1. Baker Mayfield – Oklahoma – 6’ 210

In his three years with the Sooners Baker Mayfield has thrown for 12,292 yards 119 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.  His best year was his senior year where he went 285 for 404 (70.5 completion percentage) for 4,627 yards, 43 touchdowns, and six interceptions.  His quarterback rating as a senior was 198.9.

Mayfield has a live arm and an incredible ability to create.  He understands defenses and does an excellent job looking off defenders to open up passing lanes.  More than a leader, Mayfield is a field general who knows how to lead from the front and energize his teammates.

Mayfield took a lot of heat for his behavior during the Kansas game and this criticism is certainly fair and warranted.  The Kansas players had disrespected him by refusing to shake his hand at the kickoff; although this does not excuse his behavior it does put it in context.  Mayfield’s antics were the actions of an extremely proud and immature individual.  Personally I don’t see this as being a major personality flaw.  He has the right energy; he just needs to learn how to direct more appropriately.

Strengths:

  • Great ability to create – Gritty – tough scrambler
  • Has an edge and fire that other players respond to
  • Knows how to earn his job having walked on an started at two Big 12 schools
  • Long and successful college career

Weaknesses:

  • Lacks prototypical size
  • Benefited from offensive scheme
  • Better improviser than tactician
  • A drunk and disorderly arrest and his behavior during the Kansas game have caused some to question his maturity and character

 

  1. Josh Rosen – UCLA – 6’3” 210

In three years as starting quarterback at UCLA Rosen completed 60.9 percent of his passes amassing 9,340 yards, 59 touchdowns, and 26 interceptions.  He had an overall passer rating of 140.1.

Rosen is a very technically sound quarterback who looks like a football throwing machine when his offense is clicking.  He would do best in a passing game that is based on precise timing and execution.   He has excellent accuracy and a knack for putting the ball where only his receiver can catch it.

Some people have questioned his arm strength, maturity, and coachability but I find these claims meritless.  He may not have the strongest arm in the class, but I see nothing to indicate that he doesn’t have the arm strength to make all the throws in the NFL.  His maturity has been question because of comments about not wanting to play for the Browns and stating that college players should be paid.  Neither of these comments are unique thoughts to Rosen and they are pretty harmless.  It is also been said that he is difficult to coach, but one look at his technique provides strong evidence to the contrary.  It is more likely that he holds himself to a high standard and needs a coach who can stay on his level.

Strengths:

  • Most technically polished quarterback in the draft
  • Can place the ball in tight windows
  • Can make all the throws

Weaknesses:

  • Rosen likes to speak his mind making some people labeling him as having “maturity issues” but this is in line with other modern athletes
  • Has lapses in decision making
  • Not a mobile quarterback who can improvise and create

 

  1. Lamar Jackson – Louisville – 6’2” 205

Lamar Jackson had a stellar career at Louisville, throwing for over 3,500 yards each of the last two seasons.  He threw 30 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in 2016 and 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2017. He also rushed for over 1,500 yards in both of those seasons; scoring 21 touchdowns on the ground in 2016 and 18 touchdowns on the ground in 2017.  Over the last two years Jackson has accounted 10,375 yards and 96 touchdowns in total.

Yes, Lamar Jackson is a quarterback.  He did many things in his college career, but catching passes was not one of them and it will not be where he makes his money on Sundays.  He certainly has a lot of things to clean up in his game, largely his technique, and he would benefit from being in a situation where he won’t be expected to start as a rookie.

Jackson has been labeled as running quarterback which is fair, but at the same time doesn’t give fair credence to his ability to make plays through the air.  It is also worth noting that when he scrambles he keeps his eyes down field.  He doesn’t want to be a runner; he wants to scramble to allow himself to make plays with his arm.  Jackson’s ability to run with the ball like an elite rusher could be invaluable particularly in the modern NFL.

Jackson’s relatively low completion percentage is a concern, but he does not throw many interceptions.  This tells you that his issues are wit accuracy, not decision making and can likely be improved upon by fixing issues with his technique.

