FanPost

An Analysis of QB's for the Falcons

As we approach the 2024 draft, I have to admit something about this year’s QB class. We have read OVER & OVER again from every analyst in the sport that Williams and Maye are number #1 and #2. Daniels is right behind at #3. Then they admit that "teams" may have a different order. Jim Harbaugh injected himself recently with a surprising projection about "his" FBS champion QB, JJ McCarthy, stating publicly that he should go #1 overall.

I had been an advocate of Bo Nix as a potential late first rounder, but began to look closer at Oregon’s offense, the reason for his high accuracy stats, and more film. I was wrong.

I had been a bit dismissive of Drake Maye due to his "stats". After closer examination (same as with Nix above), I found again… I was wrong.

So what do I do about that? Try to get it right.

I decided to do a thorough analysis of the QBs, review their offenses in more depth and use the 30-point scale to make a comparison more objective. The results were interesting if nothing else.

Here you go…

QB’s By the Numbers… (refs: www.pff.com; www.ncaa.com; www.espn.com; www.sports-reference.com)

QB / OFF / PASS / RUN / P-plays / R-plays / Comp% / Yds / Y/A / TD - INT / R-Yds / Avg / TD / FUM

Daniels (6’4"/210) 94.7 / 92.0 / 92.4 / 425 / 67 / 72.2 / 3,812 / 11.7 / 40-4 / 1,134 / 8.4 / 10

Bo Nix (6’2"/217) 93.0 / 92.7 / 70.0 / 523 / 37 / 77.4 / 4,508 / 9.6 / 45-3 / 234 / 4.3 / 6

Penix (6’3"/213) 91.1 / 90.5 / 67.9 / 614 / 32 / 65.4 / 4,903 / 8.8 / 36-11 / 8 / 0.2 / 3

McCarthy (6’3"/202) 90.8 / 87.9 / 78.0 / 380 / 39 / 72.3 / 2,991 / 9.0 / 22-4 / 202 / 3.2 / 3

D. Maye (6’4"/230) 90.6 / 89.1 / 73.8 / 540 / 41 / 63.3 / 3,608 / 8.5 / 24-9 / 449 / 4.0 / 9

Williams (6’1"/215) 90.3 / 84.6 / 82.6 / 500 / 52 / 68.6 / 3,633 / 9.4 / 30-5 / 142 / 1.5 / 11

J. Milroe (6’2"/220) 88.7 / 78.1 / 85.3 / 397 / 77 / 65.8 / 2,834 / 10.0 / 23-6 / 531 / 3.3 / 12

J. Travis (6’1"/212) 87.8 / 83.5 / 75.2 / 381/ 47 / 63.9 / 2,756 / 8.5 / 20-2 / 176 / 2.4 / 7

J. Fields (6’3"/228) 74.6 / 67.1 / 84.9 / 477 / 82 / 61.4 / 2,562 / 6.9 / 16-9 / 657 / 5.3 / 10 / 10 FUM

D. Ridder (6’3"/207) 51.9 / 53.2 / 48.8 / 464 / 34 / 64.2 / 2,836 / 7.3 / 12-12 / 193 / 3.6 / 5 / 12 FUM

NOTE: I added Fields and Ridder statistics for comparison purposes. Boldfaced stats reflect ones that are particularly high or low in their category.

Quarterback Assessment (30-point scale)

· (3) Physical, Personality & Cognitive Traits: Size / Arm Strength / Mental Agility / Football IQ / Leadership

· (3) Athleticism: Speed / Agility / Pocket Mobility / Success outside the pocket / Avoiding pressure & blitzes / Running skills / Comfort and usage in a rushing offense

· (10) Passing Ability: Passing completion rates to all 3 levels / accuracy under pressure / failure rates (INT #/%)

· (10) Pocket Functionality & Processing Skills: Drop-back skills & experience / poise and pocket presence /decision-making / processing skills and adjustments /progressions

· (4) Concepts & Scheme Fit: Rushing offense / passing offense / Play-action / RPO / Vertical concepts / Deep skills / Outside the numbers / Middle of the defense skills / Fit as a QB in the run game / Scheme Versatility & Fit

Results on a 30-point scale…

Caleb Williams (28.5 of 30) – Not best in any category but overall pro-ready with A-P upside. Had poor OL support.

Drake Maye (28.0 of 30) – High-end leader with all the tools (Pro Bowl caliber) hampered by UNC support.

Jayden Daniels (27.5 of 30)All around capable QB with high upside in vertical offense. Needs some patience.

Michael Penix (27.0 of 30) – Disciplined pocket passer in vertical/deep game. Needs RPO, rush, & mobility work.

JJ McCarthy (27.0 of 30) – Great QB for P/A, RPO, "short-intermediate" in run-heavy attack. Needs deep work.

Justin Fields (25.5 of 30) – Good scheme fit but lacks accuracy at all levels in vertical offense. 19 turnovers!

Bo Nix (23.5 of 30) – Athletic, big-arm QB lacking "processing" skills, pocket poise, and progression skills.

Desmond Ridder (21.5 of 30)Lacks poise under pressure and processing; makes frequent mistakes under pressure.

What does this mean? Five of these draft QB’s are ready to begin their NFL starting career sooner than later. Bo Nix may need some significant experience on developing "progressions" and other tools before doing so. I like Drake Maye because he had little support at UNC and managed some strong success. Maye has elite tools that can be put to work in a better offense. Caleb Williams was similar in that regard and is a master at "creating". McCarthy is actually a good scheme fit with one concern "deep vertical." Penix checks all the boxes yet will need to become (a QB) more involved in the run game. His coach was extremely pass oriented with 11 personnel. When it is all said and done, the difference between the top five may come down to scheme fit and intense film study. Decision-making and processing will be what makes Raheem Morris happy (see below).

