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Is Brian Quick the Next Larry Fitzgerald?

Oh believe me, I know. I know. I really, really, really KNOW, really!

The title of this article alone is enough for some of our readers to dismiss everything I’m about to say. In some ways, I think I’d be inclined to do the same if someone walked up to me and said exactly what’s in the title. I might call them crazy or think it’s the lead in to a bad joke. Hear me out though, I promise at the end of this article you will at the very least come away with some very interesting conversation starters or justification when you stash Brian Quick late in your start-up draft.

Leading off with a question as bizarre as the one in the title and an answer which is just as startling, one would expect some solid arguments to back all of this up. Never fear, I have a lot of numbers I’m about to throw your way.

Let’s start with some of the very basic comparisons – the measurables of each player.

Starting off, Quick and Fitzgerald have very similar body shapes and frames. Quick stands 6’-4” while Fitzgerald is 6’-3”. Both of them weigh 220 pounds. Both are both rumored to have a wingspan of 34 ¼”. During their pre-draft workouts, Quick ran a 4.55 second 40-yard dash compared to Fitzgerald’s 4.48 second performance. In the short shuttle, Quick posted a 4.23 second performance while Fitzgerald clocked in at 4.28. Quick’s vertical jump was 34” while Fitzgerald’s vertical jump was measured at 35”. These stats alone already should have quite a few people raising some eyebrows due to their extreme closeness. However, just because two people are built similar or even post similar workout numbers, doesn’t always mean they will play the same on the field.

Part of what makes a player good, bad or fantasy irrelevant all has to do with what kind of situation they find themselves in. Both Quick and Fitzgerald found themselves drafted on to teams with records far below .500. Quick finds himself on a Rams team that posted a horrible 2-14 record in 2011. Fitzgerald didn’t land on a team with a much better record, finding himself on an Arizona Cardinals team that posted a 4-12 record the year before he arrived. While common sense would tend to dictate that a player going to a horrible team might see a dip in how well they perform on that team. In actuality, however, wide receivers with the right skills might actually thrive in such a situation. Due to the fact that a horrible team will likely fall behind early and often, deep throws tend to be more a more prevalent aspect of these offenses as they struggle to stay, or get, in the game. Any wide receiver who is the deep threat on such a team is bound to see more chances than a deep threat on a team playing with a lead more often.

Upon being drafted by their respective teams, both Quick and Fitzgerald entered training camp with high expectations placed upon them. Both were expected to play major roles on their teams in their first year and were expected to become their team’s number one receiver very quickly. Quick finds himself on a team lacking a true deep threat for a number of years and only Danny Amendola has been a bright point for the Rams receiving corps in the past five years. Fitzgerald found himself as the number two option behind Anquan Boldin coming into Cardinals camp, but became the number one receiver for the Cardinals in short order.

A further look into the situations both of these players found themselves in reveals even more similarities that make one take pause. Both Quick and Fitzgerald found themselves being thrown to by third year quarterbacks, Sam Bradford in Quick’s case and Josh McCown in Fitzgerald’s. The year prior to both of their selections, their teams produced passing yards well below the league average and offensively were eerily close to each other. The Rams passed for 2,870 yards and rushed for 1,667 yards while the Cardinals passed for 2,959 yards and rushed for 1,531 yards. Both the Rams and the Cardinals scored the lowest points in the league (#32 of 32) the year before each player arrived and had the highest point differential (#32 of 32). Furthermore, both teams turned over their coaching staffs in the off-season prior to the arrival of each player.

While the similarities between Quick and Fitzgerald’s measureables and situation are striking, yet a third category exists by which to compare these two players – performance. Looking at the final year in college of each player, one can be forgiven for assuming Fitzgerald’s statistics are superior to Quick’s. Quick recorded 71 receptions for 1,096 yards and 11 touchdowns, while Fitzgerald posted 92 receptions for 1,672 yards and 22 touchdowns. When you abstract the offense that each of these players found themselves in, you begin to see that in college the two players performs similar in different circumstances

In the offense Quick found himself in, his team passed the ball 27.72% of the time, while Fitzgerald’s offense passed 27.92% of the time, so far roughly the same. However, the average yard per reception for Quick’s team was 12.13 yards, while Fitzgerald’s team had an average reception of 14.92 yards. Individually Quick’s average reception was for 15.44 yards, over three yards more than his team’s average, Fitzgerald had an average reception of 18.17 yards, also about three yards over his teams average – this would seem to indicate that either Quick’s quarterback, the offense his team ran or both were a bit more conservative than that of Fitzgerald’s team.

