There’s no reason to beat around the bush on this one, so let’s just jump into it, shall we? Georgia Bulldogs fans and NFL Draft folks, you have questions and I have some answers.
Throughout the early days of the summer, I’ve spent time trying to figure out this Georgia offense, which led me into questions about what this offense can be without a talented supporting cast that surrounded quarterback Jake Fromm.
Before we get into some film and explanations, let me just explain to the Georgia fanbase that I don’t hate your quarterback. I don’t love him, either. He’s good and can certainly improve. With that being said, he’s losing a ton of talent around him this season. Three Georgia wide receivers were taken in the 2019 NFL Draft. Mecole Hardman was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the second round, Riley Ridley was taken by the Chicago Bears in the fourth round, and in the seventh round, the Carolina Panthers snagged Terry Godwin.
Pardon me for having some doubts and looking at this from a different perspective. That’s not a good enough answer? Fair enough.
How about the Bulldogs also losing their starting tight end, Isaac Nauta, to the Detroit Lions in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft?
During the 2018 season, Jake Fromm completed 207 passes on 307 pass attempts, good for a 67.4-percent completion rate. Pretty good for an offense that averaged 40.4 rushing attempts per game to their 25.5 passing attempts per game. One number to consider is the 207 completions, though. With all of the names that have moved on to the NFL, the Bulldogs have to find a way to replace a total of 155 receptions from last season. Keep in mind that they also had to dismiss one of their promising young receivers, Jeremiah Holloman, due to being accused of aggravated assault and battery.
Fortunately, the Bulldogs have one of the most talented offensive lines in football, led by their left tackle, Andrew Thomas, and he’s got the potential to be one of the top offensive tackles drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft. Alongside him are Isaiah Wilson and Solomon Kindley. They both started 14 games for the Bulldogs last year at right tackle and left guard, respectively. One of the names we should get familiar with is offensive guard Jamaree Salyer. He was a five-star recruit coming out of the Pace Academy in 2018 and was ranked as one of the ten best players in the country by 24/7 Sports.
This is all good news for Jake Fromm because he had a passer rating of 134.1 (via PFF) when kept clean in the pocket. He’ll have a big offensive line for support and talented junior running back D’Andre Swift to lean on. Furthermore, Tyler Simmons should take the next step in his career as a wide receiver, and they did gain two important transfers from the transfer portal. They’re both wide receivers and could help ease some of the pain from losing five offensive weapons (not including Elijah Holyfield at running back).
For starters, Lawrence Cager is a 6-foot-5 graduate transfer from Miami (FL), and then there’s Demetris Robertson. He transferred from Cal after the 2017 season and only played in four games for the Bulldogs last season. Despite not catching a pass from Jake Fromm, he did have 50 receptions during his freshman season at Cal (2016) and could return to form now that there’s an opening at the position.
But for an offense to be successful, it always rests on the shoulders of the quarterback. This case is no different for the Georgia Bulldogs and Jake Fromm. Despite some moving parts on the offense, he’ll be one of the pieces that remains constant. Let’s finally jump into the film and see exactly why this year is so important for Georgia, Jake Fromm, and his draft stock for the 2020 NFL Draft!
Working Through Progressions
No matter the quarterback, it’s important for them to work through their progressions. There will be times when they have to dial into one receiver and fire in a quick pass or some type of fade. Some of those quick passes could be a quick slant or a designed wide receiver screen. In other instances, there are designed fade passes in the red zone (e.g. Calvin Johnson catching passes from Matthew Stafford). Regardless, we want to be able to see a quarterback work through the loss of one option down the field and find another one. If the quarterback struggles to do that, his transition to the league will be a struggle, too.
On the play above, the Bulldogs are aligned in Double Twins with 11 personnel (one tight end and one running back). Right off the snap, Jake Fromm looks to his right and is staring down the hi-lo concept (flat route with corner route over the top). However, the coverage is tight and there’s one option for Fromm to go, and that’s to check it down to D’Andre Swift out of the backfield. He does just that and it does lead to a positive gain.
This was one of the best reps from last season that Jake Fromm had when working through progressions. The play starts with a trips bunch formation to the right side, but a motion turns it into double twins. After the snap, you can see how Fromm works from his right to his left. To his right, he’s got a wide receiver screen and a vertical route to choose from, but once they’re covered, he goes to his left, where he has a post-curl. He connects on the pass and does a great job from start to finish on this play. He has time because of the three-man rush, but to find a way through an 8-man coverage is important and impressive.
It’s pretty hard to have any concerns with ball placement on a quarterback that completed over 67% of his passes, but not every pass is perfect. Regardless, we want to see where the quarterback is putting the football on just about every throw he makes.
There’s plenty to like with the throw above, and it starts with the pass being in the red zone. To have this placement and be this clutch in this area of the field, it will lead and translate to plenty of success at the next level. With a trips bunch formation to the right, Fromm has a lone receiver to the bottom of the screen and to his left. He reads the single-high safety and the man coverage to his left. That’s where he gets a vertical route, and Fromm places the pass with ease into the back of the end zone and perfectly into the hands of the wide receiver.
Staying with the Florida game for Fromm, he misplaces on a wheel route to the tight end, but the pass is still completed. Once the ball is snapped, Fromm fakes the screen to his right, which gets the cornerback to bite and leaves the tight end free. The pass is a little bit behind him and, had he gotten some more air under this pass, it probably would have led to a bigger gain or even a touchdown. There’s certainly more good that came out of this play than bad.
Nice Touch Pass
Beyond just placing passes in the right spots or maneuvering the pocket with your footwork or defeating defenses with your eyes, quarterbacks can win with the right amount of touch. Not every pass, but plenty of passes that come across the tape on Jake Fromm are good touch passes.
On the play above, Fromm looks clean in his drop back and with his follow through on the throw. The route from the tight end looks like he’s a running a slant route but gets cut off by the linebacker. However, the tight end continues to run vertically, so it looks like a sluggo route, and Fromm puts some nice touch on this pass to get it over the linebacker, who’s struggling to recover after stumbling off jamming the tight end.
After watching three games of his sophomore season and some high school highlights, there’s plenty to like from Jake Fromm. He’s already a “pro’s-pro” and looks consistently prepared in every situation on the field. The way he carries himself on and off the field is impressive. To say that he’s a poised quarterback might be an understatement. There will be times that he struggles against pressure and will have to find ways to tuck the football when taking a sack, but overall, he maneuvers around the pocket well and should continue to improve.
Jake Fromm has been dominant at Georgia when utilizing play action. pic.twitter.com/EupSkjhcA2— PFF College (@PFF_College) May 13, 2019
This upcoming season will be a big year for one of the most poised quarterbacks in the 2020 NFL Draft. He needs to show that he can carry this offense to the next level and that, despite losing so much talent, he can still produce at a high level and be consistent. If he can do that, we’ll be talking about him along with a bunch of other quarterbacks in next year’s draft. He might lack some of the elite arm strength that Tua and Herbert possess, but the way the 2019 season transpires will be a fun one and one that we talk about for years to come.