Strengths:

  • Quick release
  • Big arm
  • Good decision making – reads defenses well
  • Playmaker with is arm and legs

Weaknesses:

  • Throws too many incompletions
  • Struggles against top competition
  • Accuracy is inconsistent
  • Does not have good footwork

 

  1. Mason Rudolph – Oklahoma State – 6’4” 235

Mason Rudolph has shown tremendous improvement in each of his three years starting for the Cowboys.  His completion percentage improved from 62.3 percent in 2015 to 65 percent in 2017.  His passing yards increased from 3,770 yards in 2015 to 4,091 yards in 2016 and then again to 4,904 yards in 2017.  He also threw more touchdowns in each season going from 21 touchdowns in 2015 to 28 touchdowns in 2016 to 37 touchdowns in 2017.

Rudolph has been a super productive college player and has improved by leaps and bounds statistically every season.  He is a pocket passer who physically translates well to the NFL level, but will need to learn how to compete within a more complex offense.  He has footwork issues particularly when he is forced to move in the pocket.

Rudolph has been pigeon holed as a spread quarterback who benefits statistically from that offense, but although he has benefited statistically from scheme I don’t think that is who he is.  If I was going to lump him into a category I’d say he is more of the gunslinger type.  He has a live arm and can take big shots deep.  His biggest strength is sitting in the pocket and letting it rip.

Strengths:

  • Playmaker who gets completions for explosive plays
  • Excellent poise in the pocket
  • Great ball placement on fade

Weaknesses:

  • Spread offense created a lot of easy reads
  • Not a much of a scrambler, better in the pocket that out
  • Footwork is a consistent issue – can open up his body too much and take power off of throws
  • Some scouts say that James Washington made him look better than he was others say it is the opposite, in reality they are both very good

 

  1. Sam Darnold – USC – 6’4” 225

In two years starting for the Trojans Darnold threw for over 7,000 yards, 57 touchdowns, and 22 interceptions.  After making big headlines in 2016 with many saying that he would have been the first pick in the 2017 NFL Draft Darnold had a bit of a sophomore slump.  This season his completion percentage dropped to 63.1 after completing 67.2 percent of his throws in his first year.  He also threw 13 interceptions as opposed to 9 in the previous season.

At first glance, Sam Darnold is the truest “NFL quarterback” in the class.  He has the size, the arm, and just enough athletic ability.  Darnold has all the physical tools you look for in a franchise quarterback but he definitely has some issues. It is not just the fact that he threw 13 interceptions last season that is alarming.  It is also that he throws bad interceptions.  He has a lack of understanding of situational football.  To make things worse, he has also had fumble issues.

At his best, Darnold has poise and excellent timing as a passer.  He has shown the ability to make good reads and has the arm to make all of the throws.  He can rocket in short passes a bit too much and his long windup means a slow release.

Strengths:

  • Strong arm – can make all the throws
  • Showed flashes of brilliance
  • NFL Build – Looks the part
  • Excellent pocket presence

Weaknesses:

  • Turns the ball over way too often
  • Slow deliver
  • Lacks touch on passes
  • Takes too many sacks

 

  1. Josh Allen – Wyoming – 6’5” 230

Josh Allen had a monster season in 2016 throwing for 3,203 yards, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.  As a senior he missed some time due to injury, and fell off a major cliff statistically.  Playing in three fewer games, he threw for 1,812 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions.

Allen Lacks timing and touch, but his rare arm talent is keeping him in the conversation to go number one overall.  Allen played in a pro style system that has asked a lot of him and as a result is probably more mentally prepared for the NFL than the other top quarterbacks.   Allen’s completion percentage for his career is an unimpressive 56.2 and even in his breakout season he threw far too many interceptions.  Allen will need to be in the right situation to have any chance of success in the NFL.  He has some rare gifts that will give him a chance, but major red flags that will scare some people off.

