How I Grade QB Play

If you feel like you have no idea where to start when trying to project a quarterback, this will get you going.

When I heard Dan’s Hatman’s description of “trait-based scouting” on the Process the Process podcast, it reminded me a lot of the grading scale Andrew Parsons and I co-developed when creating the Draft Mecca website. We knew that until we actually sat down and listed all of the projectable traits each position shows andweighing the importance of each trait, we would forever be chasing flashes and potentially overvaluing or over-correcting based on a few good or bad plays.

Think of a grading scale like a Madden rating. In Madden’s rating formula, coefficients like “Speed” and “Awareness” correlate to a player’s overall rating. The higher you raise a player’s “Speed” rating, the higher his overall rating becomes and vice versa – and this is universal across almost all positions. However, each position differs in how much the coefficients affect the rating. For instance, raising an offensive guard’s Speed to 99 doesn’t have the same affect as raising a running back’s Speed to 99.

What we did was list all the specific and projectable traits each position has – essentially, determining “what” we were looking for in each position. We then assigned weighted values to each trait. We then assigned weighted values to each trait and it’s sub-categories. Some things are more important than others. Moreso than simply spitting out a numerical grade, it allowed us to see a players’ playing style in totality.

Dan’s wide receiver example in the podcast is a perfect illustration – you might have three wide receivers with the same level of “goodness” in a vacuum, but they succeed and fail in vastly different areas. Visualize a player’s skill set like a Mockdraftable web: the more spikes a player has, the more projectable traits and integrated skills he has. However, you don’t need a full web for a prospect to be good. You mainly just need to see some spikes in important areas.

Long story short, this is a breakdown of the traits that matter to me when scouting quarterbacks. The bold-underlined portions are the major categories. Each one has sub-categories (and some of those have sub-categories as well). Again, if you put together a formula of how to weight each of these traits, you can alter how much each one affects the total overall grade. If something is italicized, it means it’s the most important part of that category (for example, Pocket Comfort is the most important of the major categories. It will have the highest impact on the overall grade, and Eye-Level carries the most weight of the sub-categories inside of thePocket Comfort.)

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