For the first time since 1983, at least 5 quarterbacks were drafted in Round 1. Check out an analysis of every quarterback drafted in Round 1 of the 2018 NFL Draft. I also make predictions on how each player’s career will turn out.
2018 NFL QB Draft Analysis
As has been the case throughout the NFL’s history, all quarterbacks drafted in Round 1 don’t always pan out. In fact, it’s been the norm that quarterbacks drafted in Round 1 don’t pan out. For every Carson Wentz and Jared Goff, there’s about ten Jim Drunkenmillers.
Who is Jim Drunkenmiller, you ask? The San Francisco 49’ers drafted Jim Drunkenmiller with pick 26 in the 1997 NFL Draft. Drunkenmiller was supposed to be the heir apparent to Steve Young. Young took over for the great Joe Montana. To say Drunkenmiller disappointed is an understatement. He ended up playing for two NFL teams from 1997 through 1999, the 49’ers and the Miami Dolphins. He ended up on the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad in 2003.
In between his practice squad stint with the Colts, Drunkenmiller played for the L.A. Avengers in the Arena Football League. He also had a stint as the quarterback of the Memphis Maniax, one of those crazy XFL teams from 2001. At least Drunkenmiller’s XFL nickname, “Druck”, shows up on Fox Sports Top 25 XFL nicknames. “Druck” is 8th on the list.
Will these QBs end up like Drunkenmiller without the famous nickname? Or, will these guys end up in the NFL Hall of Fame?
Keep reading for predictions based on absolutely no truly relevant facts.
Pick 1 – Cleveland Browns – Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
I don’t understand the pick. Neither the Giants nor the Jets were going to draft Mayfield. The Browns could have waited until pick 4 to grab Mayfield. I seriously don’t get why they drafted him number 1 overall.
That doesn’t mean I don’t believe Mayfield has a decent career. I believe he’ll be okay. By okay, I mean a 6 or 7 year career where he plays well enough to make a decent living before someone realizes he’s more Doug Flutie than Drew Brees. At that point, Mayfield will end up out of the NFL. But, by then, he’ll continue to play football well enough to get paychecks.
Sort of sounds like the career that most NFL quarterbacks have. If Mayfield could take the Cleveland Browns to a single playoff game, even if it’s the final wildcard spot available, even if during the game the Browns get squashed by 50 points, he’ll have been a step up from these guys: Tim Couch, Kelly Holcombe, Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell, and DeShone Kizer.
I know that’s not the full list, which means the bar set in Cleveland isn’t too high for Baker to leap over. I just don’t understand why the Browns drafted him first overall.
Prediction: A decent 6 to 7 year pro career
Pick 3 – New York Jets – Sam Darnold
There are two players I see when I see Sam Darnold. The first is Ryan Leaf. The then San Diego Chargers drafted Ryan Leaf after the Indianapolis Colts drafted Peyton Manning. If you’ve forgotten who Ryan Leaf is, just check out this video about him. I’m not saying Sam is as immature as Ryan. He isn’t. I’m saying he reminds me of Leaf’s potential.
It’s there. It’s all there. The biggest problem I have is that I’m not sure landing with the New York Jets is the best place for Sam Darnold. Quarterbacks with potential like Sam Darnold must end up in the right situation for the potential to shine. Hopefully, the Jets know how to get the most out of Darnold.
Who’s the other player that Darnold reminds me of? Drew Bledsoe. Bledsoe, who like Leaf played at Washington State before going to the NFL, had a nice career. He was a 4 time All-Pro. He was also the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots in 2003 before getting hurt and opening the door for the Tom Brady.
Darnold has Leaf potential. My prediction is that he turns that potential into a Drew Bledsoe type of career.
Prediction: 10 to 12 year career, a couple of All-Pro seasons, and at least one conference championship appearance
Pick 7 – Buffalo Bills – Josh Allen, Wyoming
If there’s one player that could pull a Jim Drunkenmiller from this year’s Round 1, it’s Josh Allen. The tweets don’t bother me that much. No, seriously. Whatever a child says, and he was a child when he tweeted those racially charges things, I write off to immaturity. I also believe he owned up to the tweets. Allen appears to be a truly sincere human being.
The problem I have with Allen is that he only completed 56% of his passes while throwing for the Wyoming Cowboys. Sure, you can say he simply didn’t have the players around him. Really? I mean, it’s not like Wyoming plays in the SEC, Big Ten, ACC, Big 12, or Pac 12. Heck, the Wyoming Cowboys don’t even play in a football conference as good as the Big East.
If the best you can do is complete 56% of your passes in the Mountain West, you could have some trouble in the NFL. The best team Allen faced in the Mountain West was Boise State. Versus Boise State’s defense, Allen completed 12 of 27 for 131 yards. He threw a single TD pass. He threw 2 interceptions.
He’s going to face much, much better defenses in the NFL than Boise State’s. Yes, he’s got upside. Yes, he could improve upon his completion percentage. But, it’s going to take some time. I don’t see the Bills having the patience to get Allen enough reps in the next 2 to 3 years for him to come close to reaching that potential.
Also, of all 5 quarterbacks drafted in Round 1, Allen’s got the toughest road ahead to even start with the team that drafted him. I believe A.J. McCarron turns into a very good starting quarterback. If the Bills have success with McCarron, do they really force McCarron out just so Allen can try to reach his potential?
Prediction: 3 to 5 year career with nothing noteworthy
Pick 10 – Arizona Cardinals – Josh Rosen, UCLA
Here’s my home run quarterback pick. First, Rosen’s cockiness doesn’t bother me. The reason is because I believe he absolutely backs it up on the football field. Second, he goes to an excellent organization. The Arizona Cardinals have a fantastic defense. The rushing attack this season should be right back to being one of the best now that RB David Johnson has returned. Finally, Rosen projected to be a star the day he arrived at UCLA. He did nothing during his college career for me to believe he isn’t a star in the NFL.
How good could Rosen be in the pro football league? I think he could be good enough to have a 12 to 16 year career and at least one Super Bowl appearances. Sounds crazy, right? But, that’s the thing. Rosen believes he’s that good. Confidence can carry you a long way if you truly believe.
If you can back it up with great quarterbacking skills, you can go far. I also think he’s smart enough to adjust his game in the NFL, meaning he knows he won’t have to throw the football for 400 yards every game for the Cardinals to win.
Prediction: A 12 to 14 year career with at least one Super Bowl appearance
Pick 32 – Baltimore Ravens – Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Jackson’s got unbelievable skills. He might be the best pure athlete in the draft. The fact that he’s a quarterback means that he can immediately pay dividends as a dual-threat QB. The key for Jackson was finding the right situation.
He did that when the Baltimore Ravens drafted him. Baltimore is tired of the vanilla offense they’ve been leaning on with Joe Flacco as their QB. Jackson can pass from the pocket, rush for first downs, or even rush for TDs. He’s fast enough to beat most defenses with his legs. He’s a polished enough pocket passer to get the ball out before the pressure gets to him.
Will he have growing pains in the NFL? Sure, he will. But, outside of Rosen going to Arizona, I can’t think of a better fit for both Jackson and Baltimore. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg developed dual threat QBs Donovan McNabb and helped Mike Vick make the pro bowl in his first season with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jackson, if he stays healthy, should have a long, great career.
Prediction: 10 to 12 year career with at least two championship game appearances and one Super Bowl appearance