When you think of a traditional power college football team, what comes to mind? They are schools like Ohio State, Michigan, USC, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, and Notre Dame. Why is it these days that schools like that don’t breed great or even good NFL quarterbacks when it seems like there are at least 1 or 2 Heisman Candidates out of these places every year? Think about it… Matt Ryan went to Boston College, Joe Flacco to Delaware, Andy Dalton was TCU before they got huge. Alex Smith was at Utah, Philip Rivers is an NC State product, Jared Goff from Cal, Drew Brees from Purdue, Eli Manning went to Ole Miss, Derek Carr is from Fresno State, Carson Wentz is North Dakota State, Russell Wilson from Wisconsin, and Ben Roethlisberger from Miam (OH). All of these guys aren’t from traditional powers and yet they are starters over guys that were at one point in time. The ones from traditional powers either aren’t that good, never made it, or didn’t play much at their respective schools. Deshone Kizer-Notre Dame and he is aweful. Where did all the great QB’s from USC, Alabama, and Ohio State go? What happened with Tim Tebow? Even Notre Dame gave us 1 or 2 that disappeared. I have a theory!
When you go to a big traditional power you have NFL talent around you. As a quarterback you have NFL talent linemen protecting you and giving you plenty of time to pick apart the defenses in college. Or, you are fast enough and athletic enough to out run players on the defensive end that 90 percent of them won’t move on for talent, size, or speed reasons. Things just come easier and fall into place pretty well for you with that setup. When you go to a non-traditional power, or a smaller school, you don’t have as much NFL talent around you, if any. You are forced early on to breakdown film, learn your schemes and coverages. Cam Newton came from a powerful SEC Auburn team and he has been in the NFL for 7-8 years and still struggles with reads and progression. You get to start the “NFL” preparation life earlier and get good at that part. Getting skilled at the check down and how to move through your progressions faster becomes a must, because you don’t have that kind of time, and your not as fast as someone at a power. Therefore, you are more NFL ready for on and off the field learning, studying, and more skilled at the things that make you go from good to great in the NFL. Learn a skill earlier and you master it sooner on average.