The NFL Draft begins this coming Thursday night, and this year I sifted through enough video to compile an 85-man draft board. These are players I’ve seen play a minimum of three games each, and I have given consideration to each prospect’s college production, size, and athletic profile. If the player was injured, and did not work out prior to the draft, he did not make the cut (sorry, Billy Price). As for others who do not appear in these rankings, I either did not see enough of them to establish a firm grade, graded them as a “free agent,” or felt they were lacking a baseline level of production, athleticism, or both. I will be happy to try to answer any specific questions in the comments section, or on twitter (@afc2nfc).
KEYRd = Round Grade
Pos = Projected NFL Position
Age* = Age as of 12/31/18
HT = Height (6025 = 6’2 5/8”)
WT = Weight
Hand = Hand Size (938 = 9 3/8”)
Arm = Arm Length (3418 = 34 1/8”)
Bench = # of reps at 225 lbs
40 yard = 40-yard dash time in seconds
VJ = Vertical Jump in inches
BJ = Broad Jump in inches
3C = 3-cone time in seconds
SS = 20-yard (short) shuttle time in seconds
Blue = Top of the Line
Green = Above Average
Yellow = Average
Orange = Below Average
Red = Concerning
Stats for the entire 2018 NFL Draft QB class can be found here
Jackson has been an afterthought in most QB1 draft conversations despite accounting for 119 touchdowns in 38 games, and improving as a passer each of the last three seasons. Jackson is not only a dynamic runner, but also an efficient first down passer, a third down chain mover, and a dangerous red zone weapon. He’s much more reliable throwing to the middle of the field than outside the hashes right now, but he has easy arm strength, and I believe his athleticism will keep him ahead of defenses while he continues to develop as a passer.
Key Stat: Converted 43.6% of third down pass attempts, and 40.0% of third-and-long (seven yards or more) pass attempts
Darnold has a way of getting the ball where it needs to go despite a delivery that’s part Blake Bortles and part Kevin Hogan. The USC product gets the ball out quickly and shows excellent anticipation. Darnold has a good combination of arm and mobility, and is able to wriggle out of pressure situations and make accurate throws on the move. He needs to do a better job protecting the football, but after extreme early-season woes, Darnold was able to tighten things up over the final 10 games.
Key Stat: 38 TDs and 2 INTs on 100 career red zone pass attempts
There’s been endless talk about Rosen’s outspoken nature and off-field interests, but I’ve always been more concerned with the on-field product. While he’s easily the most polished looking quarterback prospect in the class, that didn’t necessarily translate to success. Rosen has struggled to consistently convert third down and red zone opportunities throughout his career, and it’s hard to pinpoint where he has improved significantly since his impressive freshman season. This is why we hear talk that Rosen may be “maxed out.” That’s probably too strong - he just turned 21 years old - but I do perceive a limit to his upside, and that’s why he falls just behind the first two players on this list.
Key Stat: 30 TDs 6 INTs in 15 career home games, 29 TDs 20 INTs in 15 road games
The entire Allen experience feels like a touted basketball prospect making the leap from some lower-level European league to the NBA. Allen’s fans will show a clip equivalent to him dunking on a 5’7” teenager, and his detractors will say he can only post up against a folding chair. In reality, Allen is at worst the second-most physically gifted QB in the class, but he’s jumping to the NFL from a Group of Five college program, where he struggled mightily against his top competition, and still led Wyoming to 16-9 record in 25 starts over the past two seasons. He needs to improve his timing, anticipation, and accuracy, and those are major challenges, but he’s an intelligent guy with a reputation as a worker. From a size and athleticism standpoint, Allen is nearly identical to Carson Wentz, and the two played under the same college coach. No doubt that’s part of Allen’s appeal to NFL people.
Key Stat: 50% completion percentage 1 TD 8 INT in three games vs FBS Power Five teams. 70.2% 5 TD 0 INT in two games vs FCS opponents
An undersized gamer, Mayfield eschewed Group of Five scholarship offers to walk on at Texas Tech and Oklahoma, where he won the Heisman as a senior. He mastered the Sooners’ offensive system, in which he was often afforded ample time to find open receivers, and when he did see pressure, he was usually able to use his legs to find room to throw. Mayfield can generate plenty of velocity when he has room to maneuver, but it’s a big leap from Big 12 to the NFL, and I’m not sure he has the natural arm strength or athleticism to develop into more than an average starter. I compare Mayfield to 10-year vet Chase Daniel, but because the former will be over-drafted, he’ll be granted more opportunities to play than the latter. At 23, Mayfield is the oldest of the “top” QBs in this class, yet easily generates the most questions about his maturity.
Key Stat: 9.8 yards per pass attempt in 48 career games
Rudolph has a surprisingly average arm for a guy his size, but he gets the ball out quickly and on time, and still shows enough zip in the short game. The most glaring issue with Rudolph is a tendency to hang the deep ball, but he clearly trusted his veteran receiving corps to make those plays. This is a player who has been largely overlooked by the draftnik community, but I have a feeling he will be drafted within the top 40 picks because he has the dimensions and experience that many NFL people value.
Key Stat: 47.1% third down passing conversion rate - best in the class
I’m generally not a proponent of drafting quarterbacks on the third day of the draft, but Lauletta is a big kid and an NFL-caliber athlete, who throws with the touch, timing, and quick trigger that NFL teams look for in a backup QB. I just don’t think he has a strong enough arm to develop into a pro starter.
Key Stat: 8.8 yards per pass attempt in 40 career games