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Is Matt Barkley the most clutch QB in the 2013 NFL Draft?


Image via Neon Tommy/Flickr
Image via Neon Tommy/Flickr

Thanks to this new RotoViz tool, we can now filter quarterback stats by scenario.  In my clutch receiver article, I examined how receivers performed in obvious passing downs.  We want to see if, when everyone in the stadium knows they’re going to pass, a player can elevate his game.  In this article, we’ll examine the other side of the coin; how quarterbacks fair in obvious passing downs.  For this exercise, we’ll look at 3rd and 4th down plays with 5+ yards to go.  For the sake of continuity, this pool of quarterbacks mirrors the group evaluated in my quarterback readiness article.

Landry Jones Oklahoma 103 58.3% 880 1 1.0% 13 12.6% 10.6
Matt Barkley USC 70 62.9% 623 2 2.9% 7 10.0% 9.6
Ryan Nassib Syracuse 93 53.8% 789 1 1.1% 5 5.4% 9.1
EJ Manuel Florida State 65 52.3% 642 4 6.2% 6 9.2% 9
Ryan Griffin Tulane 81 49.4% 566 1 1.2% 3 3.7% 7.2
Mike Glennon NC State 126 56.3% 1014 6 4.8% 6 4.8% 6.9
Matt Scott Arizona 96 49.0% 734 5 5.2% 7 7.3% 6.8
Geno Smith West Virginia 79 55.7% 476 1 1.3% 5 6.3% 6.7
Tyler Wilson Arkansas 76 55.3% 532 2 2.6% 3 3.9% 6.6
Jordan Rodgers Vanderbilt 84 51.2% 518 1 1.2% 3 3.6% 6.3
Zac Dysert Miami (Ohio) 83 47.0% 676 6 7.2% 4 4.8% 5.9
Tyler Bray Tennessee 95 51.6% 628 5 5.3% 3 3.2% 4.9
Sean Renfree Duke 98 57.1% 618 5 5.1% 4 4.1% 4.8
Jeff Tuel Wash. State 59 47.5% 426 5 8.5% 1 1.7% 3.7

(NOTE: defense quality >20)

This chart backs up Landry Jones’ #2 rank on my Quarterback Readiness scale.  In these critical situations he shows an ability to make the correct adjustments and deliver the ball where it needs to go.  Recently Jon Gruden hypothesized that Landry Jones got “bored” over the past two seasons at Oklahoma, so it’s interesting to see that he has an extra gear, even if it wasn’t always on display.  Then again, it should be no surprise how prepared he is for these situations given his status as an “old” QB prospect.

OK, so Matt Barkley wasn’t the top performer in this category, but he was close.  As a four year starter at USC, one would expect that he knows what to do in the big spots.  Among the QBs that I think have the best shot to make it in the NFL, he ranked highest.  That said, he seems to be a polarizing prospect.  Is he another USC hot shot who will fizzle out?  Or, as Matthew Freedman recently explored, is Barkley an undervalued asset?

I’ve been skeptical on Ryan Nassib before, but as I evaluate him in different scenarios, he continues to come up strong.  Until further notice, I still think his upside is no better than Christian Ponder or Jake Locker, but my outlook is becoming more cheery.

I love E.J. Manuel as an upside play.  If he gets the opportunity to sit for a season (like Kaepernick) I think he could end up being the best QB in this class.  I worry about him being counted on from day 1, but unlike other QBs in this draft, I think he hasn’t come close to his ceiling.

After Manuel there is a clear drop off.  I’m really interested in Ryan Griffin from Tulane but it’s been difficult to find highlights on him.  I’ve reached two possibilities on why it seems like nobody gives a damn about hit:  1) He isn’t any good.  2) People are too lazy to care about a QB from a losing program in Conference USA.  Take your pick.  Either way, he’ll be a name to track closely on day 3.

I’m not sure what to make of Geno Smith being so average in this metric.  Yes, it’s just one piece of the puzzle, but a demonstrated ability to move the chains on third down would probably be a nice quality to have in a franchise quarterback.  I think Geno is the best QB in this class, but I think his appearance here does nothing to dispute claims of his college production being reliant on the ‘system.’

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