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Quarterback Drafting Rules: The Parcells Principle

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Earlier this week, we looked at the "26-27-60" rule for drafting quarterbacks. The post we did on the subject took a look at nine top-rated quarterback prospects and measured them on the standards of games played and completion percentage. There's more than one way to look at drafting a quarterback, however, and none other than the great Bill Parcells has his own criteria for drafting quarterbacks that one of our users, "medicineball," pointed out in a FanShot earlier in the week.

Parcells' criteria for quarterbacks really don't have much to do with on-field performance. . .rather, it seems to be more focused on how mature an individual is and whether he feels they could handle the burden of learning the toughest position in professional sports.

His rules are as follows:

  1. The quarterback must be a senior. . .because you need time and maturity to develop into a good professional quarterback
  2. He must be a graduate. . .because you want somebody that takes their responsibilities seriously.
  3. He must be a three-year starter. . .because you want to make sure his success wasn't a fluke and to know that he has been "the guy" for a significant period of time.
  4. He must have 23 wins. . .because big numbers don't mean a whole lot if you don't win.

So, how do the quarterbacks that we've been looking at here stack up? Let's take a look after the jump.

The nine prospects that were previewed in the previous post were Washington's Jake Locker, Nevada's Colin Kaepernick, Iowa's Ricky Stanzi, Florida State's Christian Ponder, Auburn's Cam Newton, Alabama's Greg McElroy, Texas Christian's Andy Dalton, Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, and Missouri's Blaine Gabbert.

Just from looking at the first rule, we can eliminate a few folks. . .Cam Netwon, Blaine Gabbert, and Ryan Mallett are all early entries into the 2011 Draft and not, in fact, seniors, so they already don't meet the criteria. So, that drops us from nine possibilities down to six.

So, we'll move those remaining six on to the second degree, whether or not they graduated from college. Here's what I can find about whether they did or not.

Locker - Yes, with a degree in history
Kaepernick - Yes, with a degree in business management
Stanzi - Yes, with a degree in interdepartmental studies
Ponder - Yes, with a degree in finance (and a major in business. . .working on a second major in sports management)
McElroy - Yes, with a degree in business marketing (and a major in sports administration. . .was a Rhodes' scholar finalist as well)
Dalton - Yes, with a degree in marketing

So, it looks like all six of these folks meet that criteria as well. Good on them. Let's move along.

On to the third criteria. . .were they three-year starters? From the stats that I can see, it appears that the only one of our six remaining candidates that does not meet the criteria as a two-year starter is McElroy, as he was only a two-year starter for the Crimson Tide. . .he spent his first two seasons at Alabama backing up John Parker Wilson. From what I can discern, Locker, Kaepernick, and Dalton were all four-year starters (though Locker was injured for much of his sophomore season), while Ponder and Stanzi were three-year starters for their respective teams.

As a result, we take five potential candidates on to our last of the four criteria that Bill Parcells uses when looking at quarterbacks. . .did they win at least 23 games as a starter?

We can eliminate Locker from this one right away, because his record as a starter was atrocious. From what the good folks at College Football Reference can give me, I have Kaepernick with 33 victories, Stanzi with 27 victories, Ponder with 22 victories, and Dalton with 42 victories. So, Ponder comes close, and probably would have met this mark had he not been injured in his first year as a starter and missed a significant number of games.

So, in the end, when looking at Bill Parcells' rules for drafting a quarterback, we have three out of our nine featured prospects meeting all four of his criteria. . .Colin Kaepernick, Ricky Stanzi, and Andy Dalton.

With two of our sets of quarterback evaluation "rules" taken care of, here's how these nine prospects all fared in both of them:

Jake Locker - Failed 26-27-60 (completion % too low), failed Parcells rules (not enough wins as a starter)
Colin Kaepernick - Failed 26-27-60 (completion % too low), passed Parcells rules
Ricky Stanzi - Failed 26-27-60 (completion % too low), passed Parcells rules
Christian Ponder - Passed 26-27-60, failed Parcells rules (not enough wins as a starter)
Cam Netwon - Failed 26-27-60 (not enough games played), failed Parcells rules (not a senior or graduate)
Greg McElroy - Passed 26-27-60, failed Parcells rules (not a three-year starter)
Andy Dalton - Passed 26-27-60, passed Parcells rules
Ryan Mallett - Failed 26-27-60 (completion % too low), failed Parcells rules (not a senior or graduate)
Blaine Gabbert - Passed 26-27-60, failed Parcells rules (not a senior or graduate)

Only one of our nine featured prospects meets all of the specified criteria for both sets of rules, and he's a guy that's been getting a lot of talk around here. . .TCU's Andy Dalton.

As one of our civilian forecasters is prone to saying at the weather squadron, this is guidance, not gospel. But it is a little something to chew on while we're looking at quarterback prospects. I still like Ponder and Dalton as guys we could potentially get in the second, with Dalton perhaps getting a slight edge due to Ponder's injury history.