|Left Outside||Left Middle||Right Middle||Right Outside||Total|
|20+||1/2 (1 TD)||0/2||1/2 (1 TD)||2/6 (2 TD)|
|Total||6/9 (1 TD)||4/7||4/5 (1 TD)||5/7||19/28 (2 TD)|
Outside the Pocket: 0/3 (plus 1 throwaway)
Under Pressure: 0/1
Red Zone: 3/4 (1 TD)
3rd/4th Down: 7/10 (4 conversions)
Forced Adjustments: 1
Total Throwaways: 1
It’s often difficult to find any real value in bowl games for NFL draft prospects, particularly quarterbacks. Either too many players on one team (or both) are missing, the matchup is lopsided in some fashion, and/or one or both teams give a useless schematic look to their opponent because the game doesn’t matter. Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm’s game versus Baylor hits at least one of those marks, if not all three.
The most notable issue in trying to draw that much positive value from this game is that Baylor almost literally did not pressure Fromm. The junior quarterback was pressured just once all night and was only forced to leave the pocket on two occasions, not including designed rollouts.
Baylor brought an average of 3.93 pass-rushers. On 14 of Fromm’s 29 qualifying plays (including the throwaway), Baylor brought just three pass-rushers, while only bringing five or six pass-rushers on 10 plays. Baylor not only had their foot off the gas more often than not, but had virtually zero success in getting to him in time when they did try to send extra rushers. Fromm was playing the game with a moat built around him — and that was with both of his starting tackles sitting out because they are preparing for the NFL Draft.
In turn, Fromm’s performance and the following review should be taken relatively lightly. Most of what we saw against Baylor are things were already know to be true about his skill set, for better or worse.
It should also be noted that I came into the season relatively high on Fromm, and even maintained that through the first half of this season, but as the year rolled on and he continued to prove he couldn’t overcome his situation, that positive review has started to fade. While this bowl game doesn’t confirm that fading feeling, necessarily, it does provide a few examples as to why I’ve come down on Fromm a bit.
With all that said, let’s get into the natural starting point for a discussion about Fromm: arm strength.
Deep drops into clean pockets should be where any quarterback can generate arm strength. Sure, the flea-flicker action makes things slightly unusual from a normal drop back, but Fromm has a wide-open pocket to work with. Nothing is inhibiting him from stepping into this throw and putting some sauce on it. In terms of footwork and mechanics, Fromm gets it all right to allow his hips to come around cleanly and be able to follow through. The issue is there is no torque in his throwing action. Fromm’s hips and torso don’t really “snap” around to be able to shoot the ball out from its release point. Instead, Fromm’s upper body comes around slowly and he lightly pushes the ball out as if the ball were ten pounds heavier for him than it is for any other quarterback. Wide receiver George Pickens is so open that the ball finds its target anyway, but Fromm left this one about five yards short and put no speed on it. If he could have gotten this ball even one step further out in front, this could have been a touchdown.
As would be expected, Fromm’s arm strength issues also crop up when he is on the move. While throwing on the move can actually help quarterbacks who have poor mechanics because it forces a more natural motion (i.e., Mitchell Trubisky), mechanics aren’t the issue for Fromm. Raw arm strength and torque are absent from Fromm’s game, and having to throw off platform only accentuates those issues.
Even this example is generous to Fromm in that he’s not been forced off his spot by the defense. This is a designed rollout into an open space that should allow for Fromm to throw as comfortably on the move as is possible. From a comfort and mechanics standpoint, throwing on the move doesn’t really get much easier than this. And yet, Fromm does a poor job of getting any velocity on this ball. He puts some air under it and floats it just far enough to make it catchable, but the ball hangs more like a punt than a pass and forces the receiver to try to catch this one while falling backwards. This ball, similar to the last clip, had a chance to be a relatively easy touchdown, but Fromm couldn’t put enough on it. In fairness to Fromm, this should have been caught anyway, but there is no argument that this was a good ball. Fromm failed his receiver as much as the receiver failed him.
