The Curious Case of the 2018 QB Class
There are a lot of quarterbacks this year and a lot of teams that need or could use a young quarterback and this class is interesting...
Getting into the draft prospects themselves…
Josh Rosen (UCLA) is almost universally listed as the number QB prospect by Football analysts… And they are all DEAD WRONG. Now I’m not saying he isn’t good, I still think he is a very good QB and will be a solid backup in the NFL, but he is definitely not the best. Josh Rosen is most commonly praised for his solid mechanics but for some reason scouts consistently ignore the mental aspect of the game and his decision making. Josh Rosen makes a lot of bad throws that he’s lucky aren't intercepted. For example, the Texas A&M game (his only highlight from this whole year), there were, by my count, three dropped interceptions that either went off the fingertips of defenders or were swatted away when they could've been caught. I’ll admit I did not watch very much of UCLA this year but every time I did I thought I was watching a Ryan Leaf highlight. Good raw talent, but inconsistent decision making and no improvement in college. He is NOT a first-round talent, closer to third or fourth round but nevertheless, he will be drafted very highly.
Sam Darnold (USC) is strange but hopeful. Every year he has been called a Heisman favorite, but he never put up a year worth being even nominated. He showed improvement over the first two years but seemingly regressed this year. He makes good throws and can scramble out of the pocket very well but fumbles at way too high of a rate to be doing so. But unlike Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold can win games. His Rose Bowl performance against Penn State in 2017 is the perfect example of Sam Darnold’s talent and potential. His fundamentals are just as sound as Josh Rosen, Darnold can get out of the pocket and run, and he has the killer instinct to win games. He still needs to improve greatly but will definitely develop into a solid player. He should be a 2nd or early 3rd round pick but a team will most likely take him in the first round because of his potential down the line. Definitely not as overrated as Josh Rosen.
Josh Allen (Wyoming)... He’s either the Carson Wentz of draft or the next Blaine Gabbert (check the college stats seriously). It’s hard to tell if his flashes of brilliance are really great or if it's just because of the weak defenses he has had to play against. He definitely has the raw talent to be great but his decision making is sometimes awful. He takes far too many risks and gets tunnel vision far too often for a team to expect him to step in and immediately be good. He’ll most likely be taken in the mid 1st maybe early second round but in my mind he is mid second to early third round talent.
Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma)… is bar far the best QB in this draft. Stop comparing him to Johnny Manziel these are two very different people. With Manziel there were questions about whether or not he even enjoyed playing football. With Mayfield he gets so fired up about playing football that it drives him insane. Mayfield is an incredible talent and should be more compared to Russell Wilson than Manziel. Mayfield should be taken as the first QB in the draft but most likely won’t because he will need to be put in a system and NFL teams tend to take character situations like Mayfield’s much more seriously than they should. They try to use the draft to teach players a lesson. Look at AJ McCarron for example, anybody who doubts his talent is either from Auburn or has simply never seen him play, but yet he slid all the way down to the 5th round and was taken with the 164th pick. One pick after Aaron Murray… and according to multiple reports, it was simply because he “rubbed scouts the wrong way” and sounded cocky. Baker Mayfield shouldn't be, but he will be punished for his competitiveness. He is by far the best QB in the draft. He should be an early first round draft pick but don’t be surprised if he slides to the second or even the third round.
Lamar Jackson (Louisville). Should’ve stayed in college for one more year even though he is an elite athlete and talent. Some team is gonna gamble on him and put way too much pressure on him when he really needs another year to develop his timing and accuracy on medium throws and become more patient in the pocket. He will be pushed to move over to running back or wide receiver but his talent at QB is too high to make a position change. Hopefully he gets drafted by a team with a solid QB that he can backup for a few years before stepping up as the starter. Early 2nd to early 4th round pick.
Luke Falk (Wash State), the most underrated player of this year. Falk is most comparable to Kirk Cousins. He is extremely accurate and his arm is already well developed. Not to mention he played at an excellent level all year even with a broken wrist. He may not think as quickly as Baker Mayfield and takes a lot of risky throws but he has shown flashes of the quick thinking needed at the NFL level. He could potentially be a solid late find and develop into a solid starter or at least a well above average backup. 3rd or 4th round.
Mason Rudolph (OK State) is a difficult prospect, the offense he ran was super high powered but also a very high risk/reward system that only functions so well because of how poor the defense he was facing were. He doesn't have the arm strength you'd expect from this type of offense which is very concerning. He will need serious development and will most likely never make it past being an okay backup. 4th to 5th round
Riley Ferguson (Memphis). Another potential career backup who might see the occasional start but if drafted into the perfect situation could become a solid starter. He needs to gain significant weight otherwise he will get crushed in the NFL. A strong arm who developed more skill as a pocket passer in his senior year, he will need to learn to run through his progression and not be afraid to check down on plays. If he lands on the right team he could turn into a pretty solid player in the NFL. a 3rd to 6th round pick.
Kenny “Trill” Hill (TCU). While he showed improvement and maturity this year at TCU, he is still far too inconsistent to be considered for an early round. He is definitely talented but he needs to be able to play at his top level consistently to survive in the NFL. 5th round-undrafted
Quinton Flowers (USF) is another QB who is gonna be asked to switch positions… and he probably should. He’ll need to switch to running back or wide receiver to even have a shot in the NFL his passing game simply just isn’t there. 6th round-undrafted
J.T. Barrett (Ohio State) needs to change positions to wide receiver. He should go in the last round or just be undrafted
Danny Etling (LSU). Well he completed 60% of his passes and only threw two interceptions but… zero big plays all year. Maybe could be an ok backup, he’ll probably just end up as a commentator for LSU. 6th round-undrafted
Kyle Allen (Houston) is gonna end up going back to college and finishing his degree cause he’ll never play in the NFL. Undrafted
Overall this QB class is pretty risky and doesn’t have very much depth. Some players like Riley Ferguson, Luke Faulk, or Mason Rudolph could turn out to be late gems in the right system but otherwise, this is a top-heavy class that really isn’t that great. Most likely we will see teams take a lot of these guys higher than their talent level anyways because of many team’s really high need for QB but this year’s class does not compare to some of the past.