Some scouts will never learn. Playing quarterback in the National Football League takes more than athletic ability and a howitzer for an arm. A big brain is every bit as important. It doesn’t matter how fast a quarterback can run or how hard he can throw the ball if he doesn’t make good decisions. And yet, Jordan Love – a turnover machine at Utah State – is expected to be a first-round pick next week while Georgia’s Jake Fromm, who threw only 16 interceptions in 29 games in the vaunted Southeastern Conference, is expected to go two or three rounds later. That’s because Love is bigger and faster than Fromm and has a stronger arm.
It’s the same tired reasoning that, for example, made DeShon Kizer a second-round pick in 2017 while Gardner Minshew lasted until the sixth round a few years later. Quarterbacks who turn the ball over at a high rate in college more often than not become quarterbacks who turn the ball over at a high rate in the NFL. And while a good coach can improve a player’s footwork and delivery, he usually can’t improve a player’s ability to see the field and know when and where to throw the ball. Love will likely intrigue and then frustrate multiple teams in his career. Fromm, on the other hand, will likely just find ways to win games.
This is in no way to suggest Fromm should be a first-round pick. There are enough holes in his game to rightfully keep his name from being called on Thursday night. For one, his accuracy needs to improve on balls that travel more than 20 yards in the air. I saw too many misses last season. He also doesn’t always generate enough velocity when on the move. And he’s not exactly Russell Wilson in the pocket. While he’s not a statue, he’s probably not going to spin away from pressure and make big plays on a consistent basis.
But very few college quarterbacks come into the NFL without warts, and there’s enough to admire about Fromm’s game to make me think he could thrive in the right situation. He has solid passing mechanics and a good feel in the pocket. He’s able to slide to find open lanes and will step up to avoid pressure. He’s also a good decision-maker who knows when and where to deliver the ball. And while he won’t break too many fingers with his passes, he generally shows nice touch and accuracy on short to intermediate throws.
The video below is an example of one of those short to intermediate throws. It’s 3rd and 4, and Notre Dame is bringing the blitz. Fromm doesn’t flinch and delivers an accurate ball to Tyler Simmons for the first down. He found a way to “just keep matriculating the ball down the field,” as the great Hank Stram once said.
The next video is another example of why I think Fromm will outperform his draft position. A quarterback doesn’t need 4.5 speed or a cannon for a right arm when he can sit in the pocket and make accurate throws like this one to Jeremiah Holloman. I saw enough of these kinds of throws in 2017 and 2018 – when Fromm was blessed with much better receivers than he had last season – to get excited about his potential.
I’m not suggesting Fromm is going to be the next Tom Brady (6th round in 2000), or for that matter, even the next Kirk Cousins (4th round in 2014). But he’s going to be a good value pick for some team late on day 2 or early on day 3. Fromm reminds me of a more talented Matt Flynn, the ex-Packer who enjoyed a long career in the NFL as a dependable backup. At worst, that’ll be Fromm’s fate. But I expect more from him. I see a quarterback who has the potential to lead the right team to the playoffs within two or three years.
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