CFF Sig Stats: Quarterbacks

In the first look at 2014 college data through the eyes of our signature stats, Steve Palazzolo highlights the quarterbacks.

| 2 years ago

CFF Sig Stats: Quarterbacks

cff-sig-stats-QBAs we wade into our massive pool of College Football Focus data, we’ll be sharing with you some of the highlights from our Signature Stats in position-by-position looks.

So, over the next couple weeks you can expect daily dives into the best and worst that the full FBS schedule produced in all of the same categories you’ve come to know from our NFL coverage.

We start, of course, with the quarterbacks and here’s a selection of the standouts in key areas:

Deep Passing 

cff sig deep passing

2014 NFL Leader: Matt Ryan 56.5%

While this deep passing chart is sorted by accuracy percentage, it should be noted that deep passing stats are often about the wide receiver and the coverage, or lack thereof, rather than a quarterback’s accuracy. The further the ball is thrown down the field, the more the wide receiver is responsible for winning his battle against the defender by either beating the coverage, adjusting to the pass, or winning contested catches. While our quarterback grading takes all of these things into consideration, the accuracy percentage stat is just that, a stat, and while it does a good job of showing which quarterbacks were able to take advantage of deep ball opportunities most frequently, it’s not necessarily a perfect reflection of deep pass “accuracy” as it relates to ball location.

With that in mind, some notes from the accuracy percentage leaders on deep balls in the 2015 draft class:

–  Jake Waters tops the list with an accuracy percentage of 61.8%, well above second-place finisher Garrett Grayson. WR Tyler Lockett was on the receiving end of 16 of Waters’ 36 deep ball completions, ranking third among wide receivers in the draft class catching 53.3% of his deep pass targets.
–  Grayson’s favorite target was WR Rashard Higgins who tied for second in the nation with 17 receptions on deep ball targets. Higgins is not draft eligible, but his explosiveness should have NFL scouts intrigued in the coming years.
–  Marshall’s Rakeem Cato attempted over a quarter of his passes beyond 20 yards in the air, and that aggressive style led to a nation-leading 1495 yards on deep passes.
–  Baylor’s Bryce Petty led the nation and the draft class with 20 touchdowns on deep passes while Marcus Mariota ranked second with 18.

Under Pressure

cff sig pass under pressure

2014 NFL Leader: Teddy Bridgewater 75.2%

Much like with deep passing, accuracy percentage under pressure is just one measure of a quarterback’s performance, though completing passes under pressure is generally a good place to start.

–  Old Dominion’s Taylor Heinicke led all draft-eligible quarterbacks with nine touchdowns when pressured, though he also tied for the lead with seven interceptions.
–  UCLA’s Brett Hundley was sacked on a nation-high 30.5% of his pressured drop-backs while Duke’s Anthony Boone was best in this department taking sacks only 9.7% of the time.
–  Rakeem Cato faced pressure on only 17.6% of his drop-backs, lowest in the draft class. ULM’s Pete Thomas faced the most at 44.5%.

Play Action

Top Play Action Percentage

cff sig play action top

Bottom Play Action Percentage 

cff sig play action bot

2014 NFL Leader: Alex Smith: 31.0%

–  More of half of Marcus Mariota’s drop-backs used play action as he was the national leader at 53.8%.
–  Bryce Petty ranked right behind Mariota at 49.6%. The rest of the draft class used play action more in line with NFL standards.
–  Washington State’s Connor Halliday used play action on only seven of his 552 drop-backs, by far the lowest percentage in the nation (1.3%).

Time to Throw

Shortest Time to Throw

cff sig ttt fast

Longest Time to Throw

cff sig ttt slow

2014 NFL Quickest: Peyton Manning 2.24
2014 NFL Slowest: Russell Wilson 3.20

It’s important to note that time to throw is not a measure of quality of offensive line, it’s more about the quarterback’s style and the offense’s scheme. Peyton Manning’s quick release and decision making is the reason he had the lowest time in the league in 2014 while Russell Wilson is more inclined to extend plays with his legs and that led to his 3.2 seconds per drop-back.

–  Anthony Boone of Duke and Connor Halliday of Washington State quarterbacked the quickest-hitting offenses in the draft class and both had about 70% of their drop-backs last less than 2.5 seconds
–  On the other end of the spectrum is Boston College QB Tyler Murphy whose 3.15 seconds per drop-back was the longest among draft eligible.


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| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • dave

    curious about Winston and Mannion time to throw…knew Nova would be fast…