As the 2018 N.F.L. draft approaches, it has become clear that this year’s quarterback class is one of the most elite we have seen in years. The N.F.L. draft is a three-day, seven-round event where teams try to land the best rookie players for their next season. The draft is heavily scrutinized by fans and analysts. Teams with the worst records receive earlier draft picks, and they hope to land future superstars who will bring them to Super Bowl glory. There are projected to be four quarterback picked in the first round, a very high number. This year’s class of quarterback’s boasts five impressive prospects, which means the only question left is how many will be taken on the first day? The “Big Four” include Wyoming’s Josh Allen, Southern California’s Sam Darnold, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and U.C.L.A.’s Josh Rosen. The underdog choice is Louisville’s Lamar Jackson.
Former Heisman trophy winner Lamar Jackson is arguably the most exciting player in the entire draft. Jackson’s unique athletic ability helps to overcome his lack of accuracy, having completed less than 60 percent of his passes over the past three seasons. In addition to issues with accuracy, many worry that his slight frame — 6 feet 2 inches, 214 pounds — coupled with his style of play may not mesh well at the pro level. Despite his shortcomings Lamar Jackson was able to dominate the competition his past two seasons at Louisville with 96 total touchdowns and should be considered a first round talent due to his incredible athleticism and arm talent. Jackson is projected by many to be picked late in the first round.
Josh Allen is one of most intriguing quarterback prospects in this years draft class. Allen brings ideal size and athleticism to the position coming in at 6 feet 5 inches and nearly 240 pounds all while running the 40-yard dash in 4.75 seconds. This ability coupled with a rocket arm have led many to overlook his less than ideal stats — 56 percent completion ratio and 16 touchdowns to 6 interceptions — and poor level of competition (Wyoming competes in the FCS Mountain West Conference) and rank him at the top of their draft boards. The fresh success of Carson Wentz, a FCS North Dakota State graduate, greatly aids Allen in his endeavour to be the first signal caller selected this April.
U.S.C.’s Sam Darnold is the overall safest quarterback in the draft. He is a fantastic decision maker and possesses a high football I.Q. In addition, Darnold possesses a great frame — 6 feet 2 inches, 221 pounds — which N.F.L. scouts value highly. In 2017, Darnold completed 63 percent of his passes for 4,143 yards. He’s projected by many to be the first pick in the draft.
Josh Rosen is seen by team executives as a high-risk, high-reward pick. He has the best mechanics in the draft and has a fantastic ability to read coverages. Rosen is a risky pick due to his off-the-field issues and general lack of leadership skills. Rosen is known to have controversial takes on many aspects of football culture and is not afraid to challenge authority, which is often seen as a negative trait among N.F.L. coaches. He had a very impressive freshman year, but has cooled off slightly since. With all this in account, Rosen is still being considered as the first pick.
Apart from his height of 6 feet, 2017 Heisman trophy winner Baker Mayfield, possesses every skill you would want in a quarterback. Mayfield is one of the most dominant competitors we have seen in a while. It is a common belief that he can go in day one and be a competitive N.F.L. quarterback. Mayfield has been very open to the prospect of being drafted by the Browns, a view Josh Rosen does not share. It remains to be seen whether the Browns have mutual feelings for Mayfield.
Between the stacked quarterback draft class and the numerous quarterbacks switching teams through trades and free agency, the N.F.L. seems to be moving towards another exciting season. Will any long-suffering teams find their quarterback of the future in the first round? Or will this year’s best quarterback be a sleeper pick that no one was expecting from the later rounds. The best quarterback of all time, Tom Brady, was a sixth round pick, number 199 overall. It remains to be seen who will be the next generation’s Tom Brady and take his crown as the greatest of all time.