The Sports Daily > Colts Authority
Quarterbacks on the Run

18to88 reader Justin Knox weighs in with a look at ‘dual threat quarterbacks’.

Do running quarterbacks perform well in the NFL? There has been a lot of talk of QB Cam Newton becoming a great player, but I want to examine whether or not this style of player has regular success in the NFL. 

This is a  look back at QBs taken in the draft over the last 6 years, just in the first two rounds (because those are usually drafted to be starters). The 2010 draft is excluded because the players haven’t had enough time to be evaluated fairly.

I’ve made a point system by which to evaluate the QBs.  Here’s a key:

S= Starts, did the guy get to start and have a chance to play, 0 being never started, 5 being started every game.

TI= TD to INT ratio, 0 meaning his TD to INT ratio was below 1 TD to 3 INT, 5 being at least 2 TDs to one INT ratio

R= Running ability, was he actually a dual threat, 0 meaning he hardly ever ran, and 5 being he was basically a Micheal Vick

N= where is he right now, what’s he doing. 0 being out of football, 5 being the unheralded starter

Y= YPA, 0 being below 4, 1 being between 4-4.9, 2 5-5.9, 3 6-6.9, 4 7-7.9, 5 above 8

 I’ll list the QB rating, and just give my opinion on them, and add if they have had injuries that seems common with these guys. Highest rating possible is 25, which means he’s a beast, and of course 0 meaning he’s a bust. Well, let’s start with the 2009 draft. I’ll give what pick he was taken with and who he was drafted by, and just remember that I’m only doing dual threat QBs.

2009 draft

Josh Freeman, pick 17, Buccaneers. S-4, He is the unheralded starter at TB. He won the job late in his first season and hasn’t looked back. He ran for 343 yards in college, but 20TDs, 14 in his last season in college. He can run when he needs to, especially around the goal line.

TI-5, He threw 25 TDs to 6 picks, and his only reliable target was Kellen Winslow. It was impressive.

R-3, He’s mobile, but he doesn’t run as much as he could.

N= 5, He’s starting and won’t lose his job.

YPA= 6.9YPA, so 3.

His overall QB rating is a 82.8. His overall scale rating is a 20 out of 25. That is very good, he is probably what a lot of these GMs are looking for. He likely has a bright future, and was a great pick, and is a decent dual threat QB.

Pat White, pick 44, Dolphins. S-0. He’s never started a game. He lost the 1st and 2nd QB job to the likes of Chad Henne and Chad Pennington.  He ran for 4,385 yards in his college career, and had 47 rushing TDs. He could pass in college though, Pat had a career passer rating of 147.62, had 52 TDs, and a 64.6% pass completion rate.

TI-0, He never threw a TD, and he’s 0-5 for passes in his career.

R-0, He ran 21 times in his career, but a lot of that was in one game, he has 81 rushing yards.

N-0, He’s out of football, signed a baseball contract with the Royals

YPA- 0. He never completed a pass.

His overall rating is a 39.6, but he only threw 5 passes in his career, completing none of them. No picks or TDs. He didn’t have injury problems because he was never on the field, or any significant injuries. His overall rating is a 0 out of 30, he is a complete bust, you couldn’t get more of a bust if you tried. He had high expectations, but fell short when he couldn’t beat out two average at best QBs. He was a complete and utter disappointment to Fins fans.

In this draft, the only other QBs taken in the first and second round were Mark Sanchez and Matthew Stafford, both top 5 picks, and pocket QBs. Freeman has done better statistically than both. Stafford can’t stay healthy (has played only 13 games in his two seasons, despite having the starter job when he’s healthy), and Sanchez hasn’t done poorly He had good start to the season (8TDs no INTS in first 4 games) but then fizzled out down the stretch (9TDs 13 INTS last 12 games). He’s only missed one game and has shown he can play. The best QB out of the bunch clearly was Freeman, but both of the pocket QBs have potential. They just need to stay consistent and healthy. 

That’s it for the 2009 draft. One absolute hit and a huge disappointment, now onto 2008 draft, and two pocket QBs who could be really good but it’s a little early to tell.

There were no “dual threat” QBs in this draft, but the pocket QBs in this draft ended up doing really well.

Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco were the two first round QBs taken, Matt being taken with the 3rd pick, Flacco with the 18th, and Chad Henne and Brain Brohm being taken in the 2nd round. Matt Ryan has had his ups and downs, but he has done pretty well considering the situation he was put it. He won OROTY, and just went to his first pro bowl. He has not won a playoff game, and played average in them (3 TDs, 4 INTS), and did not throw for more than 200 yards in either. He is young, but he’s doing a lot better than most young QBs.

Flacco is most known for  playing terrible in playoff games (4 TDs, 7 INTs, 3 TDs came in this year’s playoffs along with one pick, so before that in 5 playoff games his stats were 1 TD, 6 INTS). It’s safe to say he is a big reason the Ravens aren’t going far in the playoffs. Other than that, he plays well in the regular season (60 TDs, 34 INTs in 3 seasons). He’s not even close to being mobile, but has a big arm, and if he starts to play well in the playoffs, the Ravens could be a dangerous team.

There isn’t a lot to say about Brian Brohm. He was drafted to the Packers in the 2nd round, and lost the backup QB job to Matt Flynn. He was cut from the Packers last season and is working with the Bills now, he’s a bust.

Chad Henne is OK. He got his chance to start last year, and threw 12 TDs to 14 INTs in 14 games. This year though, he was benched midway through the season due to poor play, and then was the starter again once Pennington got hurt, and then he himself got hurt and only played 8 games. He threw 15 TDs and 19 INTS. The Dolphins usually have a pretty good run game, and a decent OL led by Jake Long. He’s got one of the best WRs in the game in Brandon Marshall, and a good possession receiver in Davone Bess. He’s got a decent D, and a fantastic arm. It’s all up to him if he can make it work, but he was an ok pick. Not a bust, or a great pick, but still could easily go either way.

Now onto 2007 draft. This was just an outright scary draft for everyone Especially the QBs. Here are some QBs from the first two rounds… JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, Kevin Kolb (who still might be good, he’s in the middle right now because he’s likely to get traded), John Beck, and Drew Stanton. Quinn could run some, along with Stanton and Beck, but they weren’t considered dual threats. Almost all busts here, there isn’t much to say.

Vince Young, 3, Titans. S-3. He got his chance to start, but he kept losing it to injury or ineptness. Wasn’t the most consistent and first year was vastly overrated. He ran for 3,127 yards in college with 37 TDs. He wasn’t a terrible passer, but they ran a lot of designed runs with him and about 1/4 of his drop backs he ran in college. So passing wasn’t the highest priority for him.

TI-3. His ratio was exactly 1-1, with low volume

R-5. He could rush, this you can’t deny. It’s the best thing he does.

N-2. He’s looking for a job after being released, not sure if it’s official, but Bud Adams announced it so it’ll happen. No idea if he’ll get a starting job, probably will be part of some training camp battle.

YPA: 6.8, 3. Decent I guess, but running QBs don’t usually have large YPAs.

Overall QB rating was a 75.7. Overall scale rating is a 15-25. He wasn’t a bust, but he wasn’t the franchise QB the Titans desperately needed. He could run no question, but his leadership, durability, and maturity were all in question, along with his passing skills and decision skills. He was about an average QB for awhile, and earned 2 pretty undeserving pro bowls due to at  lot of injuries. His best season was ’09 but was inconsistent this season and sealed his own fate by storming out on the head coach. He’s injury prone, not that great of a passer, and was expensive. For a 3rd pick, he wasn’t a bust, he was just a massive disappointment that leaves the Titans QBless, playoff winless, and Jeff Fisher…less…

Jay Cutler, 11th, Broncos. He’s not technically with the Broncos, but I’ll lump his career together to make it simpler. S-4. He’s had the starting job since he won it from Jake Plummer. I don’t recall any significant injuries to him besides the playoff knee thing, and I’ve had a similar injury to him, I don’t blame him for coming out.  Cutler ran over 100 times in each of his college seasons, and averaged nearly 300 yards in a season and had 17TDs in his career. He ran a lot; he didn’t seem to get a lot of yardage from it, averaging around 2.5 yards per carry for his college career.

TI-4, it’s about 1.5TDs to 1INT. It’s good for a scrambler QB I guess.

R-2, Meh, he averages around 200 yards and a TD a year, not the feared dual threat expected. Runs a few times a game.

N-5. He has a stable starting job around a contender. He got hurt in a playoff game, but was the reason they even got there. Not going anywhere.

