QB Grades Thru Week 5

We're suckers from radar graphs and all other demonstratives, we have excel, and we use it; at times ineffectively, but whatever. We track quarterbacks through 8-10 criteria the most important of which (and we stole this from Bill Connelly over at football study hall) are completion percentage, interception rate, sack rate, yards per attempt, touchdowns accounted for and yards per play (taking into account passing, sack, and rushing yardage). We take those six indicators and every quarterback with 70 or attempts and give each quarterback a percentile rank amongst his peers. Is it flawless? Nope. Does it give us a pretty good indicator of how efficient a quarterback is? You bet. If you rank in the top 75 in terms of percentile, you're excellent, probably elite. If you rank in the top 50% that's a decent number. Below that and we've got some work to do.

Here are the percentile ranks for the qualifying Roundup quarterbacks:

Player School Comp. Pct Rank Yds Att Rank TD Rank INT Rank Sack Rank Yds Play Rank Percentile Average
D'Eriq King Houston 51% 83% 98% 92% 99% 89% 85%
Alan Bowman Texas Tech 90% 73% 50% 70% 93% 84% 77%
Mason Fine North Texas 69% 66% 75% 97% 67% 68% 73%
William Brown SMU 79% 66% 74% 70% 79% 63% 72%
Charlie Brewer Baylor 57% 55% 57% 95% 45% 55% 61%
Sam Ehlinger Texas 71% 34% 55% 83% 58% 31% 55%
Kellen Mond Texas A&M 38% 71% 57% 35% 10% 66% 46%
Shawn Robinson Texas Christian 51% 29% 51% 14% 85% 43% 45%
Shawn Stankavage Rice 26% 7% 61% 10% 68% 15% 31%
Cordale Grundy UTSA 18% 3% 10% 81% 27% 3% 24%
Ben Hicks SMU 8% 8% 40% 52% 11% 7% 21%
Willie Jones III Texas State 4% 24% 14% 40% 14% 18% 19%
Kai Locksley UTEP 2% 4% 14% 29% 0% 5% 9%

On the radar graph, visually, the bigger the coverage area, the better. Think of it as an umbrella, the more you're covered, the better. 

As to the criteria:

Completion Percentile:

If you can't complete passes and you don't play for Navy, Army, or Georgia Tech, then you aren't doing your job. Completion percentages have evolved in the last ten to fifteen years. In 2000, Josh Heupel led the country in 64% of his passes, and that was electric, that total wouldn't fit into the top 30. Now 61% is average, and you won't crack the top ten without 70% or better. 

Yards Per Attempt:

This is an efficiency mark that shows how worthwhile it is to throw the ball. Note the distinction between yards per attempt and yards per completion. This goes hand in hand with completion percentage, if you're dropping back and completing at a high rate, you're an asset in the passing game, and your yards per attempt will be above seven yards, eight and a half is considered elite. 

Interception Rate:

Maybe the better phrase is interception avoidance, but the idea is how often do you drop back and throw to the wrong colored jersey. Bear in mind that interceptions are a two-way street and for as often as a DB makes a dramatic, athletic play, some rock handed linebacker drops a pick. Until we can gauge intercept-able passes, this is an inexact science, but turnovers are drive and win killers. The average is a pick once every .024% of dropbacks. 

Sack Rate:

Again, sack avoidance is the better phrase, but sacks are drive killers as well. Negative plays have become the currency by which defenses make a living. If a defense can get you behind the chains and blow a down, they're winning. The average is a sack on 6% of dropbacks. Sacks aren't entirely the quarterback's responsibility, a porous line or great coverage can put a bullseye on a QB's sternum. Also, young players tend to be more susceptible to sacks as the speed of the game increases and throwing windows shrink.

Touchdown Rate:

We take rushing and throwing touchdowns and divide by total plays to get a percentage of plays to scores. It’s a little off because, on passing downs, the receiver has a lot to do with a touchdown, those behind the line bubble screens that go for 70 yards after fifteen broken tackles aren’t directly attributed to the quarterback. But quarterbacks are glory hounds so we’ll give them credit. The average is a touchdown on 5% of total snaps. Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa accounts for a TD on an incredible 14% of all snaps.

Yards Per Play:

This, along with sack rate, gives credence to our dual threat brethren. Can you make yardage in the run game, forcing the defense to adapt or are you Scott Mitchell, a statute, waiting for the wolves? Tagovailoa and Kyler Murray average eleven yards a snap. The average is 6.6 yards per play; elite is seven or more. 

We've taken our quarterbacks and averaged out their percentile rankings to give us an overall percentile average. Sounds official and stuff. Finally, we took the percentile ranks in all six areas and averaged them out see who’s got the highest overall percentile rank. Last year Baker Mayfield hit 90% on his overall percentile rank. He never amounted to much.

