Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm came out of nowhere in 2017. He was thrust into the starting role after Jacob Eason—one of the most heralded prospects of the last decade—suffered a serious injury in the season opener. He ran away with the job, leading his team to the National Championship game, forcing Eason to transfer elsewhere.
Since then, Fromm has been the undisputed starter, and while he never led his team back to the College Football Playoff, he kept the Bulldogs at the top of the college football world. Earlier this month he chose to forgo his senior year in Athens and enter the NFL draft.
Go Dawgs and God Bless pic.twitter.com/hz0qxJLumE— JakefromStateFromm (@FrommJake) January 8, 2020
Fromm exits the college football scene as one of the most popular names of this era, and he will forever be a favorite among Bulldogs fans. His mass appeal will make him a popular name among fans entering the 2020 draft. He did not finish his college career playing his best football, though.
2019 was the worst year of Fromm’s three-year career at Georgia. He only completed 61 percent of his passes for 7.4 yards per attempts—both career lows. While he matched his career low with only five interceptions, that probably is the result of his wholly inaccurate passing rather than him actually protecting the ball better. Fromm also only threw for 24 touchdowns, another low.
Fromm’s struggles in 2019 became apparent to almost everyone at some points this season. The Bulldogs offense stagnated entirely in some games, and if not for the work of the defense and running back D’Andre Swift, they may have finished much worse than their 12-2 record.
The quarterback does do a few things well, though. He is great at throwing with touch and can often beat good coverage by just dropping a ball just over the head of the defender. He can attack teams downfield, especially in man coverage, as his ball placement in these situations is often perfect.
Fromm also throws well at the intermediate levels. Similar to prospects like Josh Rosen and Kyle Lauletta in years past, Fromm can hit any pass within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. While this seems like a small thing to boast about, it makes him more reliable and consistent play to play. It leads to less turnovers and can produce shorter gains that keep the chains moving.
He also can throw good passes with a defender in his face. Georgia would often run plays where they would allow a free rusher to attack Fromm from his front side. The quarterback would stay calm and usually deliver a great pass just beyond the defender. He also manages to deliver good passes even when the defenders get into his face and it is not by design. This level of composure is rare in a young quarterback.
There are some very obvious flaws in his game, though. While Fromm is very good at throwing with touch, he often struggles to throw faster, bullet passes. He clearly does not have the arm strength to control passes when he attempts to put them on a rope. This leads to them either floating on him for an overthrow or landing a bit short and hitting his receivers in the feet.
This lack of arm strength hurts him all over the field. He cannot put enough velocity on balls to make throws with defenders lingering in the area. This gives defensive backs extra time to get back into the play and break up the pass or sometimes even intercept it.
Fromm has a lot of issues completing intermediate throws to the sideline because of this. Trying to throw quick outs or comeback routes with 15 yards of the line of scrimmage is almost always a gamble, as those are not routes where the receiver often has enough time to get significant separation. The passes rely on the quarterback being able to hit a quick bullet throw outside in the small window that opens right when the receiver breaks. Fromm just cannot get the ball their fast enough.
Georgia would often manufacture open throws for Fromm downfield over the middle. While these should be simple throws, they are balls he would have to throw fast. A touch throw would hang in the air for too long, and by the time the ball gets to the receiver, defenders would have already reacted to cover him.
Because of this, he would often throw bullet passes over the middle. Because he does not really have the arm strength to get the ball there, they would often come up a little short, wasting an opportunity for a big gain.
Fromm also has some work to do in the pocket. While he is great when the rushers in his face are there by design, he seems to be blind to unexpected pressure in the pocket. He takes sacks that he could easily avoid, and also has trouble setting his feet and showing good mechanics when he throws. Some of his errant passes are clearly the result of his feet throwing off his weight as he throws.
The Georgia quarterback has name recognition, and his ability to throw with touch will impress a few scouts. He will also receiver the intangible “winner” tag from some teams. This means that he will almost certainly be over drafted.
Fromm seems to be a similar player to that of Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams. He’s a guy who is great as operating within a script and can throw well with touch. But Fromm’s arm strength does not even reach the same level as Goff’s—and the Rams quarterback has often been criticized for his lack of arm strength.
It is hard to see how Fromm ever becomes a real franchise quarterback. Arm strength is not a skill that someone can really develop, and his weakness there will always limit his ceiling. His best career outcome is probably becoming some sort of bridge quarterback that can function well on a team with a talented roster that desperately needs a quarterback. Think of Jacoby Brissett or Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Many have Fromm going in the first two rounds right now, but he should slip lower than that. The NFL Combine probably will not help him much, and his lack of ball velocity will be measured and scrutinized in Indianapolis. Expect the Georgia quarterback to be a day three selection,
If Fromm really slips, he could even become an option for the Detroit Lions. The Lions’ season essentially died the second Matthew Stafford was ruled out with an injury last season, but they may have been able to earn a few wins if they had even a decent backup. If Fromm slips into the later rounds, he should be on Detroit’s radar.