Inside The Bills

An interesting look at NFL QB progression

Posted by Chris Brown on July 15, 2014 – 11:05 am

The folks at Pro Football Focus are doing a position by position progression examination as we all wait for training camp to open. Their most recent installment takes a look at quarterback and there are some tell tale benchmarks that we may be able to apply to EJ Manuel’s second NFL season.

In crunching the play value numbers of first round quarterbacks since 2007 Pro Football Focus they found less than half had positive play value figures in their film grading in their rookie seasons. That’s not really surprising knowing the league’s history at that position. They also found the improvement in season two moved the average into the positive territory in terms of performance value, though not dramatically. Here was the crux of their assessment.

First round quarterbacks generally tend to struggle in their rookie seasons, with just seven of the 18 players taken in the first round since 2007 finishing their first year with a positive grade. The best year for rookie quarterbacks since we began grading was 2012, with Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Ryan Tannehill all playing well but, even with that banner year, first round rookies have averaged a minus-6.2 grade in their opening seasons in the league.

By the end of their second year we have seen an improvement by the first-round signal-callers, averaging a grade of +1.1. That improvement is largely down to the performances of the few, though, with just eight of the 20 quarterbacks drafted in the first round from 2006 onward who we’ve seen a second season from, finishing that year with a positive grade.

So Manuel, who like most in this study had a minus grade as a rookie stands a reasonable chance of moving into positive territory as a second-year player.

 


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