There isn’t a more important position in a team sport than a quarterback in American football. They control everything – the pre-snap reads, the hard counts, the audibles.
If you’ve got a bad one, you’re probably not going too far. Unless you’re Joe Flacco, and your GM consistently spends a fortune to make up for your lack of ability.
Anyway, this year’s draft class at the position is the best it’s been since 2004, at least on paper.
There’s cases to be made for five quarterbacks to be top-tier, let alone serviceable. But what do they do well? Where are their weakness, and where do they fit best? See below…
Josh Rosen – UCLA
He’s usually sitting third in most people’s rankings – but he’s the best quarterback in this class, believe me. You know what’s rare in the NFL these days?
The basic mechanics. The footwork. Rosen was a tennis stud back in the day and he’s going to have great pocket awareness because of that. His protection at collegiate level was largely non-existent and he still made plays.
He’s got a high IQ and understands how to throw receivers open. Oh, and he’s also got experience under centre. You know – where most NFL snaps take place?
His ideal fit is with the New York Giants.
Baker Mayfield – Oklahoma
Here are a couple of things you’re going to hear about Baker Mayfield: he’s a system fit and he’s too boisterous.
Please reply with the following: He’s one of the most productive quarterbacks in college football over the last decade, so build a system around him – and nobody liked Brett Favre and Tom Brady.
This leader of men mentality doesn’t have to be away from football, just on the gridiron. That’s enough for Baker. There isn’t a quarterback in this draft that can throw into tighter windows consistently.
His ideal fit is in an environment where he’ll be depended upon, like the New York Jets.
Sam Darnold – USC
The only reason Sam Darnold is so low on this list when he’s the projected #1 pick is because he’s genuinely up against two really special players in Rosen and Mayfield. Darnold is that typical signal-caller who has a really high ceiling but makes so many mistakes.
People think an improving IQ will help him once he gets into the building, but they never factor in just how much extra information he’ll have to process. Darnold feels like another one of these projects.
Yes, he’s got plenty of raw ability and should go on to have a good career in the league, but first overall is too soon.
In saying that, the Cleveland Browns looks an ideal home for him to come and command control over an offence that hasn’t had confidence in some time.
Lamar Jackson – Louisville
Is he going to be Cam Newton? Is he going to be Johnny Manziel? Well, I’d probably he more closely resembles the former, without the arm but with extra playmaking ability with his feet.
Make no mistake, his fundamentals aren’t there. He’s got plenty to learn and has a long way to go before learning it. However, what he does have is instinct and more ability than anyone who’s gone before him to keep plays alive.
He could be perfect for a west coast offence that want to run crossers and slants, but he’s not going to be on any squad that wants to air it downfield.
For this reason, he would fit the Los Angeles Chargers.
Josh Allen – Wyoming
Circus freak and little else. Someone’s going to fall in love with this dude and convince themselves they can work on absolutely everything else that he needs help with.
They will ultimately fail and waste a high-end draft pick on someone who can throw a ball very far with occasional accuracy. Even Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller said he was his draft crush. It’s like these people don’t consider the trending mistakes of the past.
Allen has more red flags than the cringey United following at Wembley. For that reason, an ex-QB general manager will pull the trigger on him.
Welcome to the Denver Broncos, Josh.