Caleb Williams

· Physical, Personality & Cognitive Skills: 2.5 of 3

· Athleticism: 2.5 of 3

· Passing Ability: 9 of 10

· Pocket Functionality & Processing: 9.5 of 10

· Concepts/Scheme Fit: 5 of 5

TOTAL: 28.5

Drake Maye

Physical, Personality & Cognitive Skills: 3 of 3

· Athleticism: 3 of 3

· Passing Ability: 8 of 10

· Pocket Functionality & Processing: 9 of 10

· Concepts/Scheme Fit: 5 of 5

· TOTAL: 28.0

Jayden Daniels

· Physical, Personality & Cognitive Skills: 2.5 of 3

· Athleticism: 3 of 3

· Passing Ability: 9.5 of 10

· Pocket Functionality & Processing: 7.5 of 10

· Concepts/Scheme Fit: 5 of 5

TOTAL: 27.5

______________________________________________________________________________________

Michael Penix Jr.

· Physical, Personality & Cognitive Skills: 2.5 of 3

· Athleticism: 2 of 3

· Passing Ability: 9 of 10

· Pocket Functionality & Processing: 9 of 10

· Concepts/Scheme Fit: 4.5 of 5

· TOTAL: 27.0

·

JJ McCarthy

Physical, Personality & Cognitive Skills: 3 of 3

· Athleticism: 2.5 of 3

· Passing Ability: 7.5 of 10

· Pocket Functionality & Processing: 9.5 of 10

· Concepts/Scheme Fit: 4.5 of 5

· TOTAL: 27.0

· _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Justin Fields

Physical, Personality & Cognitive Skills: 3 of 3

· Athleticism: 3 of 3

· Passing Ability: 7 of 10

· Pocket Functionality & Processing: 7.5 of 10

· Concepts/Scheme Fit: 5 of 5

TOTAL: 25.5

______________________________________________________________________________________

Bo Nix

· Physical, Personality & Cognitive Skills: 2.5 of 3

· Athleticism: 2.5 of 3

· Passing Ability: 8.5 of 10

· Pocket Functionality & Processing: 5.5 of 10

· Concepts/Scheme Fit: 4.5 of 5

TOTAL: 23.5

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Desmond Ridder

· Physical Personality & Cognitive Skills: 2 of 3

· Athleticism: 2.5 of 3

· Passing Ability: 7 of 10

· Pocket Functionality & Processing: 6 of 10

· Concepts/Scheme Fit: 4 of 5

TOTAL: 21.5

Intangibles:

HC Raheem Morris is "looking for a QB that has strong decision-making and processing skills" (per SportsTalkATL). Given where each of these QBs have played and the challenges that they faced, analyzing their decision-making is a difficult task.

Ratings in processing, progressions, and decision-making:

1 – McCarthy – Very good decision-maker; excels in all processing across field. Weaker at converting "deep".

2 – Williams – Pocket poise and escapes well to create. Visualizes 100% field. May have challenges w/ NFL zones.

3 – Maye – Pocket and downfield vision excellent, escapes well, and creates under pressure. May try to do too much.

4 - Penix – Good poise in pocket, decision-maker. Pre & post-snap progressions! May struggle outside of the pocket.

5 – Daniels – Only ½ field vision; good poise. Mobility is a difference maker. Uncomfortable when processing long.

6 – Nix – Great early processing, but nervous when delayed. Weaker/under-developed progression skills.

My assessment is that McCarthy, Williams, and Maye may lead the pack in these intangible traits. McCarthy is an extremely capable processor. Williams has the most gifted ability to create big plays with his mental agility. Maye was saddled with a poor surrounding cast which sometimes forced him outside his comfort zone, but he still created. Daniels was surrounded with some decent OL talent but tended to stress his athleticism when under pressure. Nonetheless, his speed and mobility are difference makers. Penix demonstrated strong processing and progression vision from the pocket. When flushed outside his comfort zone, it was another story.

Penix played in Ryan Grubb’s Play/Action, attacking 11-Personnel scheme with intermediate and deep verticals. He needs work in RPO heavy-run and 12-personnel concepts for Atlanta’s current personnel. I think he can do so! Nix was a "jittery, nervous pocket passer," wherein Oregon kept things simple for him to execute. That was the plan…quick plays and simple WR isolations. It returned very good results. However, Nix will be vulnerable in the NFL with high-level defensive (disguised) concepts, superior talent, and more pressure.

Conclusion:

After considering all of the QBs and Fields, I’m not as comfortable with a Justin Fields trade now. Having said that, Kirk Cousins presents a completely different picture than Fields. Cousins is a cerebral QB that has deep roots to the Shanahan/McVay tree. He is an highly accurate decision-maker that has family ties to the Atlanta area. If they can somehow reduce his cap hit to a manageable level, he would warrant consideration.

Since Raheem Morris has more ‘time’ than Belichick would have had to build a winner/champion, he should consider going for the best long-term option this year. Top NFL analysts suggest that he should go up and get the guy he wants and pay the price.

I would think that Cousins and the top five draft QBs would fit this offense with some work and/or NFL experience. Nix is just not an early option at this point in his journey IMO.

It’s a crapshoot, but it is nonetheless the Falcons’ #1 most pressing issue moving forward.

Go Falcons!


<em>This FanPost was written by one of The Falcoholic's talented readers. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Falcoholic.</em>