YPA-4, 7.2 YPA, Not bad actually, he’s the typical big armed QB, hate him some days, love him the next. Just how it goes.

Overall his QB rating was a 84.3, which is good. His scale rating is a 19-25. He was a good pick, but they traded him away. I have a feeling he’d be better if he had a lot better OL, sound familiar? And having a receiver that can catch wouldn’t hurt. He’s not the complete dual threat, but he gets the job done both ways. He fumbles around 10 times a year, along with around 16-18 picks on average. So he’s a turnover machine, but he’s still one of the better QBs in the league.

Tarvaris Jackson, 64, Vikings. He just made the cut, was hoping he would, S-2, he got his chance to start, what he did with it was a different story. Was inept most of the time and got hurt a lot. Nothing major but a few dings, ended up on IR this year. Adrian Peterson’s their RB, so I’ll forgive him for not passing it a lot.  He ran for 938 yards in college and 11TDs, but ran it 275 times. He is similar to Cutler in this way, he runs a lot, but a lot at the wrong time, and usually doesn’t get much yardage. What was probably most appealing to him at the time was his 25TDs and 5 INTs in his last season, and still ran around 100 times, but again gaining only 271 yards in college.

TI-3. It’s slightly above 1 to 1 ratio. Meh

R-2.5. When he was on he tried to run a lot, just kindof failed. He didn’t play a lot so he didn’t get a lot of attempts or chances, but didn’t add much of a spark.

N-2. He’s a backup to Favre, and likely an early round QB and Joe Webb. Might not make the roster next year and is expensive.

YPA-3, 6.6 YPA. Eh, VY esk. Wasn’t all that impressive to start out with, just was a huge disappointment.

Overall his rating was 76.6, and his scale rating was a 12.5 out of 25. There just isn’t a lot to talk about him, he didn’t get to play a lot when he just had to beat out lousy competition. Let’s be realistic, with AP, you’d have to be at least a below average QB, and you’d be ok. Nothing special at all about him. He had a stretch of a few decent games in 08, but then Favre came and he didn’t have a chance to play at all. On the brink of a bust, a huge disappointment considering he just had to beat out Gus Ferotte.

Pocket QBs of 2006 draft

Matt Leinart… Oh Matt. He lost his job to Kurt Warner multiple times. He played 12 games as a rookie, but then only played 17 more for the rest of his career. He wasn’t that great, and was recently cut by the Cardinals and now is on the Houston Texans. Bust

Kellen Clemens, drafted by the Jets in the 2nd round. He’s played 25 games in his 5 season career, and when he’s played he’s been nothing but a disappointment. He’s a pocket QB, but he lacks accuracy, consistency, and decision making, pretty much anything to do with being a great QB. He’s a bust, and had multiple chances to win the starting job, recently lost it to Mark Sanchez.

Time for the last draft I’ll discuss, the 2005.

Alex Smith, 1, SF. He ran a 4.6 at the combine, and ran for over 1000 yards, and scored 10 rushing TDs in his last college season. He can run when he wants to, can be considered a dual threat, but he isn’t great at either really. S-3. His starting job has gone in and out, and he get’s injured a lot. Usually has decent run game…. Changes OC almost every year and HC too. To his credit must be difficult.

TI-3. It’s 51 TDs to 53 INTs, so about a 1 to 1. Meh, just a huge disappointment.

R-1. For a guy who was supposed to be a major dual threat, the he hardly ever ran. And when he did he usually got hurt. He has 2 rushing TDs in his carrer, no idea if he got lazy with speed exercises or whatever, but he clearly lost speed or just learned from LBs that running near them isn’t a good idea.

N-3. He’s still on SF, but he might get cut/replaced/traded any second now, lost his job multiple times, and the 49ers just changed HC again. He doesn’t have a high chance of success when he can’t get comfortable with a system or get WRs.

YPA-6.2, 3. Just bad YPA. Huge disappointment for SF fans. He’ll go down as a huge bust, as he should, but who knows what might havehappened if put into a better place?

Aaron Rodgers, 24, GB. S-3. He didn’t start til Farve left, but he was drafted to be his replacement. Coming off a SB MVP, he’s done pretty well. He’s mobile and he can pass well.  He ran for 336 yards in college and 8 TDs. I’m not calling him a mobile or pocket QB, he’s more in the middle because he can do both, but isn’t spectacular at either. But he’s a lot better passer than runner.

