Undrafted Free Agent Quarterback James Franklin

Missouri QB James Franklin

Missouri QB James Franklin

There was a lot of speculation that the Detroit Lions would draft a quarterback to compete with Kellen Moore this offseason.  Detroit had several options available but waited and eventually passed on all of them.  They signed one quarterback in free agency after the draft was over.  That player was James Franklin of Missouri.  While he was not one of the top quarterbacks in the draft, James Franklin was a solid player and has a good shot to beat out Moore.

Statistically speaking, Franklin was an average college quarterback.  He was not spectacular in any way, but he was not disappointing either.  His freshman year when he barely saw the field he recorded 78% completion percentage for 106 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.  As a sophomore, he saw full time duty, getting 2865 yards on 63 percent of his passes for 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.  His junior season was a disaster on all fronts, where he passed for a mere 1562 yards, completing only 59% of his passes, for 10 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.  He showed improvement and finished his college career strong, collecting 2429 yards, completing 62% of his passes for 19 touchdowns and 6 interceptions while missing 4 games due to injury.

Although he is not exactly quick, James Franklin rushed more often than most quarterbacks.  His career rushing statistics are 450 carries for 1729 yards and 21 touchdowns.  His best season rushing the football was 2011 when he collected 981 yards on 217 carries.  There was talk prior to the draft that the Lions would like to add a quarterback that was a little more athletic.  While his forty time of 4.95 seconds at his pro-day shows he is no Michael Vick, his rushing statistics show that if he gets into trouble in the pocket, he has the ability to avoid it and gain positive yards.

James Franklin is six foot two inches and weighs 230 pounds.  He is a mobile quarterback with a good arm but was in a short passing offense which built up his completion percentages higher than they really should be.  He had a major injury on his throwing shoulder which is a concern, but he showed he was able to be competitive late in 2013.  If he shows to have more talent than Kellen Moore, he has a great chance to supplant him on the roster given his arm strength and athleticism.

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