PFF Ranks the top Five Week 1 Quarterbacks in the Country

Forth his first game of the 2021 season, Michigan starting quarterback Cade McNamara put in an efficient, albeit brief, effort.

In the Wolverines’ 47-14 season-opening win over Western Michigan, the third-year quarterback completed 9-of-11 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns. J.J. McCarthy, his backup, may have gone viral for his arm strength, but McNamara aced his first test of the season.

McNamara’s work appears to have impressed the team of Pro Football Focus (PFF). He beat out Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez, Kentucky’s Will Levis, Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, and Auburn’s Bo Nix as their highest-graded Power Five quarterback of Week 1.

If you’re not aware with PFF’s rankings, they’ve been a popular topic of conversation in the football world over the last decade or so. The algorithm “evaluates every player on every play throughout a football game,” according to the website.

“Each player is given a grade of -2 to +2 in 0.5 increments on a given play with 0 generally being the average or ‘expected’ grade,” PFF says. “Each position has its own grading rubric so our analysts know how to put a grade on the various expectations for a quarterback on a 10-yard pass beyond the sticks or what the range of grades might look like for a frontside offensive tackle down blocking on a “power” play.

“There is then an adjustment made to the “raw” grades to adjust for what the player is “expected” to earn given his situation on the field”

Of course, with most types of analysis, there is some subjectivity to this grading system. Some of the quarterbacks behind McNamara had better pure numbers than the Reno, Nev. native, and the Maize and Blue quarterback may have missed another touchdown on one play by checking down instead of throwing downfield to an open receiver.

However, McNamara rating so highly here at least partially backs up what the eye test seemed to show during the game. He did a satisfactory job in only his second career start.

“He moves our team,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said post-game, via The Michigan Daily. “All the drives he’s been in — we score points when he’s out there.”

McNamara will have a chance to lead the Wolverines to a 2-0 start when they host Washington Saturday night in primetime.

Source: MSN Sports

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