Davis Webb could find success at Cal after transfer
A wide open quarterback race at Cal might have a leader as the team looks to replace No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff. Former Texas Tech quarterback Davis Webb had been looking to transfer and he spurned Colorado for Berkeley, stepping in as the leader of a potential four-man race under center. Webb came out of the same recruiting class as Goff, finishing just a few spots behind in ESPN’s pocket passer rankings, and Cal is hoping they can extract similar results from Webb’s game.
After losing out in Texas Tech’s quarterback race to Patrick Mahomes, Webb saw the field for only 62 snaps last season, a year removed from an injury-riddled campaign that saw him grade at +1.8 in eight starts. The potential is certainly there, as evidenced by Webb’s big-time throw percentage of 5.43 percent, good for 16th in the nation in 2014. He can throw with accuracy and touch both between and outside the numbers, but his flashes of brilliance were accompanied equally by head-scratching throws. He had a turnover-worthy play on 5.71 percent of his dropbacks, a key reason he lost the quarterback battle to Mahomes. Webb threw far too many passes into harm’s way, particularly against underneath zone defenders and his 13 interceptions on only 345 attempts in 2014 were no fluke.
Here’s a look at Webb’s poor decision-making. On back-to-back plays, Arkansas is playing simple cover-2 and Webb throws two bad passes. On the first, his eyes bring the safety right to the ball and he has a better play on the ball than the receiver. The second is just a terrible misread of coverage as Webb once again stares down his target and throws the ball directly to the underneath linebacker. These are not two isolated incidents from just one game; it was a common theme for Webb throughout his 2014 campaign.
However, Webb shows his potential on 3rd-and-12 later in the game against Arkansas as he steps up in the pocket (yes, it was into pressure), and leads his receiver into open space with a strike for a touchdown.
It’s unfair to compare any quarterback with Goff and there are noticeable differences in Webb’s game. Goff is a master of footwork, pocket presence and firing through reads; Webb is often mechanical and robotic in the pocket and a little too slow to get through his progressions. However, the flashes are enough to think that Webb can have success in the Pac-12, particularly since he’s moving to a similar offensive system and his +5.4 passing grade was fifth in the Big 12 as a true sophomore.
Webb will already attract the NFL’s attention with his 6-foot-5 frame, and if he can make better decisions against zone coverage, he should put up big numbers in Cal’s offense and only increase his stock heading to draft time.