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2018 NFL Draft QB Stock Watch - Week 3

Each Monday, ROTB Lead Writer Justin Higdon takes a look at the respective NFL Draft stocks of some of the top quarterbacks in college football.

NCAA Football: Charleston Southern at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Stock Up

Mason Rudolph Oklahoma State

9/16/17 vs Pitt: 23/32/497 YDS 5 TD 1 INT

Season: 68/94 (72.3%) 1135 YDS 11 TD 1 INT 2 TD rushing

Rudolph got an early breather at the end of a 59-21 blowout win on the road in Pittsburgh, and still finished with nearly 500 passing yards. While he did throw his first interception of the season, Rudolph continued to play fantastic situational football. Through three games he is 15/21 with 14 first downs passing on third down, and has converted six of 11 first downs passing on third-and-long (seven or more yards). The Cowboys senior doesn’t have the strongest arm, and has a tendency to hang some of his deep throws, but he is one of the most experienced passers in the draft class and will continue to be praised for his intangibles.

Nick Fitzgerald Mississippi State

9/16/17 vs LSU: 15/23 180 YDS 2 TD 0 INT 14 ATT 88 YDS 2 TD rushing

Season: 43/70 (61.4%) 543 YDS 7.8 YPA 7 TD 1 INT 31 ATT 240 YDS 7.7 AVG 5 TD rushing

I mentioned on Friday that Fitzgerald was starting to generate some buzz in the scouting community, and then he went out and led his Bulldogs to a 30-point thrashing of LSU. The junior quarterback finished with two touchdowns through the air and two on the ground, and boosted his completion percentage up above 60% on the season. Fitzgerald still has a ways to go as a passer, but his combination of size and athleticism is drawing scouts in right now.

Riley Ferguson Memphis

9/16/17 vs UCLA: 23/38 398 YDS 6 TD 1 INT

Season: 33/63 (52.4%) 495 YDS 7.9 YPA 6 TD 2 INT 1 TD rushing

Ferguson shook off a dismal Week One performance and went toe-to-toe with UCLA star Josh Rosen, with Ferguson ultimately leading Memphis to a close victory. His six TD passes matched a career high, and his yardage total was his second-best since arriving at Memphis. Ferguson is an interesting story. He started out at Tennessee, but left the school after his freshman season, then spent most of 2014 away from football altogether. In 2015, Ferguson played at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas, then became the starter in Memphis last season. I have no doubt this will lead scouts to question Ferguson about his love for the game, but he definitely scored points for his play Saturday afternoon.

Stock Down

Josh Allen Wyoming

9/16/17 vs Oregon: 9/24 64 YDS 0 TD 1 INT 8 ATT 25 YDS 1 TD rushing

Season: 54/96 (56.3%) 566 YDS 2 TD 3 INT 1 TD rushing

Allen’s status as an early round draft prospect has to be on life support following another disastrous outing against a Power Five opponent.

Allen has become a victim of overzealous draft analysis that framed him as a potential number one overall pick. The Wyoming junior has size, athletic ability and arm strength that can’t be taught, but to this point he hasn’t been able to put it all together for any significant stretch of games. Allen’s evaluation is still very much a projection that, with his tools, he will get better, and that is a leap of faith. He is also still struggling on third downs - he has a 45.2% completion percentage, and 32.3% conversion rate on 31 third down pass attempts this season - and he is only two for six passing in the red zone this year. These are areas he’ll need to improve upon throughout the year. Allen should forget about his draft status for now and try to have some fun. He is only 21 years old and still has the option of returning to school next season.

Josh Rosen UCLA

9/16/17 vs Memphis: 34/56 463 YDS 4 TD 2 INT 7 ATT 32 YDS 1 TD rushing

Season: 91/140 (65.0%) 1283 YDS 9.2 YPA 13 TD 2 INT 1 TD rushing

I still think Rosen is a top two quarterback in the potential 2018 draft class, and his box score may look like he shouldn't be a slider. But the Bruins junior passer’s performance Saturday was erratic, and he suffered some of the same self-inflicted wounds he did during the Week One game against Texas A&M in which he led a furious comeback. Unlike the Aggies, Memphis defenders did not drop the two interceptions Rosen gift-wrapped for them, and now I have to wonder how much different the conversation would be right now if A&M had made those plays and UCLA was 1-2 through three weeks. Rosen looks like a natural out there, but he needs to make better decisions and show some urgency before his team falls behind in these games.