Applying Bill Parcells' QB Drafting Rules To 2021 Class

Photo: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

I’m glad you are here. Sure many will scoff at the idea of applying Bill Parcells’ dated criteria for drafting a quarterback to the 2021 class, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fun and interesting experiment. 

Parcells, a Hall of Fame coach, was regarded for his ability to evaluate talent, so taking into consideration his criteria and seeing where the cards fall for this year’s quarterback crop is insightful. In case you are not familiar with that criteria, the following seven boxes had to be checked in order for a passer to be an option for Parcells. 

  • 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, and finish what they start.

Let’s examine the top quarterback prospects in 2021. 

Trevor Lawrence, Clemson 

  • 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? Yes 
  • TD:INT ratio at least 2:1? Yes (90:17)
  • Completion percentage over 60? Yes (65.9%)

6/7 criteria met

Lawrence nearly checks every box, but he wasn’t a senior on the field. Surely Parcells would grant a minor exception for a talent like Lawrence. 

Justin Fields, Ohio State 

  • 3 years as a starter? No
  • Is he a senior? No
  • Did he graduate? No
  • Did he start 30 games? No
  • Did he win 23 games? No 
  • TD:INT ratio at least 2:1? Yes (67:19)
  • Completion percentage over 60? Yes (68.2%)

2/7 criteria met

Fields is my QB2 in this year’s class but he doesn’t come close to meeting the criteria needed to be a candidate for Parcells. His loss. 

Zach Wilson, BYU

  • 3 years as a starter? Yes
  • Is he a senior? No
  • Did he graduate? No
  • Did he start 30 games? No
  • Did he win 23 games? No 
  • TD:INT ratio at least 2:1? Yes (55:15)
  • Completion percentage over 60? Yes (66.8%)

3/7 criteria met

Wilson was tremendous in 2020, but his warts from 2018 and 2019 limit him to hitting just three out of seven boxes being checked. 

Trey Lance, North Dakota State

  • 3 years as a starter? No
  • Is he a senior? No
  • Did he graduate? No
  • Did he start 30 games? No
  • Did he win 23 games? No
  • TD:INT ratio at least 2:1? Yes (30:1)
  • Completion percentage over 60? Yes (65.2%)

2/7 criteria met

Lance was sensational… in his one year as a starter for North Dakota State. His lack of experience would be a major turn-off for the Tuna. 

Mac Jones, Alabama 

  • 3 years as a starter? No
  • Is he a senior? Yes
  • Did he graduate? Yes
  • Did he start 30 games? No
  • Did he win 23 games? No
  • TD:INT ratio at least 2:1? Yes (56:17)
  • Completion percentage over 60? Yes (73.8%)

4/7 criteria met

In many ways, Jones was capable of checking all seven boxes but it took too long for him to get the opportunity to start for Alabama. 

Davis Mills, Stanford

  • 3 years as a starter? No
  • Is he a senior? Yes
  • Did he graduate? Yes
  • Did he start 30 games? No
  • Did he win 23 games? No
  • TD:INT ratio at least 2:1? Yes (18:8)
  • Completion percentage over 60? Yes (64.9%)

4/7 criteria met

Mills’ sample size is not nearly large enough to be on the table for Parcells. 

Kellen Mond, Texas A&M

  • 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 (71:27)
  • Completion percentage over 60? No (58.5%)

6/7 criteria met

So close! If Mond’s completion percentage was just 1.5% better, he would’ve hit all of the criteria for Parcells. 

Kyle Trask, Florida 

  • 3 years as a starter? No
  • Is he a senior? Yes
  • Did he graduate? Yes
  • Did he start 30 games? No 
  • Did he win 23 games? No
  • TD:INT ratio at least 2:1? Yes (69:15)
  • Completion percentage over 60? Yes (67.9%)

4/7 criteria met

Like Jones, Trask’s opportunity to start came too late in his career, or else he would have hit all the marks. 

Final Tally

  • 6/7: Lawrence, Mond
  • 4/7: Jones, Mills, Trask
  • 3/7: Wilson
  • 2/7: Fields, Lance

I have done this project every year since the 2018 NFL Draft and this is the first time that no quarterback was able to check all seven boxes. The good news for these prospects is that not meeting all seven data points doesn’t preclude them from becoming legitimate franchise quarterbacks. I’d love to see just how hard and fast these rules are if Parcells were calling the shots for the Jacksonville Jaguars with the opportunity to draft Lawrence this April.

Written By:

Joe Marino

Senior NFL Draft Analyst

Joe Marino is a Senior NFL Draft Analyst at TDN. Marino comes to TDN after serving as a draft analyst for NDT Scouting, FanRag Sports and Draft Breakdown dating back to 2014. In 2017, Marino became a Huddle Report Mock Draft Champion when he produced the most accurate mock draft in the world.

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