The college football season and 2018 NFL Draft are still months away, but NFL teams are already looking at the top prospects for the next draft. After this year's poor QB class (which still saw three QBs go in the Top 12), the 2018 class has the potential to be one of the best in several years.
The players are listed in the order I have them, for the time being. Much can and will change. There is some level of projection involved. One final note: this is based on NFL Draft projections, not college projections. That means players like J.T. Barrett, Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson aren't on the list. They're great college players, but they don't project well to the NFL right now. With that in mind, here are the Top 5 2018 NFL Draft QB prospects.
5. Luke Falk, Washington State
Although we're still waiting for the first true Air Raid QB to finds success in the NFL, one has gone in the first round in the last two drafts (Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff). Falk could be next. He's accurate, with a 70 percent completion percentage last year, but that number is inflated by the system. He has the arm to make it in the NFL, but will need to work on his reads and technique (footwork, etc) in an NFL offense.
I'm curious how we'll play without his two best WRs: River Cracraft and Gabe Marks. Games against USC, Washington and Stanford will give him a chance to shine against quality defenses.
4. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
There's a good chance Rudolph will be much higher on my board come the end of the season and I think he's being slightly overlooked right now. He has the size NFL teams covet, checking in at 6-foot-5, 235-pounds with functional mobility. He doesn't have the best arm in the class, but it's more than strong enough and he's best deep ball thrower in the group. He completed 63.4 percent of his passes for 4,091 yards, 28 TDs and four picks - numbers that have improved each year at Oklahoma State.
My main worries about Rudolph stem from the simplicity of the Oklahoma State offense and the terrible defenses he plays against. He doesn't often have to move beyond the first read or even second. He also benefits from having one of the best home-run threats in the nation in WR James Washington. Still, Rudolph
3. Josh Rosen, UCLA
Rosen could end up as one of the more polarizing prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft. The talent is there for "Chosen Rosen" - he can make every throw and showed great promise in his true freshman year when he completed 60 percent of his passes for 3,669 yards, 23 TDs and 11 INTs. But instead of breaking out in his sophomore year, he struggled through a shoulder injury that required surgery (there's a nerve issue - red flag alert!). He's a classic pocket passer who should see an uptick in accuracy if he stays healthy on the field.
However, there's off-the-field worries around Rosen, who reportedly is "a mess off the field." There are rumblings about his leadership, while he also needs to improve his accuracy. A good year from Rosen and success for UCLA will quiet those concerns and he should be a top pick. But if UCLA and/or Rosen struggles, he could find himself in the Christian Hackenberg / Jimmy Clausen camp.
2. Sam Darnold, USC
Of the top three guys, Darnold might actually be the least physically gifted. That's not an insult, as Darnold has plenty of ability. He has a good enough arm and completed an impressive 67 percent of his passes. He finished the year with 3,086 yards, 31 TDs and 9 picks after taking over as the start after USC started poorly. He also closed the year with a hell of a bowl game and enters the year with a ton of hype and as a Heisman candidate. He has impressive size at 6-foot-4, 225-pounds and looks stronger than that. He's a no-brainer Top 2 QB prospect right now
However, there are reasons for caution, even beyond his limited starting experience. Darnold's turnovers picked up down the stretch (six in his final six games) and his completion dropped each game as well. If that carries over to the season, it will be a big red flag. Worst of all his Darnold's throwing motion. It's not Tim Tebow bad, but it's a long windup and might need to be re-worked. Another year like 2016 and Darnold will be among the favorites for the No. 1 overall pick.
1. Josh Allen, Wyoming
Allen could end up as the No. 1 overall pick in 2018 or he might not go in the first at all (either he falls out or returns to Wyoming). There's plenty of upside with Allen, but he hasn't harnessed it. There was buzz in the pre-draft process this year that Allen could turn pro, but he elected to return. That was the right decision.
Allen has everything NFL scouts want in terms of traits: Size (6-foot-5, 230-pounds with room to grow), really good mobility, a strong arm (it might be the best in the 2018 class) and some pro-style experience. In all, Allen has the best tools and upside of anyone in this class.
With that said, he hasn't used his tools fully yet. He completed only 56 percent of his passes at Wyoming and his gunslinger mentality led him to throw 15 picks. Plus, he doesn't play the best competition each week. If Allen takes a step forward, improves his accuracy and cuts down on the turnovers, don't be surprised if he's the No. 1 overall pick. If he doesn't, who knows where he'll end up going.Back to the NFL Newsfeed