Bill Parcells’ Criteria for Drafting a Quarterback Out of College
Like any other talent evaluator, Bill Parcells has had his share of misses. He’s even admitted to making a few mistakes. But Parcells has also shown an undeniable ability to turn franchises around and build successful teams. Some of that is accomplished through free agency, but most of that is done through the draft.
I’ve long heard about Parcells’ strict criteria for drafting a quarterback out of college. Chad Henne passed the test and so did Pat White, so obviously they were well accomplished collegiately but turned into busts. Whether or not you think the criteria are reasonable is up for debate, but here are his guidelines as he shared during his Draft Confidential on ESPN via Dan Pompei:
1) At least a three-year starter
2) Started at least 30 games
3) Won at least 20 games
4) At least a 2:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio
5) Completion percentage better than 60%
6) Is a senior
7) Is graduating
Andy Dalton and Ricky Stanzi are the only quarterbacks from this year’s class who passed Parcells’ test while Greg McElroy fell three starts short. Dalton went 35th overall to the Bengals while Stanzi was selected 100 picks later by the Chiefs. McElroy (and his hot sister) went 208th overall to the Jets.
As for current NFL quarterbacks, here’s how they stack up:
Parcells: Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Eli Manning
Non-Parcells: Tom Brady, Michael Vick, Aaron Rodgers (5/7 if you count JC stats), Ben Roethlisberger (5/7 was a junior), Josh Freeman (2/7), Joe Flacco (2/7), Matt Cassel, Matt Schaub (6/7 not enough wins), Matt Ryan (6/7 poor INT ratio), David Garrard (5/7 poor completion % and ratio), Kyle Orton (6/7 lacked completion %), Jay Cutler (4/7), Jason Campbell (6/7 lacked TD INT ratio), Carson Palmer (5/7 lacked TD/INT and %), Kerry Collins (3/7), Alex Smith (3/7), Shaun Hill (2/7), Donovan McNabb (6/7 completion %), Sam Bradford (4/7), Matt Hasselbeck (4/7), Brett Favre (5/7 lacked TD-INT, %), Derek Anderson (5/7 lacked TD-INT, completion %), Jimmy Clausen (4/7), Matthew Stafford (3/7)
The stats for Jon Kitna, Tony Romo, and Ryan Fitzpatrick were not available. We also assumed that all seniors were graduating but we did not have that information immediately available.
What does this tell us? Though Parcells has strict requirements and the ones still playing who passed his test are wildly successful, you’re also missing out on several more highly-successful QBs by following his system. We also don’t know how many quarterbacks passed his test but aren’t doing anything in the league; all I did was evaluate guys who racked up stats last year. In summary, drafting quarterbacks is a craps shoot that even Parcells hasn’t mastered.
For more enjoyable Bill Parcells reading, check out his in-season quarterback commandments.