After 3 weeks of college football, I decided to evaluate how the 2018 QB Draft class is looking. Some scouts have declared this to be the best quarterback class in a decade. Some prospects have put up some big performances, while others have yet to live up to the hype. I take a look at 5 quarterbacks that most scouts are focusing on this season as possible early selections in the NFL Draft.
Sam Darnold (USC) – 1002 passing yards, 7 TD’s, 6 INT
Pro Comparison: Jameis Winston
As of right now in my evaluation, he is the best quarterback prospect in this year’s class. The positives are solid pocket presence, above average arm strength, and ability to read coverage and pre-snap situations. He shows very good touch in tight coverage and placing the ball where only his receiver can get to it. I have also been impressed with his ability to throw on the run this year. The main concern is his footwork. One example of this in the video below against a solid defense in Stanford, he will throw off his back foot (2:45) and it leads to an interception. He also did this against Texas, which cost him in overthrows and other interceptions. If I am the first pick in the Draft looking for a quarterback, I’m going with Sam Darnold. I see him as a Jameis Winston type of quarterback in the NFL that will always be above average, and could really excel with the right system/scheme around him. Also similar to Winston, he has a longer throw delivery that is a little longer than most.
Josh Allen (Wyoming) – 566 passing yards, 2 TD’s, 3 INT
Pro Comparison: Jake Locker (Titans 2011-2014)
Josh Allen is the quarterback in this class that is trending downward. He has really struggled this season, especially against better talent than Wyoming faces in conference.
vs. Iowa: 23/40, 174 passing yards, 2 INT
vs. Oregon: 9/24, 64 yards, 1 INT (Didn’t finish game)
The kid has an absolute cannon for an arm that gets scouts excited about his potential. Pretty athletic and makes plays outside the pocket. The negatives are that he makes really poor decisions and throws into coverage. He leaves the pocket too often and seems to want to throw on the run. Some scouts will want to see him with NFL talent around him with his arm and then assume he will fully bloom into his potential. As mentioned above, he reminds me a lot of Jake Locker from Washington. He was drafted very early in the Draft due to his arm strength and ability to make plays outside the pocket, but really struggled with touch and consistency.
Lamar Jackson (Louisville) – 1088 passing yards, 8 TD’s, 1 INT / 303 rushing yards, 3 TD’s
Pro Comparison: Robert Griffin III
Lamar Jackson was doing his usual domination of the college football landscape until he met Clemson this past weekend. His stats show a solid game, but most of his numbers came in the later part of the 2nd half when the game had already been decided. As I mentioned last week on Draft Stock Watch, he has improved as a passer this season and looks more like an athletic college quarterback that could transition to the NFL. He still struggles with being/looking comfortable in the pocket. I see him very similarly to Robert Griffin III. Jackson and Griffin are extremely impressive athletes that play the quarterback position in college. There is a big difference in college to the NFL and RGIII eventually struggled to make that transition. The athletic ability only goes so far, you have to be able to win from the pocket to make it as a NFL QB. I’m going to really be looking forward to Florida State to get another look at Lamar Jackson against a tough defense and if he can win from the pocket.