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Ranking QB Prospects in Clear Passing Situations

In Clear Passing Situations who is the best QB in the 2022 NFL Draft
In Clear Passing Situations who is the best QB in the 2022 NFL Draft? Breaking down the film!

While I’ll never advocate for being a “Box Score Scout“, I do think that statistical analysis of certain situational data can add another layer to evaluating Quarterback prospects. Specifically stats during those clutch situations where the defense knows that the pass is coming. Isolating production from those situations could in fact give a glimpse at how each player is as a pure passer. That glimpse can be used to validate what you see on tape, or it can send you back to the drawing board.

Note: I intentionally didn’t list the total passing yards in these situations because I wanted to evaluate them on a per-throw basis. How likely were they to complete the pass (completion Percentage)? Where were they dinking and dunking or we’re they driving the ball (Yards per Attempt)? What kinds of decisions did they make when they had to pass the ball (Touchdowns to Interceptions)?

Play in Clear Passing Situations

3rd & 4+

  • Sam Howell: 44/65 (67.8%), 9.5 Y/A, 5 TD’s / 0 Int’s
  • Matt Corral: 40/68 (58.8%), 5.1 Y/A, 2 TD’s / 3 Int’s
  • Carson Strong: 66/105 (62.9%), 8.1 Y/A, 5 TD’s / 4 Int’s
  • Kenny Pickett: 56/85 (65.9%), 8.7 Y/A, 8 TD’s / 0 Int’s
  • Malik Willis: 30/60 (50%), 7.9 Y/A, 4 TD’s / 2 Int’s
  • Desmond Ridder: 34/74 (45.9%), 5.4 Y/A, 2 TD’s / 3 Int’s

Trailing by 7+ points

  • Sam Howell: 46/67 (68.7%), 9.9 Y/A, 8 TD’s / 1 Int
  • Matt Corral: 31/51 (60.8%), 8.7 Y/A, 2 TD’s / 1 Int
  • Carson Strong: 63/89 (70.8%), 8.9 Y/A, 8 TD’s / 0 Int’s
  • Kenny Pickett: 28/33 (84.5%), 10.7 Y/A, 8 TD’s / 0 Int’s
  • Malik Willis: 58/104 (55.8%), 7.4 Y/A, 6TD’s / 6 Int’s
  • Desmond Ridder: 13/22 (59.1%), 5.5 Y/A, 0 TD’s / 0 Int’s

Rankings

  1. Kenny Pickett: 84/118 (71.2%), 9.7 Y/A, 16 TD’s / 0 Int’s
  2. Sam Howell: 90/132 (68.2%), 9.7 Y/A, 13 TD’s / 1 Int
  3. Carson Strong: 129/194 (66.5%), 8.5 Y/A, 13 TD’s / 4 Int’s
  4. Matt Corral: 71/139 (59.7%), 6.9 Y/A, 4 TD’s / 4 Int’s
  5. Malik Willis: 88/164 (53.7%), 7.6 Y/A, 10 TD’s / 8 Int’s
  6. Desmond Ridder: 47/96 (48.9%), 5.4 Y/A, 2 TD’s / 3 Int’s

Analysis: This served to back up a lot of what I had already seen on tape. Pickett, Howell and Strong are very good pure passers and when you force them to throw, they are more than capable of beating you. Howell specifically is noteworthy because of this challenges the national media perception that he regressed as a passer during the 2021 season. When you isolate the clear passing situations, he was still fantastic. Corral and Willis fared significantly worse but both project to need a little work to develop into polished passers but are very dynamic and offer Pro Bowl upside.

The result that’s most troubling (though no surprising) is Ridder who failed to even crack the 50% mark, was far more likely to dink and dunk, and threw more interceptions than touchdowns. It really brings to life all those concerns over ball placement.

Overall this is not the end all be all of my evaluation but it is a concrete set of numbers I can take back into film study for context and rather than throw to the wayside, I hope you will do the same.

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