It’s wasted and unfulfilled opportunities like that that makes Fromm frustrating. Even with a clean pocket and a wide-open receiver, Fromm only gets the completion on a play that should have fairly easily been a touchdown. On a team as stacked as Georgia, that still earns you a spot in the SEC Championship game. In the NFL, that will land you a third-string job with the New York Jets.
Beyond just arm strength down the field, it’s Fromm’s role in Georgia’s offense that raises questions about how much he can handle at the NFL level. Fromm is a plenty smart quarterback, but with his arm strength limitations brings along schematic limitations. It’s tougher for Fromm to fit tight windows over the middle of the field or late in downs. As such, a majority of Georgia’s passing offense is crafted for quick passes outside the hashes or fades and back-shoulder passes down the sideline. Considering how little Fromm has shown elsewhere, particularly this season, it’s tough to feel as though he’s made good on some of the potential he flashes heading into the year.
What’s conflicting is that for as limited as the offense is, Fromm is largely fantastic at the small handful of things he does often. Fromm was 12-of-12 when throwing within five yards of the line of scrimmage in this game. He showed off excellent vision, timing, and accuracy to set up as many easy gains as possible. Likewise, 2-of-4 throwing down the sideline beyond 15 yards, which is a nice hit rate given the depth of passes. One of such deep sideline throws was an absolute teardrop for a touchdown.
Fromm catches the snap and tosses a pass to Pickens almost instantly. As per usual from Fromm, the pass hangs high and takes a while to find its final location, but this one drops in right over Pickens’ left shoulder. That ball is out of the defender’s reach in every sense while Pickens hardly had to slow down to find this ball at the right spot. Fromm can’t hit every route down the field, but if he needs to throw down the sideline in any way, he has an unusual knack for being able to place these throws in the exact right location.
The issue is that an NFL offense can’t make the whole plane out of hitches and back shoulder balls. They can be part of the offense, but for those handful of routes to make up the bulk of one’s passing game just won’t fly in the NFL. Professional cornerbacks are much better at squeezing the sideline and minimizing gains on somewhat predictable short passes. Fromm would need to prove he can expand his pallet beyond these throws to solidify his status as a top flight prospect.
And therein lies even more conflict with Fromm’s skill set. While he has proven this season to be limited overall and hamstrung by whatever talent is around him, Fromm has one or two plays per game that remind everyone why he was such a promising recruit and why he still may be a quality NFL quarterback. Those moments are just too few and far between, especially this season.
This throw was as sharp as Fromm looked on anything beyond five yards. On this play, Baylor look to be in Cover 3 versus Georgia’s 2x2 set. To the right side, Georgia are running what Steve Spurrier named “Mills” or a double post concept. On “Mills,” the slot receiver runs a deep in-breaking route over the middle and the outside receiver runs a deep post. Either way, the idea is that the route from the slot receiver pulls coverage down from the middle of the field to open up the deep post over the top. Fromm takes it a step further in drawing the safety away from the deep post by first looking to the go route down the left sideline through his drop back. Once he finishes his drop while reading the go, Fromm immediately turns to the post and fires, knowing that both his initial action and the slot receiver’s route should have freed up the deep post. Fromm’s throw ends up a smidgen low, but considering the receiver has clear inside leverage and is in the front half of the end zone, keeping this throw a tad low is more than fine.
Statistically, this game was above average for the 2019 version of Fromm. On film, it showed all the limitations that have shown up all season with a dash of sharp processing and touch accuracy that keeps analysts, myself included, intrigued despite an overall disappointing season. The box score is just a tease.
There isn't much of a case for Fromm to leave school based on his 2019 campaign. Fromm's statistical output for the season took a hit across the board and he looked more limited on film than he did in previous seasons. However, expecting Georgia to be retooled at the WR position is asking for a lot and Georgia will also be losing their top two offensive linemen, both offensive tackles. Additionally, there is no word on if OC James Coley, who was awful in 2019, will be retained or not. Fromm is left in a spot where his recent film isn't impressive enough, but there is no certainty he will be better equipped to turn things around in 2020.