The numbers say Clemens
Bill Barnwell of Football Outsiders has looked at the statistics, and he says Kellen Clemens will be a better pick.
The Jets have a competition this training camp in Cortland between Clemens, a fourth-year pro who started eight Jets games in 2007, and rookie Mark Sanchez, who has an eye-popping $28 million in guarantees and represents the Jets long-term hopes.
This morning, the Newark Star-Ledger’s Manish Mehta reports that Clemens is again practicing with the first team. To Barnwell, that makes sense.
Barnwell, a number cruncher who majored in communications, said there are only two relevant numbers when you are looking at whether a QB who goes in the top two rounds of the NFL draft will become a good starter.
The first number is career starts as a collegian, and the second is completion percentage. Clemens had a 61 percent completion percentage in 32 games, which Barnwell said gives him the potential to be in the top 10 NFL quarterbacks in his peak season.
Sanchez had a 64 percent completion percentage, but in just 16 games.
He makes the statistical comparison to Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers, but said they both grade higher because of 22 games started.
As for Clemens’ lackluster string of eight starts, Barnwell said the number of games is too small to statistically gauge Clemens’ potential. He said there are other QBs, such as Peyton Manning, who would have looked mediocre if judged on their first eight games as well.
As a few columnists have noted, Sanchez has the momentum and if there is a tie will likely get the nod. The danger in that is if he struggles in his first games. Sanchez will lose his golden aura, and Clemens will be on the sideline with a contract quickly running out.
Forcing an early start for the green Sanchez could do more damage than disappointing fans who want to see their first-rounder immediately contribute.
Anyway, the numbers according to Football Outsiders would vote for Clemens.