ATHENS — Jake Fromm’s arm strength holds the key to his NFL draft stock, according to ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.
“We know what he has: the smarts. We know he has the leadership, we know he’s an accurate passer — forget the numbers, he lost all his receivers going into this year — so you know he can do all those things,” Kiper said on an ESPN teleconference on Wednesday.
“But is the arm good enough? (That’s what) people are going to be really scrutinizing with Fromm going through this whole draft process leading up into late April, which will determine whether he’s a second round pick, or whether he’s a fourth- or fifth-round pick.”
Kiper Jr. continues to maintain that Fromm reminds him of Cincinnati Bengals’ veteran quarterback Andy Dalton.
But, the long-time draft expert said, there is also a scenario where he projects more closely to former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray.
Fromm’s performance at the NFL combine next week in Indianapolis will obviously be important.
“Only thing (that’s) gonna be on display there, he’s going to have to show is the necessary arm strength, because that’s going to determine, is he Aaron Murray or is he Andy Dalton?” Kiper Jr. said. “That’s what everybody is trying to figure out.”
Senior Bowl executive director and former New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks scout Jim Nagy has compared Fromm to Drew Brees.
Soon, fans will be able to judge for themselves as many of the drills at the NFL combine will be televised by the NFL Network next week.
The combine begins on Sunday and runs through March 2. Testing and drill work takes place largely in Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. Quarterbacks and wideouts will workout on Feb. 27.
“If he’s Andy Dalton, you’re talking about a second round, early-second round type of quarterback. If you’re Aaron Murray, you’re a later-round quarterback who’s now playing in the XFL.”
Dalton was a second-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft coming out of TCU who has made 133 career starts. He was selected to the Pro Bowl three times: 2011, 2014 and 2016.
Murray, drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, is with the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL.
Murray was recently ruled out for the Vipers’ game this week with a “lower-foot injury” suffered last Sunday against New York, per a league release.
Murray, the SEC’s all-time leading passing yardage and passing touchdown leader, played for Mark Richt in Athens from 2010-2013.
Kiper, however, has leaned more toward the Dalton comparison, which he first revealed last month during a podcast with fellow draft analyst Todd McShay.
“The easiest (comparison) in this draft is Jake Fromm to (Cincinnati Bengals quarterback) Andy Dalton,” Kiper said. “From competitiveness, leadership, smarts, size … “
Kiper, like Georgia coach Kirby Smart, qualified the drop-off in Fromm’s numbers to the loss of UGA’s top five pass catchers from the season before, along with other attrition.
“All of (Fromm’s) touchdowns were gone,” he said. “Think about (former UGA players) Riley Ridley, Mecole Hardman, Terry Godwin, Isaac Nauta.
“Then, he also lost Elijah Holyfield who was the No. 2 or 1-A running back with (D’Andre) Swift, who had a big year. And he lost his center as well. You can’t take that away with anybody.”
Kiper has ranked Fromm as the No. 5 quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft class.
McShay has been more bullish on Fromm, rating him as the No. 28 overall player in his early evaluations.
“There’s a reason talented quarterbacks such as Justin Fields and Jacob Eason kept transferring out of Georgia,” McShay penned in an ESPN-Plus pay site article, rating Fromm fourth among the quarterbacks.
“Though he is the least physically gifted of the top five quarterbacks in the class, Fromm is the type of QB who will always find a way to win and excel with high-end football intelligence.”
Indeed, Fromm had a 36-7 record under center at Georgia, an SEC Championship Game victory, a Rose Bowl win, a Sugar Bowl win and three SEC East Division titles.
There aren’t many quarterbacks who can match that.
Fromm has been working out in Mobile, Ala., at “QB Country” with his quarterback coach, David Morris, in preparation for the NFL combine.
Fromm is one of 10 Georgia football players who received an invite to the all-important combine. Players will undergo thorough medical exams in addition to testing out in drill work and meeting with teams.