VETTEL: Picking SEC QB No Easy Job

What do Danny Wuerffel, Peyton Manning, Eric Zeier, Rex Grossman and Quincy Carter all have in common? All were chosen by the SEC coaches as the Second Team All-SEC quarterback during their playing careers. That's right, second team. Those SEC greats, with the exception of Carter also earned first-team honors at some point, but it shows the strength of the position in recent years that guys this good could have been beaten out as the best in the league.

From those names we have fallen to a much lower level of competition to try and determine the best in the SEC for 2005. I have come up with a way to try and evaluate the candidates objectively that I hope you'll enjoy and play along with.

Seven To Consider

This season seven SEC quarterbacks threw for 2,000 or more yards, so I decided to limit the assessment to those seven guys. The quarterbacks, in no particular order, are: Chris Leak, Florida; DJ Shockley, Georgia; Brandon Cox, Auburn; Jay Cutler, Vandy; JaMarcus Russel, LSU; Brodie Croyle, Alabama; and Blake Mitchell, South Carolina.

Each of the seven threw at least 13 touchdown passes and none threw more than nine interceptions. So let's look at each player and his stats. But to make it fairer and eliminate biases as much as possible we will list them initially as QB "A" through "G".

QB Yards % TD/int Passing Eff. Rushing yds Rush TD

A 2,199 56 19/5 # 1 241 3

B 2,315 61 15/8 # 2 - 2 1

C 2,187 59 14/7 # 3 - 97 0

D 2,361 63 18/6 # 4 50 6

E 2,104 60 15/9 # 5 - 129 1

F 2,224 59 13/4 # 6 - 162 1

G 3,073 59 21/9 # 7 215 1

* * *

Quarterback "A" leads in passing efficiency, rushing yards, td/int ratio and is tied for second in TDR [TD responsible for (passing + rushing)] but is last in completion %, and fifth in passing yardage.

Quarterback "G" leads in passing yards and is tied for 2nd in TDR and in rushing yards. But he's last in efficiency and fourth in td/int ratio.

Quarterback "D" leads in completion %, in TDR, and also leads in rushing td. He's 2nd in passing yards. He is also third in rushing and td/int ratio.

Quarterback "F" is second in td/int ratio but is sixth in efficiency, last in rushing and tied for last in TDR.

Quarterback "E" is 3rd in completion %, but is last in td/int ratio and tied for last in TDR.

Quarterback "B" is second in completion % and efficiency, third in passing yards, but next to last in td/int ratio.

Quarterback "C" is third in efficiency, the only category in which he is in the top three. He is tied for last in TDR and next to last in three other categories.

* * *

I think any objection analysis would say there are three debatable candidates and that four others simply don't measure up to the top three. That eliminates JaMarcus Russel "B", Brandon Cox "C", Blake Mitchell "E" and Brodie Croyle "F".

That leaves quarterbacks "A", "D", and "G"… otherwise known as DJ Shockley, Chris Leak and Jay Cutler respectively. He's how they compare in each category. Following the Heisman voting we'll give 5 points for first, three for second and one for third:

Passing Efficiency: Shockley, Leak, Cutler

Passing Yards: Cutler, Leak, Shockley

TD/Int Ratio: Shockley, Leak, Cutler

TDR (pass + rush): Leak, Cutler/Shockley (tie)

Rushing Yards: Shockley, Cutler, Leak

Team WINS: Shockley, Leak, Cutler

DJ Shockley 25 points, Chris Leak 23 points, Jay Cutler 19 points.

* * *

It's remarkably close statistically, isn't it? Those who favor Cutler may feel he has less help than the others, and they have a point. But you can't make a big deal of his running, when Chris Leak has six rushing touchdowns to Cutler's one. Shockley leads the most categories but also trails the most. Leak has the most consistent placing throughout.

If I had a vote, DJ Shockley is the All-SEC quarterback. Amazingly enough, the tiebreaker is that he missed the Florida game. It was the game in which Georgia had its worst offensive performance of the season, further demonstrating Shockley's value. But there's no way any of these guys are All-SEC (first OR second team) in any season during the 90's.

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Have a great week.

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