Who to Pick at 6? Trubisky or Watson?

on

Mitchell Trubisky (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Mitchell Trubisky (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

With the 2017 Draft only a little more than a week away, it’s time to start speculating about who the New York Jets are going to take at No. 6.  Most credible mock drafts have it down to three positions, quarterback, safety and cornerback. I’ll cover all three, but for this article we are looking at the quarterbacks who are being rumored for the Jets at No. 6.

There are five quarterbacks who have been rumored to be First Round picks for the last ten months. Those players are Mitchell Trubisky from UNC, DeShaun Watson from Clemson, Pat Mahomes II from Texas Tech, DeShone Kizer from Notre Dame and Brad Kaaya from Miami. The two quarterbacks that have been linked to the Jets are Trubisky and Watson. We’ll break them down using five separate categories. First, is how to look at their basic traits and measurables; that means height, weight, athletic ability, etc. Secondly, is their arm talent and passing skills. Third, is their ability in the pocket. Fourth, is the mental side of the game. Lastly, any intangibles, overall grade and scheme fit. From looking at these five categories we will be able to decide which quarterback the Jets should take at No. 6.

Basics

Watson and Trubisky are almost identical in size. They both come in at 6’2 and weigh between 220 and 225. As for athletic ability, most people assume that DeShaun Watson is a better athlete. However, that isn’t exactly true. Although Watson does look faster and quicker on film, Trubisky tested just as well at the combine. In Indianapolis, Trubisky posted a faster 3-Cone time and only came in 0.01 second slower than Watson’s 40 yard dash time. Watson, though, made better use of his athletic ability, posting very good rushing numbers for a Quarterback. In total, Watson had 629 yards on the ground with nine rushing touchdowns compared to Trubisky’s 308 yards and five touchdowns. 

2016 Rushing Stats

Player

Team

Pos.

Attempts

Yards

Yd/Cry

TD

Watson, DeShaun

Clemson

QB

165

629

3.8

9

Kizer, DeShone

Notre Dame

QB

129

472

3.7

8

Trubisky, Mitchell

UNC

QB

93

308

3.3

5

Mahomes, Patrick

Texas Tech

QB

131

285

2.2

12

When looking at how they performed against top talent the difference really starts to show. I consider top talent meaning a Power 5 team, a ranked team, or how they competed in a bowl game. When looking at those numbers, Watson posted 43.5 yards per game compared to Trubisky’s 18.9 and Watson had a whole yard per carry advantage over Trubisky.

2016 Rushing Stats Per Game v. 5RB

Player

Team

Pos.

Attempts

Yards

Yd/Cry

TD

Watson, DeShaun

Clemson

QB

11.8

43.5

3.7

0.7

Kizer, DeShone

Notre Dame

QB

11.4

34.7

3.0

0.8

Mahomes, Patrick

Texas Tech

QB

10.9

19.1

1.8

0.9

Trubisky, Mitchell

UNC

QB

7.1

18.9

2.7

0.5

As for injury history, Watson had a few injuries including a torn ACL in 2014, but he hasn’t had anything recently. Trubisky doesn’t have anything of mention at all. Lastly, we need to look at their experience, their 2016 ESPN QBR, and their accolades. Watson had a better QBR, but not by much. He came in at 1.5 points higher than Trubisky. As for experience, we’ll have to calculate two things. Wins and number of years in college. For wins, Watson is obviously going to have the edge. Watson has been a starter since 2014, while Trubisky only grabbed the starting position this year. The win numbers were all calculated by hand, so I apologize if there is a small degree of error. 

Player

Team

Wins

Win %

16 Wins

16 Win %

16 5RB Wins

16 5RB Win %

Nat’ Titles

Major Bowl Wins

Minor Bowl Wins

Conference Titles

16 QBR

Watson, DeShaun

Clemson

32

82.1%

14

93.3%

12

92.3%

1

2

0

2

84.9

Kaaya, Brad

Miami

23

59.0%

9

69.2%

6

66.7%

0

0

1

0

71.4

Mahomes, Patrick

Texas Tech

13

44.8%

5

41.7%

3

20.0%

0

0

0

0

84.3

Kizer, DeShone

Notre Dame

12

52.2%

4

33.3%

2

22.2%

0

0

0

0

70.3

Trubisky, Mitchell

UNC

8

61.5%

8

61.5%

6

54.5%

0

0

0

0

83.4

Now, college wins may not sound important, but they are. After looking over the last three years of Pro-Bowl, All-Pro and MVP quarterbacks, only one of them had less than 14 wins, and that was Drew Brees. When looking at these numbers, please note that anyone drafted before 2005 it was a little difficult to get the numbers on. However, I’m willing to wager I’m not off by much at all. Only one quarterback of the 22 different quarterbacks who have been selected to the Pro-Bowl or All-Pro rosters over the last three years have had less than 14 college wins. That seems significant to me. That makes Trubisky’s eight total college wins a serious issue. 

