The Fabulous Four Quarterbacks Of the 2018 NFL Draft
In football, there might be 11 guys on your side of the ball. But in reality, we all know that almost everyone is usually talking about the same guy: the quarterback.
That’s exactly why the 2018 NFL Draft looks to be so intriguing. For the first time in over a decade, we have a legitimate chance to see four quarterbacks selected among the top 10 picks in the draft. Let’s take a closer look at each of those four guys.
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming – Josh Allen is going to cause a lot of debates in draft rooms next spring, because of the fact that he brings the most pure “arm talent” of any quarterback prospect in this draft. Watching the film of what he can do with the football is a lot of fun; he might have the strongest arm of any top quarterback prospect to come into the draft since Cam Newton. He can effortless hurl the ball down the field at absolutely silly distances and velocity. The biggest knock on him will be the same as what you can say about a lot of quarterbacks with elite arm talent: he trusts his arm a bit too much, taking way too many ill-advised gambles that he can get away with because of his arm strength. That works in college — especially against the level of competition he’s going against — but not in the NFL, where everyone is so much faster and the passing windows are so much tighter. He has a lot of development needed, as far as decision-making and proper footwork when throwing, but teams are going to fall in love with the raw potential.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma — As recently as six months ago, if you told anyone that Baker Mayfield was going to be in the conversation for the top quarterback prospects of the 2018 NFL Draft, people would have laughed at you. But after a spectacular 2017 season, which is likely to culminate with him winning the Heisman Trophy, Mayfield is shooting up draft boards, and leapfrogging prospects that were once firmly entrenched ahead of him. Between his size (6’1 and 220lbs), poise under pressure, productivity, ability to extend plays, and the overall leadership skills, teams are making a lot of Russell Wilson comparisons for Mayfield. He’s also shown that level of accuracy and decision-making skills as a passer as well. The biggest question for Mayfield will be whether he can learn to be a true “pocket quarterback,” and overcome the tough transition from playing in a spread offense in college.
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA — If there’s one prospect who looks and carries himself in a manner befitting of a franchise quarterback, it’s Josh Rosen. As one of the top quarterback prospects coming out of high school, between his combination of size (6’4 and 200+ lbs), arm strength, polish, and football IQ, it appeared destined that he was going to be playing football on Sunday’s. The upside shown by Rosen is tantalizing. He has already flashed the ability to read through progressions, manipulate safeties with his eyes, throw “with his feet connected to his arm,” and manipulate the speed of his passes when necessary. However, all of that being said, you wonder why he wasn’t able to take UCLA to greater levels of success while he was there. There are also major questions about his ego and sense of entitlement, as evidenced by his self-anointed nickname of “Chosen” Rosen. There are going to be teams that are turned off by him, but even more that will be salivating over what they could do with him.
Sam Darnold, QB, USC – Scouts see Sam Darnold as a rare prospect with a combination of size (6’4 and 225lbs), physical tools, mental traits, intangibles, and collegiate production (29 touchdowns, eight interceptions, and a 9-1 record in 10 starts) as coveted as any prospect we’ve seen since Andrew Luck. When you watch him play, his quirky release and gunslinger mentality reminds you a bit of Philip Rivers, his frame reminds you a bit of Matt Ryan, and his elusiveness and ability to move around in the pocket reminds you of Tony Romo. In 2016, he made some serious magic happen in the pocket, but that was also something of a double-edged sword; a lot of his plays he made were pure “sandlot plays.” The thing that’s really bothering scouts this year is how many turnovers Darnold has had. Teams are going to have a lot of questions as to why Darnold threw nine interceptions in his first six games this year, and only had four games – out of 13 – where he didn’t have a turnover.