Quarterbacks figure to shape NFL Draft
April 03, 2018 3:00 AM
by Jim Feist
The NFL draft is just around the corner and today in part one of my draft series I will examine the top picks at the quarterback position and which teams will be looking to fill that all important position.
Quarterbacks seem to be the rich position with the possibility of five likely to go in the first or early second round. Expect this year’s crop to go fast since teams are in desperate need of another Carson Wentz gem.
Possibly the top pick of the QB’s is Josh Allen. At 6-foot-5 and 232 pounds, Allen really improved his stock at this year’s NFL combine. I was really impressed with Allen’s arm strength and accuracy. Allen likely moved himself up to the No. 1 or 2 quarterback spot. I’m just amazed Wyoming was the only team that pursued Allen in college with his size and arm strength.
Sam Darnold of USC will be right there with Allen. Darnold didn’t throw at the combine, but was very impressive in his pro day that occurred in the rain in Los Angeles. Darnold is just a tad smaller than Allen at 6-foot-3 and 221 pounds. The knock against Darnold was his turnovers; he had 22 last year, which tied him for most in the FBS.
Josh Rosen of UCLA is another of these big QB’s at 6-foot-4 and 226-pounds. Concussions seemed to be an issue with Rosen last year and that could be of concern for any team looking to take him in the first round.
Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma will also be a first round pick. Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy, but still comes in fourth on our list. Mayfield is the smallest of the QB’s at just 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds. His size is what could drop him below the other three QB’s in this list. Typically, smaller QB’s don’t do all that well in the NFL unless they are very gifted athletes like Russell Wilson of Seattle.
Lamar Jackson of Louisville could also be a late first round pick or early second. Jackson is also on the smaller side at 6-foot-2 and 216 pounds, but unlike Mayfield, he’s an exceptional athlete with raw talent a team can build around. Jackson is the biggest question mark among these top five QB’s in the draft.
The Cleveland Browns have the first and fourth pick in this year’s draft. This is going to allow the Browns to get a top QB prospect and most likely RB Saquon Barkley from Penn State. They might have to take Barkley first and their QB fourth though. The Browns have had a merry-go-round at the QB position in recent years. They traded for Tyrod Taylor from the Bills for the number 65 pick in the draft
The Browns could take either Allen or Darnold fourth depending on what the Jets do with the third pick. Whatever happens, the addition of Jarvis Landry at WR and Josh Gordon back for a full season, the Browns could have some offensive weapons this season to go with a new quarterback.
I expect the New York Jets will go for a QB. If the Browns take Darnold, then look for Allen to likely go to New York.
The Broncos pick fifth and after acquiring Case Keenum we’ll have to see what John Elway decides to do at QB. I think Rosen will likely go to Denver and be the backup to Keenum for now. But after Elway kept head coach Vance Joseph, I won’t be surprised at anything he does.
The Miami Dolphins would sure like to get their hands on a quarterback. Mayfield might be the one left at this point. The problem is the Dolphins might have to trade up to get him. Right now the Dolphins have the 11th pick in the draft. With the Browns, Jets and Broncos likely taking the top three in the group, the Dolphins will have to wait and see what’s left.
The Arizona Cardinals will need to replace Carson Palmer. Neither Sam Bradford, nor Mike Glennon is the future of this team. The Cardinals won’t draft until No. 15 and by then maybe just Jackson would be left. I think the Cardinals will need someone who can step in early and take over the helm for this team.
Bottom line: Quarterback is going to be the big position in this year’s draft and you might see teams doing some trading up and down in the draft to position themselves for one of these five top prospects. Who knows, there might just be another Carson Wentz among these big men.