In the two weeks leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft, NESN.com will be taking a closer look at this year’s quarterback class and how each player could fit with the New England Patriots. Next up, Georgia’s Jake Fromm.
Jake Fromm, Georgia
6-foot-2, 219 pounds, 8 7/8-inch hands
Projected Round: Day 2
2019 Stats: 60.8 percent, 2,860 yards, 24 touchdowns, five interceptions, 7.4 yards per attempt
Strengths: Decision-making, accuracy, poise, football IQ, leadership, pro-style experience
Weaknesses: Arm strength, athleticism, size
Testing numbers: 5.01-second 40-yard dash, 30-inch vertical jump, 111-inch broad jump, 7.27-second three-cone drill, 4.51-second short shuttle
Analysis: Fromm’s superb intangibles make him the safest pick of the QBs likely to be selected on Day 2 (himself, Jacob Eason and Jalen Hurts). But his physical shortcomings could prevent him from ever becoming a top-end starter.
Even still, it’s hard to watch the 21-year-old and not come away impressed.
Fromm does not possess elite arm strength, but he displayed excellent touch on passes toward the sideline and thrived on back-shoulder throws, which feature prominently in Josh McDaniels’ offense. He’s one of the least athletic quarterbacks in this year’s draft, but the toughness he showed on his rare scrambling opportunities illustrated why his Georgia teammates loved him. He reads defenses well, is efficient with his progressions, knows the game and generally is smart with the ball (just seven turnover-worthy plays last season, per Pro Football Focus).
During a collegiate career that included 42 consecutive starts and 36 victories, Fromm beat out a pair of more physically gifted signal-callers in Eason (who transferred to Washington) and Justin Fields (Ohio State) and piloted the Bulldogs to three consecutive SEC Championship appearances. He’s a gamer.
But questions about Fromm’s NFL ceiling concern more than just his subpar physical tools.
Georgia put the ball in his hands more often in 2019 (career-high 385 pass attempts, up from 307 in 2018 and 291 in 2017), and his accuracy and efficiency both took a dive. Fromm’s completion percentage dropped more than six points from his 2018 mark of 67.3, and his yards-per-attempt average fell from 9.0 to 7.4 — a troubling development for a player who had been viewed as a potential top-10 pick before the season. Fromm also completed less than 50 percent in five consecutive games last November and December before rebounding with a solid performance in the Sugar Bowl.
Some of Fromm’s 2019 struggles can be blamed on a less-than-stellar receiving corps that struggled to create separation, but he also had the benefit of playing behind arguably the best offensive line in college football — his 21.4 percent pressure rate was tied for fourth-lowest among QBs with 300-plus dropbacks, per PFF — and alongside a potential first-round pick in running back D’Andre Swift.
Generally speaking, when Georgia asked Fromm to carry them to victory, he couldn’t. He attempted more than 30 passes in just six of his 43 appearances, and the Bulldogs lost all six, prompting draft evaluators to saddle him with the dreaded “game manager” tag.
So, what does all this say about Fromm’s potential fit with the Patriots? We actually believe he’d fit in well in New England. Bill Belichick rarely targets rocket-armed QB prospects, and Fromm’s mental makeup would endear him to Belichick and McDaniels. He also comes from a program that’s produced three Patriots draft picks (Sony Michel, Isaiah Wynn and Malcolm Mitchell) and an undrafted gem (David Andrews) in the last five years.
From a measurables/testing standpoint, Fromm’s profile is similar to 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham’s, though the latter turned in significantly better times in the 40 and short shuttle.
This primarily is a question of value, though.
The Patriots seem to like Stidham, whose rookie preseason was the best of any New England QB in recent memory. Fromm, despite his faults, is expected to hear his name called in the second or third round next Friday.
Should the Patriots, who have clear needs at other positions, like tight end and linebacker, spend that high of a pick on a player who’s been compared to Colt McCoy and Chase Daniel?
Previously: Nate Stanley