Entering the 2018 NFL Draft, there was plenty of hype across the entire draft class, but nothing was quite as electric as the quarterbacks entering. All of the quarterbacks within the first round contain high levels of expectations for the future, although almost all will be forced to battle for the starting job. With an impressive preseason, a number of these rookies could be relied on from the start.
Here is where I stand with each quarterback prospect and their respective position:
Pick #1 : Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
The Browns drafting the Oklahoma Sooners quarterback came to the surprise of many fans. With Mayfield, there were certainly character concerns which to what was thought to hurt his draft stock. Ultimately, Cleveland did select him with the first overall pick, and now the Heisman winner enters a situation that plenty of other quarterbacks have entered and failed in try to fix: Getting the Browns to a competitive level of success.
The Cleveland Browns have gone two straight seasons with the first overall pick, and last season became the first team to go 0-16 since the 2007 Detroit Lions. He has been regarded as the most competitive QB of the class, and enters behind former Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor.
I don’t think Mayfield wins the position of starting QB, even with an impressive preseason. I believe he will be learning from Tyrod Taylor for at least half of the season in preparation of becoming the starter of the future.
Pick #3 : Sam Darnold, New York Jets
Most mock drafts predicted USC’s starting QB to be the one chosen by the Cleveland Browns, as previously shown, but that was not the case. The New York Jets were able to select Sam Darnold with the third overall pick that they traded for with the Indianapolis Colts. They were a team looking for a franchise player of the future, and they may have just found their guy.
The Jets have not had a quarterback who consistently started multiple seasons with them since Ryan Fitzpatrick, who played two solid seasons with the team. They were in desperate need for a quarterback, and now have a potential star to learn behind veteran journeyman Josh McCown and former Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater. This offense has plenty of pieces, but are still a few steps off of being competitive to the likes of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Much like Mayfield, I do not believe we will see Sam Darnold being the day one starter in New York. He was labeled a “turnover machine” because of his high interception number in 2017 (13). He will surely benefit sitting behind McCown, and will hopefully cut down on the turnovers. If the Jets are out of the playoffs early enough, we could see Darnold play the final few games of the regular season.
Pick #7 : Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
After the trade of Tyrod Taylor and the struggles of Nathan Peterman, it seemed like a strong possibility that the Buffalo Bills were going to be looking at a quarterback in the first round of the draft. Before draft day, Buffalo had been making plenty of trades, including one with Cleveland to get their twelfth overall selection, which they then used to move up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to select Wyoming’s Josh Allen. He has been praised for his elite arm strength, but has been criticized for his inaccuracy as a passer.
The Bills were able to sign former Cincinnati Bengals QB AJ McCarron on a two-year deal, but I believe he is viewed as nothing more than a bridge for Allen when he is ready to gain NFL snaps. He is one of the few quarterbacks on this list that I could very well see get the starting position with an impressive preseason.
Allen enters a Buffalo offense that is loaded with talent, but ranked 31st in passing offense last season. They hope they have found their franchise leader in the 21-year old, and look to compete with the likes of the best of the AFC East once again after making the playoffs for the first time in the millennium last season.
Pick #9 : Josh Rosen, Arizona Cardinals
With the retirement of Carson Palmer, the Arizona Cardinals were in a deep hole at the quarterback position. At one point, they did not have a single quarterback on the roster. Fortunately, the Cardinals were able to sign former Minnesota Vikings QB Sam Bradford to a one year, $20 million contract. In addition, the team also signed Chicago Bears QB Mike Glennon to a similar contract. Although nobody expected either to be the future of their previous teams, that seems to also be the case in Arizona. After trading up with the Oakland Raiders, the team selected UCLA QB Josh Rosen.
Rosen has been referred to as the most accurate passer in this draft class, and also the most NFL-ready. For him to slip to the tenth pick was astonishing to plenty of NFL fans and scouts alike, but the Cardinals took advantage of the situation. Rosen enters the Arizona offense with future Hall of Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and one of the NFL’s top running backs in David Johnson. The Cardinals are in a rebuild mode after losing key pieces on defense such as Tyrann Mathieu, and also hold an unsteady offensive line.
Unlike most in this class, I believe Rosen could easily be the starting quarterback entering week one with an impressive preseason. Newly hired Head Coach Steve Wilks says Rosen ranks second in the depth chart behind Bradford, who has battled knee injuries for the majority of his career. With the uncertain health of Bradford, Rosen will at some point see starting NFL time.
Pick #32 : Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens spent their first pick in the first round on selecting TE Hayden Hurst, as well as Heisman winning QB Lamar Jackson. This did not come as a shock to most, as Joe Flacco has been struggling since his 2012 Super Bowl victory. Since that time, Baltimore has only made the playoffs on two occasions, and have never advanced past the Divisional round.
This pick has seemed to frustrate Flacco, as it has been reported that he has not spoken to Jackson since he was drafted almost a month prior. The Ravens felt that it was necessary that a advancement into the future was necessary, and Jackson brings in a new dual threat element to the Baltimore offense. He is surrounded with talent, including newly signed wide receivers in Michael Crabtree and John Brown.
I think it’s safe to say Flacco will have some amount of security as far as the starting job goes, but if Flacco plays poorly, the door could very well open for Jackson. With that, pending injuries, Jackson will likely spend a year on the sideline behind Flacco.
This quarterback class was loaded with talent, giving a handful of teams a potential future franchise leader. Although most won’t emerge as a surefire starter, they could eventually develop into what their franchises hope for.
Photo Source : Saturdaydownsouth.com