As we approach the end of the season, I’ll be releasing my early top-five players at each position, along with some brief notes on each player. Keep in mind, these are early rankings and subject to change as we gather more information and take a closer look at each prospect during the pre-draft process.
In the first installment of our series we take a look at the polarizing quarterback class that has been up and down all season.
1. Josh Rosen, Junior, UCLA
Josh Rosen is the most polished QB in this draft class, with a quick and smooth delivery. Has the ability to make every throw with excellent accuracy at all levels. Can escape the pocket if needed and excels at throwing on the run. He is a natural leader that will challenge authority which may be a turn-off for NFL teams. But Rosen is incredibly smart and a quick study, which is vital for the QB position.
2. Sam Darnold, R-Sophomore, Southern California
Darnold is a future franchise QB for any team who is lucky enough to get him, which might not be till 2019. He has the pocket presence and poise that cannot be taught. Darnold has displayed incredible anticipation that helps make up for his lack of elite arm strength. He is capable of making any throw, and is accurate at all levels. Darnold needs to work on his decision making and understanding when not to throw. He has been an excellent leader for being only a redshirt sophomore.
3. Lamar Jackson, Junior, Louisville
Lamar Jackson is an electrifying athlete who can play quarterback in the NFL—he isn’t a receiver. Jackson will need to add some weight to his slender frame, but all the physical traits of NFL QB are there. He has an elite arm capable of making some incredible throws in tight windows. Although he has shown improvement, he still needs to learn a lot about the position, including improving his accuracy deep down the field. He’s more of a project, but with the right development Jackson could be sensational at the next level.
4. Baker Mayfield, R-Senior, Oklahoma
Baker Mayfield is a polarizing prospect on and off the field. There will be much discussion about his draft stock throughout the offseason. Mayfield is shorter than most NFL teams prefer, but his gun-slinger mentality makes him unafraid of anything. He has shown he can take care of the ball while still able to make some ridiculous throws. His running ability won’t wow anyone, but he is more than capable of escaping the pocket and running for solid gains. Mayfield is starting to fly up draft boards.
5. Luke Falk, R-Senior, Washington State
Luke Falk is a polished pocket passer with excellent accuracy and anticipation while in the pocket. As only an average athlete, Falk tends to struggle while throwing on the run. Falk is extremely tough and leads by example, as a 4 year starter at Washington State. The biggest question mark surrounding Falk will be his ability to adjust to a pro-style offense. Falk is a product of the Mike Leech air-raid system, which has never produced a solid pro.