By the numbers

The 2014 Draft QBs & the Rule of 26-27-60

Thanks to my friend Jamal (@Jamalisms), I recently read this Sports Illustrated article from 2010. I recommend reading it but for those of you that choose to not, the thrust of the article is the author asserting that a fairly simple formula can help give NFL front offices a look at which QBs are the most likely to be successful transitioning from college to the NFL.

The author calls the formula the Rule of 26-27-60.

Here is an excerpt from the piece:
“Here is the gist of it: If an NFL prospect scores at least a 26 on the Wonderlic test, starts at least 27 games in his college career and completes at least 60 percent of his passes, there’s a good chance he will succeed at the NFL level.

There are, of course, exceptions. If NFL general managers always could measure heart, determination and other intangibles, then Tom Brady would not have been drafted in the sixth round.

 But short of breaking down tape, conducting personal interviews and analyzing every number and every snap of every game, remember the Rule of 26-27-60 the next time a hotshot prospect comes down the pike.”

The author then shows examples of players that are slam dunks with this system and highlights players who did well and who did poorly.

 

After reading this piece, I wondered how the crop of signal callers in the 2014 Draft would do. Unfortunately, not many players had their Wonderlic scores leaked this year, so we have limited information.

Albert Breer did leak information on a few and some of the other players have had rumored scores leaked, as well.
Here is a 26-27-60 breakdown of the 6 QBs for which I could find leaked Wonderlic scores. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the Wonderlic portion:

 

 

As you can see, Blake Bortles (who many already see as the best QB in the Draft) and likely late round selection Jeff Mathews are the only two QBs that were green in all areas, although Manziel fell just one start short of being green in all areas, which is likely not significant.

I would have liked to see how other prospects like Pitt’s Tom Savage, VTU’s Logan Thomas, San Jose State’s David Fales, Georgia’s Aaron Murray, or LSU’s Zach Mettenberger stacked up, but their Wonderlic information was not available.

In order to give some comparison, however, I put in the completion percentage and college starts information. As you can see, a pair of QBs that have recently received a lot of praise, Pitt’s Tom Savage and VTU’s Logan Thomas, have a big red flag with their completion percentage.

Of the 3 stats, completion percentage is, by far, the most important to me. If a player cannot complete 60% of his passes in college, I give him a very, very low chance of being able to complete 60%+ in the NFL.

As such, I want no part of either Thomas or Savage.

I don’t give this to you expecting any of you to believe this rule, but it is an interesting perspective for discussion. If anything, it’s worth using this as a piece in the puzzle to supplement film study or help sift through all of the many opinions that are forced upon us all during the draft season.

Asher Mathews

About Asher Mathews

Head writer for TFDS Sports, covering the Oakland Raiders and NFL at large. Proud Purdue alum. Follow me on Twitter!

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