In July of 2010, John Lopez of Sports Illustrated proposed a rule to predict the success of future NFL quarterbacks, the Rule of 26-27-60. The rule predicted that if a NFL prospect scored at least a 26 on the Wonderlic test, started at least 27 games in college, and completed at least 60 percent of his passes, he would succeed in the NFL, if he did not meet all three criteria, he would fail.
At the time of the article the rule was a fairly accurate at dividing successful NFL quarterbacks from disappointments. The rule predicted success for Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Tony Romo, Matt Schaub and Matt Ryan. Meanwhile it predicted failure for Ryan Leaf, Joey Harrington, Akili Smith, Tim Couch, David Carr, Vince Young and JaMarcus Russell.
Has the rule continued to serve as a good predictive tool in the three years since it was made? Reddit user Hyperdrunk took a look at the quarterback classes of 2010-12 and determined who was predicted as a success and a failure according to the Rule of 26-27-60.
Bradford was the only player the rule predicted to be a success in 2010. Bradford is also the only one of these four quarterbacks to still have a starting job, so the rule seemed to be accurate in 2010.
It is a bit harder to judge the success of the rule in this draft class. The jury is still out on most of these quarterbacks. Obviously Kaepernick and Newton appear to be on track to succeed in the NFL despite not meeting the requirements of the rule, but Newton has yet to lead his team to a winning record and Kaepernick has only started half a season. Ponder struggled for much of the 2012 season, but he did lead his team to the playoffs (to be fair Adrian Peterson led Ponder's team to the playoffs, but all the same, he was the QB of a playoff team).
|Robert Griffin III||29||67||Fail|
Obviously it is too early to deem anyone from this class a complete success or failure quite yet. But, with one season of data, it would appear the rule might have missed when calling RGIII a failure (although only by two points on the Wonderlic).
In total, while it is still early to comment on if the Rule of 26-27-60 was a good predictive model for the last three quarterback classes, some value can be seen. The rule predicted the struggles of Tebow, Clausen and McCoy; predicted Ponder and Dalton would succeed while Locker and Gabbert would fail; and predicted Russell Wilson as a success.
The predictions of Newton, Kaepernick, and RG3 as failure show that no rule is perfect. Of course the rule had its failures prior to these last three QB classes as well. Much like RG3 and Kaepernick; Ben Roethlisberger (wonderlic), Joe Flacco (starts) and Jay Cutler (completion percentage) all fell just short of the requirements in one of three categories but all three have achieved success in the NFL.
Looking forward at the class of 2013, none of the prospects have taken the Wonderlic test yet, but some quarterbacks have already failed to meet the requirements of the rule. N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon and Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson both failed by virtue of only starting 26 games at the college level as opposed to the minimum of 27 games specified in the rule. Mocking the Draft predicts the Arizona Cardinals will select Wilson with the seventh pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Evaluating a player should never come down to a simple rule with strict guidelines, but the Rule of 26-27-60 still proves to be a fairly accurate predictor of success.