Welcome to the series of the positional big boards that will go on a weekly basis. Today we will be taking a look at the quarterback class full of intrigue and talent. The Titans do need a backup QB.
1. Baker Mayfield 6’1 218 Oklahoma RS Senior
- Yeah I said it. Mayfield is the top quarterback prospect in this year’s class. He’s the reigning Heisman winner that won pretty much every other award you can give a QB in 2017. Mayfield’s arm is a plus despite his frame. He can make all the big league throws. Most people will label him a QB that likes to run but he actually does it to extend the play and set up the pass. Pocket awareness has improved immensely since he started at Oklahoma. Footwork is ideal. Climbs the pocket very naturally. The biggest thing is that he’s a lot more prepared for the “pro style” offense than a traditional Air Raid QB. The OU offense isn’t a carbon copy of the Mike Leach version, it’s a modified version with a lot more traditional run game concepts. Sure, Mayfield has a competitive spirit on the field that will give pause to some front offices but at least he isn’t an emotionless robot. There’s a lot of Johnny Manziel comps going around about him but its wholly incorrect. I like to compare his game to Russell Wilson. A stat that bodes well for him: He posted a career 68.5% completion rate in almost 1500 passes. Also cut down number of interceptions every year.
2. Lamar Jackson 6’3 200 Louisville Junior
- Jackson was the Heisman winner that preceded Mayfield. He’s an electric playmaker that can score from anywhere on the field. While he wasn’t a total head case in the pocket in 2016, his pocket awareness has been visibly improved in 2017. Not a finished product in the pocket but the tools are there to mold. A plus arm. Bobby Petrino, as a terrible human as he is, can flat out coach QBs. Louisville’s offense is predicated on its QB being able to make the correct reads on its Mike Mularkey-esque multiple route combinations. Jackson has mastered that. Most of the throws that I’ve seen him weren’t wide open either. Jackson is a hybrid of Michael Vick’s speed and Vince Young’s arm + size. The accuracy isn’t a good omen, however with just a 57% completion percentage. A good sign is that he was on track to reduce his interceptions until the bowl game where he threw four picks.
3. Sam Darnold 6’4 225 USC RS Sophomore
- Darnold struggled a bit in 2017 after a standout 2016. He was very turnover prone, tossing 13 interceptions at the most inopportune times. He’s still a top tier QB prospect due to his physical tools. Underrated athlete in the pocket and outside of it. Climbs the pocket well. Doesn’t give up on a play. NFL ready arm talent. Footwork and mechanics are still sloppy when the pocket is disturbed. No hesitation to stay in pocket and make the throw while getting hit. 64% completion percentage for his career.
4. Kyle Lauletta 6’3 215 Richmond Senior
- A surprise pick sneaks into the top 5 list for me. I was impressed with him at the Senior Bowl and watching more Richmond stuff. He has a big league arm and is sneaky athletic. Moves well in the pocket to reset his feet before throwing. He’s a fast riser up the boards.
5. Josh Rosen 6’4 220 UCLA Junior
- The former five star recruit had a rough go of it in Los Angeles. He still has a ton of talent but fate was not kind to him. The medical is increasingly worrisome. Has a ton of arm talent. Did not develop as initially projected. A gamer who often willed his team to wins. There’s a perception out there that he’s arrogant and entitled because of his family wealth. I don’t personally believe it but it’s still a perception.