Here’s the first of a series of articles looking specifically at the NFL combine and the Packers’ drafting tendencies. ( read here for the rationale for this series). This article will use the combine numbers from previous players drafted by GM Ted Thompson as a guide for what quarterbacks are likely to fit into the Packers’ scheme.
Again, this is merely an attempt to make a best guess based on statistics at which players the Packers might be interested in, game tape naturally trumps combine numbers, so take all of this with a grain of salt. But I believe it will make for some interesting discussion. Listed below are two quarterbacks in this year’s draft who I think fit the Packers scheme the best, based on their combine numbers.
Statistics of quarterbacks drafted by the Packers:
What the Packers are looking for: Ted Thompson apparently likes quarterbacks that are 6’2” as every quarterback he has drafted has been exactly 6’2”, which is a little odd since 6’2” is considered on the short side for quarterbacks. Thompson apparently also likes his quarterbacks to weigh about 225 lbs as the standard deviation for quarterback weight is a mere 4.5 pounds, which is the lowest among all positions. To go even further, 2 out of the 3 quarterbacks that were signed for training camp last year also were 6’2” and 2 out of 3 quarterbacks were between 220 and 230 pounds.
The workout drill where quarterbacks had the lowest relative standard deviation (thus implying were most important) was the 40-yard dash. 4.76 seconds for the 40-yard dash is pretty fast for a quarterback but definitely not the fastest in any draft class. This probably means that the Packers are looking for a quarterback that has the speed to evade defenders in the pocket and occasionally break free and run for yards but typically won’t be so fast that they want to run on every occasion. The Packers prefer their quarterbacks to be pocket quarterbacks first and scrambling quarterbacks second, which would seem to collaborate with the above statistics.
As for specific skills, as a west coast offense, the Packers require their quarterbacks to foremost be accurate with their passes; great arm strength is nice but not a requirement (in comparison to a purely vertical offense). Quarterbacks also need good decision making ability as they are often required to go through multiple reads. Mobility is a bonus as quarterbacks can buy more time for longer patterns to develop but a quick release is a must as many passes will be short.
Comparable quarterbacks in the 2011 draft (analysis taken from NFL.com):
Christian Ponder Florida State/6’2”/229 lbs/4.65 40-yard dash:
- Good feet when escaping the pocket
- Good accuracy with the short pass
- Good mental toughness and leadership
- Poor vision and awareness
- Struggles with multiple reads
- Not great arm strength
- Injury Prone
Andrew Dalton TCU/6’2”/215 lbs/4.87 40-yard dash:
- Accurate passer, especially on the run
- Good mobility from the pocket
- Good decision maker
- Quick release
- Spread offense quarterback
- Lacks awareness in the pocket
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.