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Quantifying Quarterbacks is an NFL Draft focused quarterback charting project geared toward providing as much information about as much of a quarterback's recent career as possible. Over 20 data points are recorded for any given pass attempt, ranging from down-and-distance, personnel grouping, play-action, depth of target, accuracy, and much more. Quantifying Quarterbacks charts the entirety of a quarterback's final college season, as well as a smaller sample (four games) from their previous season. All of this charting is done manually by me during and after the college football season. For a more in-depth look at what exactly Quantifying Quarterbacks is, here is a link to last year's final product: 2020 Quantifying Quarterbacks.
Distance (Usage Rate)
17/32 (5 TD, 1 INT)
3/7 (1 TD)
4/5 (1 TD, 1 INT)
7/19 (3 TD)
31/63 (10 TD, 2 INT)
2/5 (1 INT)
9/14 (1 INT)
5/7 (1 TD)
7/17 (2 INT)
4/8 (2 TD)
21/41 (3 TD, 2 INT)
18/24 (2 TD, 1 INT)
17/24 (1 TD, 1 INT)
16/25 (2 TD)
69/96 (5 TD, 2 INT)
13/21 (1 TD)
20/27 (1 TD, 2 INT)
16/18 (1 TD)
63/81 (3 TD, 2 INT)
60/88 (8 TD, 3 INT)
51/81 (3 TD, 3 INT)
62/82 (2 TD, 3 INT)
48/78 (8 TD)
221/329 (22 TD, 8 INT)
Games Charted: All 2019 regular season
Blatant Drops: 13 (3.95%)
Forced Adjustments: 24 (7.29%)
Contested Drops: 26 (7.90%)
Passes Defended: 29 (8.81%)
Explosive: 42 (12.77%)
We will get to Newman’s adjusted accuracy in a bit, so let’s break down why his numbers may look the way they do. Newman has the unfortunate blend of having very few passes behind the line of scrimmage while also being bad at those passes. While I do dock points for throws behind the line of scrimmage when adjusted for accuracy numbers, they are basically free throws, and still help inflate accuracy numbers if done well and at a decent rate. Neither is true for Newman, as holds the lowest marks in both target rate and accuracy to that area.
Now, a quarterback can still overcome this. Zach Wilson, for example, is almost equally bad throwing to that area and seldom even did so. The difference is Wilson crushed every other area, whereas Newman did not. More specifically, Newman targeted beyond 20 yards at an insane rate — nearly 20% — Newman’s deep accuracy was about average. That is not really going to help boost overall accuracy numbers, even at the volume he threw those passes. While I do add extra points for accurate throws beyond 20 yards, they are still low percentage throws for anyone, and Newman was not particularly special on those throws.
More concerning, however, is that Newman was abysmal in the 11-15 yard range. Part of that can be explained by Wake Forest’s scheme. Many of their RPO (run-pass options) were executed with a delayed mesh exchange, which is pretty unique to their offense. In turn, pulling the ball late and trying to throw those 12-ish yard glance routes over the middle can be tricky. Still, that is not enough to explain the inaccuracies. Newman’s 51.22% accuracy between 11-15 yards is the worst second-worst number since 2019, only faring better than Jarrett Stidham (47.62%).
The accuracy issues also show up in some of Newman’s “extras” categories. Newman came in with subpar marks in catches requiring adjustments, contested drops, and passes defended. It seemed Newman was constantly putting the ball within arm’s reach of a defender or making things difficult on his wide receivers. Granted, it’s not like Wake Forest’s wide receivers were studs who were always wide open and Newman was simply failing them, but it’s hard to argue Newman ever did much to make them better.
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ACCURACY AND ENVIRONMENT
Adjusted Accuracy: 68.75%
Outside the Pocket Percentage: 5.78%
Adjusted Accuracy Outside the Pocket: 63.16%
Under Pressure Percentage: 18.24%
Adjusted Accuracy Under Pressure: 56.17%
Most Common Personnel Package: 11 personnel (57.75%)
Shotgun Percentage: 100.00%
Empty Formations Frequency: 10.03%
Play-Action / RPO Percentage: 31.00%
Play-Action Adjusted Accuracy: 78.63%
Designed Rollout Frequency: 2.74%
Let’s start with the basics and work from there. Newman finished with a 68.75% adjusted accuracy rating, which is neither good nor terrible. If anything, it’s probably slightly below average, but not so damning that it takes Newman out of contention for being a mid-round pick. It’s rare that anyone projected as a mid-round pick rocks dazzling accuracy numbers anyway, and if they have, it’s usually the case that those players do not have great physical tools (i.e. Mike White in 2018, Will Grier in 2019).