Strengths:

  • Looks the part
  • Huge arm
  • Athletic – can keep plays alive with his feet

Weaknesses:

  • Played his worst against best competition
  • Lacks timing and touch
  • Completion percentage has been consistently low and throws too many interceptions

 

  1. Kurt Benkert – Virginia- 6’4” 215

After transferring from East Carolina, Kurt Benkert was a two-year starter at Virginia.  In his first year at Virginia he threw for 2,552 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions while completing 56.2 percent of his passes.  This past year he improved in every category throwing for 3,207 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions while completing 58.5 percent of his passes.

Benkert has good size, a big arm, and is a good enough athlete to make things happen when protection breaks down.  He has excellent ball placement particularly on fades and seams.  His internal clock can cause him to get nervous and exit the pocket a bit prematurely at times.  His low completion percentage is also a concern.  He does not seem to be great with his eyes as he makes questionable decisions and gets caught up on his initial read.

Strengths:

  • Excellent ball placement
  • Strong arm – can make all the throws
  • Athletic – has ability to create with his feet

Weaknesses:

  • Gets happy feet in the pocket
  • Low completion percentage is a concern
  • Has trouble reading defenses and makes poor decisions at times

 

  1. Kyle Lauletta – Richmond – 6’3” 216

Kyle Lauletta was a three-year starter for the Spiders who capped off his career with his best single-season performance throwing for 3,737 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions.  Lauletta was one of the biggest winners in the Senior Bowl where he threw 3 touchdowns and turned a lot of heads.

Lauletta is an accurate passer who reads a defense effectively and has the athletic ability to escape the pocket and look to make a throw on the run.  His arm strength appears to be lacking as his deep balls hang up in the air for a long time.  This may be product of his poor footwork.  His feet tend to get too wide and he frequently fails to step into his throws.  He will also open up his hips at times.

Critics will complain about his level of play, but playing in a good conference at the FCS level he would have seen defensive coaching and schemes at least as good as quarterbacks at outside of power five conferences at the FBS level.  Obviously it is short-sighted to blame or credit the quarterback entirely for the overall record of his team, but when evaluating an FCS quarterback as a potential NFL starter you’d like him to have lead his team to a better record than 6-5 as a senior

Strengths:

  • Excellent ability to scramble and keep eyes down field
  • Effectively looks off defenders
  • Reportedly has leadership skills

Weaknesses:

  • Has several issues with his footwork
  • His arm strength is a big question mark
  • Can exit the pocket prematurely at times
  • Concerning that he did not lead his team to more success

 

  1. Mike White – Western Kentucky – 6’3” 215

Mike White started each of his two seasons at Western Kentucky after transferring from South Florida.  He threw for over 4,000 yards in each of those seasons.  White completed 67.3 percent of his passes as a junior while throwing 37 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.  He took a step back as a senior completing 65.7 percent of his passes and throwing 26 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.

White’s arm talent is talked about a lot, but I don’t think that is who he is.  He is an accurate passer who gets completions at all levels of the defense and can sometimes under thrown deep routes.  He has a slow release and fumbling issues, both of which will need to be addressed.  He plays in a relatively complex offense, and has been asked to make some big boy reads.

Strengths:

  • High success rate on deep balls
  • Can make complex reads
  • Deep ball thrower who has accuracy to get completions and move the club

Weaknesses:

  • Long windup
  • Has highly regarded arm talent, but comes up short at times
  • Fumbling has been an issue for him
  • Definitely feels the pressure and lacks mobility to create

 

  1. Chase Litton – Marshall – 6’6” 232

Chase Litton was a three-year starter for Marshall who threw for over 8,000 yards.  He threw 72 touchdowns and 31 interceptions, 14 of which came last season.

Litton was a relatively productive college quarterback who may struggle to transition to the NFL.  He has great size but only adequate arm strength and mobility.  His reads are pretty terrible at times and as a result he throws way too many interceptions.  Improved footwork could help him get more power on his throws.

Strengths:

  • Relatively quick release
  • Decent arm
  • Athletic enough, but not going to wow anyone
  • Excellent size

Weaknesses:

  • Does not always step into his throws
  • All upper body when he throws on the run
  • A lot of effort goes into deep throws
  • Makes a lot of bad reads