Admittedly, I’m not big into TV series. I’ve seen all of “Game of Thrones,” but it’s tough for me to watch something if it spans over three seasons.
So, when my friend, Ben, recommended I watch the Netflix series “QB1: Beyond the Lights,” I honestly didn’t give it a second thought, even though it is a show devoted to some of the best high school quarterbacks in the country.
Then the 2019 Bears season happened, and we all know about the regression the team went through, especially at the quarterback position with Mitch Trubisky. As a result, a good portion of my homework this offseason has been devoted to looking at potential QBs the Bears could draft, which was something I wasn’t expecting to do when the Bears centennial year began.
To begin prepping, I watched the first season of “QB1,” because I remembered my friend told me that he really liked Jake Fromm, who at the time of the show was a senior at Houston County High School in Georgia.
It took me one episode to jump on the bandwagon as well.
In the final minutes of the first episode, Fromm and his teammates were practicing during a hot summer day in Warner Robins, Georgia. At the end of practice, the team did their conditioning. The episode then cuts to the next scene, and Fromm is seen gingerly walking into the medical clinic to get an IV for his full-body cramps, which is the third year in a row this has happened to him.
If Fromm would’ve hydrated properly, he most likely would have avoided the situation, and he acknowledged that in the episode. Still, this moment demonstrated how much Fromm is willing to push himself and how he competes, even if it’s just a summer practice.
I ended up watching the entire season. That led to watching Fromm’s tape at Georgia and reading countless articles and listening to several podcasts. After doing my homework on the quarterback, I can confidently say I’m all in on the former Georgia Bulldogs quarterback.
If the Bears are going to draft a quarterback, then there is no doubt it should be Fromm.
Here are the reasons why.
Whether it was during Fromm’s high school days, his time at the U.S. Army All-American Game or his time at Georgia, his greatest attribute has been and still is his knowledge of the game.
Fromm’s preparation during each game week puts him in the best position to succeed. And that is why it’s rare to see him unprepared for any defense he is facing, which is the polar opposite of Trubisky, who at most times looks puzzled when his first read is taken away.
This touchdown pass against Alabama in the 2018 SEC championship game is a perfect example of Fromm’s understanding of defensive coverages. Just based off alignment, he knows he has his receiver one-on-one with the cornerback on the outside. Fromm throws a perfect pass to current Bears receiver Riley Ridley to give the Bulldogs a 28-14 lead.
In the clip below, CBS commentator Gary Danielson does a good job of explaining exactly what Fromm is seeing in the play.
Since Fromm could diagnose opposing defenses and properly go through his progressions, his coaches gave him plenty of freedom to audible the plays at the line of scrimmage.
“The coaches really trusted me a lot, and I could change a run to a pass, a pass to a run,” Fromm told reporters at the NFL scouting combine.
“I really was grateful for the kind of power they gave me with the offense and … I think it was a great learning curve for me. It’s really going to prepare me for the next level and what I could do and how to communicate.”
Matt Nagy’s goal for Trubisky this offseason was “to be a master at understanding coverages.” Heading into Year 4, it seems unlikely Trubisky will be able to achieve that. Fromm isn’t a master in that category, either, but with 43 career games of experience, he has played two more games than Trubisky. More importantly, Fromm is further along in understanding how to exploit a defense.
Fromm may not have the strongest arm, which seems to be the most common knock about him, but he is accurate.
A large part of Fromm’s accuracy can be attributed to his decision-making and clean footwork, which we all know are areas Trubisky has been struggling with since his rookie season.
In his career at Georgia, Fromm ended with 8,236 passing yards, a 63.3 completion percentage and 78 touchdowns to 18 interceptions. He was also one of nine quarterbacks who averaged nine yards or more per pass attempt in 2018. Also in that group was Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins (two first-round picks) and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.
During his press conference at the NFL combine, Fromm said he loves “throwing fade balls and loves throwing out cuts.” Last season when No. 3 Georgia hosted No. 7 Notre Dame, Fromm hit both of his favorite passes.
On first-and-10 from the Bulldogs’ 49-yard line, Fromm hits wide receiver Demetris Robertson in stride on the deep out for a 19-yard gain.
Despite being on the far hash mark, there was more than enough arm strength on this throw.
Here on third-and-7, the Irish bring a blitz, and Fromm puts the ball in a spot where only his receiver can get it. With 2020 NFL prospect Troy Pride Jr. in coverage, Fromm throws a perfect back-shoulder fade to Lawrence Cager to put the Bulldogs up by 10.
Fromm acknowledged at the combine that he does have limitations, but he said he is going to “be the best me I can be.” And that translates to a QB who can deliver the ball in tight windows with his precision passing.
Composure and Leadership
At Houston County High School, Fromm was the guy. There was no disputing that. With his 12,745 career passing yards, he finished as the No. 3 all-time passing leader in Georgia high school football history, only trailing the Texans’ Deshaun Watson (No.2) and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence (No.1).
So, when he began his career at Georgia as the backup to Jacob Eason, it was unfamiliar territory for Fromm. But Eason’s injury in the 2017 opener against Appalachian State allowed Fromm to take over as the starting quarterback for good. As a freshman, Fromm helped lead Georgia to the national championship game against Alabama, and the Bulldogs were up 20-7 in the third quarter. But Tagovailoa’s 41-yard touchdown pass in overtime won it for the Crimson Tide.
In 2019, Fromm played that season without his top five targets from 2018: WR Mecole Hardman, WR Terry Godwin, WR Ridley and TE Issac Nauta all were drafted, while Jeremiah Holloman was dismissed from the program. The Bulldogs still finished 12-2, with a 26-14 victory over Baylor in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Star running back D’Andre Swift had one carry in that game, but Fromm still threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns.
Regardless of the obstacle, Fromm just knows how to stay composed in pressure situations. People have tried to take his job and failed. He had a depleted receiving group his junior season but succeeded. And now he has become somewhat of a forgotten quarterback in the 2020 draft class.
Given Fromm’s track record, it will only be a matter of time before people are reminded of what he can do, but it may take a year if Fromm sits and learns in his rookie season.
It’s hard to project what round Fromm will be drafted, but if he is available when the Bears pick at 50, general manager Ryan Pace needs to make the move.
In the five years Pace has been the GM, he has been infatuated with players who are physically gifted: Kevin White, Leonard Floyd and Trubisky are the common ones, and the names speak for themselves.
The Bears have an opportunity to go in a different direction if they draft Fromm. He is everything that Trubisky is not, and that is exactly what the organization needs to get the necessary production out of the quarterback position.