Who Are Alpha QB’s In NFL 2018 Draft?

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Let’s look at six college stars. Anyone of them could end up being an NFL QB success.

The 2018 NFL draft is coming up sooner than we expect and teams like the Giants, Broncos, Browns, and Jets need help at the quarterback position. They’re in luck, too. Why? This year’s QB class looks to be very promising.

Let’s look at six prime prospects.

Courtesy: NJ.com

First, there’s Sam Darnold, who’s listed at 6’4” and 220 pounds. He’s projected to be the #1 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Darnold has a lot of assets, including arm strength and mobility. Darnold also has athleticism. Although he doesn’t have the same speed as either Cam Newton or Russell Wilson, Darnold can escape pressure and make throws on the run. The main issue with Darnold is turnovers. At USC he averaged one interception per two touchdowns. While Darnold has the arm strength to make spectacular heaves downfield, he can be too confident in his arm. That trait reminds me of former NFL quarterback Brett Favre.

Courtesy: PAC12.com

UCLA’s Josh Rosen is another top prospect. Rosen is listed at 6’4” and 218 pounds and his main asset is footwork. He also has good timing and rhythm. Those traits serve NFL QBs well because they don’t devolve with age. But there is a red flag with Rosen’s game–arm strength. Rosen has not shown the ability to be consistent on deep passes. He relies heavily on short and intermediate passes in the pursuit of YAC’s (yards after catch). Rosen reminds me of Alex Smith. Both are 6’4” and have the same throwing mindset: “I can’t escape pressure by running. I don’t have a big arm, either. So I’ll use short and intermediate passes to be successful.”

Courtesy: Sporting News

Then there’s Baker Mayfield from Oklahoma, who’s listed at 6’1” and 220 pounds. Mayfield had a spectacular 2017 year racking up 4,627 yards, 43 touchdowns, and throwing only 6 interceptions. Those are Heisman Trophy numbers. But Mayfield isn’t tall and his smaller stature makes it difficult for him to look over the line of scrimmage to see men downfield. While a height deficiency could turn some teams away, Mayfield has a lot in common with Drew Brees and Russell Wilson. Each QB has developed unique ways to deal with a height disadvantage. But perhaps more than height issues, Mayfield will have to show NFL teams that he has matured. Throughout his college career, Mayfield had “issues,” from planting the Sooners’ flag on the Buckeyes fifty-yard line to making an obscene gesture at a fan at KU. Can Mayfield control his emotions? Scouts want to know the answer.

Courtesy: Yahoo Sports

The fourth prospect we’ll analyze is Lamar Jackson, who’s listed at 6’3” and 212 pounds. Jackson has a cannon for an arm and, like Darnold, has the ability to make vertical plays downfield. Unlike Darnold, though, Jackson has speed. Jackson has the ability to escape pressure and run downfield. That combination of traits helped Jackson win the Heisman Award in 2016. I think of Jackson as a “poor man’s Cam Newton.” He has a big arm and speed, but he lacks the bulk and voraciousness that Newton displays.

Courtesy: Newsday

The fifth prospect is Josh Allen, who’s listed at 6’ 5” and 234 pounds. Allen’s arm and quick release make him an elite pocket passer–traits that can help him assimilate into virtually any NFL team. But one area of concern is that he didn’t play against elite competition in college. He played at Wyoming and competed against teams in the Mountain West Conference. But look at how the Eagles made out with Carson Wentz, who played collegiately at North Dakota State? When I weigh everything, I think Allen has a legitimate shot at making it big in the NFL.

Courtesy: David Stacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images and SI.com)

The sixth and final prospect we’ll look at is Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, who’s listed at 6’5” and 230 pounds. With this height, Rudolph is able to see downfield. That ability produces a lot of audibles. Another strength is Rudolph’s touch. He has a great feel for receivers and has shown, time after time, that he can drop the ball in their hands on long passes. But the main concern about Rudolph is his accuracy … despite the fact that he completed 65% of his passes last year. Working on accuracy will only improve his chances of making it in the NFL.


Rating the six prospects: I rank the 2018 quarterback prospects this way (from best to worst): Allen, Darnold, Rosen, Jackson, Rudolph, and Mayfield. I rank Allen #1 because of his quick release, arm strength, and passing accuracy. He also has the height to see over defenses. Conversely, I rank Mayfield #6 because I’m not convinced that he can match his collegiate record in the pros. Then there are his height and maturity issues. I predict Mayfield will be an NFL bust.


About Andrew Waters

My roots begin in New York. Sports is my world and I spend time watching, talking, and writing about sports–especially the NBA, NFL, and MLB. I pay special attention to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Charlotte Hornets, and New York Yankees, as well as the exploits of James Harden, Jeremy Lamb, Aaron Rodgers, Josh Dobbs, Giancarlo Stanton, and Andrew McCutchen. l enjoy writing because it gives me the freedom to express opinions. I’m passionate about sports and thrive on sparking conversation about my points of view. I’d love to have you comment on my articles.

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