The 2018 NFL draft was supposed to be the “year of the quarterbacks.”
Up to four players were supposed to go in the first round, quite possibly all in the top 10.
But two months into the college football season, at least one NFL General Manager is singing a different tune.
The anonymous GM says he doesn’t see the production from the top prospects in college.
From The Sporting News:
A quarterback might not be selected within the top five picks of the 2018 NFL Draft.
So says one NFL general manager who instead views a running back, Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, as the potential first overall pick.
Preseason buzz was centered around the idea that three college quarterbacks — USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Wyoming’s Josh Allen — had the potential to be drafted within the first three picks. But none have stood out thus far in the 2017 season.
“Right now, this isn’t a draft where you see a quarterback go top three like everyone was saying, or maybe even top five,” the GM told Sporting News, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “The production isn’t there from anyone, and we are what, five, six or seven games in? You don’t see it.”
Darnold in 2017 has passed for 2,292 yards, 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions through eight games. Rosen has thrown for 2,620 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions through seven games. Allen has produced 1,216 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions through seven games.
“Right now, Darnold may not be coming out, and he was the one with all the hype,” the GM said. “You see him on film, he doesn’t seem settled in the pocket. He’s not secure with the ball, he wasn’t throwing those interceptions last year. Is he a first round kid? Yeah, I could see that. But he might benefit from another season at USC.
“Rosen — this is a tough one. I’m not sure a lot of teams are going to be crazy about him after this year. He hasn’t handled the spotlight well. You want maturity from a quarterback. I still think Andrew Luck was that prototypical guy a few years back, Deshaun Watson this past draft. They were poised and polished. (Rosen’s) comments on school were worrisome. If he thinks he has to study now in college, in the NFL that workload is triple.”
As for Allen, the GM added, “It hasn’t been an easy start. The Combine and his Pro Day are going to be key. He might be falling out of the first round. I just don’t know. He’ll need to impress in his workouts. There are some good pieces there.”
It seemed like a foregone conclusion that Darnold and Rosen would go 1-2 in the draft. The only question was who would go first.
But with UCLA having a mediocre season (though not because of Rosen) and Darnold regressing, the picture has gotten murkier.
It’s becoming more and more likely Darnold will return for his senior season, and it may not be the worst thing in the world for Rosen to do the same.
As for Allen, he has not looked good at all in his spotlight games. In his two games against Power 5 teams (Iowa and Oregon), Allen has only completed 50% of his passes for 238 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions.
The other potential first-round quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, is an explosive athlete, but still lacks refinement as a pocket passer.
NFL teams in need of a quarterback might be scrambling for other solutions, because there may not be any franchise quarterbacks in the draft.