In terms of percentage of their team’s receptions Fitzgerald has an edge at 36.65% to Quick’s 30.60%. What is interesting, however, is what Quick did with the receptions he made. Despite Quick having a lower percentage of his team’s overall receptions, both Quick and Fitzgerald scored exactly 57.89% of their team’s passing touchdowns, seeming to indicate that Quick did more with less.

After examining categories that both players have some degree of control over, let’s look at one they don’t, perception. When you read the scouting reports written about Quick and Fitzgerald, it’s almost funny to see how similar people perceive their game. The following are comments made about either Quick or Fitzgerald in various scouting reports, see if you can identify which player each writer is talking about:

Positives:

  1. A big, physical WR… uses his size and physical ability to make plays deep down the field,
  2. Sells pass routes, shields opponents from the action or physically beats defenders to make the reception.
  3. Strong hands and has no issue going up, attacking the ball, and coming down with it
  4. He has great leaping ability, very strong hands, and he catches the ball well in traffic.
  5. A well-rounded athlete with a strong work ethic and a promising learning curve
  6. Tracks the deep or intermediate pass and displays a tremendous sense of timing

Negatives:

  1. Does not get deep separation or a receiver that wins out in foot races.
  2. Doesn’t have elite top end speed…takes a few strides to get up to full speed
  3. Lacks the quick explosive route running skills.
  4. Has a very under developed route tree
  5. He is also a little inexperienced and will need just a little polish at the next level
  6. Far from finished as a developing receiver

So after looking over those strengths and weaknesses, can you tell who is who? Well, Quick’s strengths are all the odd numbered entries and his weaknesses are all the even numbered entries, the opposite, of course is true for Fitzgerald with his strengths being the even numbers entries and his weaknesses being the odd numbered entries. Or do I have those backwards? I’m kidding, of course, but the point is clear – Quick’s strengths and even his weaknesses sound nearly identical to those paid to scout players for a living. Most of the scouting reports for one player could pass as material written about the other.

While Quick and Fitzgerald have an amazing amount in common, from measureables to situation and performance to perception, a few things that can’t be measured or determined will inevitably make all the difference in determining just how close Quick comes to being a player in the mold of Larry Fitzgerald. Chief among those intangibles that will make all the difference are heart, dedication and focus – those are all things that have set Fitzgerald apart in his professional career. Fitzgerald is known around the league for how disciplined he is both during the season and off-season as well as both on and off the field. His single-minded approach to the game has yielded incredible dividends for him throughout his career as evidenced by his domination of the position for several years. His dedication is so well known that other elite wide receivers seek him out in the off-season to train with, so much so that Fitzgerald now hosts a camp for his fellow receivers.

If Quick is ever to research the heights that Fitzgerald has, he too must commit himself mind, body and soul to constantly improve upon his game, especially due to the fact that he has entered football later and has had far less training then most. Such a level of commitment is extremely rare and if Quick does not reach Fitzgerald’s success, this would be one of the most likely reasons why. This isn’t to say Quick can’t have the kind of focus Fitzgerald does, but that level of commitment and focus is rare, even among the most elite of athletes.

If Quick can mirror Fitzgerald in his heart, dedication and focus just as he has with his measureables, performance and situation, then we may witness the emergence of a whole new force at wide receiver. While this would be unlikely to happen immediately, maybe not even for a couple of seasons, if Quick can somehow capture even some of Fitzgerald’s focus then it will definitely happen.

While reaching Fitzgerald’s status is a tall order for any receiver, Quick is a player to stash away and cross your fingers on – the stars might just be aligned for him to emerge as a great option and that’s always worth a shot in the dark.

31 Comments
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austincollie
9 years ago

hahahahaha. yikes

Ryan
9 years ago

I do respect that you put yourself out there and took a risk but….

You said at the beginning that you were going to throw a lot of numbers at us, obviously the measurements are kinda useful as with the college numbers, although I don’t think either prove anything, but claiming the teams record will make Quick be Fitz?

I do respect the risk but there is one sentence that really killed me in here

” if Quick can somehow capture even some of Fitzgerald’s focus then it will definitely happen.”

Sorry but I can’t agree with that.

At least you took an obscure approach to an article, which isn’t always he case, but sometimes the article is also not needed

On the bright side, I did read through all of it

Jake
9 years ago

No mention that Quick was in the D1-AA when comparing their stats?

Matt Wertz
Reply to  TheFFGhost
9 years ago

Get a clue

sean mcguigan
9 years ago

Fitz’s dedication and focus is legendary, as is his ability to adjust to ball and time perfectly….Quick could be a nice WR and has a shot at a WR1 with his measureables but it will take some time as he is beyond raw…..Larry Fitz is unique not fair to Quick to compare the two…Does make we consider him more at 12 though

Brian
Reply to  sean mcguigan
9 years ago

I second your thought. It does make me want to take a flier on him more than some of the other guys in that range. Fitz’s body control is amazing. This is really an aspect of receivers that doesn’t get talked about enough with prospects.

