December 13, 2017

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Can Danny Etling Become The Next Tom Brady?

Can you imagine a Tom Brady 2.0?  Me neither, but when you watch Danny Etling from LSU, then go back and watch Tom Brady when he was at Michigan, they are very similar. Neither quarterback had any “flash” in college. They both are very accurate quarterbacks and make very few mistakes. They both are game managers, and both would rather take a sack than throw an interception. So can Danny Etling emerge this year as the next Tom Brady?

Tom Brady didn’t start out his college career as a starter, in fact he had to struggle and fight in order to get playing time.   He was a back up quarterback for two years behind Brian Griese at Michigan.  Even after Griese was gone, Brady had to battle Drew Henson for two years (1998 and 1999).  After he was drafted, Brady wasn’t an automatic franchise quarterback either. I think sometimes people forget that franchise quarterbacks develop over time and you can’t always predict exactly where they will come from.

You may not remember that before Tom Brady, there was Drew Bledsoe as the starting quarterback of the New England Patriots. Brady was drafted in the sixth round of the 2000 draft and began the season as the sixth quarterback on the depth chart. By the end of the 2000 season he had moved up to the second quarterback  on the depth chart behind Bledsoe.  In Brady’s second season, he took over for an injured Bledsoe in the final series in the second game of the 2001 season. He finished the season with 2,843 yards and 18 TD’s while earning a 2002 Pro Bowl invitation and becoming the youngest quarterback to win a super bowl.  Looking back at his career, people call Tom Brady one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.  A case could be made that the character Brady learned early in his career helped him to put pride aside and focus on quietly getting the job done.  Danny Etling has shown similar character during his football career so far. When watching Etling on the sidelines during games he is rarely found without a smile working with his teammates to make the next smart play. It is clear that he is a student of the game and learns from his mistakes.

 

Danny Etling and Tom Brady college stats

Danny Etling came to LSU as a transfer student after the 2014 season from Big 10 opponent Purdue.  He then spent the 2015 season as a transfer redshirt as per NCAA transfer rule.  Etling has worked to increase his accuracy in the last two years at LSU, and overall he has been successful.  LSU fans for the past few seasons have been calling for an elite quarterback. Many have just said wait until next season when Myles Brennan can take over. I would argue that Danny has all the makings of an elite quarterback.  Some argue they aren’t impressed with his style and stats, but no one is going to have amazing passing yard numbers when their offensive package doesn’t allow for it.  And although some question his star power, his teammates beg to differ.  One teammate told me that Danny has one of the best arms he has ever seen, and I believe it.

 

This season Danny ranks toward the top of the list in quarterback efficiency (155.3), completion percentage (60.3), and interceptions (2). In the two seasons that Danny has been at LSU, he has passed for 4357 yards 25 TD’s, with only 7 INT’s. This all in the best defensive conference in college football. If you compare his stats to that of Tom Brady during the same time span as a starter, they are very similar.  And looking at video both from when Tom Brady was a quarterback at Michigan and from Etling’s  playing time at LSU you can see that both quarterbacks have very similar passing styles and footwork.

I have spoken to several scouts and NFL front office personnel about Danny, and they all think that he will be a valuable asset once he is in the pros. Projections have Danny between a mid to late round pick.  That being said, is Etling’s NFL success a sure thing? Absolutely not, even Brady’s NFL career had a combination of Brady’s skill and some key opportunities to help it along.  While I think it’s safe to say that Etling has the potential to be an asset at the next level; he will need lady luck on his side to ensure he ends up on the right team.

Can Danny Etling become the next Tom Brady? I guess we will have to wait and see what this Tiger can do.

 

About Andy Bryson 572 Articles
Founder of Louisiana Gridiron Football and football coach