It’s never too early to start evaluating quarterbacks. This is an early look at the 2018 class, and many of these grades will change as the 2018 college season plays out. Of course, these aren’t the only quarterbacks worth evaluating for the 2018 class, but these are the eight quarterbacks with enough film out to have a good idea of what type of players they could be. By the time the 2018 NFL Draft comes around some of these quarterbacks might be returning to school, some might not be considered draftable, and some other quarterbacks will surely still be talked about. Here is an early look at eight big-name quarterbacks in the 2018 draft class:

Name: Sam Darnold

Position: QB

School: USC

Class: RS Sophomore

Size: 6’4”, 225lbs

Pro comparison: Tony Romo

Projected round: Top 10

Games: Penn State, Washington, Notre Dame

  • Size 10/10
  • Arm Strength5/10
  • Mechanics 6/10
  • Feet 7/10
  • Touch 7/10
  • Short Accuracy5/10
  • Deep Accuracy 9/10
  • Poise 9/10
  • Mobility 8/10
  • Scheme 6/10

Score= 77/100

Darnold has almost all of the makings of an NFL franchise quarterback. There’s one glairing hole in his game: his elongated throwing motion. Throw on Darnold’s freshman tape at USC and the first thing you’ll notice is his long, wonky windup. Very few NFL quarterbacks have been able to succeed with such poor mechanics. To Darnold’s credit, despite the elongated motion, he gets the ball out of his hand quickly. Aside from his poor throwing motion, Darnold looks like a can’t-miss quarterback. He has a big-time arm and accuracy on deep throws very few freshman quarterbacks possess. Darnold constantly makes up for poor pass protection by extending the play with his legs. He rarely looks to run when he gets out of the pocket and keeps his eyes downfield to remain a passer. Darnold is only entering his redshirt sophomore season and has an incredibly high ceiling. He seems to have the “it” factor coveted by NFL teams.

Name: Josh Allen

Position: QB

School: Wyoming

Class: RS Junior

Size: 6’5”, 222lbs

Pro comparison: Andrew Luck

Projected round: Top 10

Games: Nebraska, Boise State, BYU

  • Size 8/10
  • Arm Strength 8/10
  • Mechanics 8/10
  • Feet 8/10
  • Touch 6/10
  • Short Accuracy 5/10
  • Deep Accuracy 8/10
  • Poise 6/10
  • Mobility 9/10
  • Scheme 10/10

Score= 76/100

Coming from a smaller school in the Mountain West conference isn’t ideal, but Allen plays in an offense far closer to an NFL scheme than any other top quarterback in the 2018 class. Allen, unlike most quarterback prospects, plays in a pro-style offense where he lines up consistently under center. At times, he also has control of the offensive line’s protection calls and will even call an audible. This may not necessarily seem that impressive, but at the college level it’s rare to see a quarterback do these things. Allen has ideal size, great athleticism, and a deep ball many scouts will fall in love with. He does tend to play outside of the pocket too frequently and relies heavily on his movement skills. Against Nebraska Allen was down late and was playing without a conscience, forcing every throw into coverage. This led to a 5-interception day for him. Allen has the highest ceiling of any quarterback in the class, but he’s extremely raw and will need to learn to play it safe.

Name: Josh Rosen

Position: QB

School: UCLA

Class: Junior  

Size: 6’4”, 218lbs  

Pro comparison: Eli Manning

Projected round: 1st

Games: Stanford, USC (2015), Colorado (2015)

  • Size 8/10
  • Arm Strength 9/10
  • Mechanics 10/10
  • Feet 8/10
  • Touch 4/10
  • Short Accuracy 8/10
  • Deep Accuracy 7/10
  • Poise 4/10
  • Mobility 6/10
  • Scheme 8/10

