After three seasons, and three SEC East titles, Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm has decided to take his chances in the pros. Fromm declared on Wednesday, January 8th that he would be entering the 2020 NFL Draft. Fromm was a player thought to be one of the very best at his position heading into the 2019 college season. He was tied for ninth in the odds to win the Heisman trophy. But a lot of things have changed since then.
Fromm is every inch a local hero in Georgia, having been born in Warner Robins in July 1998. He attended Houston County High School, for whom he amassed 12,745 passing yards and 116 touchdowns. He was a 4-star recruit prior to the 2017 college season according to 247sports and ranked the No.3 QB in the nation behind only Davis Mills and Hunter Johnson.
Fromm received offers from 14 schools including Alabama but he only made one campus visit. That was to Georgia, and sure enough, Fromm committed to the Bulldogs.
With the way the modern NFL is going, it would probably be useful to see what Fromm can offer teams as a rusher as well as a passer. The answer is: not a great deal, if his college numbers are anything to go by,
Fromm was pressed into service as early as Week 1 as a freshman. This was due to an injury to starter Jacob Eason. Eason never got his job back, as Fromm led the Bulldogs all the way to the National Championship game. The Bulldogs lost to Alabama, ensuring the fairytale would not have a happy ending. The Bulldogs would make it to the SEC Championship game in each of Fromm’s next two seasons. But they would lose both times.
Fromm couldn’t have picked a worse season to post career lows in all the major passing categories than what would turn out to be his final year with the Bulldogs. He set new lows in passing yards, completion percentage, touchdowns, and yards per attempt.
Fromm still had a year of eligibility left to him, so his draft declaration has not yet been updated across all platforms. CBS, however, has him ranked as the QB5 in the class. Fromm is two spots behind the man he replaced at Georgia, Jacob Eason.
Draftscout.com has Eason ranked as the No.2 QB in 2021, behind only Tua Tagovailoa. Interestingly, they have Eason ranked as the QB3.
As a prospect, Fromm has some obvious positive traits to go along with his admirable college production. Scouts all seem to agree that Fromm is an intelligent player, with Kyle Crabbs noting that Fromm is
quick to make decisions and quick to process — will tear you apart when he’s left to stay in rhythm in the pocket.
Kyle states that Fromm seems to possess below top-level arm talent. Kyle’s colleague at the Draft Network Joe Marino also identifies a major weakness that Fromm simply may not be able to overcome — a lack of physical gifts:
While Fromm can hit throws on the run, he isn’t going to wow anyone with his mobility. Fromm is a pocket-passer that hasn’t proven to be effective working off-script or finding ways to extend plays.
There are some speculating that Fromm might have benefited from staying with Georgia for another season. This is based on the strength of the Bulldogs roster, as well as the apparent lack of competing QB talent in 2021. He could still be a first-round pick in 2020 — I’m not saying he couldn’t. But his skills seem, on face value, to be those of a player who would have dominated the NFL in a past era, not in the age of mobile freaks like Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray.
WHAT HISTORY TELLS US
Assuming Fromm is drafted, and given a chance to be a starter, and lands on a team with an offensive coaching staff who know what to ask him to do, then should fantasy owners even care? Well yes, I think they should. Fromm will be 22 years old when his rookie campaign begins. Blair Andrews has done tremendous work regarding the age of rookie QBs, and how this relates to long-term fantasy success. The chart below shows average fantasy points per season by draft age.
As Blair himself noted,
the top-performing cohort is the group of players who were 21-year-old rookies. However, the gap between the age-21 cohort and the age-22 cohort is considerably smaller than at other positions.
Blair also looked at the percentage of player-seasons that finish in the top 12. This is where the age of a rookie like Fromm becomes even more interesting.
QBs who were 22-year-old rookies have produced almost as many QB1 seasons as those who were 21. This is a very position-specific occurrence and good news for any and all QBs who are more than a year removed from being able to legally drink.
Jake Fromm is far from a polished, can’t miss prospect. He would appear more than his classmates to need a practically perfect landing spot and a situation in order to be successful in the NFL. These things can happen, of course. Fromm is not, therefore, a player doomed to failure. If he is able to become a starter, then the numbers suggest that he is a player who could provide some fantasy value in the years to come. I just wouldn’t be banking on him to take the league by storm a la Jackson or Patrick Mahomes.