Triturate: QB Jake Fromm, Georgia (Week 7)

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Jake Fromm has been coming on this season as a legitimate NFL Draft prospect. Showing both the intangibles and some of the on field talent, Fromm is a guy that NFL teams are going to like a lot. I wrote about him late last month, as one of the quarterbacks competing to raise their draft stock to first round status. Let me tell you what: Fromm is almost there.

Welcome to Triturate, the column that breaks down NFL Draft prospects and what they do on tape, through an excruciating grinding process that I like to call “The Triturate.” The Webster’s dictionary definition of triturate is “to pulverize and comminute thoroughly by rubbing or grinding.” I grind the tape. You see the results.

Even with all of this hype surrounding Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm this season, well-deserved if I may add, there are still concerns to Fromm’s game. His arm strength, in particular, at times doesn’t look satisfactory. While he is on a top team in the country, the team focuses on running the ball. How much can Fromm handle? Can he run a spread offense?

Let’s get find out, shall we?

Jake Fromm this season

Let’s face it. Until this game, Jake Fromm was having a hell of a season. He was exactly what his team needed him to be, throwing strikes across the field when asked to make the throws.

Jake is a hell of a competitor. If you watched season one of QB1 on Netflix, you already know that. Charismatic, fun-loving, but serious when it comes to football. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart loves him, in fact he’s chosen Fromm over two other talented quarterbacks. Fromm has the it factor, and it’s been bright all season.

Against Notre Dame, Fromm put together the best second half I have ever seen him play. Dear readers, you must realize that I have been watching Jake Fromm for a long time. When I wrote for Last Word On Sports Inc, I actually wrote a piece on Jake Fromm (as a sophomore) being a Heisman contender in the pre-season. He has all of the intangible tools that you want to see in your quarterback.

Now that I have said my piece on Fromm as a person, a leader and a teammate, let’s see the tape.

Enter the Film Room

Jake Fromm has his flaws, no doubt. I know this coming in. I know that his arm strength would be bottom tier in the league, he’s not particularly athletic and these two things somewhat limit his game. I’m not saying that he is, but remember that Peyton Manning had the same concerns and limits when he came out of college… Not saying, just observing.

In this game Fromm threw three interceptions, all to the same cornerback, sophomore Israel Mukuamu. The question has been raised. Is this something that NFL teams need to be concerned about?

The first interception

The first example that we have is simply Fromm extending beyond his limits trying to make things happen. Fromm needs to understand he has limits. Usually, he is very good about this, but Georgia is struggling in this game and Fromm is taking it upon himself to lift the team.

Look at the right tackle from the start of the play. He’s going to get beat inside by his defender. Fromm has nowhere to step up into the pocket when an edge player get’s inside, and now he has to throw the ball because the edge already has a beat on him trying to escape outside. Fromm shows us a bad habit right here of his. He naturally steps away from the pressure and tries to fire a strike along the sideline.

I don’t know the exact science behind it, but I’ve done this a thousand times myself in backyard games and practicing my throws growing up. When you throw a ball while moving backwards, you lose a lot of the velocity that you use to drive the football with. It flutters in the air, it sinks and looks awkward.

Fromm’s throw just did the same thing. Jake Fromm is not Patrick Mahomes, and he is not going to drive the football with his arm strength alone. He needs to be able to step into his throw. As a result? Ouch. A nasty interception on a ball he should not have thrown.

Positives to the step back pass

Remember how I mentioned that Fromm has a bad habit of stepping away from his throws? Sometimes, this is used well and is a good thing.

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In this case here, Fromm is dealing with an unblocked edge defender who has rushed free around his left side. I believe that this is a case of a missed assignment by Georgia’s star left tackle Andrew Thomas. Either way, Fromm has to get rid of the ball quickly. Zamire White, the running back, leaked out of the backfield behind the free rusher and is the checkdown option.

Fromm uses his step back throw very well here. No one is close to the checkdown option so the ball doesn’t have to be anywhere right away. He has time to softly loft it over the head of the free rusher and into the arms of his running back.

Working through pressure

We just saw a great example of Jake Fromm making a good decision under pressure. However, the checkdown was uncovered on the play and the throw didn’t need to be anywhere. It was a great decision from Fromm, but one that was very easy.

Now we have Fromm’s second interception. This is a few plays after Thomas missed the assignment. Fromm is feeling the pressure from the left now. Not that there really is pressure, but he is feeling urgent and a need to get the ball out of the backfield faster. He has his receiver, Matt Landers, running a comeback route. This is a timing route, something that Fromm is normally so good at completing. However, Fromm’s internal clock is a little rattled and he throws this ball before Landers is starting his break.

As a result, the throw ends up wildly away from Landers, and our star defensive back Mukuamu is there to reach and make an incredible interception. In all honesty, this interception should have been an incomplete pass. Mukuamu makes a fantastic play to stretch for this catch, and most defensive backs would have let it go, let alone attempted to make the catch.

Timing throws

This is normally a strong point for Jake Fromm, as a noted before. He throws strikes on out and curl patterns regularly. This requires a lot of team chemistry with his receivers, as well as an understanding of what the opposing defense is doing on the field. Fromm is a smart kid, with a lot of football intelligence. I’m promising you, that’s going to raise his draft stock.

The placement of this throw, as with most of his out route throws, is brilliant. A seven step drop, the deepest drop a quarterback is asked to do, the step up and the strike right into the window along the sideline, away from the defender where only his receiver can make the catch.

Looking at the Production

Jake has had an extraordinary college career thus far. The stats show us that he has improved with every passing season. His interceptions in this South Carolina game were his first of the season as well. Jake has some extraordinary traits, and sees the field pretty well overall.

The Verdict: I’m not worried.

There’s not a whole lot of troubling content in this tape. Jake still had a good game, nothing to brag to home about but still played well, and two of his interceptions really shouldn’t have been picked. Either way, he’s still a fierce competitor, a fiery leader and a great football player.

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