FanPost

A Statistical (and subjective) Comparison of Geno Smith and Matt Barkley

These guys are generally considered the top two QBs in the '13 draft, so I decided to put together a statistical comparison with a little help from ESPN.com stats. Now, I've come down firmly into the Barkley camp based on watching several games of both QBs (thanks to some helpful draftnics and youtube). IMHO, Barkley has better field vision, is more accurate downfield, does a better job of hitting receivers in stride, throws better while rolling out, and just looks more polished as a QB (as he should, being a 4yr starter). Geno's main attributes are more athleticism (though I don't consider him to be particularly mobile, and the stat's bear this out) and a stronger arm. If it sounds like I'm biased toward Barkley, well, that's because I am. Both QBs rely on short screen passes for most of their numbers, but when actually having to throw those intermediate passes of 15-25 yards Barkley is simply more accurate, and his timing is better. To be fair, Geno did throw some very nice deep passes, but it's my belief that the intermediate game is more important at the NFL level. I'll post some youtube clips for both QBs after the stats...maybe this post can be a somewhat comprehensive resource for those wanting to see both QBs for themselves.

Now for the stats. Because competition varies so widely conference-to-conference and week-to-week, I've decided to do the comparison based on the top-5 teams each player faced this season in terms of scoring defense. Both QBs put up huge numbers against weaker teams, but IMO that has little relevance when trying to gauge NFL potential.

In the final column you can see that Smith's top-5 opponents had an average scoring D ranked 39th in the nation, Barkley's opponents averaged 33rd. So Barkley did face stronger Ds based on this measure, and it's a pretty significant difference in terms of rank (though it's only slightly more than 1-PPG difference, so you could call it a wash).

Geno Smith
Passing Rushing
DATE OPP RESULT CMP ATT YDS CMP% LNG TD INT RAT ATT YDS AVG LNG TD Opp PPG Opp Rank
22-Sep Maryland W 31-21 30.00 43 338 69.80 44 3 0 158.80 5 -15 -3.00 6 0 27 58
20-Oct Kansas State L 55-14 21.00 32 143 65.60 13 1 2 101.00 7 -15 -2.10 5 0 21 24
3-Nov TCU L 39-38 (2OT) 32.00 54 260 59.30 43 3 1 114.30 10 28 2.80 9 0 23 35
17-Nov Oklahoma L 50-49 20.00 35 320 57.10 41 4 2 160.20 4 52 13.00 24 0 24 43
23-Nov @Iowa State W 31-24 22.00 31 236 71.00 75 2 0 156.20 2 15 7.50 17 0 23 36
AVG 25.00 39.00 259.40 64.56 43.20 2.60 1.00 138.10 5.60 13.00 3.64 12.20 0.00 23.60 39.20
Matt Barkley
Passing Rushing
DATE OPP RESULT CMP ATT YDS CMP% LNG TD INT RAT ATT YDS AVG LNG TD Opp PPG Opp Rank
15-Sep @Stanford L 21-14 20 41 254 48.8 49 0 2 91.1 5 -34 -6.8 0 0 18 14
4-Oct @Utah W 38-28 23 30 303 76.7 83 3 0 194.5 1 -3 -3 5 0 25 49
13-Oct @Washington W 24-14 10 20 167 50 37 1 1 126.6 3 -9 -3 7 0 23 37
3-Nov Oregon L 62-51 35 54 484 64.8 76 5 2 163.3 1 -6 -6 0 0 22 26
10-Nov Arizona State W 38-17 20 33 222 60.6 80 3 3 128.9 2 -13 -6.5 0 0 24 41
AVG 21.60 35.60 286.00 60.18 65.00 2.40 1.60 140.88 2.40 -13.00 -5.06 2.40 0.00 22.40 33.40

So what do these numbers say?

  • Smith has a higher completion percentage (64.5% to 60%), but Barkley has more YPG (259 vs 286)
  • Smith averages 0.2 more TDs per game, and 0.6 fewer INTs per game, this is one measure definitely in his favor
  • Avg QB Rating shows a wash (though the avg here is statistically unsound anyway)
  • Mobility? Well, Barkley ain't mobile, period. He averaged -13 YPG. However, the "Mobile" Smith ain't exactly a dual threat either, averaging +13 YPG. Each had an outlier game that skew those stats away from zero.

So what to take from this? Statistically it's pretty much a wash between the two. Geno put up slightly better numbers overall against a slightly less difficult schedule.


Now on to the game tape, I already gave my reasons for favoring Barkley so I won't do it again. Y'all can judge for yourselves. I'm only including video here from the games I listed above. As I said before, I don't really care how great a QB looks against terrible defenses. If anyone wants to post other games in the comments, by all means, feel free.
(Interesting Note: Smith had 4 home games, Barkley 2)


Geno Smith

  • Maryland - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1zqqutj6Uo
  • K-State - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-oCe2E9Nuw
  • TCU - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6W0yLWddXNo
  • Oklahoma - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZCPd5u6f3c
  • @Iowa State - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efnQFamDvU8


Matt Barkley

  • @Stanford - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiBzzHdUaTQ
  • @Utah - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIDYJzlZ2IA
  • @Washington - Not found (here's '11 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcQCg2IU7bE)
  • Oregon - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4SfjfEyBgc
  • Arizona State - Not found on YouTube (here's '11 again - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWxu0etXIhQ)

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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