The NFL Draft is less than a month away and each year the quarterbacks of the future are the most scrutinized picks. The thing is, all the ones taken will not necessarily be a franchise quarterback. Not every one taken will be that one missing piece to building a team around him. Still, teams have to make decisions and some at the last minute to be sure they are not missing out on one that just may be what every team was hoping for.
So, let’s take a look at the guys that are projected to go in Round 1 this year. Let’s see what each one has to offer and if just if, he may be the next great one.
Sam Darnold USC 6-3 221 LBS.
A young man that comes from a family of athletes that played different sports. A High School All-American that has come with much hype. A kid that has been a good basketball and baseball player as well. He came in and redshirted his freshman year sitting behind the likes of Cody Kessler and Max Browne. He decided that he would forego his final two years of eligibility and declared for this year’s draft.
He has the NFL size and when he has his feet set, he can make throws that make you say wow. Even at a young age, he has the ability to scan the field and go through his progressions. He has a very accurate arm that he has full trust in and shows the ability to make that tight throw. Has no fear of the blitz and can adjust on the fly under pressure. Uses his legs well and can move the sticks when needed. A natural leader that can blossom under the right coaching staff.
When his feet are not set, he can make the throws that make you say oh no. Still needs to work on his release and throwing motion. He will not be able to rely on some of those tight passes in the NFL as those passes are likely to be picked off. Puts too much on his throws and that will lead to many sailed and overthrown passes. Without question, he will need to improve his footwork to be more consistent in the pros. Needs to get better at his ball placement in order to lead his receiver properly. Must learn to get rid of the ball at the next level as too many sacks in the league will make for a shorter career.
Lamar Jackson Louisville 6-2 216 LBS.
Talk about a highlight reel in motion. We have seen this kid do some amazing things with his arm and feet. At times, he reminds some of Vince Young in his Texas heydays. He won the Heisman in 2016 after a spectacular season to go along with the Davey O’Brien and Maxwell Awards. Comes from a humble family that will not let the fame and fortune of the future get to his head.
First and foremost, his cannon of an arm will serve him well at the next level. Next, the speed he possesses will make defensive coordinators plan well ahead for him. Looks to be an elite playmaker in the NFL and plays well under center. He has made it his mission to improve his technique and mechanics each year. Uses his field vision to his advantage that can hold safeties and linebackers. Great in the open field and can improvise on the run. Will keep defenders honest trying to figure out if he is going to throw, or tuck it and run.
About that running ability. He must understand that he will not be able to lower his shoulder on defenders in the NFL like he did in the ACC. Will need to improve his footwork like the rest of his peers. Will have to get stronger and build more muscle. Needs to improve his base to be a more effective passer and be more accurate with his throws. Has to raise his release as this will lead to plenty of tipped passes that could lead to picks. Though he has the speed, this has not helped him when throwing on the move and in his pocket awareness.
Josh Rosen UCLA 5-11 226 LBS.
Became the first freshman to ever start an opener for the Bruins. He responded by winning PAC-12 Freshman of the Year and added a few more freshman honors. Was able to learn the offense right from the start and took command of his team even at a young age. Has already had shoulder surgery, but it appears to not have affected him too much.
Now, this guy has the size, arm, and footwork needed to make a difference in the NFL. Excellent vision and ability keep his head on a swivel are tremendous. He is not afraid of the pressure and can deliver in the pocket. Has so much confidence in himself, some have considered him cocky. Has excellent technique and a high football IQ. One of his best traits is the ability to deliver the back shoulder throw. Nice accuracy, throwing motion and follow through.
The team he goes to must keep him healthy as he not only had surgery but has had two concussions as well. Must make better decisions after the snap as well as when and where he puts the ball. Does not have the cannon arm needed to scare defenders in the NFL. Has a mouth on him and is not afraid to speak his peace when he feels he needs to. He is not the most mobile guy and takes too many chances. There has also been a lot of questions concerning his work ethic and commitment to the game.
Baker Mayfield Oklahoma 6-2 215 LBS.
This young man had a big year winning the Heisman, Maxwell, and Davey O’Brien Awards. He even led his team to a spot in the college football playoffs to boot. He led the nation in passing efficiency breaking his own record set the previous season. This from a kid that had to walk on at Texas Tech because of his lack of size. So much for that issue as they say. Ask Drew Brees and Russell Wilson how that has worked out for them so far.
He is one of the toughest football players you will see on the field. Plays with a load of passion that will rub off on his teammates. The kind of kid that will be supported heavily by his team. Has great vision that allows him to read the field well. May not have the cannon of an arm the NFL is craving, but it is good enough to get the job done at the pro level. Is very accurate with his throws and has a tight release. Has a high football IQ and wants to put in the work.
Again, his size could be an issue for some teams. Has had some off-field issues that must be put behind him. Like Rosen, must clean up his mouth and learn his place in the NFL. Will battle the batted down pass syndrome with his release. Must improve his progressions and watch his back foot throws. Will have to learn to throw the ball away as he has a tendency to take too many sacks at the wrong time. A spread offense QB that will need plenty of work under center. Must improve on reading the blitz and other defensive schemes.
Josh Allen Wyoming 6-5 237 LBS.
One of those players that really got going late and it cost him looks from some FBS schools. This may keep some teams at bay as he is still learning the game and the position. Will need to go to a team that is willing to be patient with him and shows him the ropes. Still a raw talent, so the getting picked in round one will happen because a team sees promise in him.
This guy is going to be a pocket passer period. Has a good base and can extend plays with his size and strength. Has a rocket and can make exceptional throws, especially the out patterns. Has become very efficient while scrambling and has a nice pump fake. He can run good enough to move the chains and is good at play action.
There so many things he can improve on and it all begins with his completion percentage. His accuracy is going to need to improve greatly for him to succeed at the next level. Still working on making better decisions with the football and make stronger passes downfield. Depends too much on the receiver getting open as opposed to knowing when and where he is going to be open. Must improve his touch in the passing game or his receivers may be in danger before they ever get to the ball.