*Rankings are made based on watching three full games on each quarterback from the past two seasons
1. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma 6’0 215
Mayfield is one of the most decorated quarterbacks in NCAA history. All this coming after being a walk on at Texas Tech who would later transfer to Oklahoma where he became a legend, a Heisman winner, a Davey O’Brien award winner, a Maxwell Award winner, and a Big 12 champion. In case you missed that, Mayfield is a winner.
His lack of size held him back from getting serious college looks, but the size of his heart, will, and leadership were overlooked, and NFL teams cannot afford to make the same mistake college coaches did. Often compared to Johnny Manziel by those who don’t take the time to watch him, Mayfield is a firey competitor who is much more Philip Rivers than Johnny Football.
Adding to his leadership, heart, and will, Mayfield is the most accurate quarterback in this draft. His ball placement, as well as above average arm strength, mixed with his leadership characteristics are what truly sets him apart for me and is the reason he has maintained the number one spot in my QB rankings.
Pro Comparison: Philip Rivers
2. Josh Rosen, UCLA 6’4″ 226
Much like Baker, Rosen is often misunderstood. He has been mentioned as uncoachable due to an issue with Trent Dilfer at the Elite 11 camp and others have questioned his love of the game of football. While not the leader of men that Mayfield is, the off the field questions with Rosen seem strange to me. He is his own man and expects perfection from him self. He is much more Peyton Manning in that aspect than an uncoachable football hater.
Rosen demonstrates great footwork and excellent touch and accuracy with the football. The biggest issue with Rosen is that he does tend to force things at times when the pocket breaks down as he tries to do to much with the football. This causes poor throws and bad decisions. If he can learn to trust those around him, Rosen has all of the skills to be the best quarterback in this draft.
Pro Comparison: Matt Ryan
3. Sam Darnold, USC, 6’4 220
Darnold is possibly the cleanest prospect in this quarterback class. No off the field worries. Outside of his turnovers, he looks great on tape. But for me, he is not yet as polished a passer as Rosen or Mayfield.
Darnold has great size, accuracy, ball placement, and is very athletic. The only downside to Darnold is the rate in which he turns the ball over. He had 13 interceptions and nine fumbles in 2017 and has 20 interceptions in his last 20 college games. Part of the reason for his turnovers may be his elongated delivery which at times may allow defenders to make a break on the ball and cause the interceptions.
In a few years, Darnold may be the best quarterback in this class. His ability to anticipate throws and see guys open is the one thing that he is far better at than anyone else in this class. A season on the bench would do him wonders, but like Rosen and Mayfield I believe he is good enough to take the field immediately.
Pro Comparison: Tony Romo
4. Lamar Jackson, Louisville, 6’3 200
Lamar Jackson is the most elite playmaker in this draft. He ran for more yards than Saquon Barkley and won the Heisman in 2016. He is a home run threat with his arm and his legs.
Jackson throws the ball with ease and elite velocity. However, it does not always go where he wants it to. His accuracy is average at best. The biggest downside with Jackson is that his god given abilities are so good that he some times relies on them rather than staying true to technique, thus allowing the ball to sail and for him to bail on plays rather than take what the defense is giving him.
If a team is willing to build an offense around him and work on his technique, Jackson can be a superstar in the NFL.
Pro Comparison: Michael Vick
5. Josh Allen, Wyoming 6’5″ 235
Wow. Allen’s arm is incredible. He can sling the ball with ease. He is also the prototypical size you want in an NFL quarterback. He also has above average athleticism which allows him to make plays when the pocket breaks down.
Allen is the biggest boom or bust prospect in this draft. He could grow to be an amazing NFL passer or he could fizzle out in a few years. His arm strength is off the charts, he can throw far, he can throw hard, but it does not always go where he needs it to. He has an issue of not resetting his base and relies solely on his rocket arm which causes the ball to sail and fly all around the field. He has never had an accuracy percentage above 56%.
Very few quarterbacks become more accurate once reaching the NFL, Matt Stafford is the last one that comes to mind. While Allen could eventually become like Stafford or Ben Roethlisberger, a team is going to need to be patient with him.
Pro Comparison: DeShone Kizer
6. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
7. Mike White, Western Kentucky
8. Luke Falk, Washington State
9. Kyle Lauletta, Richmond
10. Kurt Benkert, Virgina