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Just The Sports: What About Erik Ainge?

Just The Sports

Thursday, January 17, 2008

What About Erik Ainge?

As I am writing this post, NFL Draft Scout has seven draft eligible quarterbacks ranked ahead of Erik Ainge in terms of which round they are projected to be drafted. Five of these quarterbacks (Matt Ryan, Brian Brohm, Andre Woodson, Chad Henne, and John David Booty) I will discuss here and the other two (Colt Brennan and Joe Flacco) I have already written about and do not want to rehash their quarterback statistics. Now, I do not think Ainge is a particularly exceptional quarterback and would not draft him if I were in charge of an NFL team's personnel acquisitions, but I am going to use him as an example to demonstrate there is so little difference between the quarterbacks in this draft, only one or maybe two quarterbacks even deserve to be drafted in the first or second round.

During his tenure at the University of Tennessee, in games where he either threw the most pass attempts or threw for the most passing yards for his team, Ainge completed 61.7% of his passes and 7.3 yards per pass attempt. These numbers are neither exceptional nor spectacular nor extraordinary nor even eye-opening, but for all the statistics' ordinary behavior, only one quarterback has numbers that are significantly better. That quarterback is Brian Brohm, who at Louisville, completed 65.8% of his passes for 9.2 yards per pass attempt and is really the only one of the quarterbacks I looked at who is worthy of a high draft pick. If Ainge has matched the other quarterbacks' production while not garnering any special attention for his exploits on the field, NFL teams would be wise to not spend large amounts of money to sign the other players.

After looking through the career statistics for the aforementioned quarterbacks, two stood out as being particularly unworthy of a high draft choice: Matt Ryan and Chad Henne. What scouts and the like see in Matt Ryan that makes him look like a first rounder confusticates me to no end. It surely cannot be his accuracy because his 59.6% is not indicative of any great talent in that department so it must be his intangibles, which are basically worthless outside of the mind of a scout or typical, cliche-loving sports analyst person. Chad Henne is equally inaccurate (59.7% completion percentage) and really his only distinction over the other quarterbacks is similar to the one Brady Quinn had, another quarterback with a career college completion percentage under 60%, which is he started for four years.

The only quarterback besides Brohm who even completed over 63.0% of his pass attempts is John David Booty (63.2%) and even the shine off that completion percentage dulls when it is taken into account he only really threw 766 significant pass attempts at the University of Southern California, making him the only quarterback of the six who did not even attempt 1,000 passes during his college football days.

Projections mean very little at this time of year as no one can really be 100% certain a player will be drafted in a certain position, but one thing is for sure, and that is the fact this is a very weak quarterback class so teams would do well to avoid these quarterbacks unless the quarterback's name is Brian Brohm or Colt Brennan or Joe Flacco.



  • You still think Colt Brennan is top draft material after his showing against Georgia and his performance at the Senior Bowl? Brennan won't have the benefit of sloppy defenders in the NFL.

    By Anonymous Football Mike, at 7:56 AM  

  • Ainge is the best peyton manning, tom brady type qb, in this entire draft. Why? he 'doesn't get sacked', he 'throws every ball', his pocket presence 'in the clutch' is very good, and he wins.
    he can get sloppy with a lead. he must be constantly reminded to extend the lead. coaches must know he plays much better in an 'up tempo offense'. he mostly had to play a slower, NFL-type offense at u.t. it got u.t. two "sec eastern conference championships" in ainge's three years as "the man", but no out-right championships. in 2004 and 2006 they had the talent, but so did auburn and l.s.u.
    Look at his four year stats. at U.T.: he's a winner! 3-0 -v- georgia; two between the hedges. both were comback wins. he had a winning record against every SEC team except Florida, and was 1-2 -v- LSU. he's the unknown steal of this draft!
    He's got 'six feet five and and a half inches' and that 'can't be taught'. he's got 225 lbs at 21. he's mature beyond his years and a leader in the huddle.
    he's definitely a "gamer", but that's what all of the really good qb's had, 'the ability to make plays' when 'no one thinks a play can be made'. he's done it as a 'four year starter' for a 'winning program' in the 'toughest conference' in the u.s.a.
    surround this kid with 'play-makers' and a good "O" line and 'plays will be made'. he's better than eli manning was at the same stage in my opinion. ainge was 3-0 -v- woodson head to head, two in kentucky. 3-0 -v- south carolina, two in carolina. his "o" coordinator his junior and senior year, used the talent u.t. had to get 'completions at a high percentage'. also, ainge's senior year, the vols had very, lets say, mediocre receivers, who he made look very good and too many times very bad. when he'd stick it on their numbers and we all watched the key drops. their must have been 85 dropped balls, at least, right in peoples hands, in 14 games played.
    ainge still beat mannings single season 'completion's record' at u.t. and had already beat mannings single season 'passing percentage'. he's great with the press!
    he's tough and played hurt every year. the three years u.t. gave ainge the football, u.t. won 10, 9 and 10 football games!
    if a team wants an 'honorable man' who can develop 'very quickly' to be a q.b. who lead's his teammates to wins, ainge is your guy. i honestly don't see any sunday magic from this entire q.b draft, (i.e 1st rounders), except ainge...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:29 AM  

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