As a Notre Dame and Seattle Seahawks fan, I would’ve loved to see Jimmy Clausen playing at Qwest Field for the home team next year. But when the Hawks traded for Charlie Whitehurst, that pretty much killed any chance they would also draft a quarterback in the early rounds.
Who will be better? I have no clue, of course, but ESPN has posted what amounts to a fairly ringing endorsement of Whitehurst’s chances for success. All based on the fact that he’s been learning on the bench for a few years.
Of the 128 quarterbacks drafted since 2000, 43 got their first start in their first season in the NFL. This data — courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information — shows that among this large group, the longer a QB waits to start, the better he performs once he does. In fact, completion percentage, TD/INT ratio and yards per attempt all rise over the course of his career the longer a QB sits to begin it.
Drafted QBs who didn’t get to start until their third or even fourth years have TD/INT rates nearly 50 percent better, and complete passes at a rate a full five percent better than rookie starters. But that’s not just in the first season; that’s for their careers.
Let’s hope those stats prove true in Seattle when Whitehurst takes over in 2011.