Loading... Please wait...

John Dewan's Stat of the Week

Top 5 QB Prospects: Performance by Throw Location

Posted by

Here at Sports Info Solutions, we track the direction and throw depth of every throw made at the FBS level, as well whether the ball was catchable or not. A huge conversation this draft season has been about the top five quarterback prospects and how well their true accuracy was represented by their Completion Percentage. Our On-Target Percentage statistic (simply catchable throws divided by all throws) captures a player’s ball placement ability much better than Completion Percentage, as it isolates a quarterback’s accuracy from his target’s ability to catch the ball.

On that note, we have visualized each of the top five quarterback prospects’ accuracy and Target Share (percent of total attempts) by location of their throw. The size of the circle represents the Target Share, the color represents their On-Target Percentage relative to FBS average for that location (red = bad, yellow = average, green = good), and the number in the circle is their observed On-Target Percentage. We’ve included both 2016 and 2017 for these players to increase their sample sizes.

Baker Mayfield

In summary: Was consistently accurate all over the field.

Baker Mayfield has had above average to elite accuracy almost everywhere on the field. Directionally, he most frequently threw passes between the hashes and to the right sideline outside the numbers.

From a throw depth perspective, he ranked in the top two (amongst these five QBs) in throws behind the line of scrimmage and in deep and intermediate areas. However, he threw by far the fewest passes in the 0-to-9 yard range of any QB in this group at 33% (which was seven percentage points less than any other QB).

When comparing his accuracy to FBS average, he had four of the five biggest differences in this group in On-Target Percentage: Deep Right Middle (+32%), Deep Left Middle (+31%), Intermediate Right Outside (+27%), and Deep Right Outside (+18%).

Sam Darnold

In summary: Could stick a deep throw to the right sideline at an elite level.

Sam Darnold presented more of a mixed bag. Directionally, he slightly favored his right, especially outside the numbers.

His accuracy was most impressive compared to FBS average in the Deep Middle (+17%) and Deep Right Outside (+15%), but he attempted three times as many throws (52 attempts vs. 17) to that Deep Right Outside area.

Josh Rosen

In summary: Majority of throws were short, potential West Coast Offense fit.

Josh Rosen absolutely loved throwing in that bread basket right in front of him in the short middle—he had a higher percentage of his attempts here than any other of these QBs had in any area (13%).

Likewise, this conservative throw distribution (whether by scheme or a bad offensive line) showed up again in his deep throw percentage, which ranked last by a considerable margin. By direction, nearly two-thirds of his throws were between the numbers.

His accuracy didn’t really stand out in any area other than the Intermediate Left Outside (+14%); this was his only area which he placed in the top 20 (of the 100 depth and direction combinations) in terms of the difference between his On-Target Percentage and the FBS average.

Lamar Jackson

In summary: Threw short the most, deep middle sweet spot.

Jackson did have the highest percentage of throws to the short area (46%), but he had the second fewest percentage of throws behind the LOS (13%) and lowest in the intermediate area (23%).

Jackson really loved the Deep Middle—his Target Share in this area (6%) was highest of any prospects in any deep section, and his On-Target Percentage was elite (8% above FBS Average) on a big sample. However, his two most accurate areas compared to FBS average were interestingly both to the left and outside the numbers—specifically the Short Left Outside (+13%) and Intermediate Left Outside (+12%).

Josh Allen

In summary: Works sideline and deep the most.

And finally, we have Josh Allen, an inaccurate QB whose arm strength and mobility still entice teams to think about his potential. To be fair, Allen’s throw locations were often to some of the hardest places to complete passes on the field, as his 51% Target Share outside the numbers was 12% more than the next QB (Darnold, 39%).

Correspondingly, he was averse to throwing in the middle and left middle areas, ranking last in both. He also led in the percentage of his throws that were deep (22%) and intermediate (27%), while having the least amount of easy throws behind the LOS.

While his accuracy generally was below average, he did excel in the Deep Right Middle compared to FBS average (+19%, which ranked fourth overall among these 100 combinations). However, that was on only 19 attempts, so sample size beware.

After diving deep into accuracy by ball location, a lot of the narratives from this draft season actually hold up pretty well. Allen was, in fact, asked to make harder throws than everyone else.

But even after controlling for the difficulty of throws, there is no QB who even came close to Mayfield in terms of being consistently accurate no matter where he threw the ball.

Pass-Catching Versatility of NFL Draft RB Prospects

As the NFL draft approaches, the versatility of how a running back can be used in the passing game is as relevant as ever. The NFL continues to evolve into more of a passing league, and the pass-catching and route-running abilities of running backs have never been more valuable. This past season featured an explosion [...]

Read More »

A Closer Look At Early-Season Intriguing Stories

It’s too early in the season to make judgments on predictability or sustainability for most statistics. Who you play, who you don’t play and an abundance or lack of flukish plays can wreak havoc on early-season numbers.But within the smallest of sample sizes are interesting stories from the first two weeks of the season. Here [...]

Read More »

The Outlook for 2017's Overachieving & Underachieving Pitchers

By Mark Simon We’re a few days into the 2018 season, and one of the questions on your mind is probably “How will my team's starting pitchers perform?” That’s a question that can be looked at in some interesting ways. At Sports Info Solutions, our defense-independent pitching statistics (DIPS) are able to provide expected results on every ball in play against a pitcher [...]

Read More »

The Outlook for 2017's Underachievers and Overachievers

By Mark Simon With the MLB season beginning, there are some things we can count on. Some players will struggle inexplicably. Some will have unexpected remarkable success. But how do we know whether a struggle or success is legitimate? There are statistical measures that help. Our defense-independent batting statistics (DIBS) are able to give expected results on every ball [...]

Read More »

The Outfield Shift Has Arrived

Over the weekend there was a bit of hubbub about the Phillies’ use of seemingly conflicting shifts in the infield and outfield in a Grapefruit League game against Twins first baseman Joe Mauer. Their infielders were playing Mauer in what BIS calls a Full Ted Williams Shift (three men on the pull side of [...]

Read More »

Ranking the Top Starting Rotations

Although this has been a slow MLB offseason by most standards, some of the moves have resulted in notable starting pitchers such as Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta and Gerrit Cole moving to new teams. With Major League Baseball’s Opening Day just a few weeks away, we decided to rank baseball’s top starting rotations based on [...]

Read More »

Stat of the Week: Praising Arizona

By Mark Simon After a 24-win improvement in 2017, the Arizona Diamondbacks have had a busy offseason in trying to put together a roster that could compete with the Dodgers for the division and the Rockies and Giants for the Wild Card. The Diamondbacks are trying for consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 2007-2008. Most notably, the [...]

Read More »

Norway Skiing Away with Medals Race

We worked with the Wall Street Journal to develop Olympic medal projections and shared them in the Journal here and in the Stat of the Week a couple of weeks ago here. With a week left of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, the model is working pretty well. Except for the United States. There [...]

Read More »

What does Yu Darvish Bring To The Cubs?

By Mark Simon Saturday, the Cubs landed the biggest pitching prize of the free-agent market when they agreed to a six-year, $126 million deal with Yu Darvish. The Cubs believe they added both quality and depth and a replacement for one of their top pitchers, Jake Arrieta. Darvish will slot in alongside Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, José Quintana and another new acquisition, [...]

Read More »

Sign up to our newsletter


Recent Updates