Published On: Mon, Apr 16th, 2018

QB Battle: Who really is the best QB in this class?

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This year, more than ever, quarterbacks are the talk of the NFL draft. With no clear-cut favorite among evaluators and scouts, endless debates have sparked across the NFL community. As many as six quarterbacks could be selected in the first round, each with their fair share of strengths and weaknesses.

Allow us to continue the debate. Our football team gives their individual picks for the top quarterback in the 2018 draft. Which prospect is a cut above his peers?

Sam Darnold


When selecting a quarterback in the top half of the first round, that player should possess franchise-changing talent. That’s exactly what Darnold has. His footwork and throwing motion may need tweaking by NFL coaches, but his intangibles, leadership skills, and football acumen are second to none in this class. The former USC Trojan consistently looks off opposing safeties and has the ability to go through multiple progressions on any given pass set. Darnold’s arm is the best in this draft (power isn’t everything, Josh Allen) – his throws on the move are reminiscent of Super Bowl champion Aaron Rodgers, he can deliver darts into tight windows, and float touch passes when necessary. Darnold isn’t a perfect prospect, but he’s a better long-term investment than his counterparts. His turnover numbers should not be overblown – his aggressive style helped USC win a number of games. At the end of the day, Darnold’s combination of football IQ, arm talent, and ability to extend plays not only gives him a higher ceiling than any quarterback in this class, but also greater potential than any signal-caller drafted since Andrew Luck. – Mike Alessandrini

Josh Rosen


Don’t overthink it. The most pro-ready quarterback of this class, both on the field and with the media, is Josh Rosen. Unlike some quarterbacks in this class who use athleticism to make plays, Rosen moves the ball down the field by sitting in the pocket and reading the defense on every snap. Coming from college, he can obviously get better with his technique, but Rosen is as polished with his footwork and throwing mechanics as any quarterback prospect since Luck. Rosen didn’t have a good offensive line to play behind, nor did he have any top-rated weapons to throw to at UCLA, but was able to use anticipation, poise, and technique to make plays, completing 63 percent of his passes against the blitz. Concerns over having interests outside of football are naive in a league that is becoming increasingly socially aware, and that should instead be looked at as a sign of maturity, as he has managed to balance being outspoken while leading UCLA for three years. Rosen was conducting himself like a pro in many ways long before his fellow passing prospects. – Mitch Sanderson

Baker Mayfield


Mayfield possesses the abilities needed to grow along with whichever team selects him near the top of the draft. The 2017 Heisman Trophy winner needs refinement, but he has excellent awareness and throws accurately on the run while extending plays, something he’ll need to do if thrust into a starting role. His athleticism should be a sign of versatility and provide coaches with confidence that he can adapt to a variety of systems and overcome poor offensive line play. He has accepted the underdog role affixed to him due to his size, and his competitiveness will be an asset to a young, possibly struggling team in his early days as a starter – whether that be in 2018 or beyond. Teams will need to bend their system and roster composition to maximize Mayfield’s skill set and allow him to reach his full potential, but he’s fully capable of being his own bridge for the team until that time comes. Comparisons to Johnny Manziel need to stop as Mayfield should instead be expected to have learned from those mistakes rather than repeat them. – Esten McLaren

Lamar Jackson


Every quarterback in this draft class has areas for improvement, but none boast more upside than Jackson. The Louisville product has a cannon for an arm and is lightning fast on his feet, making him every bit the dynamic threat Michael Vick was at one time. Jackson’s accuracy needs improvement, but it’s worth noting his completion percentage increased every year in college, and he played more from the pocket in 2017. For all the talk about his running abilities, Jackson displayed patience in the pocket and an ability to go through his progressions without panicking – a challenge for many athletic pivots – throughout his college career. If he’s drafted by a team willing to tailor its system to Jackson’s strengths, there’s no doubt he can be one of the top quarterbacks in the game. Any talk that the former Heisman Trophy winner should move to wide receiver is blasphemous, as it’s only a matter of time before Jackson’s arm is electrifying NFL stadiums on Sundays. – Alex Chippin

Josh Allen


No quarterback in this class is perfect – far from it, in fact. All have significant flaws in their respective games that might hold them back from NFL stardom, and Allen is no exception. But the former Wyoming standout’s sky-high ceiling due to his otherworldly arm talent can’t be dismissed. Just two short years ago, Carson Wentz was the same wildly talented but raw small-school passer in dire need of refinement. And by 2017, he was the favorite to win MVP until a knee injury ended his season prematurely. Allen doesn’t have Wentz’s pre-snap acumen or elite improvisational skills, but if he lands in a perfect environment, with a coach who can ease him into the responsibilities of an NFL quarterback while utilizing his athleticism and downfield passing abilities, he could surpass his draftmates in a matter of years. Allen is the biggest risk in the NFL draft, but with every great risk, there’s an equally great reward. – Jack Browne

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)



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