Happy Monday, everyone. Bill Connelly wrote about the spread offense era, and just how efficient college passing has become.
Those mismatches, combined with better route combinations and a larger variety of receiving targets, have resulted in dramatically more efficient passing:
Top 50 quarterbacks in 1989: 132.6 passer rating, 57% completion rate, 13.7 yards per completion, 4.0% interception rate
Top 50 quarterbacks in 1999: 136.8 passer rating, 59% completion rate, 13.3 yards per completion, 3.2% interception rate
Top 50 quarterbacks in 2009: 147.9 passer rating, 64% completion rate, 12.6 yards per completion, 2.6% interception rate
Top 50 quarterbacks in 2019: 154.1 passer rating, 65% completion rate, 13.0 yards per completion, 2.0% interception rate
For some additional context: that 154.1 average rating among the top 50 QBs would have ranked fifth nationally 20 years ago. Colt Brennan set a record with a 186 passer rating playing against nobody in 2006, and that mark has been topped six times by Power Five QBs just in the past four seasons. The best pre-2010 mark by a major conference passer was Sam Bradford’s 180.8 back in 2008, and that mark is now only 18th all-time. The era of smothering the best offenses is over, folks.
Unless, that is, you can get pressure from your front four without having to blitz.
20. MINNESOTA VIKINGS — DI CHRISTIAN BARMORE, ALABAMA
There’s a good chance Barmore ends up even higher than this. We barely got to see him until Alabam’s final five games of last year, and then he averaged three pressures a game over that span. On 269 snaps, Barmore earned an 87.8 overall grade for the season.
This is the first mock I have seen that mentioned Barmore. He showed some serious flashes last season, and has to be the most likely candidate to break out in Quinnen Williams fashion. If Barmore and LaBryan Ray can provide increased interior push and at least one of the elite freshman pass rushers shows out, this defense can be great. Ishmael Sopsher, Byron Young and Justin Eboigbe all have a season under their belts, which should help DL depth immensely, and there is another potential veteran breakout candidate on the edge:
Anfernee Jennings, JACK — King Mwikuta
Mwikuta is a player that generated some buzz toward the end of the season. A true freshman in 2019, he played in 10 games as a reserve at outside linebacker and a contributor on special teams. With Alabama losing both of its starters at Jack and Sam linebacker, some of the team’s young guys will need to step up, and according to Jennings, Mwikuta is one to watch.
“King’s definitely somebody to watch out for,” Jennings said. “He’s just a hardworking kid, smart and just freakish athletic. Just be on the lookout for him. He loves the game.”
Mwikuta and Christopher Allen will have the first crack at the OLB jobs, but there are plenty of very talented young guys who will be hard to keep off the field. Hopefully it all pays dividends.
Last, SEC Network put out the SEC win projections and asks who you believe to be too high and too low:
Who's too high?— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) May 2, 2020
Who's too low?
ESPN FPI's 2020 projected win totals ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/CSm6Fysble
Tell us in the comments. Note that Tennessee is still at only 6.3 despite all of the recent recruiting buzz. It’s important to note that, while ranking first in the conference in May is nice, they still have only five blue chips committed against 11 three-stars. When all is said and done, they won’t be better than fourth in the conference with that ratio. Still an improvement, of course.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.