Score= 72/100

The biggest issue with evaluating Rosen was finding film from his sophomore year. Having to rely on two freshman games wasn’t ideal. Josh “Chosen” Rosen was a freshman phenom, but a shoulder injury and inconsistency as a sophomore cooled his hype down. On paper Rosen looks like a sure-fire top 10 pick. He has the size, the big name school, and a close to pro-style scheme. Rosen also has tremendous arm strength and beautiful mechanics. What he lacks is poise in the pocket. Under pressure he breaks down and takes too many sacks. In three games he was strip sacked for a defensive touchdown three times, which is unheard of at any level. Rosen is almost the opposite of Darnold. He has clean perfect mechanics, but plays with very little touch, always throwing “rocket balls.” Rosen doesn’t have the “it” factor that Darnold so clearly possesses.

Name: Mason Rudolph

Position: QB

School: Oklahoma State

Class: QB

Size: 6’5”, 235lbs

Pro comparison: Carson Palmer

Projected round: 1st

Games: Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Colorado

  • Size 10/10
  • Arm Strength5/10
  • Mechanics 7/10
  • Feet 6/10
  • Touch 7/10
  • Short Accuracy 7/10
  • Deep Accuracy 9/10
  • Poise 6/10
  • Mobility 5/10
  • Scheme 5/10

Score= 70.5/100

Mason Rudolph is a classic big-armed NFL pocket passer. At Oklahoma State he’s constantly taking deep shots and connecting for big plays. Keep in mind this is in the Big-12 where high-level defense is as rare as a snowstorm in the south. In spite of playing against sub-par defenses, Rudolph looks like a first round talent. He’s a big strong passer that relies on his arm, but also has incredible deep accuracy. Too often when the pocket collapses he is rendered useless because he lacks even average mobility. He’ll need to play behind a strong offensive line in an offense that relies on the deep ball *cough* Bruce Arians *cough* and in a system like that he’ll thrive at the NFL level. He has the lowest ceiling of the top quarterbacks, but the highest floor.

Name: Lamar Jackson

Position: QB

School: Louisville

Class: Junior

Size: 6’3”, 205lbs

Pro comparison: Michael Vick

Projected round: 2nd

Games: Florida State, Clemson, Kentucky

  • Size 6/10
  • Arm Strength 9/10
  • Mechanics 7/10
  • Feet 7/10
  • Touch 6/10
  • Short Accuracy 7/10
  • Deep Accuracy 5/10
  • Poise 7/10
  • Mobility 10/10
  • Scheme 5/10

Score= 69/100

The 2016 Heisman winner has been called a non-NFL quarterback multiple times by anonymous coaches, but they’re flat-out wrong. No, Lamar Jackson isn’t a first round pick, but he’s got far more NFL potential than he’s been given credit for. Jackson is the fastest player on the field more often than not, but he isn’t just a run-first quarterback. The majority of his runs come on designed plays and he frequently tries to remain a passer when plays break down. He needs to add weight to his frame to holdup at the next level, but his speed and arm strength make him an intriguing prospect. With a slight flick of his wrist he can throw the ball 60 yards with ease; there’s no question he has the arm strength the NFL scouts craves. He needs to work on his intermediate to deep accuracy and his touch. He has the traits to be an NFL starter in the right system.

Name: Luke Falk

Position: QB

School: Washington State

Class: RS Senior

Size: 6’4”, 216lbs

Pro comparison: Derek Carr

Projected round: 2nd

Games: Eastern Washington, California, Washington

  • Size 7/10
  • Arm Strength 7/10
  • Mechanics 8/10
  • Feet 7/10
  • Touch 8/10
  • Short Accuracy 7/10
  • Deep Accuracy 7/10
  • Poise 8/10
  • Mobility 6/10
  • Scheme 4/10

Score= 69/100

Despite coming out of Mike Leach’s Air Raid system, Luke Falk has the second highest floor of this quarterback class. Falk does everything well, but nothing exceptional. He’s the jack of all trades in this class. He has solid size, a good enough arm, and consistent accuracy on every level. He has a quick, compact release and isn’t afraid to sit in the pocket against a heavy rush. Aside from coming out of the Air Raid, Falk has very few questions in his game. He looks like a second round quarterback that can come in and play right away. Falk might be the safest pick of all the quarterbacks in the 2018 class.

