1) Sam Darnold, QB, USC
The turnovers Darnold committed in his sophomore season at USC are concerning. Though they are something he can correct. Darnold is simply the most talented quarterback in this draft class. He has the “it-factor” teams want to see from a franchise quarterback. He has some sneaky mobility that allows him to extend plays, and he shows an ability to create plays when there are none there. Plain and simple, if I’m starting a franchise with any quarterback in this class, Darnold is the guy I want.
2) Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Rosen may be slightly more NFL ready than Darnold is, though I don’t see the same “it-factor” in Rosen that I see in Darnold. Rosen is a pure pocket passer with a polished arm, but he is not the best athlete. Rosen’s brash personality would also concern me if I’m looking to draft a franchise quarterback. Rosen also has had injury issues in college. He may be the most successful quarterback in his rookie year from this class, but I don’t think he has as high of a ceiling as Darnold does.
3) Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Allen is a project with immense potential. He started his Senior Bowl week somewhat poorly, but dramatically picked up his play as the week went on, and he was very good in the Senior Bowl game. His accuracy is inconsistent, but he has the biggest arm in this draft and it isn’t really all that close. The second play in this video showcases the flashes of brilliance Allen produces.
Allen will be a hotly debated prospect in this draft class, but his potential is clear. He is not ready to start in year one, but with the right development, he could blossom into a star.
4) Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Mayfield is an intriguing prospect, and not just because of his notoriety in college. Mayfield went from being a player rarely discussed at the top of the quarterback class to a first round lock. By improving his accuracy, Mayfield propelled himself to the Heisman trophy. Though my concern with Mayfield is whether is game can translate to the NFL. Mayfield is a talented player, but it will be important to see him throw at the Combine and see how much of his production is a result of the system he was in at Oklahoma.
5) Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Jackson reminds me a lot of Michael Vick, a running quarterback with a big arm. Jackson has blazing speed, and can launch the ball 60+ yards downfield. Jackson has bigger concerns when it comes to his skill set transferring to the NFL than Mayfield, as he relies more on his feet than the Oklahoma star does. Like Mayfield, Jackson is an extremely talented quarterback, but one that will need to be in the right system in the NFL.