- College football teams that lost quarterbacks to the NFL Draft are averaging 5 points fewer per game in 2023.
- Only three out of fourteen teams are scoring more points after their quarterbacks were drafted.
- Half of the analyzed teams witnessed a decrease of more than 8 points per game.
The departure of starting quarterbacks to the NFL Draft has historically been a challenging transition for college football teams. The 2023 season has highlighted this trend, with a significant majority of teams experiencing a notable dip in offensive production.
Scoring Struggles After QB NFL Draft Departures
Alabama and Ohio State exemplify the trend of teams reeling from the loss of quarterbacks to the NFL Draft, with their scoring reduced by 8.1 and 11.1 points per game, respectively. With Bryce Young and CJ Stroud making their mark in the NFL, the latter potentially eyeing MVP honors, their former college football teams, while still competing at the top level, have taken a small step back on offense.
The average total points per game (in FBS vs. FBS matchups) of teams who lost QBs to the NFL is 4.99 less in 2023 than 2022.
UCLA is the team with the biggest offensive drop-off. They are averaging 16 points per game less this season with the loss of Dorian Thompson-Robinson to the NFL.
Unlikely Upticks in Post-Draft Performance
While many teams face a downturn, Kentucky’s offensive has intriguingly surged by 9.7 points per game following Will Levis’s move to the NFL. This suggests that, at times, the departure of a key player can serve as a catalyst for the remaining team members to step up.
It also prompts a reevaluation of team dynamics and the opportunities that arise when a star player departs and a collective effort fills the void.
Only two other teams managed to improve their year-over-year points per game after losing a QB to the NFL Draft. Those teams are Fresno State and Stanford.
The Significant Scoring Impact of Departed QBs
UCLA’s substantial 16-point drop underscores the importance of a quarterback in collegiate play. Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s departure left a gap that the team struggled to fill. The same can be said for at least half the teams that lost QBs to the draft, who are scoring at least 8 points per game fewer in 2023.
The data paints a clear picture: the transition period post-draft is one of the most critical times for a college team, requiring depth, adaptability, and sometimes a complete strategy overhaul to maintain scoring efficiency.
Year-Over-Year Scoring Difference for Teams with Drafted QBs
- UCLA -16.0
- Tennessee -12.3
- Houston -12
- Ohio State -11.1
- Alabama -8.1
- TCU -9.80
- BYU -9.80
- Georgia -1.8
- Penn State -0.9
- Purdue -0.6
- Florida -0.4
- Fresno State 2
- Stanford 1.2
- Kentucky 9.7
“The impact of losing quarterbacks to the NFL Draft is starkly evident this season, with teams like UCLA facing the brunt of this transition, dropping an average of 16 points per game,” says Nick Raffoul, Head of News at TheSportsDaily.
“The void left by talents such as CJ Stroud and first pick Bryce Young is significant, as we’ve seen their former teams scramble to fill their shoes. However, it’s not all doom and gloom—this shift often acts as a proving ground, pushing teams to innovate and adapt in ways they haven’t before. The significance of the quarterback role to college football teams should not be underestimated.”