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Thread: 21yo passers

  1. #1
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    21yo passers

    This is interesting. Since 1970, only 11 QBs have attempted NFL passes at age 21. Here they are:


    Player Year Attempts TD INT Rating
    Tommy Maddox 1992 121 5 9 56.4
    Drew Bledsoe 1993 429 15 15 65.0
    Michael Vick 2001 113 2 3 62.7
    Alex Smith 2005 165 1 11 40.8
    Matthew Stafford 2009 377 13 20 61.0
    Josh Freeman 2009 290 10 18 59.8
    Jameis Winston 2015 535 22 15 84.2
    DeShone Kizer 2017 476 11 22 60.5
    Josh Rosen 2018 393 11 14 66.7
    Lamar Jackson 2018 170 6 3 84.5
    Sam Darnold 2018 414 17 15 77.6


    Couple things jump out to me about this data. I'll talk more in a follow-up.
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  2. #2
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    Re: 21yo passers

    Great find. Highest passer rating of em all and LJ being the only rookie QB this season to make into the playoffs. Overall you gotta accept this season was a success.





  3. #3

    Re: 21yo passers

    These are such selective stats. I think if you're going to do this comparison and you don't have completion percentage you're doing it a disservice. And also, only throwing up INTs as opposed to actual turnovers. Convenient when Jackson struggles so much with fumbling.
    "That's not Donovan McNabb."





  4. #4
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    Re: 21yo passers

    To me the most interesting thing about that list there were none in the 20+ year period from 1970 to 1992. Post-merger.
    PFR shows a bunch of young QBs prior to 1970:

    1969: Terry Hanratty, Pittsburgh
    1964: Jack Concannon, Philly
    1961: Fran Tarkenton! Minnesota
    1960: Jacky Lee, Houston in the AFL
    1951: Bob Williams, Chicago
    1949: Bobby Thomason, Rams
    1947: George Ratterman, Buffalo in the AAFC
    1943-4: Allie Sherman, age 20 and 21, the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh Steagles (merged team due to WW2)


    Allie Sherman is a remarkable figure. Graduated HS and entered college at age 16, graduated cum laude from Brooklyn college at age 20. Played six seasons in the NFL, then coached Winnipeg in the CFL for 4 seasons, and the Giants for 9 seasons. Two-time NFL coach of the year. Later he developed the first cable TV sports networks, founded the NY franchise in the NASL, rehabilitated the NYC Off-Track Betting Corporation. He became the first pre-game pro football analyst and a frequent guest on the nascent ESPN and the networks. He helped start NFL Films. Died in 2015, aged 91. I'd read a book about that guy.


    Anyway – I'm going to guess that the activity in the 60s was mostly about the competition between the NFL and the AFL. Other than that, we see no 21yo NFL QBs from 1950 to 1992, and then a relative explosion after 2000. What gives?

    Money, maybe?
    With the explosion in player salaries – starting in what, the 80s? – it became worth it for young players to try to get to the league ASAP.

    Rules changes?
    I know the NFL collective-bargains the eligibility rules with the players union, players can't join the league until a certain number of seasons after their HS class graduates. Maybe that rule was established or revised in the 90s?


    Interesting.





  5. #5
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    Re: 21yo passers

    The second most interesting thing about that list, pretty much all of those guys were legitimate QBs.

    Ignoring the guys drafted this season or last: is the worst player on that list Tommy Maddox? A career backup, Maddox played 9 seasons. His highest-usage seasons were '02 & '03 with Bill Cowher, around 3000 yds and 20 TDs with passer ratings around 80.

    (I'm intentionally going easy on Kizer. He looked terrible to me, and I don't think he'll ever be any good. But, it's not fair to draw conclusions about him based on a season with Hue Jackson's Brownies. Dude's 23: his story is not yet written.)
    (Oh: interestingly Kizer is the only one of these guys who was NOT picked in the first. Kizer was drafted in the 2nd, #52 overall.)

    The rest of these guys:

    • Bledsoe took his team to the Super Bowl
    • Vick & Smith were multi-time Pro Bowlers who took teams to the conf final
    • Stafford's been a full-time starter for a decade and is about to make the top-20 for career passing yardage and the top-25 for career passing TDs
    • Freeman had two 3500 yard seasons and a 4,000 yard season for the Buccs of Raheem Morris & Greg Schiano, before falling off a cliff (and later shredding his knee)
    • Winston has made a Pro Bowl, had two 4,000 yard seasons and a 3500 yard season, and he just turned 25 two days ago. You'd say his future is bright, if there wasn't a head-case factor to worry about

    That takes us up to the current batch (incl Kizer).