As for years in college, again you may not think it’s important. Yet, history tells us otherwise. Of the six All-Pro quarterbacks we’ve had in the last three years, only Aaron Rodgers came out of college before entering a fourth year. When expanding the pool to include Pro-Bowlers we add four more. Those four are Ben Roethlisberger, Matthew Stafford, Teddy Bridgewater and Alex Smith. The one thing that I’d argue that each of the Quarterbacks I mentioned previously have in common, is that they all had undeniable first round talent coming into the draft. Watson and Trubisky do not have that. Luckily for Trubisky, he was in college for four years. Watson, though, is leaving as a true junior. Will this have any impact? I don’t know, but I do see what history has shown us. 

Finally we get to their accolades. DeShaun Watson had an unbelievable college career. He’s a two time Heisman Finalist, a two time Davey O’Brien Award winner and two time Manning Award winner, which goes to the nation’s “top” Quarterback, a Walter Camp Award winner and two time Finalist, which is given to the nation’s “best” player, a First Team All-American, a Second Team All-American, an ACC Player of the Year, an ACC Offensive Player of the Year, a First Team All-ACC player, a Second Team All-ACC player, a two time ACC Champion, an Orange Bowl Champion, a Fiesta Bowl Champion and a National Champion. Mitchell Trubisky was Third Team All-ACC this year. 

Passing Skills

Both quarterbacks have an excellent release and can use a little bit of work to their footwork.  Trubisky’s arm is pretty good for a NFL QB, while Watson’s isn’t. On film, Watson could throw the deep pass but his throws would float at times. Then he came into the combine and threw at 49 MPH. For comparison, that is the slowest of any major quarterback in this draft. Clocking how fast a quarterback throws at the combine is a pretty recent thing. Still, of the ones that have been timed that have become Pro-Bowlers and All-Pros, all of them came in at least at 54 MPH, expect Tyrod Taylor who came in at 50 MPH. Mitchell Trubisky came in at 55 MPH. This may not seem like a huge deal, but football is a game of inches. Taking off five MPH from your throw allows a Cornerback or Safety a lot of time to make up those inches on your target. It becomes an even bigger issue when you watch Watson on film. Statically, Watson was pretty accurate coming in second only behind Trubisky in completion percentage. However, Watson’s ball placement is an issue. In college, the window a quarterback has to throw to a receiver is much bigger than in the NFL. In the NFL, the players are faster, bigger and better. What might be a completion in college could be an interception at the next level. The only real way to tell how accurate a quarterback is going to be from college to the pros, is looking at his ball placement. Unfortunately, his is inconsistent. At times, he looks very good. He’ll put the ball exactly where it needs to be. Other times, and more often than you would like to see, he doesn’t put it in the proper spot. It might still be in an area where the receiver can catch it, but in the NFL, there might be a corner on that receivers hip or a safety coming over the top.

2016 Passing Stats

Player

Team

Comp.

Attempts

Comp. %

Yards

TD

INT

Mahomes, Patrick

Texas Tech

388

591

65.7%

5,052

41

10

Watson, DeShaun

Clemson

388

579

67.0%

4,593

41

17

Trubisky, Mitchell

UNC

304

446

68.2%

3,748

30

6

Kaaya, Brad

Miami

261

421

62.0%

3,532

27

7

Kizer, DeShone

Notre Dame

212

361

58.7%

2,925

26

9

Trubisky had a similar issue, but not as bad as Watson. Between 0-10 yards, Trubisky is pretty damn good. However, once you get past that mark he has the same ball placement issue that Watson has, and maybe even worse when looking at their deep ball accuracy. Watson is a better deep ball passer and that is backed up by ProFootballFocus. Watson is ranked eighth in deep pass adjusted completion percentage while Trubisky is ranked 18th. This makes sense considering Trubisky’s style of play compared to Watson. Watson loves the big play and he’s pretty good at it. Trubisky checks down a lot more and even when he does go deep, he’s not the best. But where Trubisky absolutely beats Watson, is in ball security. Trubisky had six INTs last year, two of them coming in the Hurricane Matthews game against Virginia Tech. He did make some very bad decisions at times, especially under pressure, but only six is pretty good. Watson had 17 INTs last year and he also put the ball on ground a few times throughout his career. People are calling Watson a gun slinger, but he’s not. He’s just a turnover machine. His combination of inconsistent ball placement and forcing throws leads to that extremely high number of interceptions. 

According to the films I watched this year, both of them were pretty even on how they did on key downs. DeShaun Watson converted 47.3% of the plays I saw from 2016 and Mitchell Trubisky converted 46.6% of the plays I saw from same year. Lastly, we need to compare their statistics. Watson put up much better numbers but also threw the ball over 100 more times throughout the season. However, when comparing against top teams, Watson only had three more attempts per game but had over 30 more yards per game with a higher completion percentage. 

2016 Passing Stats Per Game v. 5RB

Player

Team

Comp.

