We are a week away from the 2018 NFL Draft, and in years gone by, the number one pick would be a consensus decision with no surprises coming on Draft night itself.
Myles Garrett, Jared Goff, Jameis Winston and Jadeveon Clowney had all pretty much wrapped up the number one spot in the Draft weeks before Roger Goodell got to the podium to make the big announcement.
But this year is different. There is no consensus. There are Browns fans clamoring for Josh Rosen while others prefer Sam Darnold, the front office seem to love Baker Mayfield, and the draft experts seem sure that Josh Allen is the guy. So, why is that happening? Well, we need to take a look at these QBs.
1) Sam Darnold - USC
Darnold is an interesting case. The Heisman favourite heading into the 2017 season, Darnold was incredible in 2016 for the USC Trojans - completing 67% of his passes for 31 TDs and 9 INTs in a stretch that made him the most talked about QB in college football.
And then things slipped. With no Juju Smith-Schuster in his receiving corps, Darnold dropped off. The man who was supposed to be the new Andrew Luck, regressed and rejoined the pack with all the other quarterbacks. His ceiling is the highest in the class, but there are concerns about footwork and how ready he is for the NFL.
2) Josh Rosen - UCLA
Chosen Rosen is here, but teams are wary of the talented pocket passer for the simple fact that he isn't scared at all to speak his mind. Rosen is decidedly anti-Trump, anti-NCAA and anti-bad coaching.
He is, however, the best pure passer with the smoothest mechanics. In a normal world, that would be the end of it. But scouts are wary and there are rumours abounding that he could be dropping down draft boards. Rosen is incredibly talented, and an Aaron Rodgers slide on Draft day could be coming. But who would you rather have; Alex Smith or Rodgers? We could be seeing a very similar situation.
3) Baker Mayfield - Oklahoma
The Heisman winner who had to be chased down and wrestled to the ground by cops. That's the conundrum of Mayfield, the deadly accurate former Sooner. He was the best passer in college ball last year, but there are things not to like. His 6'0 frame doesn't help and neither do the antics - like grabbing his crotch and swearing at an opposing sideline.
But the most concerning thing may be something that Mayfield hasn't said or done. It's Ryan Leaf, the bust ex-Chargers quarterback, saying that a lot of Baker's actions and words remind Leaf of exactly how he was coming out of college. That behaviour that led to Leaf flaming out of the NFL and ending up in prison. But damn, Mayfield can really throw a football. And he's impressed teams with his X's and O's work on a whiteboard.
4) Josh Allen - Wyoming
Josh Allen has an absolute cannon of an arm. One of the strongest that some veteran scouts say they have ever seen. He can hit the crossbar off one knee from halfway. It's arm talent that you rarely see at any level. There's only one problem; it wasn't very accurate.
Allen is the least accurate of all the quarterbacks projected to go in the first three rounds. And the stats say that only Brett Favre has been equally inaccurate in college and gone on to have a successful career. That's it.
But NFL coaches and coordinators have egos. They think they can take the raw tools and teach Allen to be accurate and make better reads. Maybe they can, but picking Josh Allen in the Top-10 is a huge risk - one that could very likely see a GM and Head Coach fired if it doesn't pan out.
5) Lamar Jackson - Louisville
The second former Heisman winner in this list, Lamar Jackson is another with pros and cons. An incredible playmaker in the ACC, Jackson was feared for what he could do with his legs just as much as what he could with his arm. 27 passing TDs and 18 rushing scores in 2017 prove that.
Speculation that he should play wide receiver has been firmly quashed, but doubts remain about his ability to run an NFL offense to a sufficient standard and do everything it takes to be the face of a franchise. But the potential is limitless and he could make a team very happy for the next decade.
Five prospects, five players with massive upside and also potential to bust. The 2018 NFL Draft could define the teams that select these players for years to come, whether that ends up being in a good or bad way remains to be seen.
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