There are no guarantees in the NFL, but after watching the Jets dink and dunk their way to a very dull opening day loss against Buffalo, I think it’s a safe bet that we can guarantee the Jets will have an early draft selection in 2018.
Now I’m not saying that the Jets will be selecting #1 overall, although nothing I saw on Sunday leads me to believe that the Jets didn’t deserve their 32nd placement in nearly every set of pre-season power rankings. However I would be shocked if weren’t selecting in the top 5. For this reason, I’m going to regularly keep you updated with the performances of highly touted QB prospects in the 2017 NFL draft.
Sam Darnold - QB - USC
44/59, 74.6% completion, 4 TD, 4 INT, 605 yards, 10.25 yards per attempt, 1 rushing TD
Widely considered to be the best QB in the draft, Sam Darnold got off to a poor start by throwing 2 interceptions without a touchdown against Western Michigan. He threw 2 more interceptions against Stanford, but tossed 4 touchdowns to propel USC to a 42-24 victory. His game against Western Michigan wasn't the cleanest but he still worked his progressions, he still had a couple of wow throws, he still changed his arm angle and spotted the ball well. When USC were down 21-14, he had a 6-6 drive which resulted in him rushing in for a TD. If his performance against Western Michigan was average his 2nd game was anything but, he completed 21/26 passes for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns against a top 20 team in Stanford and he looked great doing it. There was one play where the pocket collapsed, he moved away from the pressure, glanced behind him to ensure he wasn’t going to be brought down by pursuit and then fired a completion to his TE for a first down.
Josh Allen - QB - Wyoming
45/72, 62.5% completion, 2 TD, 2 INT, 502 yards, 6.97 yards per attempt
Allen has gotten off to a very rocky start. He along with his entire team struggled to get anything going against a decent Iowa defense. He finished that game with a poor 57.5% completion percentage for 174 yards and 2 interceptions. He looked much better against the much inferior Gardner-Webb throwing for 328 yards and 2 touchdowns. Questions about Allen’s ability to beat good defenses cropped up last year and his start hasn’t done anything to quieten them. I really like Allen as a QB prospect, but he’ll need to show his ability to move the ball against better defenses before I’ll be 100% confident in him.
Josh Rosen - QB - UCLA
57/84, 67.9% completion, 9 TD, 0 INT, 820 yards, 9.76 yards per attempt.
Josh Rosen has absolutely flown out of the gates to start his junior campaign, the Bruin has demolished both Texas A&M and Hawaii with his methodical and pin-point passing. Against Hawaii, he completed 22-25 passes for over 300 yards and 5 touchdowns. Many expected Texas A&M to put up more of a fight but Rosen easily despatched them with a clinical display, completing 35 passes for 491 yards and 4 touchdowns. Rosen is one of the most gifted athletes I’ve ever seen, but he’s very outspoken and there are mutterings that he’s not the easiest guy to coach. However if he keeps demolishing defenses left and right, I imagine a number of teams won’t really care all that much.
Lamar Jackson - QB - Louisville
55/85, 64.7% completion, 5 TD, 0 INT, 771 yards, 9.07 yards per attempt, 3 rushing TD’s
Is Lamar Jackson capable of translating his skills to the NFL level at the QB position? That’s going to be a debate you will hear endlessly as we approach the 2018 draft. Personally I don’t see any reason why not, if he continues playing the way he is at the moment, his accuracy is up and the ball is coming out of his hand a lot cleaner. He put on a show against North Carolina, throwing for 3 touchdowns and rushing for another 3, and he easily despatched Purdue completing over 65% of his passes. What you need to see from Jackson is what we all saw from Dak Prescott between his Junior and Senior seasons, if Jackson is following the same path... he’s going to be in that first round conversation.
This is obviously by no means an exhaustive list of prospects. I haven’t mentioned Luke Falk here who’s off to a solid start, or Mason Rudolph who is currently completing over 70% of his passes and has yet to throw an interception against 6 touchdowns. It’s also worth mentioning Baker Mayfield, who is coming off an impressive victory against Ohio State where he threw for 386 yards and 3 touchdowns while completing 77.1% of his passes.
There is a lot of talent at the QB position in the 2018 draft, and we’re going to be keeping an eye on it all season.