During the tenure of Ron Wolf, the Green Bay Packers were known for taking a quarterback virtually every draft. That is despite having Brett Favre under center. Because of that, they were able to flip Aaron Brooks, Matt Hasselbeck and Mark Brunell for either higher picks than used to draft them or used to trade up in the draft.
In Wolf’s nine drafts, he drafted a quarterback in seven of those drafts. And that does not even include Wolf’s trade for Favre in February of 1992. Green Bay should get back to that philosophy. Since the 2009 draft, the Packers have only drafted two quarterbacks. Two. And one of those was B.J. Coleman in the seventh round in 2012. Today, I’ll look at some possible mid-round quarterbacks the Packers could take.
Mike White, Western Kentucky
I am a big fan of White’s. Now, the Western Kentucky standout is strictly a pocket passer and his 40-time of 5.09 is not very good. He had a down year in 2017, but still threw 26 touchdowns to just eight interceptions. Every major statistic went down a bit this past year, especially in yards per attempt, as it dropped down three full yards per attempt.
However, much of his drop in production is due to the awful offensive line he played behind with the Hilltoppers. Even with the poor offensive line, he still completed nearly 66 percent of his passes. Wyoming’s Josh Allen, who is going to be a top 10 pick, dealt with much of the same issues White did, and just completed 56 percent of his passes.
The former Western Kentucky quarterback is one of the more talented passers in this draft. According to Pro Football Focus, he had a 128.8 passer rating when kept clean in 2016 and 109.5 as a senior behind a bad offensive line. His adjusted completion percentage was 76.3 percent last season, which was third among FBS draft-eligible quarterbacks.
Riley Ferguson, Memphis
Ferguson is much like White in the fact that he is a pocket passer. His 40-time is better than White’s, but not much better. Since taking over for first round pick Paxton Lynch, all Ferguson did was throw 70 touchdowns to just 19 interceptions. Unlike White, Ferguson improved his stats in 2017.
Ferguson has the tools to be able to compete with Brett Hundley for a roster spot, and at the very worst, a spot on the Practice Squad. Similar to White, the Memphis Tiger was toward the top in passer rating when kept clean. In 2016, his 121.4 passer rating when kept clean, which ranked fifth in the class, and his 119.6 ranked sixth in 2017.
His slight frame is something to watch, as many don’t know if he’ll be able to hold up in the pocket and take the beatings quarterbacks do. That is one of the biggest knocks on Ferguson going into the draft.
Chase Litton, Marshall
Litton left Marshall after his junior season, despite having a disappointing final season with the Thundering Herd. In his first two years, he had just over 2600 passing yards each year. In 2017, he was asked to throw it a bit more, and his play suffered a bit. Even in a 3-9 season in 2016, he threw 24 touchdowns to nine interceptions and had a quarterback rating of 137.9.
The Marshall quarterback has nice size for the position and has a good arm. In an odd stat, Litton actually performed better under pressure. According to PFF, his yards per attempt was 7.87 with seven touchdowns and two interceptions. His passer rating ranked ninth in the FBS when under pressure as well.
Logan Woodside, Toledo
Woodside is another possible group of five sleeper at quarterback in this draft. He has good accuracy, having a career 65 percent completion percentage. During his five-year career, he had an outstanding junior year before taking a dip his senior year. As a junior in 2016, he had a 69 percent completion percentage with a 9.9-yards per attempt. And, oh yeah, he had a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 45-to-9.
The former Toledo quarterback performed well both when the pocket was clean as well as when under pressure. First, when under pressure, his adjusted completion percentage of 70 percent ranked second, while his passer rating ranked fourth. When the pocket was clean, he had a 78.3 percent adjusted completion percentage, which is tied for eighth among the quarterbacks in the 2018 NFL Draft.
His arm does will not wow you, and he will not get drafted until late, due mostly due to his size. Woodside is just 6-foot-1 and 213 pounds, so teams have to wonder if the former Toledo quarterback will be able to hold up against the hits he will take in the NFL.
Kyle Lauletta, Richmond
The only FCS player on this list, Lauletta has solid accuracy and has thrown 73 touchdowns in his Richmond career. He may not be like Jimmy Garoppolo (who also came from the FCS) like some articles I have seen, but he does have good characteristics. He improved his completion percentage each year since his sophomore season. After a rocky season as a sophomore, he threw 52 touchdowns compared to 20 picks his final two seasons.
Both in the Senior Bowl game and in the practices, Lauletta was impressive. According to PFF, he had a Senior Bowl game grade of 76.6. In practice, he had a 91 percent adjusted completion percentage in 1-on-1s, which led all quarterbacks. He kept improving with every snap.
I don’t know if a drafted quarterback would end up on the 53-man, but he would be competition for Brett Hundley, who did not look good when given the starting nod after Aaron Rodgers was injured last season. But, I still do believe drafting a quarterback is a good strategy, even if he ends up being traded or not even making the team.——————
Jonathon Zenk is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He is a huge Packers fan, and a graduate of The University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. You can follow Jonathon on Twitter at @jzenk42