alabama, 2 Alabama, 4 Florida State, 12 Georgia, 15 LSU

Completions/Attempts:

102/170

Completion %:

60%

Yards:

1,637

TD’s:

14

INT’s:

3

TD/INT:

4.67

Avg. Yards/TD/INT per game:

327 yards, 2.8 TD’s, .6 INT’s

W-L:

2-3

Wow. Chad Kelly’s stats against five really good teams (including Alabama twice) really gives him maybe the highest performing output of any of the 2017 quarterbacks this year...he’s right up there with Deshaun Watson. The biggest thing with him is that he can have too many multi-interception games (see his 2017 opener against Florida State in which they were up big and he threw 3 dumb picks to let them right back in it).

Whenever it was against a tough team, Kelly stepped up to the challenge, and this might be what separates him most of the other Day 2-3 quarterbacks is that he has the physical tools and played well against top guys.

That said, his lower completion percentage and dumb decisions might limit him at the next level from taking a step to be a top QB, and it’s why he’s not a 1st rounder. Off-field?

Well...that’s a whole other Pandora’s box to open...

Final Grade:

Green Light

Nathan Peterman

Division:

ACC

Games vs:

3 Clemson, 5 Notre Dame, 21 Navy, 25 Virginia Tech North Carolina

Completions/Attempts:

74/129

Completion %:

57.3%

Yards:

1,075

TD’s:

8

INT’s:

5

TD/INT:

1.6

Avg. Yards/TD/INT per game:

215 Yards, 1.5 TD’s, 1 INT

W-L:

1-4

Peterman is an interesting prospect, with size, an NFL arm and a peculiar Pitt offense that was run heavy featuring a ton of boots, rollouts and half-field reads. Basically, they made things easier on the quarterback to a huge extent.

Not a ton stands out in Peterman’s game overall outside of managing the offense well but he had a KILLER game against #3 Clemson completing 22 of 37 passes for 308 yards and 5 TD’s without an interception, the only loss that Clemson and Deshaun Watson had in all of 2016. Watson threw the ball at least 70 times that game just to keep up with Peterman and their offense, a great mark for Peterman.

It’s indeed worth noting that the more that Peterman threw the ball, on average, the better he played. Could it mean he turns out to be more at the next level? Guess we’ll have to find out, but I have my doubts.

Final Grade:

Yellow Light

Davis Webb

Division:

Pac-12

Games vs:

4 Washington, 10 TCU, 11 Texas, 18 Utah, 16 Arizona State

Completions/Attempts:

115/193

Completion %:

59.5

Yards:

1,667

TD’s:

15

INT’s:

5

TD/INT:

Avg. Yards/TD/INT per game:

333 yards, 3 TD’s, 1 INT

W-L:

3-2

I’ve been critical of Davis Webb but one area that’s hard to criticize, especially after he moved to Cal, is how he played in most big games. Averaging 330+ yards, 3 touchdowns and a pick would put him in the other top-tier “green light” categories alongside Watson, Mahomes and Kelly for how he played.

Cal didn’t win a lot of games but he did pull off some great performances and even ended up beating Texas and Utah. There are still concerns that I have about him but from running through the statistics he looks good, and that will matter to NFL scouts.

That being said....one concern for ALL of the top spread quarterbacks is how their system affects their play. Numbers can be boosted or look better than the play indicates so while these numbers overall ARE important, it’s important to take to heart that context is what drives these statistics.

Simply looking at stats and wins can oversimplify the process. Now, with the top ten quarterbacks done let’s see our overall results for “Level of Competition:”

Green Light - Kaaya, Kelly, Mahomes, Watson, Webb

Yellow Light - Evans, Peterman, Trubisky

Red Light - Beathard, Kizer

All in all, after the top quarterbacks, Webb and Kaaya performed higher than I might have expected. Kelly’s dominance versus Alabama was something I knew going in, but the fact that he tore up the SEC (similar to Dak Prescott at Mississipi State) makes him a bit more intriguing as a Day 3 option (off-field not included).

Beathard seems to be a product of his team despite the high number of wins and success he has had at Iowa. And the ACC Trio of Evans/Peterman/Trubisky all seemed to perform well against tough teams but didn’t “dominate” how scouts would like to see.

That leads us to Deshone Kizer, who now has yet another red flag that has popped up in his evaluation despite being a top 2017 NFL prospect for many. While these signs won’t necessarily mean he will be a bust at the next level, the draft is about mitigating risk.

And whether he’s a risk that’s too big to take at this point will be up to the NFL GM’s and head coaches.

Thanks for following this series, I’ll have a total recap for each of the top 10 prospects with every part of the series combined up next week to summarize each of these points.

Make sure to sound off in the comments section!

You can follow @blakemurphy7 on Twitter.

EDIT: Story updated 4-23 with Josh Dobbs’ statistics.