I'm sure most of you know the basic premise of Moneyball - finding players that are undervalued by the market because of traditional biases.
In the NFL, and with quarterbacks specifically, I believe the biggest traditional bias is against short quarterbacks. I'm not talking Flutie short (5'9"), I'm talking about anything under the traditional height of 6'2".
We don't have a lot of statistics to go by for the simple reason that most quarterbacks are never given a chance. But there are some persuasive arguments against the bias in a general sense:
1. Drew Brees. At barely 6'0" he is a great example of height not being an issue.Sure, he is just one example, but you only need one to prove that it is possible to succeed as a shorter quarterback.
2. In the NFL QBs throw in lanes, visibility and height of the line is simply not much of an issue.
Now in this draft there are two quarterbacks I think are being serious undervalued because of their height:
1. Russel Wilson, Wisconsin - 5'11"
His 2011 numbers: 3,175 yds, 72.8% 33 tds 4 ints.
- Played behind biggest line in the country (6'6"-6'7" average) Height not a problem.
- Played in pro style offense at Wisconsin.Very, very good at WCO.
- Highest passer rating in the country. 191.8(!!!)
- Huge intangibles. Was a captain at two different schools.
Projected usually in 4th round. If he was 2-3 inches taller, he'd be first round.
The questions with Wilson are can he overcome the height issue and will he stick with football (he's also a baseball draftee).
2. Kellen Moore, Boise State - 6'0"
His 2011 numbers - 3,800 yds, 74.3%, 43 tds, 9 ints.
- Reminds me of Chad Pennington. Average to poor arm strength, high accuracy, film junkie, coaches dream.
- Possibly best QB in draft behind Luck at reading defenses.
Projected usually in 6th round, with better height/size he would be first or second rounder.
Questions with Moore are not only can he overcome the height issue, but can he improve his bulk and his arm strength.
I would love to see the Dolphins take a flyer on either of these guys (in the appropriate round). They both (particularly Wilson) have the potential to far exceed expectations.
In my opinion they are both far better gambles taken in their rounds than Tannehill is at #8. If Tannehill was their height he would probably not even be drafted.