Dear NFL GMs: Do NOT Draft Ryan Nassib in the First Round

I admittedly didn’t know much about Ryan Nassib a few weeks ago.  I knew he played at Syracuse.  I knew the ‘Cuse had a good year in 2012.  I knew they upset West Virginia in their snowy bowl game.  That’s about it.  I was stunned when I started seeing him on first-round Draft boards.  Flabbergasted.

Todd McShay first started throwing his name around as a first round pick on March 28th – less than a month ago.  I’m typically skeptical of “late blooming” prospects  especially ones that are drafted in the first round, so I was a bit weary.  To be fair: McShay didn’t actually say he’d get drafted in the first round in that mock (dated March 28th) but he offered the following as a justification for the Buffalo Bills’ selection of offensive guard Chance Warmack out of Alabama:

Whether Buffalo brings in a veteran or drafts a second-tier prospect like Syracuse QB Ryan Nassin – who played for new Bills head coach Doug Marone in college – that player will need all the help he can get.  Warmack is one of the most complete guards I’ve ever evaluated.

So, just a few short weeks ago, Nassib was just a prospect – and a “second tier” one at that.  His lone connection to the whole scenario was that his college coach was now coaching the Bills.

On April 10, McShay said he expected the Bills to take one of three types of players: a protector (in this scenario, Chance Warmack), a pass rusher (Barkevious Mingo) or a QB (Nassib).  McShay added:

Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib seems like a natural fit in Buffalo, with his former college coach Doug Marrone taking the reins for the Bills.

Spolier alert: “Natural fit in Buffalo” does not in any way, shape or form imply “good football player.”  The Bills haven’t won their division since 1995.

On April 21st McShay tabbed Nassib as the 8th overall pick, going of course, to the Buffalo Bills.  His final Mock (put out today, 4/25) re-affirms that pick.

This certainly doesn’t mean that Ryan Nassib will be the 8th pick, but it certainly implies that serious consideration in the first round will come his way.  Isn’t he awfully…mediocre…to be a first round draft pick?  I looked into it.

Counting Nassib and fellow projected first rounder Geno Smith, there will be a total of 15 QBs drafted in the first round from 2009-2013 (a five Draft window):

  • Geno Smith
  • Ryan Nassib
  • Andrew Luck
  • RG III
  • Ryan Tannehill
  • Brandon Weeden
  • Cam Newton
  • Jake Locker
  • Blaine Gabber
  • Christian Ponder
  • Sam Bradford
  • Tim Tebow
  • Matthew Stafford
  • Mark Sanchez
  • Josh Freeman

On a raw sense, passer rating gives a good look at how a player performed in college, so I looked at these fifteen players’ last collegiate seasons.  Nassib’s passer rating ranks 10th among the group.  He edges one respectable QB (Josh Freeman) and Christian Ponder, Ryan Tannehill, Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker.

He ranks 10th in completion percentage – edging out Freeman and Matthew Stafford (legitimate NFL QBs) and Ponder, Tannehill and Locker.

He ranks 10th in yards per completion edging out Freeman, Tannehill, Locker, Ponder and Gabbert.

He’s not that good.  He’s a first round QB of the Locker/Ponder variety.

But, it’s hard to say too much about a player’s collegiate statistics relative to NFL performance.  That being said, I’m going to go out on a limb to say that he will not be a serviceable starter at the NFL level for the following reasons: he was not prominent at the collegiate level and he has no rare physical skill set.  Hear me out:

To measure prominence I made up a completely random formula that deals with players’ national rankings (because rankings demonstrate prominence better than raw stats) in the following categories:

  • Passer Rating
  • Completion Percentage
  • Passing Yards
  • Yards Per Attempt

I found an average national ranking for those four categories and I subtracted it from 120 (a rough estimate for the number of teams in FBS football).  I then added TDs thrown and subtracted INTs and sacks.  The end result is a very arbitrary “prominence” score.  In theory a player who ranked first in all categories while throwing 50 TDs and not being picked off or sacked would have a score of 169.  Here’s how those 15 players held up:

  • Sam Bradford: 147.25
  • Geno Smith: 129.25
  • Andrew Luck: 127
  • Brandon Weeden: 124
  • RG III: 120.75
  • Mark Sanchez: 114.75
  • Cam Newton: 106.25
  • Matthew Stafford: 99
  • Tim Tebow: 96.75
  • Ryan Nassib: 88.5
  • Josh Freeman: 79.25
  • Ryan Tannehill: 78
  • Blaine Gabbert: 51.5
  • Christian Ponder: 48
  • Jake Locker: 28

Obviously, this data does not “predict” success.  Sanchez and Stafford were drafted in the same class and Stafford has obviously outperformed despite having a lower “prominence score.”  The same can be said of RGIII relative to Brandon Weeden.  But, Sanchez had a solid final year at USC and was certainly prominent.  Weeden threw the ball a ton at Oklahoma State, and these ranking reflect that.

There are also certain common sense points that can be added:

  • Locker was drafted for his previous performance, not for that of his final year at Washington.
  • Newton and Tebow (and to some extent RG III) were also prominent runners, this is not reflected.
  • Bradford’s data all reflect his sophomore season, he was hurt his junior year.  Teams drafted on the assumption that he’d be back to form.

Josh Freeman is a unique specimen at 6-foot-6.  The other guys below Nassib are not.

Nassib fits right in with the likes of Gabbert, Ponder and Locker.  And that’s not a good thing.


That’s all I got/


About dudeyoucrazy

College Football Writer

Posted on April 25, 2013, in Blog, NFL, SEC and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Don’t pick him in the 2nd round either! Manuel is the best QB in this draft in my opinion, but as much as I hate saying this our boy Murray shoulda came out this year and been a first rounder and then we could start the Mason years but I am glad Murray stayed to “finish the drill”.

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