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C.J. Stroud

Sack rate numbers for the top QB prospects

With rookie quarterbacks, I like to look at sacks. It provides some information, I think, about how good they are at recognizing pressure (or at least getting the ball out of their hands). And it looks meaningful with this year’s crop of first-round prospects.

Most notably, C.J. Stroud. Below see the notable college season numbers for all quarterbacks who’ve been picked in the first half of the first round in the last 10 years. Stroud has been one of the best at avoiding sacks. He started for two years at Ohio State, and he was sacked on about 3 percent of his pass plays in each of those seasons.

You could fairly argue that Stroud benefited from playing for the Buckeyes, surrounded by superior talent in most games. But Justin Fields operated with similar personnel in a similar offense, and he was sacked almost 3 times as often in both of his seasons. I think coming in, we can assume Stroud will be way better than Fields in terms of not taking a bunch of sacks. (Especially if he’s drafted by Carolina, given Frank Reich’s lengthy history of putting together offenses that keep the quarterback out of harm’s way.)

Stroud, as luck would have it, almost took a comeback-killing sack on his final college pass play – one that would have taken them out of field goal range against Georgia. But he was able to use his plus mobility to buy a little time, and then throw the ball away. He seems to be better than most rookies knowing when to pull the plug on a play.

With Bryce Young, on the other hand, he got sacked a lot more other than the other recent Alabama quarterbacks (Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones). Some of that can be attributed to his line not being as good, but Young likes to hang onto the ball a little longer, playing point guard while he waits for plays to develop. With him being smaller than even Kyler Murray, I worry that playing style will get him crunched at the pro level.

And finally, Will Levis. He got killed at Kentucky last year, taking sacks way more often than any other quarterback on this list. That’s not all on him. He was playing for a lesser team with offensive line and scheme problems. He wasn’t as bad the previous year. But he looks like he’s in the Fields camp, needing improvement in this area. Levis (at least for now) looks like the guy to get the most excited about should he happen to be starting against the defense you’re counting on in a fantasy league.

2019Mac Jones21411.4%
2016Sam Darnold63661.6%
2018Trevor Lawrence113972.7%
2016Deshaun Watson175792.9%
2021• C.J. Stroud134412.9%
2015Deshaun Watson154913.0%
2022• C.J. Stroud123893.0%
2020Mac Jones134023.1%
2014Jameis Winston174673.5%
2018Tua Tagovailoa133553.5%
2018Dwayne Haskins205333.6%
2015Carson Wentz82083.7%
2019Tua Tagovailoa102523.8%
2019Trevor Lawrence174074.0%
2019Trey Lance122874.0%
2022• Anthony Richardson143274.1%
2016Mitchell Trubisky204464.3%
2020Trevor Lawrence153344.3%
2016Patrick Mahomes275914.4%
2020Zach Wilson112364.5%
2013Marcus Mariota183864.5%
2015Patrick Mahomes275734.5%
2022• Bryce Young183804.5%
2014Carson Wentz163364.5%
2018Kyler Murray183774.6%
2015Jared Goff265294.7%
2016Baker Mayfield183584.8%
2014Jared Goff265094.9%
2013Blake Bortles213825.2%
2019Justin Herbert244285.3%
2016Josh Rosen132315.3%
2017Josh Rosen264515.5%
2019Zach Wilson193195.6%
2013Jared Goff325315.7%
2017Sam Darnold294805.7%
2017Daniel Jones284535.8%
2021• Will Levis223535.9%
2017Baker Mayfield264046.0%
2019Joe Burrow345276.1%
2014Marcus Mariota314456.5%
2013Jameis Winston273846.6%
2021• Bryce Young395476.7%
2018Daniel Jones283926.7%
2016Josh Allen273736.8%
2017Josh Allen222707.5%
2019Justin Fields313548.1%
2020Justin Fields212258.5%
2022• Will Levis3728311.6%

—Ian Allan

Fantasy Index