Name: Baker Mayfield

Position: QB

School: Oklahoma

Class: RS Senior

Size: 6’1”, 210lbs

Pro comparison: Johnny Manziel

Projected round: 3rd

Games: Houston, Texas Tech, Baylor

  • Size 5/10
  • Arm Strength 7/10
  • Mechanics 7/10
  • Feet 6/10
  • Touch 7/10
  • Short Accuracy 7/10
  • Deep Accuracy 8/10
  • Poise 8/10
  • Mobility 8/10
  • Scheme 4/10

Score= 67/100

If Mayfield didn’t have below-average size and numerous off-field questions he could be a first round pick. He’s listed at 6’1”, but he appears to be much smaller than that; he looks closer to 5’10”. Size issues aside, Mayfield is a very talented quarterback. He has a solid arm, and very good accuracy, especially on deep balls. He has a knack for escaping the pass rush and extending plays with his legs until a receiver comes open downfield. Mayfield’s playing style is almost identical to Johnny Manziel’s. Like Manziel, Mayfield makes up for his lack of size with his mobility and fearlessness to hang in against big hits. If a team is willing to look past his size, Mayfield is a good third round option to develop, but if he is under 6’0” that will be a massive issue.

Name: Jake Browning

Position: QB

School: Washington

Class: Junior

Size: 6’2”, 209lbs

Pro comparison: Kellen Moore

Projected round: 5th

Games: Portland State, California, USC

  • Size 5/10
  • Arm Strength 7/10
  • Mechanics 7/10
  • Feet 5/10
  • Touch 5/10
  • Short Accuracy 7/10
  • Deep Accuracy 3/10
  • Poise 4/10
  • Mobility 7/10
  • Scheme 6/10

Score= 56/100

When evaluating a college quarterback looking at the statistics can be very misleading. That statement applies to Browning more than any other quarterback on this list. He put up gaudy numbers as a sophomore last season, but John Ross spent more time bailing him out than LeBron James did bailing out the Cavaliers in 2007. Browning has almost no ability to throw an accurate deep ball. He consistently over or under throws them and has very little touch. He was lucky to have Ross and Dante Pettis last season. Browning also seems antsy in the pocket bouncing and moving his feet constantly. He looks rail thin and will need to add weight to play in the NFL. Although just entering his junior year, Browning looks like nothing more than an NFL backup quarterback.

Other Names to Watch

Jarrett Stidham- Auburn

Nick Fitzgerald- Mississippi State

Riley Ferguson- Memphis

Brett Rypien- Boise State

Kyle Allen- Houston

Max Browne- Pittsburgh

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Author Details
Vice President of Media | The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
I’m Canadian as can be, other than the fact that I don’t care about hockey. I love football. The NFL is my life. I consider myself a football guy and I’d rather watch tape than anything else. I’m the Armchair NFL Draft analyst here. You can read my Armchair Scout columns and call me out for my draft misses. I’m also part of two podcasts at Armchair. Our NFL Draft podcast, 7 Rounds in Heaven, and the main NFL pod, Resting the Starters. I cheer for the Steelers, Raptors, Blue Jays, Oregon, and I guess the Leafs.
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Vice President of Media | The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
I’m Canadian as can be, other than the fact that I don’t care about hockey. I love football. The NFL is my life. I consider myself a football guy and I’d rather watch tape than anything else. I’m the Armchair NFL Draft analyst here. You can read my Armchair Scout columns and call me out for my draft misses. I’m also part of two podcasts at Armchair. Our NFL Draft podcast, 7 Rounds in Heaven, and the main NFL pod, Resting the Starters. I cheer for the Steelers, Raptors, Blue Jays, Oregon, and I guess the Leafs.

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