Tagovailoa has the highest average percentile. He’s yet to play in the fourth quarter. Here’s his radar graph for envy/comparison along with the Kyler Murray’s. He’s good too.

D’Eriq King

If anyone had any doubts about King’s ability, he’s put those to rest through four games. He’s fourth in percentile average behind Tagovailoa, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, and Murray. That’s great company.

If there’s a complaint and it’s a small one, King’s completion percentage is at 62%, right around average. He’s elite in every other category. His twelve touchdowns compared to zero interceptions is impressive. King’s one of four qualified quarterbacks with no interceptions.

2018

2017

Alan Bowman

Tech’s Bowman is listed as questionable with a collapsed lung sustained against West Virginia. His timetable for return is unknown. When Bowman’s played, he’s been an elite level quarterback. He completes nearly 70% of his throws and doesn’t take sacks.

Mason Fine

Fine’s steady improvement year to year is evident. The junior is set to hit career highs in yards, sack avoidance, touchdowns, and interception avoidance. He’s been nearly elite in almost every category. His percentile average is 73%, good enough for 21st overall.

Fine’s three year radar graph progression gives us a pretty good look at his development from his freshman year to now.

2018

2017

2016

William Brown

The SMU true freshman is a surprise here. He barely qualifies with 66 attempts (63 is the cut-off). Young players tend to struggle in areas of sack avoidance and interception rate. Brown holds his own in both; he’s in the 79th percentile rank when it comes to avoiding sacks and 70 in preventing interceptions.

Brown’s sample size is small, he’s thrown 130 fewer passes than Mason Fine, he may regress to the mean, but he’s off to a great start.

Charlie Brewer

Brewers hits in the 60th percentile rank overall. The sophomore is elite at turnover rate but struggles taking sacks. He’s average in just about every other category including completion percentage which surprises us since he’s usually very accurate. Below 55% completion days against Abilene Christian and Duke didn’t help.

2018

2017

Sam Ehlinger

Tom Herman’s offense doesn’t ask Ehlinger to throw downfield much; he’s the master of the bubble/quick game. He’s also in the 30th percentile in yards per play. Ehlinger doesn’t turn the ball over, and his completion percentile is at 71%.

From last year, you can really see his development as an accurate passer and his ability to avoid sacks.

2018

2017

Kellen Mond

Unlike Ehlinger, Mond goes deep. He’s in the 71st percentile in yards per attempt and 66th in yards per play. Mond’s completion percentage is around 60%, which in today's game puts him the 34th percentile and he takes a lot of sacks, 10% of his dropbacks end in a sack.

Looking back at his 2017, numbers, you can see significant improvement in several areas including yards per attempt, yards per play, and completion percentage. He is however taking more sacks than last season. Part of that has to do with a tough schedule to start the 2018 season. Mond’s yards per attempt and overall yards per play are trending in the right direction.

2018

2017

2017

Shawn Robinson

On the other side of the coin, Shawn Robinson is very good at avoiding sacks. Avoiding interceptions is another matter. Robinson turns the ball over at a higher rate that his predecessors, including Kenny Hill who was fairly air tight, in the 81st percentile. Robinson sits in the 14th percentile.

At 62% he’s right in the meaty part of the curve in completion percentage. He’s also a bit of a dink and dunker when it comes to yards per attempt.

Shawn Stankavage

Stankavage goes like a roller coaster; he’s elite when it comes to scoring and avoiding sacks. He struggles mightily at avoiding turnovers (10th percentile), yards per play (15th percentile), and yards per attempt (7th percentile).

Cordale Grundy

Here’s the bad news, Grundy is low in terms of yards per attempt (3rd percentile), yards per play (3rd percentile), and scoring (10th percentile). He’s below the 20th percentile in completion percentage as well. The good news is Grundy is at an elite level in turnover avoidance (82nd percentile).

Ben Hicks

Hicks qualified, but it’s safe to say he’s taken a rather significant step back, his previous numbers bear this out. Hicks completion percentage and every other area is below his 2017 standard. He’s even below his 2016, redshirt freshman numbers.

2018

2017

2017

2016

Willie Jones

You’d hope Jones would be better when it comes to total yardage, but he’s in the 18th percentile. His best percentile area is his 39th percentile rank when it comes to turnovers. Lots of room for improvement.

We’ll see this week whether Texas State goes to true freshman Tyler Vitt after Vitt played well in relief of an injured jones against UTSA.

Kai Locksley

This is rough and probably speaks more to UTEP’s overall issues than Locksley’s but the JUCO quarterback rates in the literal bottom percentile in two categories, the 1st percentile rank, the 2nd percentile rank, and the 3rd percentile rank in three others.

Locksley carries such a substantial portion of the Miner offense by necessity.

The Roundup…