The Quarterback Problem in the 2018 NFL DRAFT

Jordan Palmer ( former back-up NFL QB) “I’ve never seen anybody like Josh Allen”

In today’s NFL the most important position is the Quarterback. A great QB can make your team and bad one will break your team. In 2018 NFL Draft, there could be as many as 5 taken in the 1st round. This would indicate that 2018 would be the year for any QB needy team to take one. How does this draft class compare to 2017 QBs taken in the 1st round? I will compare the three top QBs taken in 2018 mock drafts and compare them to the 3 top QBs in the 2017 draft class to show that 2017 was criminally underrated.

Let me tell you why….

In 2017, there were 3 QBs selected in the 1st round. In order, those QBs were:

  1. Mitch Trubisky (2nd Overall Pick)
  2. Patrick Mahomes II (10th Overall Pick)
  3. Deshaun Watson (11th Overall Pick)

For comparative purposes, I will provide the statistics of the QBs final year in college

  1. Trubisky, 13 games, 3748 YDS, 30 TDS and 6 INTS, 68% completion percentage
  2. Mahomes, 12 games, 5052 YDS, 41 TDS and 10 INTS,  65.7% completion percentage
  3. Watson, 15 games, 4593 YDS, 41 TDS and 17 INTS, 67% completion percentage (2016-17 NATIONAL CHAMPION)

Each of those QBs were considered draft and develop type of QBs. All 3 ended up starting games in regular season. Trubisky became starter due to disaster known as Mike Glennon. Watson assumed the starting role during halftime of Week 1. You can thank failed Nick Cage look a like, Tom Savage, for that. Pat Mahomes started Week 17 because the Chiefs and Alex Smith had already clinched a playoff spot. This information is important because each QB had some level of success. Watson took the league by storm before his ACL injury. Trubisky had moments, but was held back by the Bears lack of talent and innovation on offense. Mahomes flashed his potential by leading backups to victory with a last second game winning drive in Denver (in which Denver did put some of their starters back in an attempt to stop Mahomes). This information leads me to the 2018 QB draft class.

(Don’t believe me about Tom Savage, see for yourself)

 

The 2017 QB draft class was viewed as flawed. A main reason was because “experts” presumed that the only way those QBs could be successful, would be to sit and learn. Most believed that the QBs would have to sit for 2 years, 1 at the minimum. It ended up that 2 out of the 3 became starter and played meaningful snaps. Trubisky and Watson were clearly the best QBs on their respective roster. The 2018 class of QBs contains QBs with more flaws than lack of readiness.

Let’s start with Josh Allen of Wyoming, Allen is 1 of 2 QBs thought to be the best in this class (Sam Darnold being the other). Josh Allen had a superb 2016 first year as a starter with Wyoming. In 14 games, he threw for 3200 YDS, 28 TDS, and 15 INTS, with a 56% completion rate. In 2017, he played in 11 games and his numbers dropped significantly. In these games, he threw for 1812 YDS,  16 TDS, and 6 INTS with a completion percentage of 56.3 Various reports from Wyoming say he was dealing with shoulder issues. However, it is difficult to understand why his completion percentage did not get better, which happens with most college QBs. This does not mean Josh Allen can’t or won’t be a good QB in the NFL, but it does mean that accuracy will be a main concern for him as he develops.

The next QB is Sam Darnold of USC. Darnold had a great 2016 Freshman campaign was considered the Heisman front-runner in 2017. In 13 games in 2016, he threw for 3086 YDS, 31 TDS and 9 INTS, 67.2 completion percentage. In 14 games in 2017, Darnold threw for 4143 YDS, 26 TDS and 13 INTS, 63.1 completion percentage. Darnold clearly took a regressed in 2017. Some will explain his regression on players leaving from the prior year or Sophomore slump. His regression is important because it could be that it was just a down year for him or it could be that teams adjusted to him quickly, after only 1 year. Darnold has been evaluated by some as the best QB to enter the draft since Jameis Winston or even as far back as Andrew Luck. Winston, notoriously had regression in his 2nd year as a starter in college and has yet to find consistency in the NFL.

The 3rd and final QB is Josh Rosen of UCLA. Rosen started as a true Freshman and was 3 starter at UCLA. However, in his Sophomore season, Rosen only played in 6 games missed half the season due shoulder and concussion related issues. Due to this we’ll only look at his Freshman and Junior seasons. In 2015, Rosen played in 13 games and threw for 3669 YDS, 23 TDS and 11 INTS, 60% completion percentage. In 2017, Rosen played played in 11 games and threw for 3756 YDS, 26 TDS and 10 INTS, 62.6 completion percentage. When comparing Rosen’s 2 full seasons from 2015 and 2017 he made improvements. His completion percentage progressed by a little over 2.5%. His TDS went up by 3 and interceptions were lowered by 1. There is some concern over his shoulder injury, but even more when it comes to his concussion issues in 2016. Rosen was the only of the three QBs that took a jump from from one season to another. However, I did omit his 2016 season due to injury.

Stats in college may or may not tell the whole story of a player, but they provide a template when scouts and executives are trying decide on which player to take. Physical traits and mental makeup are also key factors when deciding on what QB to draft, however, it is my belief that the top 3 2017 QBs were undervalued and are a comparable if not flat out better than the top 3 QBs in 2018.

The two obvious omissions were Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson. I used Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, and Josh Rosen as three 3 QBs as they were three taken 1st in most mock drafts at the time of this writing.

Stay tuned for my first full 1st Round Mock Draft…

…Coming Soon

 

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