By Jaboner Jackson 8 a.m. | Last year, footballphds.com started Quarterback School, in which we examined the skillset of Cam Newton, who had been projected to go number one overall in the 2011 NFL Draft to the Carolina Panthers. This year, the consensus pick is Andrew Luck out of Stanford, who will go number one overall to the Indianapolis Colts. Meanwhile, the second pick of the 2012 NFL Draft will be Robert Griffin III (RG3). The Washington Redskins recently traded up to the number two overall pick to nab the talented quarterback out of Baylor. Scouts have been more critical of Griffin than Luck. While our draft expert, Rock Mayock, prepares his definitive and always controversial 2012 Mock Draft, I thought it was an opportune time to revisit Quarterback School. Of course, Rock is the undisputed draft expert but over the many years of hanging out with him, I have picked up a few things here and there. As Rock says, the basic difference between NFL and college football is the speed at which the game is played. This difference highlights several of the keys to picking the franchise quarterback.
1. An NFL QB must be able to play from the pocket. The 40-yard dash time is irrelevant for a quarterback. The NFL is predicated on playing from the pocket. A prime example is Michael Vick, who was an average (at best) quarterback in Atlanta. It wasn’t until Andy Reid coached him into being a pocket passer did he start to excel.
2. An NFL QB must play with pressure around him. In college football, the quarterback rarely has defenders around him. The pocket remains intact most of the time. In the NFL, the pocket starts to collapse immediately after hiking the ball. An NFL quarterback must be able to sense pressure and stay in the pocket and make the downfield throw.
3. Arm strength matters but less than you think. The difference between the casual fan and the PHD-level fan is that the PHD-level fan knows that arm strength can improve from college to the NFL. Prime examples of quarterbacks that have had their arm strength improve at the next level include Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.
4. Here is your homework: Analzye Robert Griffin III according to those parameters. I’ll have the correct ‘grade’ early next week before moving on to Part 2. Please note that if you email me comments, I might choose to use them in my next post.