2018: The Year of the College Quarterback
Next springs draft class may be the deepest ever
Now that the dust of the 2017 NFL Draft has settled and the endless mock drafts and countless hours of researching YouTube highlight reels for unknown mid major commodities has concluded, it’s now time to look forward to the 2018 NFL Draft. It literally never stops, no time to recharge, no time to rest. For draft junkies like me who want to take this activity from hobby to profession or those already garnering wages from this lifestyle, it’s a never ending cycle.
Many things separate the 2018 class from last years but most notably is the QB talent. Sparse in last year’s class, but clearly abundant in the upcoming class, if you’re a franchise in search of that ever elusive franchise quarterback 2018 will be a welcoming light at the end of that dreadful tunnel. Before we dive too far into things, let me show you how I rank my top 5 at the position and where they rank in my first top 50 of next year’s draft:
- Josh Rosen – UCLA (1)
- Luke Falk – Washington St. (5)
- Sam Darnold – USC (6)
- Josh Allen – Wyoming (15)
- Jake Browning – Washington (48)
For the sake of not developing carpal tunnel we will focus on the top 4 in that 5 player ranking. I like Browning and he may move up but from Rosen to Allen we have potentially four franchise quarterbacks. Four guys who could potentially be pro bowlers and the cornerstones of four franchises after the 2018 NFL Draft. I’m a little higher on Falk than most at the moment and I may seem down on Allen (I’m not) considering his 15th overall ranking in the top 50 and 4th amongst QBs but we will get into that. I just wanted to acknowledge the talent at the top of this class before we got any further.
Now that semantics are out of the way I want to talk about Falk and why I think he’s the second best QB and compare him to Sam Darnold who I have basically the same grade on.
The thing that ultimately separates Luke Falk is the consistency and accuracy with which he is able to play with game in and game out. In 2 seasons as the starter he’s never thrown for less than 4,500 yards, 69.0% completion percentage or e\less than a 145.5 QB Rating. He’s a machine, also rarely turning the ball over 89 TDs for his career and 26 INTs. He has the best rhythm and touch throws of any one inside the red zone and has the arm to make any throws he will need to make at the next level.
Sam Darnold on the other hand is very similar but with only one season as the starter he doesn’t have the same amount of tape as a Luke Falk. Darnold was able to compile 3,086 yards, 31 TDs, 9 INTs, and a passer rating of 161.1 last year. He’s more able to make plays outside of the pocket, more mobile and flexible but he does tend to have a habit of abandoning certain plays to make a play outside the pocket whereas I would like to see him stick in there a little longer and stick within the play which he did a lot more of as the season went on. Prototypical size and could overtake Falk at some point next season if the consistency is there and some improvements are made.
Now on to the one I’m more down on than most and that’s Josh Allen and I do like him very much he’s just not my number one and the accuracy is a big question mark for me at 56% completion percentage. Some of that are dropped balls and I get that, he was able to rack up 3,203 yard and 28 TDs last year but another troubling stat are those 15 INTs. He’s got the biggest arm in the class and he does show the ability when the play is breaking down to get outside the pocket and make a play up the field. His gunslinger mentality does scare me a little compared to the safety you get with guys like Falk and Darnold though. If he can bring the completion percentage up and the INTs down I may revisit. I still have a very high grade on him though (Top 15).
Now onto my number one player in my top 50 and clearly my number one QB in Josh Rosen. His season ended prematurely last season due to a shoulder injury but he was going to have a 60% completion percentage in back to back years and since being the starter as a true freshman in 2015 he’s racked up 33 TDs to only 16 INTs. His mechanics are what you would teach an aspiring young QB, I mean from the toes up to his head he’s flawless in terms of mechanics. He’s got the arm to make all the throws and scary of all his best football is ahead of him. If Josh Rosen comes back the same player, it’s going to be hard to unseat him as my QB1.