With another less than stellar performance, there have been numerous hot takes and much hand wringing on whether Wilton Speight is any good. Personally, I've contended that his performance has been good, if a little sporadic. But, I also have my reservations about his ability to win games for us if/when we come up against a team that can score a lot of points (Ohio).
So, I decided to take a look at how he stacks up against other power 5 QBs. Using ESPN's stats I created a spreadsheet where I could rank QBs based on several factors. To qualify, the a player must attempt, on average, 14 passes per number of games the team has played (to weed out backups, garbage time, etc). The factors I chose were:
- Completion percentage
- Yards per attempt
- TD per attempt
- INT per attempt
- INT/TD ratio
I graded based on percentiles, according to the following scale:
100% > A > 85% > B > 65% > C > 35% > D > 15% > F
Before we rank Speight against his peers, here is his stat line:
63%, 7.5 YPA (1094 yards on 146 attempts), 6.8% TD/ATT (10TDs), 1.4% INT/ATT (2 INTs), 20% INT/TD
Speight was 26th of 66th and in the 61% percentile, earning him a C+
This generally is in line with my gut feel. He is just above middling in his accuracy, offsetting good throws with the occasional air mailing or bad read.
The top QB in this category was Mitch Trubisky, UNC (76%).
Yards Per Attempt
At 7.5 yards per attempt, Speight was 37th of 66th, just below average at 46% percentile. He gets a C here.
This was a bit of a surprise. He's hit quite a few shots downfield including a shredding of UCF. The last few games must have really brought him down to earth.
The winner of this category was Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech (10.7yds/attempt).
TD per attempt
Speight placed 23rd in this category with 10TDs on 146 attempts, placing him in the 66% percentile and earning him a B-.
Again, no real surprise here. He runs the offense, he isn't the offense.
Bolstered by a recent torching of Stanford, Jake Browning, Washington, has 17TDs on just 116 attempts(!), taking this category for the Huskies.
INT per attempt
Speight's INT rate was 19th with 2 INTs on 146 attempts. This puts him at the 72% percentile and gives him a B-.
I know people will point to passes he's thrown that should have been picked, but every QB has those. Also his second actual pick needed a pretty (un)lucky bounce to end up in the defense's hands.
Winner here is Mitch Trubisky, UNC, who hasn't throw a pick on 175 attempts. Other QBs with no INTs are Sefo Liufau (Colorado) and Ryan Finley (NC State).
Speight comes in again at 15th in this category, but percentile wise improves to 83%. There are some awful ratios towards to bottom, helping out with this. He gets a B+
Interestingly, Speight's INT/TD is quite good despite being pretty middling in the individual TD and INT categories. It suggests a steady game manager profile where he doesn't light up defenses, but limits mistakes as well. In the end he's made the plays to win and taken care of the football, which is in line with this stat.
Mitch Trubisky, UNC, again comes out on top with 0 INTs and 13 TDs.
|Rank (out of 66)||26th||37th||23rd||19th||15th|
The profile here is definitely in the dreaded game manager mold. Speight ends up slightly above average overall (B-, C+ borderline), doing well in the protect the ball categories and not as well in the generating offense categories. Paired with our defense, that's probably just fine for all our remaining games save one. Depending on how optimistic you are about Don Brown and his ability to stop elite spread teams, I still think he, and the entire offense, need to improve quite a bit to get over that last hump and beat Ohio.
EDIT: Hat tip to WhoopinStick, who pointed out Wilton should get some credit for being solid in all categories. despite not excelling at any. Instead of averaging his grades, I gave everyone points based on ranking in each category (1 for first, 2 for second, etc) and then totaled points in all categories. The QBs were then re-ranked on this total, lowest point total first. Speight comes out at 17th of 66, sharply better than with the other methodology. In this scheme, he gets a solid B.
Mitch Trubisky is quietly having a statistically impressive season at UNC. With Pitt, Georgia, and FSU on the schedule, this wasn't completely a pushover schedule either. He's 133 of 175 (76%) for 1711 yards, 13 TDs and 0 INTs.
Sefo Liufau did quite well for himself before getting hurt as well: 54 of 76 (71.1%) for 768 yards, 6 TDs and 0 INTs in just 2.75 games played. I know the back up has been lighting it up as well, but if they get Liufau back soon, Colorado will make a run at the PAC 12 (they might anyway).
Among BIG10 QBs, Speight is 2nd (behind Barrett, Ohio) in completion percentage, 2nd in INTs per attempt (behind Wes Lunt, Illinois), and 3rd (Barrett, Lunt) in INT/TD. He's middling plus in the other two departments relative to his BIG10 peers.