ZeroWF
Reply to  TheFFGhost
9 years ago

Great article! Pretty glad that I drafted Quick.

Matt Wertz
Reply to  ZeroWF
9 years ago

Why, because you read an article that is hogwash?

StevieMo
Reply to  Matt Wertz
9 years ago

Wertz likes to stir it up.

madtoker
Reply to  Matt Wertz
9 years ago

It’s dip &^% like you that make this site not worth coming to any more.

Steve
Reply to  TheFFGhost
9 years ago

I appreciate the article. I do think it was probably important to include where there measurables are also different, in terms of point/counterpoint. In particular the college situations may have been statistically arguable as similar. Fitzgerald Did so against significantly better competition and that alone is huge difference that should be noted.

I’d love to see the measureables of the DBs they lined up again in college.

Ryan Krcil
Reply to  TheFFGhost
9 years ago

Great article (even if I am not necessarily convinced). All of the similarities are interesting.

Tim Miller
9 years ago

I actually like Quick and Givens (St. Louis), grabbed both in a few drafts to see who pans out in the next 3-4 seasons.

Jason Sandhage
9 years ago

Great piece. Many of the similarities are uncanny. I believe someone out of this draft class will emerge into an elite-level wide receiver and it very well could be Quick.

Jason Sandhage
Reply to  Jason Sandhage
9 years ago

I may have produced a similar comparison in the article I submitted as well.

StevieMo
9 years ago

I like articles that push the envelope and stir things up a little. In my view, articles like that keep everything from sounding overly homogenized.

On the other hand, it’s kinda like when Rick Mirer came out of Notre Dame and the consensus view was that he was going to be the next Joe Montana (the proponents of that point of view also listed the many reasons why Mirer would be).

Lesson learned: VERY few players are truly great NFL players. For every Larry Fitzgerald or Joe Montana, there are legions of NFL players who will never come close to that level of greatness. That status is reserved for a select few.

If Quick can be the next Anquan Boldin even, that would suffice. Larry Fitzgerald? I’d lay odds on that one.

Raymond
9 years ago

Nice article! I was given the Gas Face when I traded up to grab Quick at 1.6 in our dynasty draft,I was hoping he would take the number one wide out right away and be a nice target for Bradford to throw to. I like the fact that you have gone out on a limb even though it could be a branch! there is a saying that if everyone is thinking the same then everyone isnt thinking! so for everyone who has quick lets hope for the best and see what happens!

meineymoe
9 years ago

Any comparison to Fitz has to start with being a ball boy for an NFL team and having the head coach take notice of you even then.
-oo-

Alan Bauerle
9 years ago

Crazy article Ghost!! Are there any other rookies out there that can be compared to other good recievers in the NFL? Would be interesting to see if other colligiate wr compared to NFL recievers.

Danton Goulet
9 years ago

Great article! These are the types of articles I love to read. I love numbers and percentages.

Eric MacKenzie
9 years ago

I think a lot of these comparisons are questionable at best and your defense of the college level doesn’t really old water either. Fitz’s QB was Rob Rutherford. Who? Exactly. Quick had Armanti Edwards tossing him the ball for at least part of his college career and DeAndre Presley for his final year (who I don’t know enough about to comment on). I’m not seeing a massive talent gap there.

In any case, even if I accept your comparisons without challenge, your premise seems to be that a solid coach can turn this kid into a superstar.

Unfortunately he’s got Jeff Fisher, who has brought forth a total of five 1,000 yard seasons from his wideouts in his 16.5 year career. Four of those belong to Derrick Mason.

Unfortunately he’s got Brian Schottenheimer at OC who has a total of two 1,000 yard seasons from his wideouts in six years at New York.

I ain’t touching the St. Louis passing game, and this didn’t change my mind in the slightest.

BJ
9 years ago

It’s fun to stick your neck out there in any comparison. I’ve been killed by my friend in comparing Mendenhall to Leshoure. Why try to compare someone to Stevie Johnson when no one would care? Fitz is a headline grabber and someone you want to hope your draft pick turns into. Great article. Keep it up Ghost.

Jimmy Graham Cracker
9 years ago

So same body-type = Larry Fitz?

Uh, no.

Jason/Mike Wartinger/Nowak
9 years ago

I definitely liked the article, especially since Brian Quick fell to me (I had Fitz last year but let him go due to money constraints). Every magazine that comes out and every site all say the same thing about the same players and it’s fun to read different articles such as this. BTW I also sent in an entry to the writer’s contest.

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