Scanning some of the latest 2020 NFL mock drafts — God, what’s happened to my life, it used to hold such promise — there’s one name that stubbornly refuses to show itself as a first-day possibility: Jake Fromm.
The junior Georgia quarterback, who will mull the decision to leave early for the draft once the Bulldogs run out of games, has done nothing this season to make that call automatic and easy. His stock has remained mostly flat as he guides an offense that doesn’t feature its quarterback above all others, and he puts up numbers that are really good but fall south of gaudy.
Even a traumatic injury within the quarterbacking fraternity has done little to alter Fromm’s rank within it.
Most of these pointless exercises still cling to Tua Tagovailoa as a first-rounder after his tricky hip surgery and an already busy medical history. And there was this from an Alabama website: “Three longtime NFL personnel guys told AL.com that if they had to bet on it, Tagovailoa would still go somewhere in the first half of the first round even after suffering the hip injury. Possibly even still in the top-10.”
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In all cases, Fromm comes in after LSU’s Joe Burrow, Tagovailoa and Oregon’s Justin Herbert. And in most cases he’d be taken behind Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts; and in some cases even behind one guy Fromm displaced at Georgia, Washington’s Jacob Eason as well as Utah State’s Jordan Love.
A couple of sites dare to extend themselves beyond the first round, and only in those does Fromm’s name appear.
The quarterback draft order, featuring those select names above, from draftwire.usatoday.com: 1. Burrow; 4. Tagovailoa; 11. Herbert; 45. (second round) Hurts; 48. Eason; 80. (third round) Love; 94. Fromm.
And from draftsite.com: 1. Burrow; 3. Tagovailoa; 6. Herbert; 44. (second round) Fromm; 75. (third round) Hurts; 129. (fourth round) Eason; 165. (fifth round) Love.
Of course, the guesswork involved in such ranking, here before even the draft order is set, is along the lines of a butcher performing open-heart surgery in the dark.
And I’d argue that once NFL personnel people get to actually interview Fromm and come to gauge all those quarterbacking qualities that are immeasurable, somebody’s going to get quite smitten.
Still, I’ll use these imperfect tools to help fashion the unsolicited advice that Fromm be in no hurry to join the mercenaries at the next level. Right now, sticking around for his senior season at Georgia doesn’t seem unfathomable at all.
Fromm, and The Decision (Georgia version) is one of the intriguing puzzles of the coming draft, his future the 5-star Sudoku atop the Saturday New York Times crossword.
Just watching him now, I see a player who might be well-served staying another year. We’ve seen him limited by the elements to 35 passing yards one game against Kentucky and surgically spay and neuter Florida with 279 yards and a pair of touchdowns the next game. He’s thrown three interceptions in a loss against South Carolina and three touchdowns in a big win against Auburn. His two worst games in terms of completion percentage since his freshman season (both under 47 percent) have been his past two. There has been just enough “meh” moments thrown in with the “oh, my” ones to make coming back for his senior season more a possibility than most would have thought.
Don’t assign Fromm the faint slander of “game manager;” he is assuredly more than that. Although he does rank 62nd among FBS quarterbacks in completions per game, 60th in yards per attempt, 71st in yards per game and 44th in passing touchdowns per game. Rather managerial numbers at that.
It’s just that his job a Georgia doesn’t entail him going pass-crazy. In fact, you didn’t want him throwing too much – he was 0-5 games with 30 or more attempts until the Florida game this year.
Between running a system that values bludgeoning over the big play and trying to get on the same page with a new batch of young receivers, this has not been the kind of season in which Fromm has really shown off. Hey, next year always holds the possibility of doing more.
In terms of “arm talent” Fromm isn’t the prettiest quarterback at the prom. That’s why he gets passed over in these remote mock drafts, those strangers just don’t get to know him the way the Bulldogs fan does.
No one can say for sure what kind of NFL quarterback Fromm will make — I’d guess that he is going to be quite good, somewhere between Mitchell Trubisky and Aaron Rodgers. How’s that for a wide range? Wish I could be more specific, but that is part of the mystery of Jake Fromm.
But I’m in no great hurry to find out exactly where exactly he falls as a pro.
More certain is the fact that Fromm is an extraordinary college quarterback, one that appeals to every selfish motive that he stays at Georgia long enough to get us all through the next election.