With yesterday’s news that both top signal callers Sam Darnold, and Josh Rosen have decided to enter the 2018 NFL Draft, the top of the quarterback class is set. Although some of the top prospects didn’t have their best overall seasons, the class remains absolutely loaded with talent at the top (probably the best I have ever seen).
The Redskins now have a serious dilemma on their hands regarding the decision to offer Kirk Cousins a mega-deal making him the highest paid player in the league, or slapping another franchise or transition tag on him to keep him in D.C. for another season.
If there was ever a good time to let cousins walk, and look to the draft for their next signal caller, this year may be the year to do it.
Below are my current rankings for the top 2018 quarterbacks in this draft class:
Sam Darnold: 6’4” 225 (rs SO) USC - Put aside your USC quarterback bias for a minute, and look at just how special this kid can become. Darnold has all the traits you want in a franchise quarterback. His arm strength is NFL caliber, his size is ideal, his accuracy and mobility are all well above average. It’s the poise and unflappability (he truly has ice water in his veins) that makes him unique. He made a lot of mistakes this season, and those will need to be cleaned up in the NFL, but his skill-set is undeniable.
Josh Rosen: 6’4” 220 (JR) UCLA - Rosen has plus arm strength and legit NFL size. He throws one of the nicest balls in this draft class. Some may question his ability to put his team on his back and carry them, but the UCLA team was one of many moving parts the last two seasons, so some of that needs to be taken into account. He is a solid decision maker with excellent mechanics in the pocket. He’s a better athlete than he’s given credit for.
Josh Allen: 6’5” 222 (JR) Wyoming - The junior had a tough season in 2017, but much of that had to do with a poor supporting cast around him. Put him on a power 5 team with a legit offensive line, and this kid may have contended for the Heisman. His skills are eerily similar to Carson Wentz. He has an exceptional arm, outstanding athleticism for a man his size, and a great ability to make plays happen on the run. He will need to clean up some mechanical issues within the pocket, and may benefit from playing behind a veteran for a while before he’s asked to take the field.
Baker Mayfield: 6’1” 220 (SR) Oklahoma - The Heisman Trophy winner took his team to the College Football Playoffs, and ended up losing to Georgia in overtime in one of the most entertaining college games I have ever watched. Mayfield will be scrutinized over his height at the combine, as most feel he will measure under 6’1”, but despite ideal NFL height, he is thickly built, with a powerful lower half that helps him generate a lot of power behind his throws. He is extremely accurate both in and outside the pocket, and can make plays with his feet when the pocket breaks down. He is the ultimate competitor with the skill-set to match.
Lamar Jackson: 6’3” 211 (JR) Louisville - Jackson is a pure athlete who just happens to play quarterback. He won the Heisman Trophy in 2016 after throwing for 3543 yards and 30 touchdowns v.s 9 interceptions. He added 1571 rushing yards and another 21 touchdowns! Despite finishing third in the Heisman voting in 2017, Jackson improved on all his yardage numbers for 2016, throwing for 3660 yards and 27 touchdowns vs. 10 interceptions, and improving his completion percentage to almost 60 percent. He rushed for 1601 yards, and 18 touchdowns. Jackson is not a polished passer, but he does compare to the Texans rookie sensation Deshaun Watson coming out, with Watson having a slight edge as a passer, and Jackson having a huge advantage as a runner. Whoever selects Jackson will have to be patient with him as a pure quarterback prospect, but the athlete will be there from day one... something NFL defenses will have a hard time accounting for.
Mason Rudolph: 6’5” 230 (SR) Oklahoma St. - To me, Rudolph is the most interesting quarterback prospect in this class. Had he entered the draft last year, he could have very well been a top 20 pick. He came back in 2017 in an attempt to take his team to the college football playoffs. Although he fell short, Rudolph had an amazing season, passing for 4904 yards, with 37 touchdowns vs. 9 interceptions and completing 65 percent of his passes. He has great arm strength, and can easily make all the NFL throws. He probably throws the best deep ball of any quarterback in this class. He is mechanically sound, and uses a variety of different arm angles to make his throws. He is a very underrated athlete. Critics will point to a quarterback-friendly system under Mike Gundy, and the fact that he rarely was asked to take a snap from under center.
Ryan Finley: 6’4” 210 (JR) NC State - Finley is the big question mark in this years class. Since declaring for the draft as a junior, the talented passer has open some eyes and vaulted himself into first round consideration among this stellar quarterback class. The former Boise St. transfer only has two years as a starter, but it’s very obvious that the tools are there. He is a naturally gifted passer, who has a great arm, good accuracy from the pocket, a nice high, compact release, and great vision to scan the field. He also throws an very catchable ball, knowing when to take some heat off his throws. His deep ball is a thing of beauty, and he hits the back-shoulder fade like a seasoned pro. He will need to add some good weight to his lean frame, and get a bit stronger in the lower body to take on the rigors of an NFL season.
Luke Falk: 6’4” 225 (SR) Washington St. - Much like Rudolph, Falk will be knocked a bit due to the system he plays in, but make no doubt about it, this kid has the talent to be a very good NFL quarterback. Falk’s stats were down a bit this year, and while his completion percentage will always be viewed as a product of his college system, he still has put up an incredible career touchdown-to-interception ratio of 119 to 39. Falk has prototypical NFL size to go along with excellent mechanics. He doesn’t have the arm strength of the top guys in this class, but he reads the coverage well, and throws with great touch and anticipation.
Riley Ferguson: 6’4” 210 (SR) Memphis - Ferguson is a bit rough around the edges, but he does have some arm talent to make him a higher draft selection for a team willing to develop him. He does slide will in the pocket and can throw the deep out from the opposite hash with easy. He does tend to lock onto one target a bit too often, and puts a bit too much air under his deep ball.
I believe we could possibly see seven of the above listed quarterbacks go in the 1st round of the 2018 NFL draft.
Most likely, baring an unforeseen drop, the top three in Darnold, Rosen and Allen will be gone before the Redskins select at 13.
Below are the teams ahead of the Redskins in the draft who could be poised to take a quarterback.
Browns - picks 1 and 4
Giants - pick 2
Broncos - pick 5
Jets - pick 6
Obviously if Cousins walks this offseason, there is a chance one of these teams can sign him as a free agent. I currently see Denver, Arizona, and Pittsburgh (if Big Ben retires), and the most likely landing spots for Kirk.
If four teams in front of the Redskins select a quarterback in the draft, that could leave us looking at a prospect like Mayfiled, Jackson, Rudolph or even Finley at pick 13. If the Redskins are able to sign Kirk to a long-term deal, this stellar quarterback class could push an elite prospect at a different position of need, to the Redskins at pick 13.
Either way, this is shaping up to be an exciting draft in Washington!
Assuming Cousins leaves, and the top three QB’s (Darnold, Rosen and Allen) are off the board, who should the Redskins select at pick 13?
This poll is closed
If the Redskins signed Kirk to a long-term deal, and there was a big run on quarterbacks, who would you select at pick 13?
This poll is closed
Roquan Smith LB Georgia
Christian Wilkins DT Clemson
Quenton Nelson G ND
Derwin James S Florida St.
Vita Vea DT Washington
Calvin Ridley WR Alabama
Harold Landry EDGE BC
Derrius Guice RB LSU