Day 4: The spread’s impact

The spread offense, which has become so prevalent in the college ranks, is having quite an impact on the college game, too.

In today’s paper I wrote about the obvious affect it’s had on evaluating quarterbacks, “Spread quarterbacks hard to evaluate.”


Rob Rang of was kind enough to compile a list of the quarterbacks he has rated with draftable grades. Then, he noted what offense those quarterbacks played in college. Only six of 17 played in pro-style offenses.


1, (First round) Matthew Stafford – Georgia – pro style
2, (First round) Mark Sanchez – USC – pro style
3, (Second round) Josh Freeman – Kansas State – 3-receiver spread, but often reg. snap
4, (Third round) Nate Davis – Ball State – spread
5, (Third round) Pat White – West Virginia – spread option
6, (Third/fourth round) Rhett Bomar – Sam Houston State – spread
7, (Fifth/sixth round) John Parker Wilson – Alabama – pro-style
8, (Fifth round) Stephen McGee – Texas A&M – read-option
9, (Fifth/sixth round) Graham Harrell – Texas Tech – spread
10, (Sixth round) Nathan Brown – Central Arkansas – spread
11, (Sixth/seventh round) Hunter Cantwell – Louisville – spread
12, (Sixth/seventh round) Tom Brandstater – Fresno State – pro-style with some spread elements
13, (Seventh round) Curtis Painter – Purdue – spread
14, (Seventh round/FA) Brian Hoyer – Michigan State – pro-style
15, (Seventh round/FA) Cullen Harper – Clemson – pro-style
16, (Seventh round/FA) Mike Reilly – Central Washington – spread
17, (Seventh round/FA) Rudy Carpenter – Arizona State – spread


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The spread has also changed the way defenses play, too. That is good news for a 3-4 team, such as the 49ers. This season, there is good depth in the draft at outside linebackers who rush the passer out of a 3-4.


“What you’re seeing now with the spread offenses is a lot of undersized defensive ends,” 49ers GM Scot McCloughan said. “The defenses are adjusting now and saying, ‘We don’t need the big run stopper on the field or the big pass rusher; we need the undersized guy and more speed on the field because it’s all misdirection.’ The best thing to do in the spread offense is get the quarterback. You’ll see the 220- to 240-pound defensive ends who are really good football players playing with their hand down. The bigger bodies don’t get on the field.”


McCloughan said that is one of the primary reasons that it is a down year for defensive linemen in this year’s draft.


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Today is my final day in Indianapolis. After today, the media will leave town, as availability to the players is shut down. I’ll be on a 6:20 p.m. flight.


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