Todd Archer of ESPN broke the news today that the Cowboys will be bringing in six quarterbacks for official pre-draft visits. In addition to the top three QBs (Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Paxton Lynch) Archer reports that the Cowboys are also bringing in three more QBs:
Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Paxton Lynch will visit Valley Ranch this week but they have already been linked to the Cowboys through the Senior Bowl, where they coached Wentz, or private workouts.
The Cowboys will also have Christian Hackenberg, Connor Cook and Jacoby Brissett at their facility for pre-draft visits.
The Cowboys are allowed to bring in up to 30 national draft-eligible players for official pre-draft visits, and using six of those spots for QBs is pretty telling. Additionally, they also bring in as many draft-eligible local prospects as they like for visits and workouts during "Dallas Day", which is scheduled for Friday.
Over the weekend, KC Joyner, also of ESPN presented an interesting approach for ranking QBs in the 2016 draft class. Joyner uses the Parcells QB Rules as a measuring stick to evaluate this year's QB crop. Here's the summary of the article in chart form. Joyner did not include Jacoby Brissett in his analysis, but I'm including him here to complete the half dozen visitors.
|Parcells QB rules|
|Senior in college||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Graduated from College||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes
|Started 30 games||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Won 23 games||Yes||No||No||No||No||No|
|2-to-1 TD/INT Ratio||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Completion rate > 60%||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
Some of Parcells' rules seem a bit arbitrary, and Joyner himself points out that Matt Leinart and Tim Tebow are two propsects who hit all the marks here, but hit little once they came to the NFL.
Two data points that are a little less arbitrary are completion percentage and Adjusted Passing Yards per Attempt (AY/A, basically a souped up version of yards per attempt). It's not always easy to compare college stats of QBs who play a vastly different quality of opponents, but in principle, you want a guy who is accurate and is able to get you a lot of yards.
The next chart plots the completion percentage and AY/A for the last college season of the 17 QBs with a draftable grade on the CBS big board (data courtesy of sports-reference.com):
Of course, QB is one of the most complex and demanding positions in sports, so reducing it to just two numbers is a bit of an oversimplification, but it can be an interesting starting point for a discussion about a prospect's strengths and weaknesses. In principle, you want an accurate QB who can gain yards by passing the ball. It's hard enough projecting a QB from the college system to the pro system, but it gets even harder when that QB hasn't shown the type of performance in college that you're looking for in the pros.
Obviously a lot of factors like scheme, playcalling, quality of teammates, quality of opponents and others have to be considered when looking at these numbers, but overall, I would have hoped the Cowboys had looked more in the top right for their prospects, and not necessarily in the bottom left.
Another thing you're looking for in a prospect is arm strength. And one way of measuring that is the velocity with which he throws the ball, which the staff from ourlads.com measured with a speed gun at the NFL Combine.
|Throwing velocity, NFL Combine
|Velocity in mph
Five of the six have what you would consider an NFL arm.
Now that you know which six QBs are coming and have seen a few more stats on each, who'd be your favorite for the Cowboys to pick in the draft?
With the addition of the three QBs, we now know of 20 national invitees, six of which are quarterbacks, five of which are running backs, and all of which are listed below:
|Cowboys Pre-draft Visitors per 4/4/2016|
|CBS Rank||Name||POS||College||Proj. Rd||Status|
|2||Jalen Ramsey||CB||Florida||1||Official Visit|
|3||Joey Bosa||DE||Ohio State||1||Official Visit|
|5||Jared Goff||QB||California||1||Official Visit|
|6||Deforest Buckner||DE||Oregon||1||Official Visit|
|7||Carson Wentz||QB||N.D. State||1||Official Visit|
|8||Ezekiel Elliott||RB||Ohio State||1||Official Visit|
|10||Vernon Hargreaves||CB||Florida||1||Official Visit|
|11||Laquon Treadwell||WR||Ole Miss||1||Official Visit|
|13||Shaq Lawson||DE||Clemson||1||Official Visit|
|14||Sheldon Rankins||DT||Louisville||1||Official Visit|
|18||Will Fuller||WR||Notre Dame||1-2||Official Visit|
|32||Kevion Dodd||DE||Clemson||1-2||Official Visit|
|33||Paxton Lynch||QB||Memphis||1-2||Official Visit|
|38||Derrick Henry||RB||Alabama||1-2||Official Visit|
|39||Connor Cook||QB||Michigan State||1-2||Official Visit|
|43||Tyler Boyd||WR||Pitt||2||Official Visit|
|71||Christian Hackenberg||QB||Penn State||2-3||Official Visit|
|80||Karl Joseph||SS||West Virginia||2-3||Official Visit|
|104||Kenyan Drake||RB||Alabama||3-4||Official Visit|
|107||Connor McGovern||OG||Missouri||3-4||Official Visit|
|116||Paul Perkins||RB||UCLA||3-4||Official Visit|
|120||C.J. Prosise||RB||Notre Dame||3-4
|165||Jacoby Brissett||QB||NC State||5||Official Visit|
|167||Isaac Seumalo||OG||Oregon State||5||Official Visit|
|610||Deon King||LB||Norfolk State||- -||Official Visit|