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Kenny Pickett
NFL Draft

How Do Bill Parcells’ QB Drafting Rules Apply To 2022 Class?

  • Joe Marino
  • January 5, 2022
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Has the game changed significantly and created the need for Bill Parcells to update his criteria? It sure has. But every year I find it interesting to apply his criteria to the rising crop of quarterbacks to see who would be on top of Parcells’ rankings. Parcells was a Hall of Fame coach who was renowned for his ability to evaluate talent. In fact, when he was with the New England Patriots he famously stated: “They want you to cook the dinner; at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries.” This comment derived from an incident during the 1996 NFL Draft when his preferred first-round selection was not approved by owner Robert Kraft. Kraft purchased the team after Parcells’ first year on the job and Parcells was effectively the Patriots’ general manager. Despite taking New England to the Super Bowl in 1996 it was his final game as head coach. His disagreements with Kraft led to Parcells’ decision to leave New England. In 1997, Parcells became the head coach and general manager of the New York Jets, where he had full control over football operations. Needless to say, Parcells had convictions about his approach on how to build a football team and his resume speaks for itself. In case you are not familiar with Parcells’ criteria for drafting a quarterback, the following seven boxes had to be checked in order for a passer to be an option:
  • Be a three-year starter
  • Be a senior in college
  • Graduate from college
  • Start 30 games
  • Win 23 games
  • Post a 2-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio
  • Complete at least 60% of passes thrown
While none of the criteria takes into account traits identifiable on film, the central theme behind Parcells’ rules is to narrow the field down to those who are accurate, make good decisions, are mentally tough, are part of a winning culture, and finish what they start. Let’s see how the 2022 crop of quarterbacks fits into Parcells’ criteria.

Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

  • 3 years as a starter? Yes
  • Is he a senior? Yes
  • Did he graduate? Yes
  • Did he start 30 games? Yes
  • Did he win 23 games? Yes
  • TD:INT ratio at least 2:1? Yes (81:32)
  • Completion percentage over 60? Yes (62.4%)
  • 7/7 criteria met
In so many ways, Pickett encapsulates everything Parcells is looking for in a quarterback prospect. The criteria exists to laser in on guys like Pickett. Now, what would Parcells think about his hand size?

Matt Corral, Ole Miss

  • 3 years as a starter? No
  • Is he a senior? No
  • Did he graduate? Yes
  • Did he start 30 games? No
  • Did he win 23 games? No
  • TD:INT ratio at least 2:1? Yes (57:22)
  • Completion percentage over 60? Yes (66.7%)
  • 3/7 criteria met
Of the top quarterbacks in the 2022 class, Corral checks the fewest boxes of Parcells’ criteria. Considering he should be one of the first quarterbacks off the board, it’s a good reminder of how the criteria can be so wide-ranging and how every team is different.

Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

  • 3 years as a starter? Yes
  • Is he a senior? Yes
  • Did he graduate? Yes
  • Did he start 30 games? Yes
  • Did he win 23 games? Yes
  • TD:INT ratio at least 2:1? Yes (87:28)
  • Completion percentage over 60? Yes (61.8%)
  • 7/7 criteria met
Like Pickett, the criteria's designed for quarterbacks like Ridder to be amplified and the reason for Parcells’ process is to make sure guys like Ridder and what he accomplished in college are the types of players he chooses. It’s all about narrowing down the options.

Sam Howell, North Carolina

  • 3 years as a starter? Yes
  • Is he a senior? No
  • Did he graduate? Yes
  • Did he start 30 games? Yes
  • Did he win 23 games? No
  • TD:INT ratio at least 2:1? Yes (92:23)
  • Completion percentage over 60? Yes (63.3%)
  • 5/7 criteria met
Howell came close but his instant success at North Carolina worked against him as it relates to falling into Parcells’ criteria. He became the Tar Heels’ starter as a true freshman and held the job for three seasons, never becoming a senior and needed that fourth season to win enough games.

Carson Strong, Nevada

  • 3 years as a starter? Yes
  • Is he a senior? Yes
  • Did he graduate? Yes
  • Did he start 30 games? Yes
  • Did he win 23 games? No
  • TD:INT ratio at least 2:1? Yes (74:19)
  • Completion percentage over 60? Yes (67.9%)
  • 6/7 criteria met
If Nevada won more football games in Strong’s three seasons as a starter, Strong would have checked all the boxes, but he ultimately fell just short. The shortened season in 2020 was also costly. Perhaps Parcells would have made an exception? He BARELY missed!

Malik Willis, Liberty

  • 3 years as a starter? No
  • Is he a senior? Yes
  • Did he graduate? Yes
  • Did he start 30 games? Yes
  • Did he win 23 games? No
  • TD:INT ratio at least 2:1? Yes (48:18)
  • Completion percentage over 60? Yes (62.9%)
  • 5/7 criteria met
Willis misses the mark because he was only a two-year starter and didn’t come close to winning enough games to be on Parcells’ radar. FINAL TALLY 
  • 7/7: Pickett, Ridder
  • 6/7: Strong
  • 5/7: Howell, Willis
  • 3/7: Corral
After none of the top quarterback prospects in last year’s draft met Parcells’ criteria despite five being selected in the first round, Pickett and Ridder checked all the boxes in the year’s class. In 2020, both Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts met all seven criteria.

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Joe Marino