Former Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams is one of at least nine Ducks who could potentially be selected this weekend at the 2016 NFL Draft.
Adams is the most intriguing prospect of the group. After dominating Pac-12 defenses during his lone, historically efficient season at Oregon, Adams is now attempting to erase the notion of what a prototypical NFL quarterback should look like.
It is an uphill battle.
The consensus among scouts and draft experts is that Adams will fall somewhere in the later part of the draft. Analysts from ESPN, CBS and Bleacher Report all list Adams outside the top 10 of their quarterback rankings.
I haven't found one team that values Vernon Adams higher than the 7th round @USATovey
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 21, 2016
If you ask Adams, none of those predictions matter.
The second team All-Pac 12 quarterback appeared on the Dan Patrick Show on Monday and wasn’t shy when asked if he was better than Cal quarterback Jared Goff, who many believe will be the first pick in the draft.
“I’ve played Jared Goff,” Adams told Patrick. “They always want to talk about my hands being too small, but my hands are bigger than his. I’ve played in snowy games. I’ve played in rainy games. I’ve played in negative-15 degree games. Look at my wins to losses, look at my touchdowns to interceptions. Look at my career yards.”
So, when taking statistics and measurables into account, how do Goff and Adams compare?
A second team All Pac-12 selection, Adams was the most efficient passer in the country during in 2015. He passed for 2,643 yards and 26 touchdowns in 10 games. When he was on the field, the Ducks were nearly unbeatable and Adams orchestrated countless breathtaking plays. When he was injured, Oregon was a sub-par team that struggled to find an identity.
Goff shared first team All-Conference honors with Washington State’s Luke Falk. The Cal junior was the third most efficient passer in the conference, and ninth in the country. He threw for 43 touchdowns and 4,719 yards while leading the Golden Bears to an 8-5 record. One of the few knocks on Goff is that he spent his college career playing in an Air Raid offense, which could supposedly leave him unprepared for more complex NFL schemes.
When Oregon and California met head-to-head last season on Nov. 7, the Ducks rolled over Cal, 44-28. Adams went 17-of-29 for 300 passing yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Goff finished 18-of-41 with 321 yards passing, two touchdowns and one interception.
During the 2015 season, five different Pac-12 teams faced both Goff and a fully healthy Adams: Washington, Arizona State, Stanford, USC and Oregon State.
Adams: 5-0 record; 95-of-140 passing (67%), 1,565 yards, 17 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Goff: 3-2 record; 140-of-213 passing (65%), 2,000 yards, 17 touchdowns and four interceptions.
While Goff racked up more yards through the air in those five games, Adams passed for a better completion percentage, threw for the same amount of touchdowns while throwing 33% less passes than Goff and led Oregon to a 5-0 record.
Season Stats & NFL Combine Results (Via nfl.com)
|Weight||200 Pounds||215 Pounds|
|Hand Size||9 1/8″||9”|
|40-Yard Dash||4.83 seconds||4.82 seconds|
When taking only stats and measurables into account, Goff and Adams are incredibly similar players. Adams was historically efficient last season, while Goff was less consistent, but flashed massive potential. The two prospects have hands that are almost the same size and ran 40-yard dashes that were one-hundredth of a second apart. Scouts are quick to knock Adams for his inability to avoid big hits, but he and Goff were both sacked 26 times last season.
The clear difference between Goff and Adams is height. Of the 229 quarterbacks drafted since 1996, only five have been under six-feet tall.
Adams believes his size is a non-factor, and that his game film tells a more complete story.
“I’m not a cocky dude, I just want everybody to know that everything that everyone else is doing, I can do it as well,” Adams said.
NFL front offices now have the chance to decide whether or not he is right.