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NFL Draft 2015: How much does "pro-ready" really tell us?

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most common description of Jameis Winston is "pro-ready." This vague term is supposed to signal that he's played in a pro-style system, and that he's made more NFL-style plays than most other college quarterbacks. And all of that is true. But how relevant is that label, really? Jason Lisk of The Big Lead took a look at every quarterback who'd been described as "pro-ready" since 1995, and came to the conclusion that it really doesn't matter.

As for the quarterbacks who were drafted [in the first two rounds] described as "pro-ready," they more often than not proved less pro-competent than those drafted around them. We'll call Bridgewater incomplete, though he did look the best of the rookies who started last year. Of the other 14, only four could really be called superior, both in the short-term and long-term, than comparably drafted quarterbacks: Manning over Leaf, Luck over Griffin III, Stafford over Sanchez, and, I suppose, Bradford over Tebow.

Lisk also quotes Greg Cosell describing Ryan Lindley, who said that Lindley had more NFL-type throws than any other quarterback he'd evaluated and called him "the most pro-ready quarterback on this list." You may recall that Lindley played quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals in the playoffs this year, gifting the Panthers a playoff win in one of the worst performances I've ever seen.

None of this is to say that having played in a pro-style system isn't beneficial, nor is it to say that Jameis Winston isn't going to adapt more quickly to the NFL. It's just to note that we tend to overvalue "pro-ready" and how important it is for NFL success. The NFL is simply a different beast, and any quarterback is going to have to go through some kind of transition when entering the league.

Update: Added a link because I apparently forgot to do so.