Newman also played in (by far) the least favorable offense among the other 2021 QBs charted so far, so it’s no surprise he finishes well below them. Wake Forest’s offense was fine, but the offensive line was a bit of a sieve and none of the receivers were legit studs like the guys at Alabama, Clemson, etc., even if it was a perfectly solid WR corps.
The most unsettling part of Newman’s profile, though, is how little he played outside the pocket. Newman hardly ever moved out of the pocket, either by design or by choice. Newman’s 5.78% of passes from outside the pocket is 4% lower than Mac Jones, who previously held the lowest mark in this category by about 4% as well. Likewise, only 2.78% of Newman’s passes were designed rollouts, which is easily the lowest in the class thus far.
What’s perplexing about all of this is that Newman is actually a good athlete. He’s not quite like the elite athletes at the top of this class, but Newman can move around plenty well and is a really strong, explosive athlete when he gets going. There should be nothing stopping him from having more plays where he bails the pocket and looks to create. And yet, Newman rarely ever does so, instead opting to hang in the pocket for as long as possible. Granted, Newman does flash wonderful poise and adequate pocket management, but the fact that he simply refuses to be a playmaker is worrisome. It’s becoming increasingly necessary to be able to play outside the pocket in today’s NFL and Newman seems to have zero interest in doing so, and was not particularly impressive when forced to do it.
That being said, Newman did produce fairly well under pressure. Though 56.17% adjusted accuracy under pressure falls short of many of this year’s elite prospects, it would have been above average compared to the 2020 class. In fact, it would have been better than all but Joe Burrow last year, and is still better than Trey Lance this year. Newman plays with an unshakeable bravado in the pocket and has a tall, strong frame that makes it easy for him to throw with bodies around. Newman also has fairly impressive pocket movement to help buy himself time. If nothing else, it’s clear that Newman is plenty confident and aggressive enough to play in the league.
Avg. Number of Pass Rushers: 4.55
Three or Fewer Pass Rushers Frequency: 10.94%
Four Pass Rushers Frequency: 43.16%
Five Pass Rushers Frequency: 28.27%
Six or More Pass Rushers Frequency: 17.63%
Newman’s pass-rush distribution is fascinating. At 4.55 average rushers, Newman has the second-highest mark in this class so far, just barely trailing Trey Lance (4.56). However, Newman also faced the highest amount of three-man rushes in this class at nearly 11%. It’s not often a player is seeing that many three-man rushes, yet still pulling one of the highest average pass-rush counts. The reason, of course, is that Newman saw a ton of five- and six-man pressures, due in large part to Wake Forest’s offensive line being a disaster and susceptible to blowing protections with extra rushers added on.
3rd/4th Down Adjusted Accuracy: 69.20%
3rd/4th Down Conversion Rate: 55.00%
4th Quarter/Overtime Adjusted Accuracy: 68.44%
Red Zone Adjusted Accuracy: 66.14%
A perplexing, yet somewhat encouraging point of data for Newman is how he handled third downs. In terms of accuracy, Newman is rather lackluster, though certainly not a disaster. If nothing else, it’s fine to see his third down accuracy right near his overall accuracy. His conversion rate, however, is fantastic and trails only Justin Fields in this class. Newman is an aggressive passer and has no reservations about holding onto the ball, perhaps for too long at times, in order to guarantee a play near the sticks. Being poised and aggressive enough to stand tall on third downs in huge and Newman certainly has that going for him.
Newman’s other two situational accuracy numbers are underwhelming. On the one hand, they are not worrisome in the sense that they are right around his base overall accuracy numbers. It’s still discouraging that Newman does not seem to rise to the occasion in either area. That’s not necessarily a knock so much as it’s a lack of praise, but for a profile desperately needing some sort of boost, it hurts to see.