TI-5.5. His ratio is almost a 2.5TD to 1 INT, doesn’t turn it over a lot.

R-3. Rushes around 60 times a year, doesn’t run as much as Young, but he runs when he wants to and a few times a game.

N-5. He just won the SB, he’s not going anywhere,

YPA-4.5, 7.9 YPA. Aw .1 away from a 5, he is a valid QB.

His overall rating is a 98.2, and scale rating is 21-25, and he’s done incredibly well. He’s SBMVP, and played a great season. I don’t want to add to the constant reminder that the Colts didn’t win the SB this year, but he played pretty good with a lot of pressure on.  Great pick.

Passing QBs

Jason Campbell had 50 yards rushing in last season in college, and 3TDs. It’s safe to say he’s not a dual threat, and has been an OK pick. He hasn’t been given a fair shot to succeed with bad OL, revolving door at WR, multiple HC and OC, and played in one of the toughest divisions. He’s been OK, but wait until you see him play in the same system for more than 2 years, or get a decent group of WRs before he’s called a bust. He’s not a bust or a good pick, just kind of a meh pick.

1998 draft

Peyton Manning, 1, Colts. S-3. It’s not an S-5 just because no one ever gets drafted to replace him. Rumors are swirling around that Manning has something on Polian, and there has been recent speculation from Colts fans that Polian should be fired, so we’ll have to go with their completely accurate assumption even oddly enough the Colts seem to be winning… If he goes, Manning probably will too. Colts fans are hopeful that recently drafted QB Curtis Painter can overtake the old tired out QB. It’s been attempted before, but In 07 Josh Betts was told he had a right to compete for the job, but mysteriously disappeared after that…

TI-2, with sure handed receivers like Pierre Garcon and burners like Blair White around, it’s a wonder Manning throws as many picks as he does. His outstanding OL led by Ryan Diem and Charlie Johnson, and a stellar run gain led by the reliable Donald Brown, show no reason why Manning should struggle at all.

R- -5. This is your dual threat guy? He’s painfully slow, and doesn’t show the same burst that he did back in college. It looks like something went wrong with his brain once he get drafted and he can’t run yet, further evidence that indicates this is if you talk to opposing defenders, he speaks gibberish to them the whole time. For some odd reason when Manning gets to the line he starts making insane motions with his hands and calls out random names. He’s even said in interviews he’s got no idea what he’s doing and he just tells Clark to run an out route

N-2. He’s still a starter, but after Painter’s strong showing last year they are hopeful he can back it up this preseason and dethrone him It’s amazing that with the amazing defenders around him like Aaron Fransisco and Ken Hamlin that Manning has one super bowl, how people don’t realize it’s all his fault amazes me. He has also had some off the field trouble. He was seen after winning the SB after the 06 season volunteering at United Way taking care of underprivileged kids. Peyton then had the bright idea to play football with him, and pelted the kids with footballs for two hours. He then made a kid sit in a port a john for what was said to be 20 minutes but he forgot about him. Manning  was then arrested later that day for trying to break into a car with the kids, and  he is still not allowed near young children.

YPA, Who cares? Stats don’t tell us anything, most important thing is playoff wins and rings to tell what kind of player you are.

Overall, Colts fans have come to regret this pick. From him blowing up at his center on the sideline, to selfishly keeping the ball for himself in an OAK game instead of leaving the game in the hands of his capable RB and OL. He has only one SB, and was taken ahead of the misunderstood and lovable Ryan Leaf, who’s career could have been miraculous if it wasn’t for the people around him lack of D, OL, and trusty receivers. His lone SB win was off the regular season which was lead by the D bending but not breaking. Allowing big chunks of yardage at a time even long TDs, but just not breaking. How he is still around is beyond me.

All kidding aside, I think this article illustrates my point. For the last 6 years, “dual threat” QBs often do poorly. 2 of the QBs were good, and Cutler is inconsistent, and the rest were terrible busts. Even then, the QBs who were considered to be great at both, all failed besides Josh Freeman. The chances of you getting a dual threat QB in the 1st and 2nd round that will be with you for a long time are almost slim to none.

It is very rare that a Vick or a Tarkenton comes along. GM’s who want a franchise QB should pick a freaking pocket passer. QBs who can run some still aren’t as successful as the true pocket ones like Manning, Brady, and Brees.