This NFL draft class has four big name quarterbacks who are all fairly even in draft stock. Here’s a look at who they are and what you need to about each one:
1. Sam Darnold USC
Strengths: Accuracy and size
Weakness: Ball security and throwing mechanics
2017 Passing Stats: 63.1% Completion 4143 yards 26 TDs 13 INTs
Accuracy: When it came to placing throws in between zone coverages, there probably isn’t anyone better in college football than Sam Darnold. Time and time again you can see Sam place the ball almost perfectly to his receivers.
Size: Standing at 6 foot 4 inches and 220 pounds, Darnold has a big strong frame and has the perfect build for a quarterback. There aren’t many people in the NFL who are as big as he is and still as mobile. He can move his feet and pick up those 3rd and short downs if his receivers don’t get open.
Ball security: Darnold might be the most accurate quarterback in this class, but he tends to get over confident and force throws into double or sometimes even triple coverage. This decision-making led to 21 turnovers (13 interceptions and 8 fumbles lost), the most in college football in 2017). Along with forcing throws, he tends to hold the ball with one hand in the pocket. This is a lot easier to fix, but it is still an issue and is the cause of many of his fumbles.
Throwing mechanics: Despite his accuracy, Darnold still has a lot of holes in his motion. It’s a longer motion than the traditional one, and he tends to throw off of his back foot without much hip drive, throwing the ball with all arm. This costs him in accuracy and the ball tends to sail high on him.
2. Baker Mayfield OU
Strengths: Arm, athleticism, attitude
2017 Passing Stats: 70.5% Completion 4627 yards 43 TDs 6 INTs
Arm: Baker Mayfield has the most complete arm in this class. He has everything from accuracy, strength and a quick release. To go along with his talent he has the stats to back it up. Even though he was in an offensive system that really helped him boost his stats, the film doesn’t lie.
Athleticism: He throws and he runs — and he does both really well. He can even do both at the same time. He is the best passer in this class when it comes to throwing out of the pocket. Along with his accuracy, this opens up holes for him to pump fake and take off and get extra yards.
Attitude: Baker has a reputation of being a disrespectful player who is immature and unable to control what he says. However, he is a competitor and he wins games. He has walked on to become a starter at two different schools and won the Heisman. No doubt, the incidents, mainly like the one against Kansas, where he was caught using some foul language and doing some obscene gestures are reflective of the fiery attitude about him.
Size: Baker is a small guy for a quarterback. He is only 6 feet tall and 220 pounds. The question with this is not if he can take the hits from defense, but can he throw over an offensive line, under center, on a three step drop back.
3. Josh Rosen UCLA
Strengths: Accuracy and Strength
Weaknesses: Decision Making and Attitude
2017 Passing Stats: 62.6% 3756 yards 26 TDs 10 INTs
Accuracy: Rosen’s accuracy is right up there with the best of them. He was able to drop back and make impressive throws with ease. He can throw the end zone fades and the simple slant-flat concepts. Even though he had a bad combine, I still believe he is very talented. Unfortunately, people tend to fall more in love with a player’s combine than their film.
Strength: Rosen showed time and time again he can use his arm to throw the ball into tight windows and down the field. The farther down field he throws, the less accurate he gets, yet his only problem is if he can take the power off of the ball, which I believe he can develop and work on. He is your textbook pocket passing QB.
Decision Making: Rosen is a talented passer and he knows it – even to a fault at times. You can see him pass up on the open check down to throw the ball deep down field and force a three and out. Even though he had to work with a poor offensive line and that caused a lot of discomfort in the pocket, if he wants to be a NFL quarterback he will need to learn how to go through his progressions faster and be satisfied with 4 yard gains every now and then.
Attitude: Josh’s attitude is definitely different than Baker Mayfield’s. It is a problem. He often looks disinterested and doesn’t seem that he really needs football or has a true passion for the game. If all this is true, he will likely have a questionable work ethic, won’thave that “Mamba Mentality” (wrong sport, I know) to be an all-time great, and probably won’t live up to his nickname, “The Rosen One.”
4. Josh Allen Wyoming
Strengths: Size and Arm strength
2017 Passing Stats: 56.3% Completion 16 TDs 6 INTs
Size: Allen is a big guy and very athletic for his size. He can move really well, especially for being 6’5 233 pounds. His body type is great for an NFL QB and he has no problem with his drop backs because of his very long legs.
Arm Strength: A cannon. That is what Josh Allen has. He doesn’t have an arm, he has a cannon. He easily launched a ball nearly 70 yards and he can do it in game, too. Because of his arm strength and size he is often compared to Matthew Stafford.
Accuracy: To go with his cannon of an arm, Allen cannot consistently throw the ball accurately. His passes are all over the place and he over throws his receivers so much. He cannot seem to take any of his heat off of the ball. Accuracy is definitely a hard thing to correct and it’s questionable whether or not he’ll be able to overcome this deficit in skill. He is a project player at most and should not be a day one starter for most NFL teams.