Attempts

Comp. %

Yards

TD

INT

Mahomes, Patrick

Texas Tech

33.2

51.2

64.8%

409.9

3.2

1.0

Watson, DeShaun

Clemson

26.8

39.3

68.3%

319.2

2.7

1.2

Trubisky, Mitchell

UNC

24.5

36.3

67.4%

284.7

2.2

0.5

Kaaya, Brad

Miami

20.6

33.7

61.1%

283.3

2.1

0.3

Kizer, DeShone

Notre Dame

17.9

32.0

55.9%

259.7

2.0

0.8

In the Pocket

Both Trubisky and Watson were excellent at avoiding pressure in the pocket. As I mentioned before, both are great athletes, so it’s not surprising that these two can buy time. Watson, though, takes off too early too often. Trubisky, on the other hand, would rather buy time and complete the ball down the field. Where they do separate from one another is their pocket presence and poise. Trubisky’s presence is pretty good for a first-time starter. Unique defenses and pressure gave him a bit of a problem, but statistically he did fine. Under pressure he made some bad decisions, but he still ranked fifth in adjusted completion percentage under pressure according to ProFootballFocus. Watson wasn’t as good. His feel for pressure and pose wasn’t the best, especially against Alabama, and he was only 11th in adjusted completion percentage under pressure according to ProFootballFocus. 

Mental Side of the Position

Mitchell Trubisky went through his progressions a lot more than DeShaun Watson did. I think this showed the most in the National Title game. Everyone remembers the two big touchdowns at the end of the game. Some people called them pick plays, some called them illegal. Either way, Watson didn’t have to read a thing for those plays to work. He just had to get the ball there. To his credit, he did. But, throughout the game he showed that he does not go through his progressions all that well post-snap. Trubisky does go through all of his progressions, but like a first-time starter, will get caught up on his first read too often and force the pass. Both were still Top 10 in Adjusted Completion % vs. the Blitz according to ProFootballFocus, with Trubisky being Top 3. 

Trubisky’s decision making looks like a player who only started for one year. He floated passes over the middle when under pressure and he forced some passes. However, Watson, with his 17 INTs, really forced some passes. Trubisky also showed that he can make a play or two on his own. Watson, although he has the talent to and can, didn’t always make the play better. Bottom line though, Trubisky went from a backup to a possible Top 10 selection in a year, while Watson went from a player I had a First Round grade on to a player I now have a late Third Round grade on.   

Summary

The things you’ll get from both of these players is competitive toughness, an unbelievable motor, and inconsistency in play. We know the inconsistency for Trubisky comes from a lack of experience. But why is Watson inconsistent? We don’t know and that is a major issue. 

Looking at the Jets now, we have Bryce Petty, last year’s Second Round pick Christian Hackenberg and, recently acquired, Josh McCown. We’re not exactly sure what the offense is going to look like under new Offensive Coordinator John Morton, so it’s hard to really put a scheme fit on this. So we’ll just go with the best possible player. So which quarterback should the Jets should take with the 6th pick is……neither one. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not me saying I have confidence in the quarterbacks we have, because I don’t. However, neither one of these guys should be playing for the New York Jets next year. Mitchell Trubisky has shown that he has the tools to be a franchise quarterback, he just needs time. Why would we pick up a new project when we are already working on Christian Hackenberg? Do I like Trubisky more than Hackenberg? Yes, so much more. But, wasting a pick on a project quarterback this high in the draft is dumb. Before we take another project, let’s at least see what Hackenberg can do on the field. As for Watson, I have a higher grade on Trubisky than I do on Watson and that’s if they started right now out of school. Watson is an electric player but he is a turnover machine. Personally, the last thing I think the Jets need after Sanchez, Smith, and Fitzpatrick is a turnover machine. 

If the Jets feel the need to add a quarterback, there are plenty of players they can add in the later rounds. There is a chance they can grab Pat Mahomes or DeShone Kizer if they fall out of the First Round. If they don’t fall, then they can get Josh Dobbs from Tennessee, Nathan Peterman from Pittsburgh, Chad Kelly from Ole Miss, Cooper Rush from Central Michigan, Jerod Evans from Virginia Tech, CJ Beathard from Iowa, Brad Kaaya from Miami, Davis Webb from California, etc. most of which will go in Day 3. There is absolutely no need to reach for a quarterback in this draft. The difference between most of the early round quarterbacks and later round quarterbacks is not enough to justify reaching at No. 6. 

Thanks for reading the article. I’ll have one up about safeties later this week. As you know, I mentioned ProFootballFocus a bunch in this article. If you would like to get more details on their draft book, please visit profootballfocus.com. Their draft book is one of the most unique books on the market.

Matt Stopsky

Matt Stopsky

Matt is the Football Editor for DoubleGSports.com as well as handling the New York Jets Lead Writer duties. He also co-hosts The Big Apple Sports Hour, a live podcast every Monday afternoon with fellow DoubleGSports.com writer Greg Larnerd.
Matt Stopsky

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *