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2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: QB John Wolford, Wake Forest (Posted/Filed Feb. 2018)

Date:
January 1, 2021 12:03 AM
January 1, 2021 6:12 PM

2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: QB John Wolford, Wake Forest (Posted/Filed Feb. 2018)

*Our QB grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, leaked Wonderlic test results, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.

 

The NFL is going look right past John Wolford as a legit NFL prospect, in part, because of his size. He runs about 6’0” tall and might break 200 pounds if he’s lucky. He doesn’t have ‘the look’ of a real NFL QB prospect.

I’d be suspicious of Wolford’s physical frame for the NFL too, but before we rush past him…it’s worth noting – Wolford is a pretty good quarterback talent. One of the better actual quarterbacks in the 2018 NFL Draft…in terms of running an offense, ability to read defenses/situations and deliver throws in tight windows.

After the 2016 season, I don’t think anyone could have foreseen having a 2018 NFL Draft discussion on Wolford. He started all four years at Wake Forest, but his first three seasons were all pretty rough…no one season where he didn’t have more picks than TD passes – a combined 30 TDs/35 INTs up to his junior year. He was scrappy. He was a leader. The Demon Deacons record improved, and they made a bowl game in 2016…but Wolford’s passer numbers didn’t impress anyone.

In 2017, Wolford exploded – 29 TDs/6 INTs…another winning season, and a bowl game win over an SEC team in dramatic fashion. It was in the 2017 bowl game that you really have to respect what Wolford accomplished in college…this one game embodied Wolford’s pros and cons.

After a 7-4 pre-bowl record in 2017, Wake earned a bowl game invite to play an SEC team -- Texas A&M. When I first started watching that tape, I was immediately drawn to how much bigger and faster the Aggies’ athletes were compared to Wake. Within four minutes, Texas A&M jumped out to a very quick 14-0 1st-quarter lead. Wake was overwhelmed.

With 12+ minutes left in the 2nd-quarter, just 15 minutes of game clock later – Wake Forest led 31-14…31 points in about 15 minutes. Led by 3 Wolford TD passes, and a fourth TD pass in that span -- a dropped short pass on 3rd-down in the end zone and they settled for a field goal.

With four minutes left in the game, Texas A&M had pulled back into the lead in a wild shootout…52-48. Wolford led a final drive for a TD and the Wake Forest win.

You saw Wolford’s entire scouting resume in that game – playing on a big stage, against a much bigger/more physical team, Wolford did what he had done all 2017 season…he was unflappable and just picked apart the Aggies defense. He was battered all game with big hits but still delivered passes all over and many between the hashes, between defenders…not just a bunch of lucky bubble screens and bombs that landed. It was a surgical strike act from the diminutive Wolford – 400 yards passing, 4 TDs/0 INTs against an SEC team and working with skill position weapons that weren’t close to SEC caliber. He should’ve had at least 6 TD passes with better surrounding talent.

The guy can play quarterback well…I saw that time and time again on tape in 2017. However, I also see his size and an average arm at-best…and I know he won’t have a real shot in the NFL. Quick release. Very accurate. Just not the big arm the NFL worships.

Wolford would be a great teammate, a great backup/3rd-string QB in the NFL. A guy that might shock people if he ever got a real chance. He was a team captain, all-Academic ACC, a real leader of men type of a QB prospect…he just doesn’t have the strong physical tools the NFL is looking for. He got battered in the Texas A&M game…he would get battered in the NFL as well.

I hope Wolford catches on with a team and works his way up the chain, but the odds are against him.

 

John Wolford, Through the Lens of Our QB Scouting Algorithm:

 

Wolford took Wake Forest to two bowl games, 2016 vs. Temple, and 2017 vs. Texas A&M…he won both games and posted 6 TDs/1 INT combined.

Against Florida State, Louisville, and Notre Dame in-season 2017, Wolford completed 64.6% of his passes with 7 TDs/2 INTs and 354.3 passing yards per game…and rushed for a TD in each game (10 TDs total versus these three major opponents). In their upset of Louisville, Wolford threw 5 TDs/0 INTs and 461 yards.

2017 was a very good/great season for Wolford, especially considering his surrounding cast. The problem is – you can’t help but look at his first three seasons…less than 60% completions and more picks than TDs. It’s not like Wolford was an ace for years and no one is giving him a chance now. Wolford was a disappointment for years and then popped in 2017.

Our pre-Combine estimates on Wolford’s measurables…

At/under 6’0” tall, and at/under 200 pounds with 9.0” hands.

A 4.8+ runner. He can scramble around a little (19 rushing TDs) and is not afraid to run/take a hit, but he’s not a weapon as a runner.

*PRO DAY ACTUAL NUMBERS: 4.77 40-time, 6.78 three-cone

  

 

The Historical QB Prospects to Whom John Wolford Most Compares Within Our System:

 

Wolford compares with several QBs who I liked/saw their QB skills in college but had to discount them for their physical package not being what the NFL is looking for/desiring. If Wolford is lucky, he could have a Case Keenum grinder NFL career and maybe fall into the right place at the right time. Again, the odds against him and all the QBs on our list are daunting, almost insurmountable. 


*ACTUAL COMPARISON BOARD ONLY ON OFFICIAL CFM SCOUTING REPORT*


*“Adj” = A view of adjusted college output in our system…adjusted for strength of opponent.

**A score of 8.5+ is where we see a stronger correlation of QBs going on to become NFL good-to-great. A scouting score of 9.5+ is rarefied air—higher potential for becoming great-to-elite.

QBs scoring 6.0–8.0 are finding more success in the new passing era of the NFL (2014–on). Depending upon the system and surrounding weapons, a 6.0–8.0 rated QB can do fine in today’s NFL—with the right circumstances…but they are not ‘the next Tom Brady’ guys, just NFL-useful guys.

 

 

2018 NFL Draft Outlook:

Definitely will not be drafted but will get a training camp look from some team.

If I were an NFL GM, he wouldn’t be a priority UDFA for me -- but I would place a call and invite him to camp and see what happens from there. College football is pumping out a lot of these kinds of well-heeled QB talents, and you can have your pick of any of them year after year as UDFAs, so Wolford would not be any type of UDFA priority.

 

NFL Outlook:   

Wolford has the kind of personality that ex-players-turned-NFL coaches love…a leader, smart, disciplined, scrappy-tough and a grinder. He’ll stick on a practice squad and then he’ll have to catch a break from there. He’ll probably be a coach in the NFL years down the line if he wants to pursue it. 


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I know the mainstream football analysis is going to butcher this year’s class even worse than normal – because they are going to blindly favor big school prospects more than ever, because those schools will have the only names they are truly familiar with, and it’s just the ‘name’ they are familiar with not their ‘game’. They’ll ‘hive mind’ run with whatever names the collective seems to be buzzing about – because they don’t put in the work, they just echo things they’ve heard. I’m not saying that to be a jerk – it’s the open window of opportunity (their failure) that I was able to build my career/business upon.

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Go to our College Football Metrics or Fantasy Football Metrics subscription pages for more information. 

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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>