Reiding Between the Lines: 3 P's to Developing Quarterbacks

Photo: © Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Since 2010, seven of the past ten top overall draft selections have been quarterbacks. It is rightfully labeled as the most important position in sports. With all of the responsibilities, praise, and blame that comes with the position, that type of stigma can be altered in many different ways.

We've seen the recent success of many different quarterbacks who have stepped into various situations, but on the other-hand, we've also experienced the careers of quarterbacks derailed as a result. There's a lot that goes into the development of players at the position. The recipe for success isn't lying around in a cookbook nor is there a specific formula that front offices and coaching staffs have to stick to in order to help young signal-callers reach their potential.

There have been plenty of examples of young prospects reaching their peaks, but all have three common denominators that have helped further their development. The three P's is a theory that has proven to be true for all quarterbacks that have experienced some forms of success during their career. Play caller, Protection, and Playmakers are the three requisite traits to help better an environment for throwers.

No. 1 - Play Caller

Debating which of the three that is most important is another interesting topic, but for now, having the right play caller in the ear of quarterbacks is an essential piece to their success. Wentz-Pederson, Goff-McVay, and Mahomes-Reid are prime examples of how the expertise and comfort of play callers can help them settle in and eventually develop chemistry.

The most common and effective play caller-quarterback relationships usually involve the head coach and signal-caller. This is due to the fear of teams poaching away talented offensive coordinators for head coaching positions, which has become a popular trend over the past few seasons after the instant success of Sean McVay with the Los Angeles Rams.

Why is having a successful play caller important though?

It's of paramount importance because these are the individuals that know the strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of the player that they work with on a daily basis. Knowing the flow of the game, having the smarts of when to call certain plays, and picking, and choosing matchups to exploit are all important traits to possess as an offensive coordinator.

As far as a fit with quarterbacks, there isn't a more important counterpart because this is the coach who puts together game plans around the traits of the player that they are attempting to develop.

No. 2 - Protection

David Carr is always the first example brought up when giving examples of how a quarterbacks career can be derailed based on the amount of hits suffered and sacks given up by a teams offensive line. His 72 sacks surrendered during the 2002 season still remains an NFL record -- one that probably never will be surpassed.

All of that to say this, the physical punishment suffered during his career resulted in him checking out because of how fractured he was mentally when stepping onto an NFL field. With protection, what's an often occurrence with teams is that they select their franchise quarterback without having the proper protection in front of him. Thus, this results in years of inept offensive line play and seasons before proper protection is placed to surround them.

Being good in the trenches is another requisite checklist item for teams that are thinking about drafting a quarterback. Having at minimum league average protection ahead of him is an important factor to consider. The recent retirement of Andrew Luck is an example that could be used here.

While the Colts spent plenty of draft capital on improving their offensive line following the hire of general manager Chris Ballard, it seemed to be a little too late as the injuries continued to pile up on Luck to the point of no return.

No. 3 - Playmakers

A quarterbacks best friend is a consistent perimeter weapon(s). Looking around the current state of the league, every successful young quarterback has some type of security blanket. This wide cast net is one that could not only help the thrower, but also it could make life easier for them during the early goings of their career.

The NFL is a star and playmaker driven league. It's important to have star power at the proper positions. While it's not required to have a star receiver, having ones that can be dependable targets is very important.

Written By:

Jordan Reid

Senior NFL Draft Analyst

Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-Founder of Former QB and Coach at North Carolina Central Univ.