With the 2018 NFL draft less than a week away, these are the top 5 quarterback prospects.
1. Baker Mayfield, University of Oklahoma
The 2017 Heisman Trophy winner was a starter at Oklahoma the past 3 years. Each of these seasons, he had a quarterback rating over 170, and a completion percentage over 68. (sports-reference) These are both highest among quarterbacks being considered in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. Also, last year, he threw for 43 touchdowns, with only 6 interceptions. Again, best among quarterbacks in the draft. Many doubt him because he does not have the typical stature of a NFL quarterback. However, he continues to produce on the field year in and year out only losing 6 games in the past 3 years as a starter. More importantly, Mayfield has the intangibles to be a franchise quarterback. He has a high football IQ, he is a leader, and has a great work ethic. Mayfield is ready to be a long time NFL quarterback.
2. Sam Darnold, University of Southern California
Sam Darnold has the typical NFL quarterback body at a height of 6 feet 4 inches and 220 pounds. (ESPN) He is athletic, has a very strong arm, and is a typical pocket passer. Darnold had an excellent career at USC winning 20 of 24 games as a starter. In both years as a starter, Darnold lead USC to a New Year’s Six bowl game. In his career, Darnold threw for 57 touchdowns with 22 interceptions. (ESPN) Darnold has the tools to become a great quarterback in the league. The one red flag teams have about him is his turnover problem. To go along with his 22 interceptions in 2017, Darnold fumbled 21 times in his short career at USC. (ESPN) If he can work on this and fix the turnovers, Darnold has all the talent to become a franchise quarterback for any team in the NFL.
3. Josh Rosen, University of California, Los Angeles
Josh Rosen is another prototypical pocket passer. He is an excellent thrower of the football, with good movement in the pocket and a strong and accurate arm. He was a 3 year starter at UCLA with 31 starts, winning 17 of the 31 games. (ESPN) His record at UCLA was not great, but he did throw for 59 career touchdowns in his career. Many experts would consider Rosen to be the most ready quarterback coming out of the draft if is was not for his red flags. First, he missed multiple games due to injury in college which worries NFL teams. Also, many teams question if he can fit in a locker room with his personality. If he can fix the turnover problem, and be a great leader in a locker room, he could come out to be the best quarterback in this draft.
4. Josh Allen, University of Wyoming
Josh Allen has the strongest arm in this quarterback class. He has the body type of a Peyton Manning coming out of college at 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighing 233 pounds. He is another pocket passer, but he can also move well out of the pocket when he needs to. He is being considered by the Browns to go number 1 overall, but this is based on the high ceiling Allen has. He is not ready to be an NFL quarterback right now. First, Allen did not play the quality competition that Rosen, Darnold, Mayfield and other quarterbacks in this draft played against. When he did play the power five school that these other quarterbacks played regularly, Allen lost all 3 games with a stat line of 1 touchdown and 8 interceptions. (ESPN) Also, Allen’s completion percentage is lower than the other quarterbacks being considered in the first round. He has all the physical tools but needs to go to the right situation to succeed.
5. Lamar Jackson, University of Louisville
The 2016 Heisman winner is one of the most explosive quarterbacks’ college football has ever seen. He is a dual-threat quarterback, passing for over 3000 yards and rushing for over 1500 yards in each of the past 2 seasons. (ESPN) It is extremely hard to defend him having to worry if he might scramble out of the pocket. He is an extremely quick and explosive runner. The main concern about Jackson is his accuracy. He is not a very accurate thrower with his completion percentage being lower than 60% all 3 years at Louisville. (ESPN) If he can develop his accuracy there are many experts comparing him to a Michael Vick type player.
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