Creating the perfect SEC quarterback for 2017
There’s no such thing as a perfect quarterback (though Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and several NFL legends come pretty close), but each signal caller has his fair share of strengths.
That’s true in the SEC as well. Those who run a lot need to work on their passing, those who are young need to work on their decision making and those with big-time arm strength aren’t exactly the best runners.
But what would happen if you took each SEC quarterback’s biggest strength and combined it into one imaginary player? Whose arm is the most powerful? Whose body can withstand the biggest beating?
Below, we attempt to answer those exact questions as we take a look at whose legs, body, arms and head would make up the perfect SEC quarterback for the 2017 season.
Legs: Jalen Hurts, Alabama
Jalen Hurts didn’t run for the most yards of any quarterback in the SEC in 2016 — that honor goes to Nick Fitzgerald of Mississippi State — but he does have the best legs of any returning starter in 2017.
Hurts ran for 954 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, showcasing his speed on several of his longer scampers. Plus, with his ability to escape pressure and move around in the pocket, his legs will be a great addition to our prototype SEC quarterback.
The rising sophomore’s legs are a big reason he earned SEC Offensive Player of the Year honors and a big reason the Crimson Tide nearly won a national championship.
Body: Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
LSU’s Derrius Guice led the SEC with 1,387 rushing yards in 2016, but right on his tail was Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald, who finished with an impressive 1,375 yards on the ground. That set a school record for rushing yards by a QB and just missed Johnny Manziel’s SEC mark.
The 6-5, 230-pound quarterback is a bulldozer in the open field and a nightmare for defenders to try to tackle. Plus, by having such a sturdy body, he can withstand the beating SEC defenses dish out.
With Hurts’ speed and Fitzgerald’s strength, this Dr. Frankenstein’s monster-esque fake quarterback would be nearly unstoppable once he escapes the pocket and can take on defenders one-on-one.
Arms: Drew Lock, Mizzou
Now that we get into the throwing aspects of quarterback play, we need to fit this quarterback with a cannon arm. Enter Drew Lock of Mizzou.
Despite not playing in a bowl game as the Tigers struggled to a 4-8 record, Lock still finished second in the SEC in passing yards with 3,399, only 31 yards behind Arkansas QB Austin Allen.
Lock has never met a deep throw he couldn’t make and has the confidence of a gunslinger when it comes to chucking the ball 30 or more yards down the field.
Lock also averaged 14.34 yards per throw in 2016, good for No. 11 nationally and No. 1 among SEC quarterbacks. However, though Lock can make any throw on the field, he doesn’t always make the best decisions, which will be solved by the fourth and final piece of our quarterback puzzle.
Head: Austin Allen, Arkansas
No one is better at staying calm under pressure than Austin Allen, who played behind an awful pass-blocking offensive line in 2016.
Lock and Hurts threw for fewer interceptions than Allen’s 15, but neither did more with less than the Razorbacks’ rising senior. Though he was sacked a whopping 34 times, he completed 61.1 percent of his passes and led the conference with 3,430 yards through the air to go with 25 touchdowns.
Putting up those kinds of numbers while taking the beating Allen took in 2016 shows a lot of mental strength, which he’ll need to rely upon again in 2017.
Allen’s mental toughness and willingness to sometimes take a sack (though hopefully he doesn’t take 34 in 2017) instead of throw an ill-advised pick make him the perfect choice to man the controls for our perfect 2017 SEC quarterback.