The Vikings and their ever-precarious backup quarterback situation.
From Sage Rosenfels to Joe Webb and now Sean Mannion, it seems they can never attract or develop the right guy to play under center if it all hits the fan.
So, when it came to the 2020 NFL Draft, it could be considered a consensus that the front office would investigate picking up a backup in the third-round or later with the hope of making him a competent backup or even potential future starter.
But who to choose?
Jordan Love, the Utah State quarterback who the local media drooled over, went off the board in the first-round when the Packers shockingly nabbed him to light a fire under Aaron Rodgers. It was slim pickings with how many other positions the team needed to fill first.
As the draft progressed, it appeared to come down between two individuals.
Player A and Player B.
Player A played for a southern powerhouse, started as a freshman, and racked up some respectable statistics including a superb sophomore season.
Player B played in the north in a stadium known for its crazy and scary upsets in recent years alongside showing positive improvements over his three years starting.
Who is who and who should the Vikings have gone with?
If you have not figured it out, Player A is Jake Fromm out of Georgia and Player B is Nate Stanley of Iowa. With Fromm being selected in the fifth-round by the Buffalo Bills and Stanley being selected by the Vikings in the seventh.
Yet prior to their selections, fans appeared to be split on who to select:
I was in the ‘I may abandon ship if we draft Fromm’ and here is why.
When looking solely at their collegiate statistics, one can make the case it is not close in favor of Fromm. Better passing percentage, yards per attempt, adjusted yards per pass attempt, TD-INT ratio and QBR.
He has it all, right? So why did he drop to the fifth-round?
But when drafting a player, especially in the later rounds, one cannot base their decision solely on simplistic statistical analysis.
No, we must dive deeper. Look at their measurables, their combine results, and even how “heady” they may be.
Beginning with their draft grades, it is closer than you might expect. Based off NFL.com’s grading scale where an 8.0 is the perfect prospect, 5.8-6.2 being backup to potential starter range, and anything below that becoming a feel-good story.
Continuing off that, Fromm slides below Stanley in nearly every way measurable. From 40-yard dash (5.01 vs. 4.81 seconds) to height (6’ 2” vs. 6’ 4”) and hand size (8 7/8” vs. 10”).
But the final piece to the late-round quarterback puzzle is their scouting report and analysis and their fit in their new team’s system.
From NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein, Fromm is a, “Heady quarterback who is light on physical traits but sees the game like a pro-signal caller…”, and Stanley is a, “Big guy with a good arm who throws with nice touch to intermediate and deep windows…”
Stanley never topped 60% completions, as noted above, and has trouble rolling out of the pocket. But his ability to accurately throw the deep ball and an effortless throwing motion puts him above Fromm in my book.
Sure, Fromm has a crazy high football IQ with excellent leadership traits and had a Heisman finalist-worthy campaign in 2018. But his decline in 2019 alongside his minimal arm strength and velocity is not what the Vikings are looking for in a backup.
Fromm will be sitting behind Jake Allen and being coached up by Brain Daboll and an NFL flameout in Ken Dorsey. Compare that to Stanley who will be sitting behind a scary accurate and seasoned Kirk Cousins and learning from Gary Kubiak and his son, Klint, and it is safe to say he will have an environment conducive to generating the game IQ and leadership skills necessary to round him into a potential long-term backup or even starter.
To finish this off, having watched Fromm for three years as a Florida Gator student, he never stood out as the reason they continued to beat up on the SEC East and why I may have lost faith had he been drafted by the Vikings.
Yes, both were selected late and are not expected to become anything more than a backup, but crazier things have happened.
Does the name Tom Brady ring a bell?