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Forget The Wildcat, Pat White Is A Quarterback

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Or so says ESPN.  Didn't think that was possible?  Think again.

Yesterday, ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert published a piece ranking this year's quarterbacks against a formula devised by ESPN (Research) itself.  The formula, which is slightly complicated at first glance, is as follows:

For BCS quarterbacks
(Career Starts x 0.5) + [(Career completion pct. - 60)x5] +[(Career touchdown-INT ratio - 2.25)x10]

For non-BCS quarterbacks
(Career Starts x 0.5) + [(Career completion pct. - 60)x2.5] + [(Career touchdown-INT Ratio - 2.25)x5]

ESPN contends that this formula, with some statistical outliers, of course, can accurately determine whether a college quarterback is suited for success in the NFL.  This formula, calculated on first-round quarterbacks since 1997, produced somewhat impressive results:

 

Scores of First-Round Quarterbacks, 1997-2008
Group I: Strong likelihood of success
Player School Draft year Score
Matt Leinart USC 2006 64.04
Philip Rivers NC State 2004 48.44
Tim Couch Kentucky 1999 47.64
Alex Smith Utah 2005 44.88
Aaron Rodgers California 2005 40.58
Peyton Manning Tennessee 1998 39.47
Jason Campbell Auburn 2005 38.75
Byron Leftwich Marshall 2003 36.39
Ben Roethlisberger Miami (Ohio) 2004 33.85
Chad Pennington Marshall 2000 33.53
Daunte Culpepper Central Florida 1999 30.00
David Carr Fresno State 2002 23.97
Joe Flacco Delaware 2008 23.92
Eli Manning Ole Miss 2004 23.14
Donovan McNabb Syracuse 1999 21.62
Group II: Hit-or-Miss
Player School Draft year Score
Brady Quinn Notre Dame 2007 18.93
JaMarcus Russell LSU 2007 18.64
Rex Grossman Florida 2003 18.39
Vince Young Texas 2006 18.21
Carson Palmer USC 2003 16.35
Matt Ryan Boston College 2008 9.14
Patrick Ramsey Tulane 2002 9.06
J.P. Losman Tulane 2004 7.86
Jay Cutler Vanderbilt 2006 2.39
Group III: Busts
Player School Draft year Score
Akili Smith Oregon 1999 0.00
Cade McNown UCLA 1999 -6.41
Joey Harrington Oregon 2002 -6.85
Michael Vick Virginia Tech 2001 -11.32
Ryan Leaf Washington St. 1998 -16.92
Jim Druckenmiller Virginia Tech 1997 -20.25
Kyle Boller California 2003 -50.67

As you can see, other than Tim Couch and Alex Smith (and probably David Carr, too), the quarterbacks in the first tier have all experienced at least some modicum of success in the professional ranks.  In the second tier, only Carson Palmer and Matt Ryan have seriously proved themselves (though, granted, we're early in the Matt Ryan era and the jury is still out on Brady Quinn and Jay Cutler).  And in the third tier, all QBs have failed on some level or another, most failing on all levels.

The entire point of this exercise by ESPN was to rank the predicted success by this year's first-round hopefuls, namely Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, and Josh Freeman.

Stafford, the predicted #1 quarterback, scored a somewhat miserable -4.55, ranking behind noted stud Akili Smith.  Sanchez, the second-ranked QB, scored a very promising 32.63, putting him well into the first tier.  Also-ran Josh Freeman, ranked third though well behind Stafford and Sanchez, scored a just-above-zero 1.94, essentially qualifying him as a complete wildcard.

Where does this all tie into Pat White? Glad you asked.  When you computate White's statistics from the last four years and plug them into the formula, you get the following:

(Career Starts x 0.5) + [(Career completion pct. - 60)x5] +[(Career touchdown-INT ratio - 2.25)x10]

(42 x 0.5) + [(64.7 - 60) x 5] + [2.43 - 2.25) x 10]

If my math is correct, and I'd like to think that it is, that puts White's total score at 46.3, placing him well into the first tier and fourth overall.

So, since White ranks towards the top of the "strong likelihood of success" category, does that make White a projected starter in the NFL or does it make ESPN's formula incorrect?  I only ask because most pundits, especially those on ESPN, have completely discounted the chance that White will be a QB in the NFL.  And me being a logical fellow can't quite accept two polar opposite arguments from my Worldwide Leader.

Oh, what's that you say --  they do that all the time?  My mistake.  Forget I even brought it up.