NFL Quarterback Draft Prospect: Colt McCoy
Accuracy, which is the most important characteristic a quarterback can have in today's NFL, is an attribute McCoy has in abundance, setting him far above the three other Greg Davis-coached quarterbacks. Over his career, Colt McCoy completed 70.2% of his passes, giving him a statistically significant advantage over the rest of the quarterbacks; his 8.0 yards per pass attempt are in line with the rest of the quarterbacks, but yards per pass attempt do not translate to the NFL the way that completion percentage does. Even Vince Young, who received way too much credit as a quarterback for what he did in leading the University of Texas to a BCS championship, did not come close to matching Colt McCoy's spectacular accuracy, completing 62.9% of his passes in games where he played a significant amount of time. That completion percentage is nothing for him to be ashamed of for a pro-style quarterback, but for the kind of spread offense Davis had Young running, it is simply not elite.
The other two quarterbacks barely warrant a mention, but I will do so anyway in the spirit of full disclosure. It is no surprise Applewhite was not drafted due to his abysmal 57.8% completion percentage and it is no surprise Chris Simms did not ever succeed in the NFL with a 58.8% completion percentage while playing for the Longhorns. Only the fact his last name is Simms could explain why such a mediocre college quarterback was given a chance to start for an NFL franchise. When looking for quarterbacks, NFL teams should only look at the ones with elite numbers, not someone who wows a person with arm strength or any other immaterial attribute scouts salivate over.
Another reason I back McCoy to succeed in the NFL concerns why I am hesitant over the future of Clausen's career. Like Clausen, McCoy had a giant leap in his completion percentage between his sophomore and junior seasons; McCoy's completion percentage increased from 65.1% to 76.7%. Fortunately, McCoy came back for his senior year and while he understandably regressed to the mean with a completion percentage of 70.5%, he showed that even when he is not at his best, he is still an elite quarterback.
What makes McCoy's statistics even more remarkable is the fact he was putting up those numbers with a rapidly disappearing running game. Over his tenure as offensive coordinator, Greg Davis seemingly forgot that he was still allowed to run the ball to give his offense enough balance to keep defenses from simply keying on the pass. Even with the lion's share of the offensive load squarely on McCoy's shoulders, he did not falter and managed to cement his status as the best of all the quarterbacks Greg Davis has coached.
NFL teams need not use a first round draft pick on McCoy; all they need to do is give him a real chance to quarterback a team. That means allowing him to work through any rough patches he might have at first since they have confidence he will work through them and become a very good quarterback. If no team does, they will be missing out on a fine player.