    This is not a cautionary list of busts and disasters. No Hall of Famers here; but good players. 5 of these guys were drafted #1 overall, by the way. Another one went #3.

    I guess you have to be a pretty good player to get chances to throw passes in the NFL at age 21.





  6. #6
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    Re: 21yo passers

    And of course the third most interesting thing is Lamar's placement on these lists. Lamar is:

    • #1 in passer rating
    • #1 in best INT%, by a fair margin
    • #2 in the various versions of yards-per-attempt (straight, adjusted, and adjusted net), behind Winston
    • #2 in completion percent, behind Winston by 8/100th of 1%.
    • Tied for 4th with Bledsoe in TD%; behind Winston, Darnold & Maddox who are all tied for 1st
    • Average in "sacked %", which is sacks over (attempts + sacked). Running QBs usually get sacked more than pocket passers.

    These stats suggest – no, wait. Lamar is the only one of these guys who played on a winning team. This effects everything. They could pick his spots to pass, they didn't ask him to throw it a zillion times to keep them in games, etc etc. He wasn't thrown to the wolves. So. We would expect Lamar to post better efficiency numbers than the rest of these guys. And that is what we see.

    But still!

    • Lamar attempted roughly a third of the passes that Winston attempted in his rookie season; but would you take a more efficient Winston with better judgement and fewer INTs and a great work ethic?

    • Lamar attempted about the same number of passes as Alex Smith did for the '05 Niners of Mike Nolan. Lamar annihilates Smith in passer rating and its components: Y/A, TD%, INT%, plus he's well ahead on Completion%.

    • Drew Bledsoe attempted about 2½ times as many passes as Lamar. They had the same TD%. But Lamar threw INTs half as often, completed a higher pct of passes, and had more yards per attempt. Would you take a more efficient Bledsoe, who also happens to run well?

    I know it's all games with statistics. I know that what happens NEXT is what's important. It's not how they did as rookies, but how the develop from here. Ok fine.

    But still! Looking at Lamar's peer group, the comparisons are exciting.





  7. #7
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    Re: 21yo passers

    I remember when the whole world wrote off Alex Smith





  8. #8
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    Re: 21yo passers

    Quote Originally Posted by Shrubbs View Post
    These are such selective stats. I think if you're going to do this comparison and you don't have completion percentage you're doing it a disservice.
    The link to the full stats is right there in my first post. The text "here they are" in the first line is a link.

    I selected the stats that would be informative and fit on the page, be nice & readable.



    Quote Originally Posted by Shrubbs View Post
    ... as opposed to actual turnovers. Convenient when ...
    Not convenient at all. I worked my ass off on those posts.





  9. #9
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    Re: 21yo passers

    There’s one glaring stat that this doesn’t show. Much like the other “believe the hype “ stats posted by someone .....those guys all have one HUGE thing in common ....ZERO SUPER BOWLS!!! And please spare me the “it’s a team win” or “but the talent around them” or the popular “but look at the stats , Pro Bowls etc”. Yawn! The reason these dudes dress on Sunday and the reason we as fans watch is to win SUPER BOWLS!!!!
    Like I’ve argued with Cool -X over ...screw those other “personal stats”. I want Super Bowl wins as a fan!


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  10. #10

    Re: 21yo passers

    Jim are you getting this data from Byrne?





  11. #11
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    Re: 21yo passers

    Quote Originally Posted by Laxdad24 View Post
    There’s one glaring stat that this doesn’t show. Much like the other “believe the hype “ stats posted by someone .....those guys all have one HUGE thing in common ....ZERO SUPER BOWLS!!! And please spare me the “it’s a team win” or “but the talent around them” or the popular “but look at the stats , Pro Bowls etc”. Yawn! The reason these dudes dress on Sunday and the reason we as fans watch is to win SUPER BOWLS!!!!
    Like I’ve argued with Cool -X over ...screw those other “personal stats”. I want Super Bowl wins as a fan!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Dan Marino doesn’t have a super bowl. He’s such a horrible qb. Can’t believe they put him in the hof without a ring.


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  12. #12
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    Re: 21yo passers

    Quote Originally Posted by Paintballguy View Post
    Dan Marino doesn’t have a super bowl. He’s such a horrible qb. Can’t believe they put him in the hof without a ring.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Never once did I call any of these QB horrible / bad or anything else. I simply flipped the hype to a real world stat. Again ...use all the stats and hyperbole you want to make yourself feel better about Lamar ....the simple truth is that none of these guys have a Super Bowl. And that’s why they play the game. Period.


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